PUNKS NOT DAD
We Are The Dads
Right, I speak here as a bona fide father in that whilst
mums are spoilt rotten on Mothers Day, us Dads get right royally shafted
when it comes to that special day for our dear children to show us their
appreciation. The best we can look forward to is a set of Phillips screwdrivers
and a copy of the latest Drivetime CD (so you can listen to Bachman
Turner Overdrive whilst driving). Big Deal!
Well, hope is now at hand for anyone looking to reward their "Old
Man", especially if he is the positively geriatric age of 40 or
over. Those lovable scamps PUNKS NOT DAD have issued their debut album
on XFIST Records, and its timely release makes it a perfect gift for
any father who dabbled with punk or new wave in his formative years.
For me half the enjoyment of this album "WE ARE THE DADS"
is trying to fathom out from which punk classic they nicked the guitar
riffs! Several of the tracks were first heard on the now extremely rare
single "Allan Key in the UK" , a record that has been reaching
the heady price of 49p on e-bay. But those classics are joined by a
further 8 new songs of middle aged punk mayhem, each one a delight to
the ears of blokes brought up in an era when you could a see a punk
gig, get pissed on light ale and go home on a tram for under £2.50.
First track is the eponymous "We are the Dads",
which is the manifesto of all portly 40ish year old men, who still think
they're 17 and thin:
The kids don't understand us,
They think we're full of shite
But we are The Dads,
AND THE DADS ARE ALRIGHT!
Sid Life Crisis belts out the vocals with the real venom
of man who realises he is now closer to Ralgex than the Roxy, and the
boys cracking start is followed up by an ode to that deadly phenomenon
that is sadly ignored by all female members of the species - "Man
Flu". The Lads tell it like it is when they say, "It's worse
when you're a Dad" (all wives/girlfriends please take note!). Next
track "Sell Out" highlights the guitar skills of Johnny Cardigan,
who provides a veritable Pistolian wall of sound on which the band paint
a graphic story of one man's fight against his addiction, and the necessity
to go "cold turkey" and rid himself of his inner cravings
for.......Rocky Bars, Wagon Wheels, Sherbet Dips and other items sadly
out of stock at his local Tesco's.
The history of UK punk has been rewritten so many times in the intervening
30+ years that certain groups who were extremely relevant in 1977 have
all but been airbrushed out. Bands like the Vibrators, Art Attacks,
Eater, Alternative TV, the Lurkers, Penetration, the Rezillos, the Slits
and Subways Sect are now mostly forgotten. So I was pleased to find
that the next track paid homage to a group that spawned one of the first
commercially successful punk singles, but now don't even warrants a
mention in the countless TV documentaries of those dim distant time
- The Adverts. It's a heartfelt lament of unrequited teenage love, and
lust, for the first female pin up of punk. They even manages to reuse
a line from Patrick Fitzgerald's chronically overlooked 1977 poem, by
stating they have "A Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart" for the
bass playing vixen that was Gaye Advert. Not only that, but the lead
singer of the aforementioned combo, Mr TV Smith no less, has described
this track as "Brilliant" (I kid you not!).
Their next track "Banned from the Barfly" pricks
the pompous balloon of those hippy punks Crass, whilst highlighting
the all too regular embarrassment I suffer on finding I'm three times
the average age of most of the crowd when attending a gig at Cardiff's
premier indie venue (As Steptoe once said "You dirty Old Man!").
Side one closes with their next single "In Me Shed", and apart
from highlighting the delights of escaping from 'er indoors for a while,
it also affords each and everyone of you out there in R*E*P*E*A*T-land
to get in on the video. As they are too tight to get a proper MTV type
epic done, they are trying to cobble together members of the public
lip-synching to the track. A bit like Nickelback or Feeder only crapper!
So if you can manage to record 10 seconds of yourself miming along (in
your shed) to the chorus then send it to them and you too could be on
Top of the Pops, along with Jimmy Saville and Dave Lee Travis. Details
on their website.
Side two begins with a rare bass solo from Joe Strimmer on "Burn,
Burn, Burn" and contrary to popular mythology he now appears to
have learned a third chord. Good Man! Initially I thought this was an
ode to the Rodney King inspired LA riots and the fight back of the masses
against a tyrannical police force, aiming to bring liberation and freedom
to all classes of society. Actually it's about curry.
A blatantly commercial decision was made to include the next track "Fathers
Day" as a sop to shift a few more units. But they seem to agree
with me that Dad's get short-changed with "badly written books
about Ronnie Kray, spotty bow tie like Robin Day, two half eaten bars
of Milky Way" all set to a tune that sounds eerily similar to Hersham
Boys. Having said that, I don't think Jimmy Pursey could manage lyrics
like that yet.
Mention should be made at this juncture of drummer Adrian Viles (copyright
- Bones 2008) who might be sadly lacking in the looks department, but
can still hold a mean beat. His tub-thumping prowess is evident on "I
hate your band" which highlights the duplicity prevalent in the
music business today, something I'm sure they have encountered since
the band came under the Svengali like hold of their manager Bernie MacLaren
(or is it Malcolm Rhodes?). The final two tracks head into "contractual
obligation" territory as they were featured on their debut single.
However these are newly reworked versions of "The Boy Looked at
Johnny" with it's Pretty Vacant into and nods to Burchill &
Parsons, and finally their show stopper "Punks Not Dad" that
rounded off each night of their recent 30 date residency at the O2 Arena.
So there you have it, the middle aged punks equivalent of "Dark
Side of the Moon", and similarly destined to top the album charts
for the next 741 weeks. Whilst there might have been a certain amount
of artistic licence in my review, this is still a top effort from a
decent bunch of blokes. The music is pukka punk from the late '70's
and early 80's, and although the lyrics maybe more about Asda than Anarchy,
they will still bring a warm glow of recognition to any baby boomer.
So go on give the Old Man a treat for Fathers Day and get him a copy.
There's a direct paypal link on the www.punksnotdad.co.uk
site where you can buy online or better still send the boys a cheque
for only £8.99 to
Punks Not Dad
C/O 89 Keppoch Street