Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bruce Springsteen: Live Nebraska


As a the final chapter in MRML's Nebraska trilogy (and a tribute to all our great Springsteen commnenters!) here's a bootleg compilation of live performances of songs from that mighty album. There is one more Springsteen post to come but I'm gonna save it for just the right day - which is coming up very soon...



1. Nebraska 11/16/84 Ames, Iowa
2. Atlantic City 11/16/84 Ames, Iowa
3. Mansion on the Hill 10/13/86 Mountain View, CA
4. Johnny 99 11/16/84 Ames, Iowa
5. Highway Patrolman 9/22/94 Pittsburgh, PA
6. State Trooper 9/22/94 Pittsburgh, PA
7. Used Cars East 7/13/84 Troy, Wisconsin
8. Open All Night 8/26/84 Largo, MD
9. My Father's House 10/31/84 LA, CA
10. Reason to Believe 11/16/84 Ames, Iowa
11. Man at the Top 8/5/85 Washington DC
12. Shut out the Light 10/26/84 LA, CA
13. Sugarland 11/16/84 Ames, Iowa


Live Nebraska link is in the comments


Speaking of COMMENTS, let us know what you think of this bootleg.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bruce Springsteen: How Nebraska Was Born (Two CD Set with booklet)


The sudden rush of sharp, insightful comments on yesterday's Springsteen post heavily favoured Nebraska as one of his greatest accomplishments. This surprised me. It always felt odd that Nebraska was the only Springsteen album I own. I'm usually the guy who likes the rockers on an album and is tempted to skip the ballads but with Springsteen it's the opposite. For instance, when Lucky Town came out, "If I Should Fall Behind" was the track that stuck with me most. While I respect almost everything in the man's oeuvre, it's those songs where the drama isn't turned up to eleven that I return to the most.


Nebraska stripped away most of the soul and R&B fripperies Springsteen had grown famous for and substituted a whisper. Which leaves me a bit curious whether the fans who relate to that Springsteen view Nebraska as an aberration or an apex.


Certainly the number of lavish bootlegs of this era do prove that Springsteen aficionados are anything but indifferent to this aspect of the man.


The How Nebraska Was Born bootleg includes just about every song from this era (including multiple alternate takes), a lavish booklet and a seemingly endless supply of album covers. There's much to love here but as Bruce says, "Love is a dangerous thing".


How Nebraska Was Born (Two CD Set with booklet) is in the comments
.

Speaking of comments, they are what keeps this (and many, many other blogs) alive - so please leave a Springsteen-related observation, review, story or even just a simple thank you, if that's your way.

Vilstef added this link to the section of Dave Marsh's Glory Days that covers Nebraska.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Fighting Leeching



I love fighting to find rare songs, pictures, videos and history to post but fuck do I hate constantly having to fight to get people to share a few words in return.


Bruce Springsteen: Alone in Colts Neck

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Link was taken down due to leeching - three comments, 53 downloads - and then restored thanks to some good souls who left some words behind rather than just taking.


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Interviewer: If push come to shove, what's the best album of all time?

Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies): There's no push, there's no shove - it's Bruce Springsteen's
Nebraska.
While determining the canon of rock n' roll involves a lot more push and shove, Nebraska belongs on that list of great works. Nebraska was a fatal blow to the critical theory that bands must develop by adopting an ever-more-bloated sound (a.k.a. The Sgt Pepper Imperative), it's middle-finger to the music industry's ideal of each album selling more than the last plus it's one of the bleakest critiques of American exceptionalism ever put to tape. In short, it's a sorta like a punk rock album disguised as a set of folk songs. If you've played the damn thing as many time as I have, you'll revel in this bootleg of tracks recorded in and around the same time and place. Some tracks are fragments, other were re-recorded for later albums but all have the spooky intensity that makes Nebraska both a push and a shove.



Note: this version of "Alone in Colts Neck" contains
no songs from the album, Nebraska, even "unvarnished ones".



Alone in Colt's Neck link is in the comments

Speaking of comments, please leave one about Nebraska, it's the decent thing to do.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Model Army: Masters of War (Radio Radio)




So many rocker dream of executing a perfect Dylan cover. And so many fail. But there's such electricity in the words, such elasticity in the melodies that often even the imperfect attempts (at least those not done merely to curry favour with Rolling Stone) can bear witness to the performer's own gifts. In 2003, in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, New Model Army's Justin Sullivan threw out a take on Dylan's "Masters of War" which showed off of his razor-edged voice and his almost Manson-esque intensity.



