JOHNNY MOPED - LURRIGATE YOUR MIND
It has been said that history is written by the victors and never is that more true than in the history of punk rock. Whilst anybody with a passing familiarity of the genre will have heard of the Sex Pistols and Clash, it likely they won't be as knowledgeable about other bands that were around at the birth of this musical revolution, such as JOHNNY MOPED. On many counts the overlooking of Croydon's finest is a shame, no more so than missing out on the delights of their debut album "Cycledelic". A release that, although now over four decades old, was listed in the Guinness Encyclopaedia of Popular Music as one of the top 50 punk albums of all time.
I was once fortunate enough to spend an evening in the company of their original drummer Dave Berk, who regaled me with stories from the late Seventies when being a punk was truly a dangerous lifestyle choice, but offset by the excitement that came with being part of a scene that would change the musical landscape for good. The band had a relatively short run first time round, disbanding in the late Seventies, but reformed in 2016 to record "Its a Real Cool Baby" and in so doing seem to have had a second lease of life. Having recently undertaken successful tours of the UK and Europe, played Blackpool's Rebellion Festival, recorded radio sessions for Marc Riley's BBC 6 Music Show and toured with The Damned, they have now released a new 14 track album "LURRIGATE YOUR MIND". Originals members Johnny Moped and Slimy Toad are joined by Jacko Pistorious, Robert Brook and Marty Love, as well as a guest appearance from Captain Sensible, who cut his musical teeth with the band many moons ago.
My favourite tracks are the Blondie guitar intro on "Living in a Dream World", the "Something Else" hook on "Brian Staying in Bed", the manically crazy guitar solo on "You Kill Me" and the potted band history that is "Black Witch Climax Blues Band Genetic Breakdown". The latter reveals that original member Captain Sensible had "got a job cleaning the bogs at Fairfield Halls. He got the sack and then he formed the Damned". The real oddity is "Little Shop" that has just unconnected, single word, lyrics (such as "Strawberries", "Toxic Waste", "Pot Noodles" "Icing Sugar" and "Greeting Cards") repeated endlessly over a mildly psychedelic backing.
So Johnny Moped, one of the first wave punk bands, show there is life in the old dogs yet and long may they continue. Perhaps in time their contribution will be properly recognised, but in the meantime they'll continue banging out proper, solid, rock tracks and to hell with the consequences.