Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rubella Ballet

Left to right: Gem, Sid and Zillah.
     Even more colorful than Hagar The Womb, Rubella Ballet was another creative band that wanted to get away from the black 'uniforms' several other bands were wearing while shouting out that lyrics weren't always about the bomb or wars. Formed in 1979, after several random practices(live ones) and vocalists including Annie Anxiety, the band ultimately came to a steady line up consisting of Zillah Minx on vocals, and three of The Fatal Microbes' ex-members. Sid played drums, Gem played bass and Pete Fender played guitar. Due to their connections with Crass, and Gem and Pete being Poison Girls' vocalist/guitarist Vi Subversa's children, the band found themselves fortunate enough to find places to play at without difficulty, a label to release music with and equipment. The band first appeared live during a Crass/Poison Girls concert at the Conway Hall in Redo Lion Square, London, but played their first 'real' gig at a fundraiser, opening for Poison Girls at the Theatre Royal in Stratford.


     In 1980, the band released their first batch of material in a cassette titled "Ballet Bag" with some additional guitar work from Andy Smith. The band had decided to work on the release by themselves, so they spent days creating, writing, printing and putting together the lyric booklets, badges and tapes into individual bags. In the end, nearly five thousand copies were sold. It was released on Poison Girls' Xntrix label.


     Slightly later, Sid was recruited by Flux of Pink Indians on drums to play in their "Neu Smell" E.P in 1981. Due to Crass's drummer Penny Rimbaud telling Sid that he should do more drum rolls, Rubella Ballet refused their single that was being offered to them on Crass Records. However, the main reason why they didn't want to release a single with Crass was because they did not want to be told how to sound and didn't want to have the same black and white sleeve that all the other bands were getting. They wanted to do everything the way they wanted to, with a color sleeve.


     Rubella Ballet's first single "Ballet Dance" was was recorded and released in 1982 on the Xntrix label. It shot into the Indie top ten and led to two John Peel Sessions on July 6th, 1982, and February 8th, 1983. In 1982, however, Pete Fender left Rubella Ballet to focus on Omega Tribe and was replaced by Mark Adams from the Chaos Bros. Mark was featured in the second John Peel Session. By 1985, Gem was not in the band anymore and had been replaced by Adam and Zillah's younger sister Rachel 'Rachel Minx' Irene Jane Ashworth, and their 'Money Talks' 12" was released that year on the Ubiquitous label. Later but also during that same year, Adam was replaced by Steve Cachman, and their debut L.P. 'At Last It's Playtime' was released, once again on Ubiquitous.


     However, the constant line up changes were beginning to exacerbate the band's progress. Each time they acquired new guitarists and bassists, they had to teach them their sets, but their recruits would either become to drunk to play them live or leave the band before they could even become a part of it which frustrated Sid and Zillah.

Drummer Sid.
     Next, In 1986, their 'If' L.P. and 'Artic Flowers' single were released on the Ubiquitous label. Afterwards, 1986 saw the release of their 'Cocktail Mix' album(Ubiquitous) and in 1988, the 'Birthday Box' double-L.P.(a live L.P.) was released. By 1990, the band released their last album titled 'At The End Of The Rainbow' on Brave records.

Guitarist Pete Fender on the right.
     Unfortunately, Rubella Ballet split in 1991 after their last gig at the Camden Palace. Zillah and Sid decided that they had had enough, seeing as though another guitarist and bassist had left the band, and went to play in a dance band they had already formed prior to the split named Xenophobia.

9.12.82 Warehouse Liverpool, photo by Jenny Plaits.
     Fortunately, Rubella Ballet reformed in 2000 to play at the European punk festival in Milton Keynes, and decided to stay active, and have been to this day. The new line-up they decided to come back with was Sid on drums, Zillah Minx on vocals, Pete Fender on guitar, Phil from P.A.I.N. on guitar and his girlfriend Paris Ite on bass. Zillah Minx has recently released the first of two movies titled 'She's A Punk Rocker'(this started out as a short University project she did), which talks about women in the punk scene.



Here is a live video of Rubella Ballet back from the early eighties.



The following lyrics will be posted from the 'Ballet Bag' lyric booklet.