Radio Radio, the bootleg on which this cover appears, is billed as Justin Sullivan but seeing as he is the lead singer, guitarist, song-writer and sole permanent member of New Model Army (whose songs he performs in this set) it's not a distinction most fans need be overly concerned about. Perhaps that concern should be saved for the realization that Sullivan and NMA last exhumed the radical side of the sixties with Tom Jones (yes, that Tom Jones, pussycats) doing a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter"...(hold onto your jaws ladies and gentleman, the real action starts about two minutes in...)



For further cover madness, no more Dylan alas, don't miss this shaky-cam version of Ramones' "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" NMA did after Joey died and, to make matters weirder, check out Sepultura's (yes that Sepultura, bangers) version of NMA's "The Hunt".

Radio Radio link is in the comments

Speaking of comments, what do you make of these NMA cover songs?


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Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Model Army: Like A Storm (Live '89)


Despite being in the thin of things in the isolated burg of Winnipeg, I managed to hear each of the New Model Army albums (roughly) as they came out. Each one grabbed me and shook me but 1989's Thunder and Consolation was utterly devastating.


New Model Army - Stupid Questions

Rab | MySpace Video


This bootleg from The Rock Cafe in Nottingham, is from the incredible Thunder and Consolation tour, which to my eternal joy, actually made it out to Winnipeg!



Like A Storm link is in the comments

Speaking of comments, What's your favourite NMA album?


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Friday, June 25, 2010

Folk-Punk: New Model Army - BBC Radio 1 Concert


Some people consider much of punk rock just cruder, less-developed heavy metal but to me a lot of the best punk sounds like amped-up, sped-up, riled-up folk music.

True, New Model Army did not begin as skiffle-revivalists or Irish-pub rockers, especially with that dominating post-punk bass sound and their almost Gothic image. However, with their rooted-in-history name (not to mention their lyrics) and their rustic melodies and Justin Sullivan's hard-strum acoustic guitar style, NMA have always been able to take shelter under the big, albeit ratty, folk-punk tent.



Justin Sullivan, sort of an intense, sinister cross between Lemmy and Bono, has led NMA and it's frenzied following for thirty years now. Over that time the band has unleashed a bewildering array of releases - live albums, rarities collections, radio sessions, demo versions, double-re-issues, abandoned tracks compilations not to mention singles comps and best-of's. So now MRML would like to make available this live BBC concert from 1990 (which unlike most of their catalog has fallen out-of-print) which shows the band near the pinnacle of their power.



BBC Radio 1 Concert link is in the comments.

Speaking of comments, leave us one with your view on New Model Army.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Folk-Punk: God's Little Monkeys - New Maps of Hell


Some people consider much of punk rock just cruder, less-developed heavy metal but to me a lot of the best punk sounds like amped-up, sped-up, riled-up folk music.

God's Little Monkeys were another eighties English band that followed The Pogues back to the pubs of yore.



GLM sound a bit more old-fashioned than The Pogues, what with their skiffle licks, those Country & Western tunes and their raising-the-red-flag lyrics but they're just as much fun.


New Maps of Hell link is in the comments
.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue Bonus E.P


As a thanks to all the people who left comments! on the series of Bragg posts, here's one more little out-of-print item. This e.p. features two unreleased Bragg items from these sessions as well as one unheard Wilco song and a live version of "California Stars".



Mermaid Avenue Bonus E.P link is in the comments!


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Folk-Punk: the Men They Couldn't Hang: BBC Sessions


Some people consider much of punk rock just cruder, less-developed heavy metal but to me a lot of the best punk sounds like amped-up, sped-up, riled-up folk music.

The Men They Couldn't Hang were inextricably linked to the Pogues. Not only was their debut single produced by Pouguester Phillip Chevron but their bass player had been in Shane McGowan's old band, The Nips, and borrowed their name from Shane's discard pile. Nonetheless, TMTCH developed their own celtic-folk-punk sound by learning towards the politics of their contemporary, Billy Bragg and the hard-strumming of old Kingston Trio.



While this collection of radio sessions, two from John Peel's show and one from Janice Long's, in not a complete record of their time at the BBC (If anyone can supply extra tracks I will gladly "re-re-release" this) it shows off their early, exuberant side.


BBC Sessions link is in the comments.

Speaking of comments, Tell us what you think of The Men That They Couldn't Hang!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Dylan Side of Billy Bragg


I was hugely influenced by Bob Dylan but I knew fuck all about him. In the end, he turned out to be a bloke who wrote songs.
Billy Bragg
And "A bloke who wrote songs" could serve as Billy Bragg's epitaph. The best of those songs he wrote took shots of rock n' roll, folk music, R & B and punk rock and made a concoction original and yet somehow traditional. However, Bragg has never been shy about his taste for Dylan and you could well describe his early sound as a mix of The Clash's fast n' dirty self-titled debut and Dylan's both polemical and romantic album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Over the course of his career Bragg's gone to The Dylan Well may times and always pulled up something potable. So this collection seeks to place all of Bragg's Dylan drinks up onto the bar - let us know how it all goes down.

