Punk and its pioneers, though they may not have wanted to, changed the face of music as we knew it. Not only that, but they changed fashion, youth culture and brought about an entirely new form of performance and gigging. Its roots are often furiously debated due to the fact that everybody has a different definition of what punk music is and was, mainly because it covers such a broad spectrum of artists, and these artists stemmed off to form so many different subgenres, all with their own unique following and intention. Because of this, its foundation can be found in many different places and stories, ranging internationally, but all with the same catalysts and integrity.
Have you ever made a spur of the moment decision and gone off on a whim, chasing a gut feeling? And don’t you just love it when this pays off? Well, I recently trucked off up to Aberdare in the valleys of South Wales on one of these whims. This particular whim was to go and check out a couple of bands from Aberdare whom I had only just come across thanks to a good friend who lives there. The bands I went to see play were The Nukes and Clay Statues, and I was so pleased to find that the journey was well worth it, as both bands played blinding sets at The Glandover Arms.
The opening band of the night was Say When!, a young indie rock band. These guys played with great enthusiasm, but I have to say that they did not really do much for me. Their style of rock just blended into the vast collection of so many other similar bands who sadly fail to stand out from this bland majority of young and enthusiastic acts.
While the Clash were hardly the only band that ever mattered to me, I personally sure owe a tip-o-the ol’ snout to the one, the only Joe Strummer for most vividly helping me see The Light back in that dark, dank cultural wasteland known as the mid-Seventies.
It was my first-ever night in London, August of 1975, and a friend took me to see The Troggs at the Nashville Room.
Opening was a young band called The 101’ers who, I was most amazed to discover, performed almost the precise same set (beginning with the Stones’ roll down “Route 66”) as did my own high school combo Martin & The E-Chords back there in the Toronto suburbs!
It was a wonderful accident. I arrived on time at a local Montreal bar / live show venue for my interview with a great Canadian band, that shall remain unnamed, only to find that they were stuck at the American border and were running behind schedule. Assuring me they would arrive shortly, I grabbed a seat and began one of my least favorite aspects of the job – waiting. As I watched another band setting up their gear I was soon approached by someone with a, wait for it, British accent, which I must admit I found quite strange, but my interest was immediately peaked. I was soon introduced to the rest of the band (turns out Mr. British Accent had a name, Ben Chauveau, and was the keyboardist for the band I had been watching set up), heard some tunes and before I knew it I was leading an impromptu interview with what has since become one of my new favorite bands – The Ascot Royals. Was it fluke? Was it fate? Whatever it was, my ears, and my spirit (as cheesy as that sounds), thank me every time one of the songs off their debut self-titled album is blasting through my speakers.