2/6/12

Vintage Musicians #7: 1980s Punk Bands (Part 1)


Please don't fault me for my ignorance - I've honestly never ever never heard of the Adicts.  They may have been a wonderful band with their Clockwork Orange vibe and fancy hair; however, I just wasn't aware of the punk movement in the early eighties.  Sad to admit, but I was listening to Survivor, Men At Work, and The J. Geils Band in '82, and couldn't have less of a clue about punk bands.

In fact, I kind of thought punk had died by this point.  I guess it was busy morphing into New Wave, and was more or less a hybrid of the two.  At any rate, I probably shouldn't have titled this post 'Punk Bands You've Never Heard Of', when in fact these may be well-known to fans of this genre.  As a fan of Toto and Olivia Newton-John, I probably shouldn't make assumptions about your punk knowledge base.

Either way - whether you've heard of these bands or not - I am sure you'll agree that these promotional photographs are fun to look at.  All of these are scans from Punk Lives magazines from the early eighties.  Let's take a look at some, shall we?




GBH - Grievous Bodily Harm
Their 1982 album was called City Baby Attacked by Rats - now that's what I call a punk album title.


Their drummer wins the prize for the most punk name ever: Rat Scabies.


Killing Joke actually sounds familiar. It's not as punk sounding as, say, the "Revolting Cocks", but it'll do.  I have a sneaking suspicion I'd recognize some of their songs, but would probably turn it off in favor of some England Dan and John Ford Coley. (You rock snobs out there are cringing, I know. My sincere apologies)


In the early eighties, I was much more into "Manimal" than "Animal".  Can this guy morph into a panther? No. I didn't think so. Check mate goes to Manimal.


These definitely seem to have the punk 'tude down pat.  Was it a prerequisite for every punk band to act like obstinate pricks? I prefer the metalhead spaciness (a la Lemmy or Ozzy) over the rudeboy posturing of Johnny Rotten wannabees. Just sayin'.


Aha! A punk act I'm familiar with.  I can appreciate their 'punk with a message' vibe; however I got the feeling a lot of people just 'said' they liked the Dead Kennedys, when in fact they were closet Pat Benetar fans. (In much the same as rock snobs always gush endlessly about Miles Davis, when they've never listened to one of his albums all the way through.... and secretly know their Styx albums by heart)


Is it possible to have never heard a band's music, and yet know implicitly that you will hate every song they've ever recorded? That's the way I feel about 'Charge'.


Perhaps you need to be from the U.K. to appreciate these bands.  I was well into music around this time, but can honestly say I've never heard of this band - a group who appears to have had a respectable amount of notoriety in the U.K.  I pride myself in knowing the most obscure music imaginable from the seventies; but I just fall flat when it comes to this early eighties genre.

Well, I'll quit wallowing in my own ignorance, and move on to the next band....


I want to see a face-off between Depeche Mode and Lords of the New Church.  A no-holds barred battle of the cocky black-leather dandies. Pay Per View Only, of course.  Winner fights Soft Cell.

Well, that's enough for today.  I think I'll divide this into a couple posts, since there's a bunch more mysterious punk bands left. Stay tuned.


39 comments:

  1. Punk Bands You've Never Heard Of? You Have got to be kidding. Dead Kennedys and Killing Joke or ICONS and Lords of the New Church was a solid goth band. :P

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    1. Like I said, I am familiar with the Dead Kennedys. I'm sure their music is fine, but once the novelty of the rebellious posturing wears off, it's time to put on some Foghat.

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    2. Do not get me wrong I am enjoying the hell out of your Punk Posts!

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  2. Eh, I'd rather listen to Men at Work or Chicago. Both filled with amazing musicians. Although the Anti-Nowhere League did have "So What" (later covered by Metallica and not nearly as good or relevant), whose last verse pretty much sums it up:


    Well I've fucked this
    And I've fucked that
    And I've even fucked a schoolgirl's crack
    So what, so what
    So what, so what you boring little cunt

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    1. How poetic. One wonders why these bands even bothered. If everything is such a tremendous joke and life is just a tragic waste, what's the point? KISS, Frampton and Nugent may have had less 'relevant' ideas to express, but at least they knew they were entertainers - a word these bands would cringe at.

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  3. I love these pics! So dated, so much hair! I think the Lords of the New Church are my fave. They get a 10 on the bad eighties "we are so tough" band promo shot scale!

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    1. Indeed. This is what Motorhead looks like in the Bizarro World.