1. Ideology (youtube)
In the intro to this live version, Billy tips his hat to Dylan, which is fitting since the song is "Chimes of Freedom" but with Bragg's own, more op-ed style lyrics.

2. Positively 4th Street
An acoustic duet with Eliza Carthy which sounds like it's coming straight outta 1963*.
(*Yes, I know...)


3. When the Ship Comes In.
A sincere, acoustic take but pitched just right.

4. This Wheel's On Fire (youtube)
A stinging duet with KT Tunstall, who seems to have modeled herself on both the Joan Jett of yesteryear and the Bonnie Raitt of today.

5. The Times They Are-A-Changin' (youtube)
Billy keeps this song po-faced and acoustic but doesn't play up the stridency as he sometimes does.

6. Deportees
With his occasional partner-in-bluegrass, Hank Wangford, Billy did a strong version of this lyric written by Woody Guthrie, which later had music added to it by Martin Hoffman and was famously covered by Joan Baez and Bob Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Tour of 1976.

7. Don't Think Twice (youtube)
Good one but needs a bit more...slashing.

8. Evidently Chickentown (youtube)
In the loooong, rambling intro (excised for this compilation but available on the youtube link above) Bragg explains that this is his attempt to do a John Cooper Clarke poem in the style of Bob Dylan circa Highway '61.

9. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
This is Nigel & The Crosses (a.k.a. Bragg, Mike Mills & Peter Buck of R.E.M., Glen Tilbrook of Squeeze and Peter Holsapple of The D.B.'s backing Robyn Hitchcock) on a Basement Tapes era track.

10. The Lonesome Death of Rachel Corrie (youtube)
"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol", upon which this song is directly modeled, is a perfect piece of theater but Bragg's re-written lyrics seem more reminiscent of Dylan's earlier, more didactic narrative broadsides like, "The Ballad of Donald White".

11. Far From Last Thoughts on Bob Dylan
These days Billy spends over half of any given concert just talkin'. While some people object strenuously, the devout eat it up and this 'rap' about Dylan's Chronicles is pretty amusing.


And here's one more for the road; it's Dylan (who did indeed mention Billy in his "autobiography", Chronicles) playing Bragg & Wilco's "Joe Dimaggo's Done It Again"on his Theme Time Radio Hour show:


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The Dylan Side of Billy Bragg link is available in the comments - and while you're there please tell us what you think about Bragg's debt to Dylan.


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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chumbawamba: English Rebel Songs 1381-1914


I never loved Crass. No, it took the folk-riddled agit-punk of Chumbawamba to turn me into scowling, self-righteous prat back in the nineteen-eighties. Then, just after I'd fully absorbed their first album, Pictures of Starving Children Records and to a lesser degree their second, Never Mind the Ballots (crucifying a pop star like Cliff Richard I could understood but the significance of British politician Micheal Heseltine less so) along came this 10" record. It was during a three week vinyl bender, involving stops in Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and Minneapolis, that this record found me. For a few days I just read the liner notes, preparing for the time when I could find a record player. When I finally did put needle-to-vinyl, these A Capella songs actually surpassed my high hopes.

Freed from screeding against the modern machine, Chumbawamba created a righteous, historically-minded brand of folk that was quite unexpected. Though it does sounds a bit like the ideal listening for those dour socialist youth who streamed out of The Royal Albert Hall in '66 proclaiming "Bob Dylan was a bastard in there", there's a punk bluntness here that makes these songs hit like morning star. (As a bit of a Red Diaper Baby, I was hit hardest by the WWI trench song, "Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire".)



While this ORIGINAL version is out-of-print, the band RE-RECORDED the whole thing with two new songs and that revision (which does not replace the genuine article for me personally) is still available at their web-site. Please go there and support the band!

English Rebel Songs 1381-1914 link is in the comments.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chumbawamba: ABCDEFG (+ Live Ammunition bootleg)

"Sometimes a melody is louder than a shout."
Chumbawamba
Seems most everybody - left, right, underground, mainstream, young, old - hates Chumbawamba. Really, it's hard to find anybody to say a good word about the men and women of this thirty year old British anarchist musical collective. (If you suspect MRML of rhetorical exaggeration, read the blistering responses to this Metafilter post about the band)



But maybe everybody is wrong. Yes, Chumbawamba's anarcho-propaganda might wear on some but they write these folk songs that seem immediately ready for a thousand-voice, Goodnight-Irene-style sing-along so effortlessly that it's alarming. Since they've stripped down to a small group and gone fully acoustic (a direction I've been hoping they'd go in since 1989's English Rebel Songs - still possibly their finest work) they've gone from strength to strength.