"Belfast"




"A Dream Of Honey"




"Slant And Slide"






"Newz"







"T"(Emotional Blackmail)







"Krak Trak"







Soon to come Downloads:

(Rubella Ballet have had retrospective C.D's out fairly recently, so only a small portion of their material will be uploaded)
Unreleased demo(possibly their first demo) 19XX
http://www.box.net/shared/ruld4f5pmpq214y1bm4c
Ballet Bag 1980 Xntrix
http://www.box.net/shared/msfqevnm762ugimxk555
Ballet Dance 1982 Xntrix
http://www.box.net/shared/64rsqm3so2sr3lb5d16n

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hagar The Womb

Left to right:Guitarist Janet, Drummer Chris from Cold War, vocalist Ruth and second guitarist Paul who was also from Cold War.
     Hagar the Womb were a female fronted, rather colorful and refreshing band, who wanted to have a little more fun than just shouting out the same gloomy political message that so many other bands were doing. After being ignored and laughed at by the men who ran the Wapping Anarchy Centre for trying to speak their minds and contributing ideas, several of the women decided to start a band so they could be taken more seriously. In London during 1980, Ruth, Karen, Amden and Nicola Corcoran all decided to become the vocalists, Janet Nassim became the guitarist and Stepth Cohen played the bass, while Andy Martin from The Apostles helped them by giving them a place to practice in and a drummer named Scarecrow. 


     Even though nobody in the band besides Scarecrow knew how to play anything, they were offered their first gig at the Centre, but the band claims that the people who were setting it up only did it because they didn't think they would be ready since they were to have it a week after forming.

4.4.84, Bierkeller Leeds, photo by Jenny Plaits.
      Still, the band pulled it together, came up with a name that had no meaning, and played a somewhat chaotic gig supporting The Mob and Zounds featuring early versions of "Dressed to Kill" and "Puff the Magic Dragon".

Guitarist Janet Nassim.
     Despite the gig being poorly played due to the lack of musical experience, the band received plenty of positive support, so they decided to continue with the project. Next, J.F.B.(Jon from Bromley) was recruited on second guitar, while Scarecrow was replaced behind the drum set by Chris 'Elephant Face' Knowles from the band Cold War.

This picture come from the Kill Your Pet Puppy blog. It may have come from the band themselves.
     Several of their vocalists left soon after, leaving just Ruth and Karen. After several gigs, people began to take notice of the band, their lyrics, which were much more personal instead of always about war and bombs, and their clothes, which were more colorful and not black like what several "Crass clone" bands were doing. Instead of being anti-everything, the band were anti-labeling and tried to be wild.

Chris, their drummer from Cold War standing left to bassist Mitch Flacko. Guitarist Janet on the bottom right.
     Soon enough, Crass's "Feeding of The 5000" got into their hands and gave them it's influence. The band also had connections with the Kill Your Pet Puppy collective, since one of their members was living at their house after being kicked out of her own home for dyeing her hair red. After recording their first demo, the track 'For The Ferryman' was pulled by Conflict to appear on their label Mortarhate's 'Who? What? Why? When? Where' compilation. 

Bassist Steph.
     However, their bassist Steph left soon after, and was replaced on bass by Mitch Flacko who came from other bands such as The Crux, The Snork Maidens and Flack. Soon enough, J.F.B. was replaced on second guitar by Paul Harding, also from Cold War, and gigs were luckily easy for the band to play, since they lived near clubs such as the 100 Club, Marquee, Fulham Greyhound and the Moonlight Club.


     In 1984, Hagar The Womb released their first E.P. titled "Word of The Womb" on Conflict's Mortarhate label. It was engineered by Pete Fender from Rubella Ballet/Omega Tribe at Heart and Souls Studios, Walthamstow. The band got the opportunity to release that E.P. because they had been playing several gigs before it with Conlict. It hit the Indies chart and went up to number six with the track "Dressed to Kill" becoming the favorite, and also appearing in Sean Mcghee's "Anti-Society" compilation, but with the guitar solos heavily quieted down. The band continued by playing several more gigs to promote it.


     Slightly after the release of the E.P. and recruiting a third vocalist by the name of Elaine Reubens, John Peel invited the band to come down and record a Peel session, but due to complications with their lyrical content and struggles to find a drum set, the band ended up sounding kind of rough and not how they really were. Afterwards, the band had a fallout with Mortarhate due to trust issues, and decided to go to Abstract Records to release their next E.P. in 1985 titled 'Funnery In A Nunnery'. 


     Unfortunately, their bassist Mitch left the band before a gig they had with The 3 Johns at Dingwalls in Camden, and was replaced by Paul 'Veg' Venables. Sometime during 1987 the band came to a halt with no explanation or dramatic end. Paul and Vedge went on to play with We Are Going To Eat You and Melt, while Mitch became a roadie for The Mekons and is now a tour manager.


     2011 has become a good year for Hagar The Womb. A retrospective record has just been released titled 'A Brighter Shade Of Black' on Mississippi Records.