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  4. I believe that "Animal" was actually the singer of the Anti-Nowhere League, so you've got him up there twice.

    Lords of the New Church were fronted by Stiv Bators who was in the Dead Boys in the 70s (and was in John Waters' Polyester between the Dead Boys and the Lords of the New Church)

    Stiff Little Fingers "Inflammable Material" is an all time favorite of mine.

    These bands bothered because they had great songs and were good bands (for the most part, there's a clunker or two in that mix) but bands like Killing Joke and SLF are important, great bands, with long careers. Both those bands still perform regularly today and still release decent music.

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  5. The thing is... besides Jello and The Dead Kennedys - these guys were all New Wave at best. Not Punk at all - sorry.

    Also... not to be rude, but you misspelled Pat Benatar's name. :o/ (LOVE her!)

    Anyhoo - I was into the whole Punk scene. Here are a few of my lesser known faves:

    The Doughboys
    Meatpuppets
    The Raincoats
    and my absolute fave: Butt Trumpet

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  6. Green Day has been ripping off Stiff Little Fingers chops for years

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  7. Some of those acts were the names to check among the cooler kids at my school (small town in Scotland) - I didn't really number among them tho.

    But they were scorned in the next town, where the kids were predominantly Mods (a decade and a half late?) This provided a ready excuse for the occasional ruck.

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    1. Also Crass, 999, Angelic Upstarts, DAF, & Scotland's own Exploited (whose "F**k a Mod" served as a kind of soundtrack to the rucks)

      Needless to say, most of these were rubbish.

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  8. In the early 80s I was into rock and heavy metal, with a little New Wave throuwn in. Punk was those weird people who spit on each other. Later I came to appreciate punk more and I know a few of these bands. The Dead Kennedys have a great song "Holiday in Cambodia" and I like Lords of the New Church quite a bit. Killing Joke isn't really my style. I've heard of a few others here like Stiff Little Fingers, but don't know them too well.

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  9. This just goes to show once more how horrendous the 80s were in general, and how they can in no way compare to the 70s. At least some 70s punk bands LOOKED a bit dangerous and different, if nothing else. These wimps all look like little pretty boy poseurs who just came from having their hair dyed and styled at a salon and who would burst into tears if they broke a fingernail. Punk my ass. (Jello Biafra excepted).

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  10. Rat Scabies was in the only punk band I've ever liked: The Damned, who were right at the start along with the Sex Pistols (A band I truly hate). As an aside, Rat Scabies was at an airport (this was sometime in 1979-80) being followed by music journalists where he spied Phil Collins waiting for his flight. He went over to Collins and started to abuse him loud enough so that the journalists could hear saying "you prog guys are crap!" and stuff like that. When the journalists left, Scabies quickly ran back to Collins and said "I actually like Genesis and had to say all that stuff for the journalists".

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  11. My favorite punk band? "The Queen Haters" from SCTV. I'll never forget their one and only appearance on Mel Slirrups "Rock Pile".

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  12. Rat Scabies was the drummer for The Damned. Anti-Nowhere League featured Tony "Bones" Shaw on drums.

    Long live the Loch Lomond Rock Festivals!

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  13. Well, maybe YOU'VE never heard of them; but I grew up in the eighties and I've seen G.B.H. and the Stiff Little Fingers and the Damned etc. I love old punk and I don't understand the people hating on my old faves when a lot of the same things could be said for your seventies bands. It's pretty uncool how smugly you're putting them down when musical taste just comes down to a matter of opinion anyway.

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    1. Boycott gilliGan, the smug bastard

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    2. How 'bout we ignore you instead, ya little prick. How's that for punk?

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  14. I think Animal is the alter ego of Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates. I don't think they have ever been seen together at the same time.

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  15. Looking at the pic of G.B.H., why do I get the impression it's a 3 member band and the grunge guy on the right with the brown hair and flannel shirt just happened to be walking by during the photo shoot and accidentally ended up in the promo picture?

    *singing*
    "Three of these things belong together
    Three of these things are kind of the same
    Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?
    Now it's time to play our game, time to play our game."

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  16. Dead Kennedys is awesome! Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables is probably one of the best albums ever. Check out, for example, Funland at the Beach. Brilliant stuff!

    G.B.H. is still around and last fall I saw them do a KILLER gig. Check out their song Lycanthropy.

    Stiff Little Fingers' Alternative Ulster is an awesome tune.

    And no home should be without Lords of the New Church compilation Killer Lords.

