“And now the end is near and so we face the final curtain”… or something like that. After completing the A-Z and then having a bazillion compilation albums come out, Two A-Z complete CD box sets, singles comps, live comps, covers Albums, 10” reissues. It’s certainly been a fantastic time to be a UK Subs fan (Even if it’s been heavy on the bank balance) we’ve arrived at the point where I believe the band has said time is being called on their recording career. Live shows are coming thick and fast and showing no sign of relenting.

If this is indeed to be the final record under the UK Subs monicker for Charlie and the boys then it’s fair to say they are going out in style and leaving us with a piece of work that stands tall next to their very best album and I sincerely mean that because ‘Reverse Engineering’ is an absolute fucking belter.

Charlie sounds better than he has for 20 years (the covid downtime must have helped his voice recover from all those hundreds of shows he didn’t have to sing at and if Alvin was paid by the note he’d be a millionaire. The songwriting is shared out and Straughan steps up and delivers one of my favourite Subs songs for many a year in ‘C60 Audio’ but more of that laters. The middle section of this album is some of the best Subs writing for years with the thumping ‘Hoist The Sail’ with its raw guitar intro and gang vocals as Admiral Harper rallies the shipmates for a battering ram of a verse that hacks and slashes towards the solo. Great stuff. It’s only the starter for the upbeat ‘Kill Me’ I know you wouldn’t think it by the title or the lyrics but the tempo and playing are excellent. It’s one of those happy-go-lucky Subs tracks. ‘Political Amo’ is an Oliver penned track that rushes out the blocks. As you’d imagine it’s a sprightly number with a modern feel to it with a strong melody.

There are a pair of Alvin-sung songs next with a smoldering ‘Slavery’ hitting you like a HGV. If you’re not familiar with Alvin’s style of songwriting now then let’s just say this one is uncompromising and full of big groove as the rhythm is rock solid and Alvin’s vocal is similar to his former employer Mr Pop and if this was to appear as a new Iggy single people would go nuts about it, the reality is, it’s laid to rest at the thick end of a UK Subs album that’s how good this record is.

The UK Subs aren’t signing out quietly with a whimper as ‘Statement’ testifies. They’re out of the trench and taking it to the enemy leading the charge, galloping along with this as the soundtrack again with some mighty fine musicianship with the guitar right up in the mix hacking and slashing away like a maniac – exciting stuff!

It’s not all galloping charging about mind. The intro for ‘The Night Holds The Key’ is low-key and restrained but it’s short-lived. The vocals leading to the chorus are superb and another classic Subs song unfolds. The record signs off with a real thumper written by Charlie. ‘Waiting For Godot’ with a cool verse-chorus set up where the band joins on the title repeat. its a more measured tempo that’s a fantastic way to wrap this album up. Go out with a track every bit as strong as the opener ‘Bad Acid’ that shows the UK Subs are still one of the very best the UK has to offer on studio recordings. They came out swinging over 40 years ago and sign off an incredible catalogue of records with ‘Reverse Engineering’ every bit as vital as at any period of their illustrious career. Trust me when I say ‘Reverse Engineering’ is an essential purchase. Get your mitts on a copy by any means necessary. Superb stuff just Buy it!

Buy Here or for those in the UK Time and Matter have limited copies Here

Author: Dom Daley

Books & EP’s/singles

One thing we do love here on RPM is a bloody good music-related book.  We’ve read loads and lockdown was a really good time for sitting about fingering the pages of a good autobiography or a book of lists from closed venues to record shops to biographies.  Here is a selection from some of the writers at RPM Online.  If you have any suggestions or books you’d like us to review then please get in touch at rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com and we’ll be sure to get our reading gogs out and give your recommended book the once over.

As for the singles club, we do love a good EP or 7” single be it the real thing on wax or a virtual one with a video.  It’s a sign of the times that we have more and more digital singles or one-track album samplers drop through the email but we do love a slab of wax and 2021 provided us with some right belters. So please find below a limited run of highly recommended singles.

Gaz Tidey

‘Grammar Free In The U.K.’ – D&D Philpott (irondig books)

 ‘Nöthin’ But A Good Time’ – Tom Beaujour & Richard Bienstock (st. Martin’s press)

‘The Twenty Seven Club’ – Lucy Nichol (lark)

Johnny Hayward

‘Diminished Responsibility ii’ – Alvin Gibbs (Tome & Metre Books)

‘Grammar Free In The U.K.’ – D&D Philpott (irondig books)

Grebo-‘The Loud And Lousy Story Of GBOA and Crazyhead’ – Rich Deakin (Headpress)

‘Pete Way’ – Ross Halfin (Rufus publications)

‘All Or Nothing (The Authorised Story Of Steve Marriott)’ – Simon Spence (omnibus press)

Dom Daley

‘Diminished Responsibility ii’ – Alvin Gibbs (tome & Metre books)

 ‘The Scene That Would Not Die’ – Ian Glasper (Earth Island Books)

‘Ever Fallen In Love (The Lost Buzzcocks Tapes)’ – Pete Shelley & Louise Shelley (octopus books)

