I always though there was more than a passing similarity between Rosey and Rupert Murdoch (in the best kind of way obviously!) Both are multi millionaires that hold sway over vast empires, with Rosey seeming to have endless time to devout to the website, records label, fanzine, gig promotion and latterly putting together a book.
However they both seem to have something of a rival in Trevor Howarth of fanzine Negative Reaction. Apart from putting together a regular delve into the current (and historic) punk scene, he also releases CDs and trades in a myriad of punk paraphernalia and memorabilia. So, on recently receiving a package from Trev, my appetite was whetted as to just what he had enclosed.
The first was a spilt release CD. Put together by Trev himself (the Savage Amusement side) and Tim from Finland (Bruised Knuckles). It has a cross section of punk bands from across Europe and beyond, some of which I had heard of and many that were totally new to me.
BRUISED KNUCKLES v SAVAGE AMUSEMENT
First side is those bands championed by Bruised Knuckles and whilst ostensibly non political skinhead bands, they contain many musical styles, some of which are not instantly recognisable as stereotypical punk.
Openers THE PAUKI hail from Russia and their live track Voice of Kilt is an instrumental, uniquely played on multiple bagpipes. Sounds like the Dropkick Murphys at a punk Bar Mitzvah,
ANTIPATI (Sweden) resort to more standard punk thrash on next number F.R.A, albeit that they sing in their native tongue. UNION STREET from Finland in truth sound like Martha & the Muffins in the particularly radio friendly number Dystopia. Brazilian band BRIGADA DOS LOBOS growl their way through their contribution and whilst sung in (presumably) Portuguese prove that Oi! OI! Oi! translates into any language. BOOTSTROKE from Greece provided the not unpleasant Another Night, although at times it comes closer to Motorhead style metal than punk.
I still marvel that Skinhead fashion and culture was so easily exported from Britain to the rest of the world. Whilst they are now rarely seen on the streets of the UK the scene is still embraced by many other nations, as shown by the next two tracks. Russian band, KIDS OF THE STREET, extol the virtues of a skinhead lifestyle with their Blitz inspired A Way of Life, whilst Germanys 7ER JUNGS provide We Salute the Skinheads by way of homage to boots and braces.
A bit of ska never goes amiss and Madness inspired. er .madness ensues with Frances QUARTIER LIBRE, before Swedens OLDFASHIONED IDEAS blast through their imaginatively titled track, Old fashioned ideas in a Discharge-like 1 min 27 seconds. Another French band HARDX TIMES provide standard fare, whilst JENNY WOO from Canada has obviously listened to Vice Squad in her youth. Final track on side one is a real curve ball coming from Italys RAZZAPPARTE. Their number Solitude Dub is a refreshing change with tub thumping drums and synths giving it a rather vibrant feel, not unreminiscent of Rage against the Machine.
The next two numbers are probably my favourites on the whole album. HI-FI SPITFIRES are a 3 piece band, formed in mid 2008 by Steve Straughan (ex Holy Racket/Red London) who covers guitar and lead vocals. By adding bass player Dean Liddle and drummer Nelly (The Lurkers/ex Fiend and Hang-Ups) their punk credibility were never in doubt. However, that would have stood for nothing if their number 37 Hours wasnt so damn catchy. Siting U.S. Bombs, Rancid, The Clash, Sex Pistols and UK Subs as influences, they are all you could ever want in a British punk band:
KEYSIDE STRIKE bellow out anti-chav anthem Chavageddon, while CUT KIDS, in a similar musical style, contribute Living like a Dead Man. Sunderlands LOADED 44 apparently have some members of Hi-Fi Spitfires and all the better for it with Lets Get Away a song that reminds me of the type of releases seen on vastly underrated, late 70s, Northern Irish record label Good Vibrations.
And purely by coincidence next band RUNNIN RIOT actually hail from Belfast. They sum themselves up as Belfast OI! /Streetpunk, 4 chords and the truth! and provide a reworking of obscure 80s miners benefit song 16 On the Dole:
The final numbers are from arguably the biggest hitters on the album with GIMP FIST knocking out a Clash inspired dub number Guilty. With lead singer Johnnys uncanny vocal similarity to Joe Strummer, you could be genuinely be listening to the sound of the Westway.
Finally, BOOZE & GLORY bring proceedings to a close with Swinging Fuckin Hammers. The band are avid West Ham supports and, by rights, I shouldnt therefore give them the time of day as the Irons knocked my beloved Bluebirds out of the promotion playoffs this year. However, they are stalwarts of the UK punk scene and serve up another quality slice of Oi! music, that previously saw the light of day on their album Always on the Wrong Side.
So there you have it a 23 track punk and Oi! extravaganza. Admittedly not everything is to my taste, but for the princely sum of £4 Im sure anybody with passing interest in rowdy rock music would find something to float their boat. So go on, support grass roots music and PayPal the money as a gift to Trev at email@example.com or check out the links below for more stuff:
Another string to Trevs bow is this fanzine which is now onto issue 16. As it proudly boasts being a 70s/80s Retro Issue, it would seem right up my street.
What I immediately like about it is the fact that it has a political (as well as musical) content, but by enlarge this is mainly apolitical. For example Trevs uncompromising leader is equally as harsh on the left as well as the right and rounds off by concluding The politicians are a disgrace. Dont be taken for a mug. Amen to that I say!
There are several interesting interviews. DISCHARGE give their recollections of their early years, the plethora of bootlegs that have been released and the disappearance of legendary front man Cal. CONTEMPT discuss the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) case, their displeasure with New Labour and anticipation of Margaret Thatchers funeral, the sad death of bass player Trogg and the bizarre case of their ex singer (a paid up member of animal rights/class war) now running as a candidate for the BNP!
Legendary 70s Northern Irish band the UNDERTONES bring us up to speed on potential new releases whilst looking back at the Troubles and how it influenced their music. They also, somewhat ironically, deem ex lead singer Fergal Sharkeys #1 hit A Good Heart as a classic (up there with Angels by Robbie Williams apparently!?).
Steve from old school anarchist punk band the DISRUPTORS gets nearly four pages to share his views. This includes the vehement dislike of organised religion of any persuasion. Interestingly he makes some valid points regarding the seemingly allowable ridicule of Christianity, but that any derogatory mention of Islam makes you a racist. Also he defends figurehead for the anarcho punk movement, Steve Ignorant of Crass, who recently made his farewell appearance in a large London venue with tickets at £20 a pop. Similarly, he explains how he himself has come to play in a Ramones tribute band.
Other old timers such as Mackie from BLITZ, Con from MAJOR ACCIDENT and Arturo of the LURKERS hold forth, the latter explaining his ongoing court case with the dole office for undeclared earnings. There are obligatory political questions (Cameron, Cuts etc) and they elaborate on future releases from each camp.
All these are intertwined with a CD review section, book reviews, Royal Wedding reaction, the perils of dressing like a skinhead, metal badge page, Fanzine reviews and letters page that contains a pretty offensive Controversial Letter of the Issue. I think you are unlikely to see printed in more earnest publication (in fairness they are quick to point out the opinions are not necessarily that of the Editor!) and therefore makes this fanzine therefore stand out from the crowd.
So, as long as you are vaguely interested in punk, irrespective of age, this fanzine is both interesting and informative and holds many hours of enjoyable reading. Any takers? Yours for £2 from firstname.lastname@example.org.