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    1. Don't forget Husker Du, Black Flag, The Germs... well, i guess you have heard of them. Metal Circus, New Day Rising and Zen Arcade are three of the best albums of the 80s scene.
      By the way, Let's Lynch the Landlord is my fav Kennedys tune!

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  17. Well, Gilligan, I'm a little disappointed for the first time. I was hoping to see some really obscure stuff, but I had albums or tapes by most of these bands, all except Chelsea - I don't remember ever hearing of them.

    In fact, I just recently re-bought (if that's a word) the CD for ANL's We Are The League. That's a great album. And I was into mainstream stuff too: Ozzy, AC/DC, Zepplin, The Nuge. hell, you mention Foghat above and I saw them with Triumph...

    oh well.

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  18. It's like people don't read the posts at all before writing critical comments. Read: "I probably shouldn't have titled this post 'Punk Bands You've Never Heard Of', when in fact these may be well-known to fans of this genre". In other words, I'm making myself perfectly clear that, although this is not my cup of tea, I recognize the fact that there are many people out there that love these groups. It's just the title of the post that you're fixating on, not the content.

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    1. We are fixating on your smarmy omments

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  19. All these bands, by the early '80s, were looking a little dated - what worked in the mid-late '70s was just over by '81 or '82. Oh well (even the mighty Clash looked a bit ridiculous by then, no matter how good their albums were!). Still, a handful of these groups were actually quite good, and for my money, Stiff Little Fingers was one of the finest punk - or, hell, rock'n'roll - bands of the day.

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  20. And for the record: Stiv Bators, singer for Lords of the New Church, is one of the true iconic figures of punk rock. He and Belushi pal'd around lots in the day. The drug-addicting, kill-you-dead-soon day, but still.

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  21. Martha Quinn was Stiv's girlfriend back then (late 70's). He got hit by a car in France, I think.

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    1. Mojo Nixon wrote a pretty funny song about Martha Quinn

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  22. http://vintage-everyday.blogspot.com/2012/02/80s-punk-bands-youve-never-heard-of.html

    http://www.dailypics.co.cc/2012/02/80s-punk-bands-youve-never-heard-of.html

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  23. I've always thought punk was a lot of bunk.

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  24. Hey -- the Adicts are still around. My guitar teacher played bass for them for a couple of weeks on tour when their bass player wasn't available.

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  25. I loved them! Viva La Revoluton!

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  26. GBH was one of the biggest punk bands of the 80's .....wow!

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  27. We have the original records by pretty much all of these bands........... :) Bought by Rob when they first came out :)

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  28. Ronnie RaygunAugust 02, 2013

    Hi Gilligan – thanks for the pictures – they’ve rekindled a lot of adolescent memories. As someone from the UK who missed the 1976-7 punk explosion, these were my kinda bands , along with a lot of others you’ve never heard of.

    The Adicts – great guys – met them (apart from the singer Monkey – the one in the make up) outside a Ramones gig. Saw them a couple of times (even a dodgy later trying-for-fame version known as The ADX)

    Anti-Nowhere League – hilariously offensive – their drummer was the fellow on the left PJ (Persian John) not Rat Scabies – who drummer for The Damned.

    Killing Joke – apocalyptic madmen, not yer average punk thrash but attracted punks to their gigs – the chap in the middle is bass player Youth, who went on to become a well-known record producer.

    Animal – singer of the Anti-Nowhere League.

    Chelsea – one of the original 1976 punk bands whose original line up included most of Generation X (Billy Idol on geetar)

    Dead Kennedies should need no introduction in the US, shurely?!

    Charge – despite their appearance, really good – the first single Kings Cross should satisfy any thrash fan – the odd tranny went by the name of Stu P Didiot and is now sadly dead.

    Stiff Little Fingers – from Northern Ireland circa 1977-78 who’s songs reflected The Troubles. Saw them a few years ago and singer-guitarist Jake Burns seemed to defy rock tradition by being bigger and having more hair than when I saw them in 1981.

    Lords Of The New Church – punk ‘supergroup’. L-R Brian James from the original Damned, Stiv Bators (from US punks The Dead Boys – when Jimmy Pursey left Sham 69 they became The Wanderers for one album with Stiv singing) Nicky Turner (drums) from The Barracudas and Dave Treganna (bass – from Sham 69) could rock like hell if some of their singles sounded electro-Goth.

    Great days!

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  29. AnonymousJuly 08, 2016

    Rat Scabies was the drummer in The Damned.

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