Six Minute War eventually evolved into the band Fallout(both bands were highly underrated and have posts in this blog about them .

     Hagar the Womb has recently reformed with original members.

Janet on the right.


"Dressed To Kill"


Saturday Nights coming and I've just got to Prepare.
Have a bath and spend two hours washing my hair
'cos you know I've got to have my face just right. Right!
So all the boys will only fall for me tonight~ Tonight!

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
Gotta try my best, best, best,
to stand out from there rest, rest, rest,.
To make sure that he, he, he, 
will only fancy me, me, me.

In my sequinwed boob top I'll really stand out on the floor.
Make sure the boys will come crawling back begging for more.
With a flashing smile and tons and tons of cheap perfume. Perfume!
They'll soon realize I'm the best piece in the room. Room!

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
Gotta try my best, best, best,
to stand out from there rest, rest, rest,.
To make sure that he, he, he, 
will only fancy me, me, me.

I don't care if I trip or catch a chill
'cos in my flimsy clothes I wanna look dressed to kill.
Make myself out to be really, really, really hot stuff. Stuff!
Tease the boys make sure they never get enough. Enough!

With every single boy in the room I will flirt.
I don't care if I'm used or treated like dirt.
I don't even care if they call me a tart. Tart!
cos I know they reall meant to say sweetheart. Heart!
(Come with me!)
Come with me!

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
Gotta try my best, best, best,
to stand out from there rest, rest, rest,.
To make sure that he, he, he, 
will only fancy me, me, me.

Fancy me.
Fancy me.
Me!


More lyrics coming if I can manage to get my insert back from a friend of mine.


Soon to come Downloads:

(They have recently had a well deserved retrospective record released, so there wont be much to download)
Word Of The Womb 1984 Mortarhate
http://www.box.net/shared/xjhvgnfekagjz37piymx

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cold War


     Cold War were another somewhat melodic band who started in Hornchurch, Essex, sometime during 1980. Their line-up was Chris Knowles on bass, Kev Bulmer on drums, Paul Harding on guitar and Ian Smith on vocals. All three of the musicians played left handed instruments which was pretty unusual. Their members Chris and Kev also ran their own tape label called Rasquap Products that released material by bands such as What is Oil? and Boiled Eggs.


     Their debut gig may have been with the Apostles at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend. They soon became associated with the Wapping Anarchy Centre, who was helped setup by The Apostles, where Cold War managed to play several times during their existence. During his time in Cold War, Chris the bassist was invited to join Hagar The Womb as their new drummer during the end of 1980. Their guitarist Paul also joined Hagar The Womb as their second guitarist, just in time to feature both Chris and Paul in their "Word of the Womb" record in 1984. Several recording sessions where done by Cold War, but it was their earlier stuff that they chose to release on record.


     During 1981, the band released their "Live at the Autonomy Centre" tape on their own label where they played on October thirteenth during that same year. 1982 saw the release of a self titled demo that wasn't released on any label. Another demo was released during that year, this time on their label, titled "Irrational". Several more were done, but saved for the future.


     In 1983, Namedrop Records released their one and only record "The Machinist". However, Cold War had already split by 1982. In 1984, two unreleased tracks appeared in the compilation "Another Thing from the Crypt" on Hedgehog Records. Chris and Paul continued with Hagar the Womb, until that band split and the two formed other bands such as We Are Going To Eat You, Paralysis(an improvisation band with Ian, Gary Gherkin, J.F.B. from Screaming Babies and A.E.D.) and also Melt, while Ian also took up sax and joined his brother's band Seventh Seance who used to be Orange Cardigan. Chris eventually became D.J. Chris Liberator, Ian vanished from the Earth, Kev emigrated to Australia, and who knows what happened to Paul.

Bassist Chris on the left, and Paul on the right playing guitar for Hagar The Womb.


"The Machinist"


The heavy sounds
of the steel pumping action.
The sheer weight of noise.
the sound of led
pumping, pushing, sweating.

This machine.
This machine must go
on.

The machinist operates the machines,
cause he can('t?) see
the machine may operate him!

Compelled by force.
Stopped(?) by suggestion.
No turning back now.
No turning back now.

This machine.
This machine
must go
on.

The machinist operates the machines,
cause he can('t?) see
the machine may operate him!
     
We're coming closer

to the computer age.

Human programming

Is their way!