‘To Hell And Back’  Walter lure & Dave Thompson. (Backbeat Books)

 ‘Snake Pit Therapy’ – Sonny Vincent (Far West Books)

Kenny kendrick

 ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ – Ronnie James Dio/Mick Wall (Constable)

Dan kasm

‘Sing Backwards And Weep’ – Mark Lanegan (White Rabbit)

‘Nöthin’ But A Good Time’ – Tom Beaujour & Richard Bienstock (st. Martin’s press)

Nev brooks

‘Sing Backwards And Weep’ – Mark Lanegan (White Rabbit)

‘Tenement Kid’ – Bobby Gillespie (White Rabbit)

Grebo-‘The Loud And Lousy Story Of GBOA and Crazyhead’ – Rich Deakin (Headpress)

Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

‘Diminished Responsibility ii’ – Alvin Gibbs (Tome & Metre books)

Singles & EP’s

Johnny Hayward

Desperate measures – ‘Rinsed’ (Easy Action Records)

Hip Priests – ‘No Stranger To Danger’ (Ghost Highway Recording)

The Lickerish Quartet – ‘Threesome’ Volume 2

The Chisel – ‘Enough Said’ (Wardance Records)

Lars Frederiksen – ‘To Victory’

Ben Hughes

The Lickerish Quartet – ‘threesome’ Vol. 2Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – ‘Go Get A Tattoo’ (International Death Cult)

Bob Vylan – ‘GDP’ (Self Release)

The Urban Voodoo Machine – ‘Empty Plastic Cup’

The Speedways – ‘Borrowed and Blue’

Dom Daley

Hip Priests – ‘No Stranger To Danger’ (Ghost Highway Recording)

RMBLR – ‘RMBLR’ (Spaghetty Town Records/Wanda Records)

Criminal Kids – ‘live at liars club’ (spaghetty Town records)

The Black Halos – ‘Uncommonwealth’ (Cursed Blessing Records) 

Desperate measures – ‘Rinsed’ (Easy Action Records)

Suzi Moon -‘Call The Shots’ (Wanda Records/Pirates Press)

Kenny Kendrick

Ghost – ‘Hunter’s Moon’ ( Loma Vista Recordings)

Murder Van – ‘Crooked Smiles’ EP

Sea of Snakes – ‘World on Fire’ EP

Smith/Kotzen – ‘Better Days EP’ (BMG)

Bob Vylan – GDP (self Release)

Gaz Tideys BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2021 was the mighty Redd Kross cancelling rather than just postponing (again!) their UK/European tour.

However, he is MOST LOOKING FORWARD to Recording an album with his long-lost late’80s/early ‘90s band, Sister Morphine.

Johnny Hayward spent most of 2021 being Dissappointed that Terry & The Idiots didn’t getting back together. But he is mostly looking forward to 2022 andTerry & The Idiots finally getting back together. Also Hopefully getting to see Stiff Richards live some time next summer. Oh and Rebellion is looking very interesting with the R Fest stage just announced.

When we caught up with Ben Hughes he expressed that he was Disappointed he didn’t much care for The Wildhearts – ‘21st Century Love Songs’. He was however Most looking forward to More live shows than in 2020 and 2021 combined!

Dom Daleys thoughts looking back are being disappointed Bristol ticket shop going under with my money from the cancelled Redd Kross show and Redd Kross cancelling rather than rearanging.

The amount of cancellations due to covid but mostly The Damned reunion being put back once then again until late 2022.

Also The vinyl meltdown and pushbacks for smaller independent artists in favour of reissues from big labels.

The deaths of some of my favourite music people (Charlie Watts, Sylvain Sylvain, Waldo, Timo, Darrel Bath and Scotty Mulvey)

Looking forward to…

The original line up of the Damned reunion shows in Hammersmith  and the amount of new albums that should drop in 2022.

As for Kenny Kendrick.

Biggest Disappointment this year? “TheDeaths of Charlie Watts & Malcolm Dome”. Skunk Anansie tour postponed (again).

When we asked what Kenny was Looking forward to in 2022 he said, “Skunk Anansie tour! and Green Lung playing Steelhouse Festival”

Dans thoughts on 2021

“I’ll just say, certain bands publicly airing their handbags at dawn…. yet again”.
Looking forward to 2022 for me.
“If the year doesn’t take a nosedive akin to what we’ve become accustomed to, I’ll be seeing Pavement for the first time on their latest cash in reunion tour, I’ll also be seeing Psychedelic Furs, Bambara and Killing Joke. I will also be forgetting that I am 36 and attending 2000 Trees festival in July.”

