HEADLINE MANIAC - Headline Maniac
Which band released the first punk rock record has always been a hotly disputed topic. Some say it was MC5, others the New York Dolls or the Stooges, then of course you have the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Australian band The Saints, whilst a case could be made for the Damned.
However, holding their own amongst all these luminaries was Eddie and The Hot Rods. Ostensibly a pub rock band, in 1976 they released an EP recorded during their popular residency at the Marquee club. For one of these gig they had been supported by a young, unknown band called the Sex Pistols. Whilst rather predictably it ended in a riot, perhaps on that night UK punk was born.
Fast forward 40 years and Eddie and the Hot Rods remain a touring band. Occasionally the classic line up reforms for the odd high profile gig, at which point the other, long time members of the band - Ian "Dipster" Dean, Chris Taylor and Simon Bowley - have the good grace to act as support act under the moniker of HEADLINE MANIAC. Some songs written by Dipster for the Hot Rods didn't fit quite right with the band, so have been recorded on a debut offering by this side project on Rod Hot Records to be released on 8th July.
The band describe themselves as blues based rock'n'roll, with a contemporary punk gloss and I have to say they do what it says on the tin. From the rolling thunder punk rock opener, and lead single, "Idiot Me" the ban create a hook laden journey back into an era where classic rock bands held sway over the radio and charts. From Bad Company rock-outs like "Give Me One More Chance" and "Someone Like You", through Led Zeppelin blues rock of "You're the One for Me" Dean's voice at times reminds me of a cross between Paul Rodgers and Bryan Adams, all gravelly emotional with intent. A Dr Feelgood vibe on "I Want Your Lover" and pop punk "14 Days" shows their diversity, plus also the tightness that comes from a band who tour relentlessly.
With punk celebrating its 40th birthday its good to remember that it wasn't all about the Sex Pistols and Clash. Many other bands sprang up at the time, most of which have now sadly been overlooked in the re-writing of the genre's history. So hats off to the part that Eddie and The Hot Rods for the part they played in what was a seismic shift in the course of UK music history, but also . its good to know that even after all these years band members are still prepared to take this risk of starting up a new band like HEADLINE MANIAC.