"YOU JUST WANTED TO CHANGE THINGS"

Mojo (UK) - - Trial By Fire -

THERE WAS SO much bor­ing­ness around. I was do­ing graph­ics at Torquay art col­lege when Raw Power ap­peared, then New York Dolls, and it went on from there. There was talk of ‘punk’ and punk gigs in Lon­don, and be­ing in Devon you were out of the loop. So there was that ex­tra im­pe­tus to get up to Lon­don af­ter fin­ish­ing col­lege. I ab­so­lutely was pre­dis­posed to­wards it. When I first heard the Pis­tols, I thought I’ve got to see them. The whole punk move­ment was a down­mar­ket strug­gle. I met like-minded peo­ple in Lon­don, lit­tle en­claves of re­bel­lion. As soon as the Roxy opened, it was like, This is our place. Do­ing our first gig there wasn’t scary be­cause we were so used to be­ing in the au­di­ence. But when you stepped out­side, it was rough. The whole Teds ver­sus punks thing – we were com­pletely men­aced. Ridicu­lous re­ally, but it was deadly earnest back then. Get­ting ter­rorised by peo­ple. You just wanted to change things. The whole es­tab­lish­ment was so stuffy. I had a home-made T-shirt, where I’d writ­ten ‘Fuck Off’ on it, which ap­peared on quite a lot of posters. Then for about two weeks me and ev­ery­one else stuck swastikas on things just to wind up your par­ents, then re­alised that was a re­ally stupid thing to do. I wore my fa­ther’s sew-on re­con­nais­sance arm­band from when he was in the war in­stead. You did want to shock peo­ple. I was just an­gry. I don’t think any­body got of­fended by me per­son­ally, but by the band, def­i­nitely. Lin­coln, on the Damned tour, was hor­ren­dous: us and The Damned were bar­ri­caded into the dress­ing room and th­ese peo­ple were try­ing to bat­ter the door down. They smashed all the win­dows in the van. Just lo­cals who prob­a­bly read the tabloids – “Ooh, we don’t want that sort of thing here.” Even­tu­ally the band ground to a halt and I didn’t feel like car­ry­ing on. I didn’t have the ego for it. I didn’t want to be on-stage all the time, I didn’t like it very much. I hated the sex­ism – the mu­sic busi­ness just wanted women wear­ing lit­tle dresses. Jour­nal­ists were the worst: men wouldn’t get sub­jected to the same scru­tiny or crit­i­cism. But all the bands ac­cepted you, es­pe­cially at the Roxy. I never wanted to be a fe­male in a band, I just wanted to be a bass player. Within the punk en­vi­ron­ment, there wasn’t sex­ism, there wasn’t racism, it was re­ally in­clu­sive. I pre­fer do­ing art now, be­hind the scenes. But I think the punk at­ti­tude stays with you if you ever called your­self a punk: un­ma­te­ri­al­is­tic, stand­ing up for the un­der­dog, that’s just in­nate. I think any gen­uine punk bands weren’t in it for the money. It was a whole way of life. Did it change the world? There’s still a lot of crap mu­sic around, isn’t there?! As told to Keith Cameron

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