Alvin Gibbs managed to pen one of my favourite books ever when he wrote about his adventures on the road with Iggy Pop.  Apart from it being a time in my life when I tried to absorb as much music and everything around it that was humanly possible it was also a record that I adored and a line up of Iggys that was incredible so all the stars aligned and Alvin managed to encapsulate the same feelings when his pen hit the paper so, when Tome & Metre said they were releasing his autobiography I ready Neighbourhood Threat, again and waited in excitement for the book to land on my doormat.  I’ve read it twice now and felt intimidated about writing my review for several reasons.  How can I pay Alvin the respect he deserves as a musician (one that I greatly admire and whose work I’ve followed from the Mid ’80s) and as an accomplished and excellent writer. I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t meet my expectations but if my words help one person read his book then job done so here goes.
Alvin doesn’t labour over the detail as I suspect most don’t want to know about the finer details of his childhood but an overview is provided and certain memories relaid to paint a picture. Its the birth into what would become the punk scene is where we begin our captive participation and Alvin gives his background and shines a light on his days with Brian James as the tales from behind the curtain begin to unfold and I find myself digging up the records that relate to the chapters as something of a background especially when Alvin talks about the recordings of ‘Diminished Responsibilities’ and ‘Endangered Species’ and it sort of opens up another dimension to what you’re hearing as the pages get turned.
Alvin is a fantastic writer and his education obviously helps with his descriptions and use of the English Language which I’m sure he’ll come to in vol two! but his relationships with his bandmates and the respect he has for band members and fellow musicians he’s shared a hotel, bus, plane and beer with also shines through as does his respect for the fine art he finds himself dedicating his life to.  Alvin doesn’t shy away from his flaws either and there is no airbrushing of incidents and behaviours that he might not look back on with 20/20 hindsight and offer scant hollow apologies and neither does he try and explain them away or blame others.  
What you get is the feeling that his life is a life worth living and one that has seen the vast changes in an industry and he’s seen the highs and the not so great highs but has taken them all as part of his education and life journey there are passages that made me laugh out loud as well as wonder what the other parties felt.
Obviously I can’t recommend this book highly enough but not just for fans of The UK Subs, Iggy Pop, Cheap & Nasty but for anyone who appreciates a well-written book by someone who writes with passion, honesty and fantastic use of the language – you get a snapshot of what it was like being part of a club that enjoyed some of the trappings of being a good-sized band in the ’80s and beyond about how the shark pool that is the music business works and how cutthroat it is and an ability to dust yourself down and fly by the seat of your pants (quite literally at times it would seem) and live your life with a mindset or joie de vivre that most 9-5 people would ever understand and people like Alvin do it for the rest of us, they’re modern-day pioneers, crusaders, adventurers, pirates even.
We need people like Alvin to document their time on this earth and show us what it was really like inside the beast of Rock and Roll. As soon as I got to the last words I began to wonder how long before we get Volume two? I get the feeling that Volume one might just have been the starter and the main course is to follow so strap yourselves in kids this is set to get way more exciting.  Absorbing, passionate and another mightily impressive book from the talented Mr Gibbs. Alvin’s life as a UK Sub is set to continue but his story is one we all need to read as he’s managed to eclipse ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ we’ve gotten to meet the man and understand his politics and what makes him tick and from my point of view have even more respect for one of the finest craftsmen in his chosen field. Musician, Songwriter, Author and a thoroughly good bloke, Alvin Gibbs I salute you and urge anyone whos made it thus far into my ramblings to click the link and order a copy of this book you won’t regret it for a second.

 

Buy ‘Diminished Responsibility’ Here

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Author: Dom Daley

Time & Matter Recordings are absolutely thrilled to announce that they have registered a new venture – TOME & METRE PUBLISHING, with T&M BOOKS’ first release being the first-of-two-volumes ALVIN GIBBS MEMOIRS.

To help T&M with the funding of this new project, we are firstly offering fans the chance to have their name printed in Alvin’s new book, entitled DIMINISHED RESPONSIBILTY: My life as a U.K. Sub, and other strange stories – Volume I.

Click the link below to get your name added to the first edition of Alvin’s book, we have set the price for this at a very reasonable £5.00, for which your full name will be printed, alongside your town or city and your country, in what will be the world’s first ever book about your favourite band – the U.K. Subs.

Please be aware that this payment doesn’t buy you a physical copy of the book, but when the book goes to pre-order later this year retailing at £15.00 you will have played your part in a bit of U.K. Subs book publishing history 😊

And talking of History! As followers of this page are fully aware, ALVIN GIBBS & THE DISOBEDIENT SERVANTS’ have a fabulous new gatefold cover double 7” single four track ‘HISTORY EP’ being released by T&M… this is now available to pre-order as well; again we have tried to keep the price as low as we can, at £15.00, and a download code is also included with your purchase.

Limited to 500 hand numbered copies!

We will be letting you have plenty of updates regarding both Alvin’s book and the double single, with the DOUBLE SINGLE DUE TO BE RELEASED 30 JUNE 2020.

Please however, be aware that due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, we are unfortunately unable to fully guarantee this delivery date for the single.

These are indeed historical times, so we are tentatively looking at Alvin’s book being on pre-sale May/June time with a 1 JULY 2020 PUBLISHING DATE.