ABCDEFG a concept album about music (if I've kept you this far, please don't stop reading yet) is full of tunes your Grandmother (if you're grandmother was Emma Goldman) could strike up on a picket line to rally some match girls but with words that belong to our fucked-up 21st century. I could go on and on but perhaps check out a few songs in the faint hope that I might soften the resolve of a Chumba-hater or two.




Just to show how well the band works with an audience, here's a May 2010 bootleg, I've called "Live Ammunition".

01 Voices, that's all
02 Song on the times
03 Talk
04 Add me
05 Wagner at the opera
06 Thatcher in memoriam talk
07 So long, so long
08 Singing out the days
09 You don't exist
10 Stitch at the time (Stitch that)
-- break
11 Fade Away
12 Tritonus talk
13 The Devil's Interval
14 Ratatatay talk
15 Ratatatay
16 The Day the Nazi Died
17 Torturing James Hetfield
18 Charly
19 Credits
20 El Fusilado
21 Homophobia
22 A Love Letter to Margret Thatcher from General Pinochet
23 Underground
24 On e-Bay
25 Bella Ciao

Live Ammunition link is in the comments

Speaking of comments are you a fan or a Chumba-hater?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Billy Bragg: Mermaid Avenue Demos


If you enjoy the work that this, or any other blog, does leave a comment without engagement most blogs just die...

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here's Bragg's solo demos for the Mermaid Avenue project.



Mermaid Ave. Demos link is in the COMMENTS section - if you're taking maybe leave something behind.

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Official live bootleg here!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue Demos




Post was removed due to excessive leeching - 58 downloads in half a day without even so much as a civil answer to my question - but restored thanks to those people who are willing to leave behind a much-appreciated comment.



Bragg's grown harder to follow over the years but he never got boring or even predictable, after all who would've foreseen seen him roping in an American band like Wilco to help him write and record new music for a bunch of old Woody Guthrie lyrics?



The partnership made for a bunch of great press back in the very late nineties for Bragg, especially as Nora Guthrie has explicitly anointed him as the man for the job and made for a fine mid-career rally. These demos, courtesy of Alphish, show how the project developed. Personally, I prefer Billy's songs to Wilco's, hands down.



(Note songs listed on the back cover shown below that were later officially issued on Mermaid Ave. Volume II have been excised.)


Mermaid Street Demos link is back in the comments, third entry.

Speaking of comments, who has the better songs on the project; Billy or Wilco?
Plus I need to know if the .rar's on rapidshare and mediafire are unpacking for you guys because some people have been having problems.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Billy Bragg: Live in San Francisco (1986)


Y'know, "To Have and Have Not" is one of the most ferocious songs ever written. The song is the essence Bragg's idea that if you play punk rock with the words strong enough, the guitar distorted enough, that a band becomes redundant. It was a fearless and original approach that's really never been tried before or since.



This San Francisco show from 1986 is a little quiet but with 28 songs there's lots of raw Bragg-iness here -including covers of The Buzzcocks, Sam Cooke and The (English) Beat.


Live in San Francisco link is in the comments
as is a re-up let me know if it works!


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Folk-Punk: Billy Bragg- Live in Berlin (1984)

Some people consider much of punk rock just cruder, less-developed heavy metal but to me a lot of the best punk sounds like amped-up, sped-up, riled-up folk music.

Besides this raw but vivid bootleg from 1984, we've got lots more Bragg to come and so does the always well-written and well-curated, It'sa****thing (and more!)




In-between vicious takes on John Cale's "Fear is a Man's best Friend" and The Clash's "Garageland" Billy storms through a set of wry and angry originals with that clanging, distorted guitar driving everything (plus he talked a lot less back in '84).

Live in Berlin link is in the commnets

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Folk-Punk: Billy Bragg - Peel Sessions


Some people consider much of punk rock just cruder, less-developed heavy metal but to me a lot of the best punk sounds like amped-up, sped-up, riled-up folk music.

I've never witnessed a better proof of the above theory then seeing Billy Bragg at The Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1989. Billy didn't go acoustic or jam with the some zither orchestra. Instead, taking melodies, chord structures and words much of the audience would be familiar with but delivering them with a relentlessly hammering and spitting energy he proved himself to be that "One-Man Clash" the press claimed he was.