Soon to come Downloads:


Live at the Autonomy Centre 18-10-81 Rasquap Products
Irrational Demo 1982 Rasquap Products 1982
Self Title Demo 13/3/82
The Machinist 1983 Namedrop Records
Another Thing From The Crypt Compilation Tracks 1984 Hedgehog Records

Monday, October 17, 2011

Omega Tribe

Bassist Daryl on the left and vocalist/guitarist Hugh on the right.
     Omega Tribe were one of the few bands that had a much more softer, poetic and melodic style of playing that still managed to impress, educate and influence their audiences. All  three founding members Daryl, Hugh and Pete came from different bands(Daryl from "Comatose", Hugh from "Whoosh!"), and formed Omega Tribe in Barnet on July 29th, 1981, with the roles of Hugh Vivian on guitar and vocals, Daryl Hardcastle on bass and Pete Shepherd on drums. Before Omega Tribe, they were called "Deadly Game" and after much practicing(at first in a basement) they played their first gig at the Monkfrith Boy's Club during that same year. Their second gig was played at the 100 Club, supporting The Meteors, who had invited the band to come down and play because they knew their drummer Pete. Right from the beginning, they had a strong Crass influence, and committed themselves to everything about the band(Hugh is a poet) while they practiced hard once a week at We Mean It in Barnet.

Bassist Daryl
     The three recorded their first demo during March of 1982, in Poison Girls' basement, and had their track "Nature Wonder" pulled by Crass to appear on "Bullshit Detector 2". This led to an association with Crass that got the band a spot at the Zig Zag squat event alongside several of the other anarchist bands such as The Apostles and Sleeping Dogs on December 20th, 1982. Around 1980, They had met Crass because of Daryl who at the time wanted to interview them for his "The Realities of Society" fanzine. That was also when the band met Pete Fender from Rubella Ballet who would become a great help and part of the band in the future.


     Crass was impressed, and invited the band down to record their first single on Crass records. Their "Angry Songs" single was recorded during September of 1982, and was released during the Spring of 1983. It featured some lead guitar work and piano bits by Pete Fender, who followed by joining the band afterwards as their lead guitarist. The record broke into the Independent Top Ten right after being released and reached higher up than other bands such as The Damned(they were 5th). Several tours where then played with Conflict who were good friends with them.


     After much gigging and the success of the single, Crass invited the band down to Southern to record an album for their Corpus Christi label. This resulted in their 1983 release of the fantastic album "No Love Lost" which was regarded by many one of the top albums to come out of the "Anarcho Punk" movement. They wanted to avoid the heavy sound that most "Punk" bands had by writing and recording it exactly the way they wanted to and not by what was expected of them. Shortly after the album, the band took a huge change in direction, seeing as though Pete Fender left in 1984, their drummer switched roles and new members were recruited. Their drummer Pete switched to percussion, Sonny Flint joined in on drums and Jane was recruited on saxophone and flute duties.

 
      During 1984, their manager Martin Goldschmidt wanted them to take a much more commercial direction, and managed to convince the band to sign a contract since none of them had any money. A tour around the United Kingdom was played next where their listeners were introduced to the "New" Omega Tribe, but people would still shout out for their old numbers.


     Next, their "It's a Hard Life" single was released on Corpus Christi, which showed the band taking on their new sound which caused disappointment among their followers. Afterwards, a live cassette titled "Live at the Clarendon " was released later that year on 96 Tapes which was run by Rob Challice from another band called Faction.

Vocalist/guitarist Hugh on the left and Pete Shepherd the drummer on the right.
     Next, the band began working on their "Hip, Hip, Hooray" single, but Hugh left the band while they were working on it because he simply just didn't want to do it anymore. Omega Tribe fell apart soon after in 1985. Daryl carried on with a new band called The Tribe(sort of sounded like ska), but that project only lasted until 1988 and didn't get very far. Omega Tribe did reform in 1995 so they could play a guest spot for Poison Girls' singer/guitarist Vi Subversa's 60th birthday bash at the Astoria in London during June, but split for good soon after the gig. A retrospective C.D. and record were released in 2000 on Rugger Bugger Records, but both quickly sold out after it was released.



      I do not have my records on me right now, but lyrics for the releases "Angry Songs" and "No Love Lost" will be put here as soon as I get to them.


Soon to come Downloads:

(There is too much live material to upload so I'll stick to the actual releases)
Angry Songs  1982 Crass Records
No Love Lost 1983 Corpus Christi
Live at Clarendon 1984 96 Tapes
It's A Hard Life 1984 Corpus Christi

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hex

Hex as H.D.Q. Left to Right: Guitarist Golly(He wasn't the vocalist, he just happened to have a Mic), Dickie The Rock 'N' Roll Bowl on guitar, Lainey on drums.
     Hex were a rather mysterious band, closely tied to anarchist and animal rights ideas, and would later have three of their members go on to play in H.D.Q. They formed sometime around the early eighties with one of their first line-ups consisting of Pikey on vocals, Golly Utopia on Guitar/lyrics, Cubby on drums, and Lainey on bass.