Alvin’s fellow punk luminary HENRY ROLLINS brilliantly observes in his ‘Foreword’ in the book:

“Alvin puts his experiences across with energy and excellent detail… cheerful, hilarious and armed with insight… you are immediately pulled in by this book’s contents… a mark of not only a great story teller but of one who has truly lived in full and continues to do so…”

Volume I of Alvin’s superb, fascinating memoirs run to 105,000 words over 18 chapters and also boast many rare, previously unpublished photos from Alvin’s extensive archive, as well as a discography and bibliography… and your name! 😉

ORDER DOUBLE SINGLE & GET-YOUR-NAME-IN-BOOK LINK:

Pre Order Here

Martin Chamarette 

‘Get Your Shit Together’ – Hunt Sales Memorial
‘Collectiv’ -; Jim Jones And The Righteous Mind
‘21st Century Rocks’ – Andy McCoy
‘Kiss My Ring’ – King Salami And The Cumberland Three
‘ZAC’ – Zac
‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe
‘E.V.A’ – Giuda
‘Last Punk Standing’ – Wild Billy Childish And CTMF
‘Shortcuts’ – The Chuck Norris Experiment
‘40’ – The Stray Cats.

Ben Hughes

‘Renaissance Men’ – The Wildhearts
‘Tenderness’ – Duff McKagan
‘End Of Suffering’ – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
‘I Want The World’ – Hands Off Gretel
‘Beautiful Things – Donnie Vie
’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ – Avalanche Party
‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe
‘This Is The Sound’ – Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts
‘Amyl & The Sniffers’ – Amyl & The Sniffers
‘On Safari’ – Ulysses

Nigel Taylor 

‘Renaissance Men’ – The Wildhearts
‘Natural Disasters’ – Matt Woods
‘All Tree’ – Hexvessel
‘Moonglow’ – Avantasia
‘Wrong Again Albert’ – The Cosmic Trip Advisors
Absurdum Ad Nausium’ – Cybernetic Witch Cult
‘Doomus Abruptus Vol1’ – Scissorfight
‘Awakening’ – Sacred Reich
‘Backbone’ – Status Quo
‘Old News’ – The Steel Woods

Craggy Collyde

‘Burnt Rubber’ – The Phobics
‘Spiderbites’ – Indonesian Junk
‘Renaissance Men’ – The Wildhearts
‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe
‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’ – Rich Ragany & The Digressions
‘Islands’ – Pete Berwick
‘A Rock Supreme’ – Danko Jones
‘Sunset Kids’ – Jesse Malin
‘Cactusville’ – The Hangmen
‘No Holiday’ – The Muffs

Gerald Stansbury

‘In Borrowed Shoes On Borrowed Time’ – The Sweet Things
‘Zokusho’ – The Defiants
‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe
‘Out Of My Head’ – Poison Boys
‘Androgyne’ – Gyasi
‘Jack O’Byte Bluesy Vol 1’ – Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour
‘Rennaisance Men’ – The Wildhearts
‘Waves’ – Austin Meade
‘Long Time Coming’ – Micky And The Motorcars
‘I Like You But Not Like That’ – The Darts
‘Look At Me I’m Fine’ – Billy Pettinger
‘City Of Class’ – Bitch Queens

 

Fraser Munro

‘Stand For Nothing’ – The Hip Priests
‘Action Rock’ – The Drippers
‘Anybody Wanna Skate’ – Jonny Manak & The Depressives
‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe
‘City Of Class’ – Bitch Queens
‘After Dark’ – Pale Lips
‘Silver & Gold’ – Backyard Babies
‘Nature/Nurture’ – Clowns
‘Renaissance Men’ – The Widhearts
‘Your Disobedient Servant’ – Alvin Gibbs & The Disobedient Servants

Johnny Hayward

‘Go To Hell Then Turn Left’ – Spermbirds
‘Black Door’ – The Volcanics
‘Stand For Nothing’ – The Hip Priests
‘Sunshine Music’ – Bob Mould
‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe
‘Your Disobedient Servant’ – Alvin Gibbs & The Disobedient Servants
‘Somebodys Knocking’ – Mark Lanegan Band
‘Beyond The Door’ = Redd Kross
‘Nurture/ Nature’ – Clowns
‘City Of Class’ – Bitch Queens

 

Gareth Hooper

‘Kiss Off’ – “Demons”
‘Headzapoppin’ – Ginger Wildheart
’21st Century Rocks’ – Andy McCoy
‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe
‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…; – Rich Ragany & The Digressions
‘Amyl & The Sniffers’ – Amyl & The Sniffers
‘Silver & Gold’ – Backyard Babies
‘Vocal Remover Requested’ – Honest John Plain
‘Nature/Nurture’ – Clowns
‘Renaissance Men’ – The Wildhearts

Gaz Tidey

‘Sun Songs’ – Art Alexakis
‘Beyond The Door’ – Redd Kross
‘One Man Gang; – Michael Monroe
‘Celebrity Mansions – Dinosaur Pile Ups
‘Stand For Nothing’ – The Hip Priests
‘Renaissance Men’ – The Wildhearts
‘Old Habits Die Hard’ – Junkyard
‘Lucifer’ – Jesus Chrüsler Supercar
‘Born To Fly’ – Jetboy
‘Scarred For Life’ – Various Artists