As the eighties progressed, Bragg added ever-more musical layers, proving that less is more almost empirically. Back then, I used to scan the credits of any Bragg release hoping to read only "Billy Bragg, Guitar/Vocals" knowing if I saw "Cara Tivey, Piano" then it was much less likely for Strange Things to Happen. This Peel Sessions collection, my absolute, unconditional favourite in an incredible series, features the starkest, rawest, bluntest version of nineteen songs from Bragg's catalog from 1984 to 1988. It includes not only two songs unrecorded elsewhere ("A13 Trunk Road to the Sea" and John Cale's "Fear is a Man's Best Friend") but also slashing solo takes on tracks from the too timid-sounding album Worker's Playtime.



Peels Session link is in the comments


Speaking of comments, tell us when you think Billy Bragg was at his best.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Billy Idol: Poplar Creek (1984)


Before I started this blog I made a list of all the possible material to include here. Nowhere on the list was a Billy Idol bootleg from the mid-eighties and if anyone had suggested a such I would have punched them in the mouth (well, knowing me I would've been resentfully miffed and held onto poisonous thoughts about the Idol-suggester for months). But now, lo and behold, three years in, I was inspired by the positive reaction not to just the Gen X material (see here) but to Mister William Broad himself, to post this FM Broadcast and mention once and for all that Idol's solo career contained some fine moments (and some wretched ones), including one of my favourite songs of his, "Do Not Stand in the Shadows".


(Note both the album version and the Poplar Creek one are better than the MTV one embedded above)

This set highlights Billy's more American Radio-friendly Elvis-meets-Jim-Morrison shtick but stripped of the disco-fairy-dust of producer Keith Forsey it hits a lot harder.


Live at Poplar Creek link is in the comments.

UPDATE 1) According to Blogger's stats this is the most popular post I've ever made (i.e. this week it's at 802 page views to 223 for the last Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan. This makes no sense to me, since it's a year old post that has never seemed to eleict that much of a reaction. Thoughts?

Update 2 ) Anon adds:

Billy Idol - Rock Am Ring 2005 (DVD)
Size: 873MB
Time: 01:01:22
Link: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=9KW96C76


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Saturday, June 12, 2010

D.O.A. - The Times They-Are-A-Regressin'


"(We had) a meeting with Bruce Allan (who was managing B.T.O. and Loverboy at the time), the first thing Bruce said was, "Alright Boys! How much money are you going to make me?" There was a stunned silence on our part. I had gotten into music because...I loved the words of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie and because of Jimi Hendrix's guitar-playing. Money? What did that have to do with music?"
Joey Keithley, D.O.A.

After yet another punishing comeback album, Northern Avenger done with mega-metal producer (and Payola$ man) Bob Rock, the boys in D.O.A have headed back to the musical dumpster with a rawer, uglier, dirtier album, Talk - Action = Zero. On this album, the second one they've named after their most famous slogan, the band (now just Joey "Shithead" Keithley and a young gun rhythm section) sometimes sound remarkably like they did in '81 - check out "R.C.M.P." for proof. However, elsewhere here you'll get a taste of some blues-punk on tracks like "Lookin' For a World" and, not so remarkable for those grizzled enough to remember their incarnation as Drunks On Acoustics when they played a protest with Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger, some finger-pointin' folk, as exemplified by their dragged-over-concrete cover of Bob Dylan's "The Times They-Are-A-Changin'"

D.O.A. - The Times They-Are-A-Changin'

Sometime Keithley's dedication to plain-spoken punk-isms like, "Don't Bank on a Bank", can wear but his wild-dog growl and red-in-tooth-and-claw guitar sound gives the most focused tracks on this album a palpable menace.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Generation X: Live at Hatfield Polytechnic (1980) + Bonus!


We'll end our Generation X series with this final version of the band, usually referred to as Gen X, that includes Billy Idol and Tony James alongside James Stevenson from Chelsea and once-and-future Clashman Terry Chimes on drums. It's a dry-run for Billy's solo career, as the material is slower and slicker. It's clear Idol was trying to make from punk something stadium-friendly but as it turned out he would need flamboyant guitar hero Steve Stevens (and disco producer Keith Forsey) to find it ...but perhaps we'll discuss that on Sunday.



Live at Hatfield Polytechnic link is in the comments

And just for a bonus, here's
the band covering Black
Sabbath's "Paranoid" from a
sound check circa 1980.

(Thanks to our anonymous
commenter for this one.)


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After Generation X, Billy Idol went solo Tony James formed Sigue Sigue Sputnik (and much later Carbon/Silicon with the Clash's Mick Jones) and Mark Laff And Bob Andrews formed the secretly-influential Empire.