     After 1984, Dickie began playing in another new band called H.D.Q. as their guitarist. Afterwards, H.D.Q. were joined by Golly on vocals, Lainey on drums and Anth, the lead guitarist/vocalist from the Famous Imposters(same one from this blog) on drums.


     Sometime during the early eighties, Hex released their first demo titled "Not The Promised Land". The opening track titled "Is This To Be?" ended up appearing on the label Words for Warning's "You are Not Alone" Compilation in 1986. During the mid-eighties, Hex released their second demo titled "Poison in The System". The band continued to be active during throughout the eighties, playing several gigs with bands such as The Instigators and Feed your Head(As H.D.Q., they played with Slaughter Of the Innocent, Decadence Within, Amebix and Disorder).

Their split E.P. with the flyer they used for the tour to promote it with Feed your Head.
     In 1987, Hex had gotten a new line-up of Pikey and Cas on vocals, Golly on guitar, Dickie "The Rock 'N' Roll Bowl" Hammond on bass and Lainey now on drums. They quickly paired up with another band named "Feed your Head" and released a split E.P. It was titled "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" on the same Words of Warning label. The two bands then went on a tour to promote it.


     It wasn't until later on in 1987 that Hex released their third and best demo. It contained brilliant tracks such as the opener "Black & Proud", the second song "Decide" and "Whose is the glory?". The song "Decide" was taken and appeared in the "Anti-Capitalism Anarcho Punk Compilation" on Overground records which was compiled and remastered by Sean Mcghee from Psycho Faction. Shortly after the demo, Hex disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again.



I have no lyrics for this band. In fact, trying to find any information on Hex is almost impossible.


Soon to come Downloads:

Not the promised land Tape 198X
Poison in the System tape 198X
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained E.P. 1987 Words of Warning(I don't have this one)
Third demo 1987

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fatal Microbes/Pete Fender/Honey Bane

Left to right: Gem, Sid, Honey Bane and Pete Fender.
     In 1978, four really young teenagers came together thanks to the mother of two of them, Vi Subserva, to form The Fatal Microbes. Their line-up consisted of Gen Stone(Gemma Sansom) on drums, Pete Fender(Dan Sansom) on guitar, It(Quentin North) on bass and Honey Bane(Donna Tracey Boylan) on vocals. Future members included Sid Attion on drums and Scotty Boy Barker(Scott Barker) on bass. Gem and Pete were Vi Subversa, the singer/guitarist from Poison Girls' children, and Sid was a chef, but had lost his job for arguing with his boss and ended up living with The Poison Girls. Honey Bane had run away from Social Services so she was "on the run".


     In 1979, the label Small Wonder released a split between Poison Girls and The Fatal Microbes titled "Violence Grows" which later was re-released as a single with a bonus track for the Fatal Microbes due to the bands sudden increased popularity.

Pete Fender released this single as a one-man band in 1980
     However, The Fatal Microbes split soon after, but did manage to play some gigs. Several of the members went on to do solo projects and ended up playing roles in several important anarchist punk bands.


     Honey Bane sang in a single released with a disguised Crass called Donna and the Kebabs titled "You can be You" on January 19th, 1980, before going solo on E.M.I.(Crass deleted her single off the catalog soon after for "selling out"). She married "Fox" from the band Dirt until he tragically died in 1985 from an epileptic fit at the age of 22(they were together for three and a half years), leaving behind a daughter.



     Sid went on to drum for Rubella Ballet and then briefly in Flux of Pink Indians,(he only drummed in the "Neu Smell" E.P. for songs such as "Tube Disasters" and "Sick Butchers")but left Flux of Pink Indians soon after the "Neu Smell" E.P. to come back and focus on Rubella Ballet.


     Gem went on to play bass for the very colorful Rubella Ballet.


     Pete released a one-man band single titled "Four Fomulas" in 1980 on Poison Girls' Xntrix label, played guitar for Rubella Ballet and eventually ended up playing guitar for Omega Tribe.    



"You can be you" lyrics coming soon. I don't have any for Fatal Microbes or Pete Fender's "Four Formulas" single.


Soon to come Downloads:

Fatal Microbes "Violence Grows" Single Small Wonder/Xntrix 1979
Fatal Microbes "Live in Guilford, England 5-10-80"
Honey Bane "You Can Be You" 1979 Crass Records
Pete Fender "Four Formulas" Xntrix 1980