Nev Brooks

‘All The Seasons’ – Dead Shed Jokers

‘Get Your Shit Together’ – hunt Sales Memorial

‘Sunset Kids’ – Jesse Malin

‘Stand For Nothing’ – The Hip Priests

‘Ghosteen’ – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

‘Free’ – Iggy Pop

‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe

‘Body Bag Your Scene’ – Riskee & Ridicule

‘Humanworld’ – Peter Perrett

‘Stations Of The Cross’ – Hugo Race

Leigh Fuge

‘Truth And Lies’ – Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown

‘Rise’ – Tom Keifer

‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe

‘How Long’ – Ariel Posen

‘This Land’ – Gary Clark Jr.

‘The Traveller’ – Kenny Wayne Shepherd

‘Amazing Disgrace’ – The Quireboys

‘Behold Electric Guitar’ – Paul Gilbert

‘New Day Rising’ – Forever Vendetta

‘Kill Or Be Kind’ – Samantha Fish

Dom Daley

‘Get Your Shit Together’ – Hunt Sales Memorial

‘Collectiv’ – Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind

21st Century Rocks’ – Andy McCoy

‘Stand For Nothing’ – The Hip Priests

‘One Man Gang’ – Michael Monroe

‘Out Of Our Heads’ – Poison Boys

‘Metal Town’ – TV Crime

‘Your Disobedient Servant’ – Alvin Gibbs & The Disobedient Servant

‘Tenderness’ – Duff McKagan

‘Beyond The Door’ – Redd Kross

 

 

Saturday has always felt like the most popular day over the Rebellion weekend and this year is certainly no exception with day tickets selling out a full four weeks before the event (at the time of writing day tickets for the other three days along with full weekend tickets are still available here).

The main draw this year is without doubt the return of the legendary Cock Sparrer to a UK stage following their back to basics club tour of 2017 which they undertook to promote their awesome ‘Forever’ album, and looking at the quality undercard that is also on offer this is definitely the day to get your cherry reds out of the cupboard and buffed up ready for.

When the Saturday was first announced I did detect an excited squeal originating from within RPM towers as Editor In Chief Dom Daley saw that a band called Spider are opening the Empress Ballroom at 12:35 without first realising this four-piece are gothic-tinged punk rockers from Long Beach California and not Sniffa’s straight edge boogie metallers from the eighties. This is something of a get out of jail free card for yours truly so I’ll be raising my first Dark Fruits of the day to this Spider safe in the knowledge that they don’t sound fuck all like Status Quo. Result!

With the Introducing Stage once again showcasing a further thirteen bands over the course of the Saturday our old chums and graduates of the rock ‘n’ roll high school Brocker make a very welcome early appearance at 13:15. So if high octane rock ‘n’ roll music delivered with plenty of punk rock attitude is your bag then I suggest you add this one in your laminated gig planner too.

Returning to their second home of the lavish Opera House stage glam punkers The DeRellas are next up for me at 14:20. Last year Joey, Luca, Timmy and Billy took the capacity crowd on a non-stop Rock n RollerCoaster Ride, without even playing the song by the same name that first got me into them.  This year I expect more of the same insanity with the new boys now fully gigged in across sold out European shows.

After a weekend of full force punk rock (whatever your choice of sub-genre) if you are looking for a place to chill out on a Saturday afternoon then Club Casbah from 4:20 onwards is going to be your ting as Rebellion celebrates the influence dub, reggae and ska has had on punk rock via a four hour four band line-up that kicks off with The Rhythm-ites and also includes sets by RDF, Citizen Fish and HR from Bad Brains.

The lure of Alvin Gibbs and The Disobedient Servants in The Opera House (kicking off at 5:15) where the core trio of Alvin, Leigh Heggarty and Jamie Oliver are no doubt going to be joined by a huge array of guest guitarists is always going to be enough to tempt me away from an afternoon of skanking plus when you also add the return of the mighty Giuda to the Empress Ballroom stage at 17:50 its safe to safe I’ll be doing the ‘Space Walk’ down the front ready for some ‘Ravers Rock’.

With Club Casbah celebrating all things reggae the Empress Ballroom meanwhile takes a trip down the skinhead/Oi! route with Lions Law kicking things off at 4:45 with sets following from the likes of Giuda (who I’ve already mentioned), Evil Conduct and Cockney Rejects along with a special set from The Business celebrating the life of Micky Fitz set to feature special guest vocalists (with Al Barr (Dropkick Murphys) and Roi Pearce (Last Resort) are already confirmed) all singing the songs of their fallen brother. There won’t be a dry eye in the house that’s for sure, and all of this is before Cock Sparrer hit the stage at 11pm to deliver what has become THE definitive Rebellion set of punk rock music, delivering classic tune after classic tune into the wee small hours.

