Back in the late 1970's the only way you could hear about bands, other than seeing them live, was either on the John Peel show or in the weekly music papers. So I spent my formative years trawling over small ads in the back of the NME, Sounds or Melody Maker marvelling at the array of bands that had been spawned by the punk explosion. Many times I ordered singles, never having heard the band, just because they had some weird and wonderful name that grabbed my attention. Thereby I fell in love with tracks by the Art Attacks, Slaughter & the Dogs, Radiators from Space and Television Personalities. So it was a given that, even after all these decades, when a band called THE LON CHANEY 5 appears on the scene I'm going to sit up and take notice.


Hailing from Cardiff they describe their sound as "Punk and Roll" as they attempt to transport the raw grit of Chuck Berry into the electric energy of the late 70s punk scene. The bands line up presently consists of Tony Fleming (guitar, lead vocals), Gavin Davis (bass), Ryan Griffiths (guitar), Dave Evans (Drums) and John Perry (Trumpet). I appreciate the presence of a trumpet player might suggest they sound like any other ska band, but this is far from the truth. In fact, whilst they turn a hybrid mix of ska, punk, rock and reggae into dance infectious songs, these lads also want to get over some serious messages in their songs.

Opener "Middle Aged Werewolf" sets the tone for the EP as the bass heavy, trumpet-led intro lays down a thumping musical landscape for lead singer Tony to explain their lupine credentials. However, whilst ostensibly the song appears to be a homage to their idol Lon Chaney, they still throw down the gauntlet in letting you know these middle aged werewolves "Only eat the rich, only eat the rude and the odd Tory too".

"Ebola Rock'n'Rolla" continuous on a political theme, relating the frankly criminal activity of big pharmaceutical companies in ensuring the continuation of artificially high medication prices. Complete with Link Wray guitars, the band are not shy in giving Glaxo and Co a bloody nose:

Say they've found a miracle cure
But that don't count if you're poor.
Cos they only wanna cure the rich

And they've got a cure for cancer
But they don't want a chancer
Because its gonna impact on the profits

I think by now you're getting the picture that, whilst their songs will definitely make you move your feet, the band also want to get your brain cells active as well.

"Revolution" moves away from the dance hall style and takes them into more punk rock territory, with an almost Clash City Rockers feel. However, if the Illuminati thought they were temporarily being let of the hook they can think again, as the band lay down a clarion call to revolution:

Collateral damage is a heinous term
To kill women and children
And no-one says a word
How can you justify that in your ivory towers?

The time has come for a revolution
Time to break down their disgusting institution
The time has come for a revolution, RIGHT NOW!

A Specials, Rico-like, trumpet solo and meandering bass line backdrops the tale of a Friday night out in the Cardiff badlands of Splott in "Gangsters Molls". A DJ from "Barrybados" is only one part of a night that descends into carnage and chaos.

Final track "Rock'n'Roll Cliché" ends the EP with a punk rock boot in the balls. Recalling the bands that changed a musical landscape in the late 70's, the Sex Pistols, Damned, Angelic Upstarts and Ruts all get a name check. Indeed they borrow a section of the "Pretty Vacant" for the middle section and end with a "Tommy Gun" drum flourish.

So, a promising start from a band that is gaining a reputation on the South Wales music scene for delivering tight, raucous live performances of "Punk and Roll" music. Whilst most groups nowadays have been neutered in an attempt to get commercial success, it is refreshing to still see a band that is prepared to have an opinion and say it like it is. So, if you like your music with a social conscience, you can do worse that download this EP (available now from i-tunes, Deezer, Spotify or Apple Music).