Of course, if Oi! isn’t your thing then there’s still plenty to see elsewhere with Duncan Reid & The Big Heads delivering the powerpop goodies in spades over in the Opera House from 7:25 and then in the very same venue from 10pm onwards there’s the back to back awesomeness of Walter Lure’s LAMF and The Godfathers to revel in. Proper low-slung guitar punk rock ‘n’ roll just how RPM loves it, and I must admit this stage clash is one of the biggest of the weekend even extending to a third stage for me as I’d love to also be catching Wonk Unit over at Club Casbah from 21:50….and then there’s The Exploited at 11pm back to headline the Club Casbah after Wattie’s umpteenth bout of fisticuffs with the Grim Reaper, surely that alone is reason enough to raise a pint and celebrate the band’s back catalogue?

I’ll openly admit I’m really not sure how I’m going to fit all of this in folks but I’m certainly going to give it a try…ahhh you know fuck it I might just spend all day watching new bands over on the Introducing stage and say “what the hell.”

One things for sure though and that is Rebellion Festival is the place to be from the 1st to the 4th of August 2019 and you can get your tickets RIGHT HERE!!!!

 

 

With ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ being, in my humble opinion, one of the very best albums released in 2019 thus far the prospect of catching Alvin Gibbs and his band of Disobedient Servants live on a short run around the UK was just too much of a “one of kind” opportunity to be overlooked, plus the gig is in one of the best venues Bristol has to offer, so a ticket for this must-attend event was duly purchased.

For those of you who might never have been to The Louisiana it’s got that fantastic upstairs above a pub vibe going for it and over the years it has seen everyone from Airbourne to Fleet Foxes treading its – oh so low it could be a step – stage. Views in this place are of a premium when it’s packed out so that’s why even before local street punks Criminal Mind takes to the stage the place is a tippy toe view only kind of full.

I’m actually embarrassed to say I’ve never seen or heard Criminal Mind before tonight, I’m embarrassed because with over 10 years together as a band, playing hundreds of shows around the UK, I’m not entirely sure how they have evaded me. Their set tonight is packed full of great tunes (which I’m of course hearing for the first time) all loaded up with chant-along choruses and delivered with the kind of enthusiasm and attitude that first made me fall in love with the ‘Total 13’ era Backyard Babies. There’s a hint of The Living End to be heard during the anthemic ‘Blood On The Cobbles’ plus a dash of Rancid on show when bassist Ben Dowling takes over the vocals mid-set but what Criminal Mind do have in spades is their own identity – something which is not lost on the diehards who holler back every word. We always love it when a new (?) band falls into our laps here at RPM towers and with their third album due to be released very soon you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be catching up with Criminal Minds very soon indeed.

Promising tracks from the  ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ album along with some choice Gibbs voiced Subs tunes plus maybe a few surprises (and guests) along the way reports online that the aptly named Disobedient Tour has been doing brisk business ticket wise is reassuring to hear given the apathy a lot of venues (not the Louisiana I might add) across the UK seemingly has towards original music right now. The army of West Country UK Subs fans makes sure that tonight is no exception and the Cheshire Cat grins on the faces of Alvin Gibbs, Leigh Heggarty and Jamie Oliver as they fight their way through the crowd to the stage does indeed speak volumes. This promises to be everything I thought it might be…even if we don’t actually get any special guests here tonight.

Kicking off with the opening 1-2 from the ‘Servants’ album, ‘Arterial Pressure’ and ‘Ghost Train’ is simply stunning in the live setting, the latter still the best Iggy song Iggy never wrote with Alvin commanding the dual role of bassist and lead singer with consummate ease. ‘Bordeaux Red’ is the first of the UK Subs songs to be aired tonight and it’s here that Gibbs truly shines in his day job, twisting his body and the strings on his Fender Precision into places other bassists can only dream of going. Elsewhere there’s a ferocious two-song tribute (‘Down On The Streets’ and ‘1969’) to Alvin’s stint with Iggy all complete with a hilarious Iggy V’s Charlie anecdote that I won’t spoil here, and then there’s Leigh Heggarty taking over the mic for a fantastic version of ‘In A Rut’ that perfectly segues into ‘Warhead’ mid-song. Of the other Subs tunes aired ‘Stare At The Sun’ from ‘XXIV’ is the wildcard Gibbs has personally chosen whilst ‘Dragging Me Down’ from ‘Killing Time’ sounds reborn devoid of the awful late-80s production that drowned that LP.

Of course tonight is really all about the ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ album and the trio certainly do not disappoint delivering the likes of ‘Dumb’ (dedicated to Trump, Farage and Bojo), ‘Clumsy Fingers’, ‘Polemic’, ‘Camden Town Gigolo’, ‘I’m Not Crying Now’ and a frantic ‘Back To Mayhem’ like the band have been on the road for months…not days. Credit also that the guys effortlessly pull off the epic soundscape that is ‘Heaven And Angels’ even with Alvin complaining his throat was a bit sore after 6 consecutive shows this really is a faultless performance.

Encoring with a run through of Ian Hunter’s ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ and Urban Dogs’ ‘A Bridge Too Far’ the Servants eventually have the venue lights turned on as a subtle reminder they have broken all the Sunday night curfew rules and probably should know better than that by now…but what the hell this is punk rock, right?

Make sure you catch Alvin Gibbs & The Disobedient Servants live at Rebellion Festival this August it’s one set you really do not want to be missing.

 

Author: Johnny Hayward

I’ll put my cards on the table here and admit that when I heard there was a new Subs album coming out I got excited then when I heard it was more covers I wasn’t too bothered. Subversions was a pretty decent effort and there were some great takes on there but, when I saw the tracklist for this I think I was half way through reading and I found I was reading through my fingers and gasping at some of the suggestions.  However, I have a varied taste and it would be boring if they happened to take on songs you would, or could, associate with the band. So I waited for my copy to arrive and would make my mind up yay or Nay after I’d heard the interpretations.

OK here goes, nothing ventured nothing gained I guess. First up is ‘Diversion’ and a jolly uptempo ditty it is too they give it a right good seeing to so I guess I can sit back and relax – for the time being.  Once again Pat Collier has done a sterling job on capturing the band and pulling out a fantastic live feel where everything is crystal clear and super vibrant.   I guess ‘White Light White Heat’ isn’t too much of a stretch and then that riff chimes in as they take on Led Zepplin and ‘Immigrants Song’ and if for hearing Alvin’s bass playing alone this is a resounding success.  Now I obviously know who Led Zepplin are and I have heard them many times before but I can’t say I’ve heard them covered by a punk rock band and sounding so good.  I often joke that Zepplin had a great drummer and a few tidy riffs I might be joking I might not but quite why they get so many column inches is baffling to me but this is one of their better tunes and this version is very well delivered and has exceptional qualities.

Joe Jacksons snappy ‘One More Time’ is afforded similar respect as the Subs do justice with a decent interpretation but it’s not as much of a stretch from the original. Vanilla Fudge ‘Season Of The Witch’ is up next and again kudos to Charlie’s vocals as the band really turn up a few stones to find songs to cover and take ownership of.  Put this one down as one I didn’t see coming but quite enjoyed, in fact, its the ones I was having the sweats over are turning out to be the ones I’m most impressed with.

OK so Alvin toured with Iggy and not the stooges so one of the more predictable covers and an absolute stone-cold classic and one you just knew they would slay and could never fuck up – obviously they don’t disappoint and knock it right out of the park.

Side two kicks off in style with a thunderous take on ‘This Is Rock And Roll’ originally from The Kids closely followed by a suitably sloppy ‘My Generation’ that gives the rhythm section of the Subs a chance to stretch their legs with some awesome solo breaks.  Take a bow Alvin and Jamie – sensational work. I bet nobody saw the Subs tip the hat to Tom Petty and the other Heartbreakers on ‘You Wreck Me’ and what a ball this one is.  As a band the Subs show just how versatile they can be and taking on a song like this and take ownership of the track is a real testament to just how good these boys are.

As we head into the home straight there are three big uns starting with the Neil Young anthem that is ‘Rockin In The Free World’ and rolling it round in the dirt and giving it some right yob treatment on the chorus is a joy to hear.  We know what the Subs are good at and this is them purring like an illite sports car – sure its easy to cover a song like this but you still have to do the right job on it and Straughan owns the solo by leaving it understated rather than running riot over it.  and the Riff is meaty which is nice. Great song great cover.  Now the song I feared most but to be fair the rest of the album is so bloody good I’m not bothered how ‘We Will Rock You Sounds’ but once the band stretch their legs and rock the shit out of it I’m chuffed to report that Charlie might not be Freddie he gives it a right seeing to. what was I worried about  The subs fuckin’ smash it so by the time ‘The Last Time’ chimes in I knew they’d do the Stones justice so finishing on a real high.  I can safely say that when anyone askes what does the Subs sound like doing Queen I can say without any irony or piss taking they do it very well and treat a cover with respect and a challenge check it out.  All thats left to say is I hope it’s not the Last time and there are more more more to come.  Long live the UK Subs. Buy it!

Buy subversions 2 Here

Author: Dom Daley

One of the albums of the year gets a re-press on Blood Red vinyl for those who missed out on the initial press.  RPM  reviewed it Here and we urge you not to sit on your hands a second time as this will sell out as the first run did.  Go Go Go!
Alvin says, “For all you vinyl junkies that missed out on obtaining my solo album ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ on 12 inch vinyl earlier this year due the initial 300 being sold out in short order, Time & Matter Records have manufactured a new batch of 300, this time on blood-red vinyl and minus the accompanying CD and download code. This release will, therefore, be sold at the lesser price of £17 (the first pressing was priced at £22) and can be ordered from this Here”

It features twelve songs written by yours truly and an array of very talented guest musicians that reads like this: Brian James – The Damned / Lords Of The New Church; Leigh Heggarty – Ruts DC; Mick Rossi – Slaughter & The Dogs; James Stevenson – Generation X / Chelsea / The Cult / The Alarm; Barry ‘Barrington’ Francis – The Saints; Timo Kaltio – Johnny Thunders band/Hanoi Rocks / Cheap ‘N’ Nasty; Mel Wesson – Keyboard player & Ambient music designer – TV Smith’s Explorers/The Verve ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ / U.K. Subs ‘Diminished Responsibility’ LP / Films Mission Impossible 2, Batman Begins, Hannibal etc; Steve Crittall – The Godfathers; Jamie Oliver – U.K. Subs.

“I would advise interested parties to get their orders in sharp to avoid what occurred last time, which was a lot of people missing out due to the speed that the original batch sold at. In fact it was due to so many people voicing their disappointment at not being able to get a vinyl copy in time that persuaded T & M Records to go with this colour-altered second run. For those of you that are not so disposed to a bit of vinyl, there is also a CD version of the album available from the same link. Ta! A x”

Forty years into his career as the number one 4-string plank spanker on the UK punk rock scene you can perhaps forgive Alvin Gibbs the “self indulgence” (his words, not mine) of a solo record. I mean he’s worked with some of the biggest names on the scene during that time, plus he’s also penned some absolutely amazing songs along the way too… and the musician’s modesty aside, I for one was straight out the blocks to order my copy when the pre-order for ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ went live on the T&M Records website just after Xmas. So, why all the rush of anticipation I hear you ask?

Well, the best place to start is with the guest list of musicians that Alvin has assembled to help him make this record. It reads like a veritable who’s who drawn from his expansive career and boasts the likes of Brian James, Mick Rossi, Timo Kaltio and James Stevenson amongst the names eager to offer up their services as Disobedient Servants. It was only the name of Iggy Pop that for me was the real glaring omission, but then when I first got to hear ‘Ghost Train’ the lead single from the album, I had to double-take. Could my jug-likes be deceiving me? That is surely Iggy crooning his way through this belting ‘Instinct’ like rocker, but no…it’s actually Alvin Gibbs, and what a great voice he has too. ‘Clumsy Fingers’ the flipside of that mega limited and long since sold out 7” also proved to be a fun time piece of Iggy influenced garage punk, and these two tracks alone were enough to convince me that this was certainly no vanity project and Alvin Gibbs was possibly about to do a Keef and release a solo album fans of his day job band would be clambering to hear too.

With Alvin having also released one of the best books about being in a rock ‘n’ roll band, the awesome ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ (recently re-released as ‘Some Weird Sin’) written about his time spent playing bass for Iggy Pop. It kinda feels eu natural for ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ to kick off with ‘Arterial Pressure’ a (just shy of 2 minutes long) barnstormer of a track written about how Alvin got to know Joey Ramone through Mr Osterberg.

Next up is the aforementioned ‘Ghost Train’ which here perfectly segues into the equally Iggy -like strut of ‘Dumb’, and right here we have as near a perfect opening 1-2-3 to any album I’ve heard in many a long year. Seriously folks if these tracks were on a new Iggy record the mainstream music media would be spunking their chinos over them.

‘Camden Gigolo’ takes things down an anthemic gear or two before ‘Clumsy Fingers’ speeds off in a frenzy of glam tinged punk rock guitar complete with few week’s road dirt under those nails.

Not unlike Glen Matlock’s excellent ‘Good To Go’ album from the tail end of 2018, where ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ really excels is when it throws you a curveball and in side one closer ‘Heaven And The Angels’ Alvin delivers a menacing slice of southern fried psycho-drama that challenges the listener with each new listen twisting and turning itself into your very soul.

Flipping the record over and side two kicks off with perhaps the most UK Subs like track on ‘Your Disobedient Servant’, the riotous ‘Back To Mayhem’ a track that simply fizzes with raw energy, that’s before the more subtle slide driven ‘Polemic’ takes you on a fascinating trip through what influenced Alvin to get into the music business in the first place.

It’s here that for me the LP flips from the overarching influences of Iggy and garage punk to that of one drawn from the likes of Mott and Bowie with ‘No!’ hinting at latter day Hunter and ‘Desperate Dave Is Dead’ doffing its baker boy cap to one of the young dudes passed all to soon. ‘I’m Not Crying Now’ too has more than just a little bit of cracked acting going on within its grooves, whilst album closer ‘Deep As Our Skin’ hints at just how great Cheap And Nasty might have been if Alvin had been given more a role in front of the microphone.

Having been lucky enough to get a good few preview listens of ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ the immediate thing that leapt out at me was just how much this sounds like a band, not a solo record. So kudos indeed to the real heartbeat of The Disobedient Servants; guitarist Steve Crittall, drummer Jamie Oliver and of course Alvin himself for making this one hell of a riotous rock ‘n’ roll record….and one I just can’t wait to get my finished vinyl copy of.

As I mentioned in the intro to this review ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ is available to pre-order right now via T&M Records on LP/CD and via Bandcamp for the download (the links are below). If you are after the LP/CD combo you best make sure you snap one up sharpish as when those red and white splatter babies are gone they really will be gone. So, trust me when I say, ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ is one record you really do not want to be without.

 

Buy It Here

Bandcamp

Author:Johnny Hayward