Monday, November 21, 2011

V.A. Stortbeat (1979-1982) Redux


Dave Sez:

"This time, you're on my home turf, and as you guys might like some history, here we go. The UK punk explosion led to a massive creation of record labels, many smallish towns getting it together to found their town record label and release the local music - whilst London dominated the headlines with all the groups you've heard of: Pistols, Damned, Clash, Stranglers, Ultravox etc. This example of UK original punk regional recordings comes from the banks of the sunny banks ha! ha! of the river Stort, running through the Hertfordshire London-commuter domitory town of Bishop's Stortford, a couple of miles from Stansted airport. Local rockers the Gangsters and the Newton Neurotics would continue to record, links coming up below. The Licks (actually the Epileptics until threatened by legal action from the Royal Epileptic Legion or some such) would take a different path, meeting local rural anarcho-punks Crass, re-recording this Stortbeat single with Pen of Crass on drums and relaunching themselves as Flux of Pink Indians, a group to be counted amongst the UK anarcho-punk movement.

I'll jump to the hits of this LP first:

The one total stand-out is the Sods' "No Pictures" - not the Danish punk group, but the best synth-led punk riff I've ever heard - and an original from way back then!

Next up would be the 'Licks' "Hitler's Still A Nazi", and third, their "1970s" - now no longer 'made in Hong Kong', made in China ...

The Licks' best early song, apart from "Tube Disaster" (a reference to the Moorgate crash), was "Hitler's Still a Nazi". All existing rips package this two-track B side of the first EP as one mp3 starting with the dirge "System Rejects", which is best avoided. Jump straight to 4 minutes 42 seconds for the straight-up, in your face. For those who don't know 'cos they weren't born yet, I was at the Epileptics live EP gig referenced above and had been to a secret Damned gig as "The School Bullies" at the Bridgehouse, Canning Town, East London the week before - the Damned gig started with three hundred people shouting and doing Sieg Heiling ... for twenty minutes .. three hundred strong, all except me and my mate. So singing about "Hitler's still a Nazi" could lead to real trouble at your gigs .. Right on boys, and (think: 1979 to 2011 = 32 years later) the message is just as real now. Didn't Norwegian fascist Breivik just mow down a ton of people, and still no-one takes fascism seriously? 1914 to 1939 was, uh, how many years? 25 years .. so this one was long overdue .. Europe's disease ... we catch it like a cold every 25 years or so, but (sorry) in America, it's become permanent mainstream thinking ... Cup o'tea, anyone?

The Gangsters LP on Stortbeat is available in WAV format, thanks to ratb0y69 here:

The key site for Harlow/Stortford music and for much Crassness et al is killyourpetpuppy, which has posted the Epileptics' "Last Bus to Debden" live at the Triad EP referenced above here:

and a live at Dartford YMCA gig in 1982 as Flux of Pink Indians:


Jeffen sez:

Dave, you are the champion, absolutely love all this extra info!

 Volume One is HERE!

 Volume Two is HERE!


  1. Flux/Licks ... still very relevant in these times, never met them as such, despite being fortunate to see them ... one time they steamrollered through their complete set and then foolishly suggested that they had time to do it all again ... needless to say they did, one of the best gigs I ever saw!! They influenced me enough to stop eating meat and question everything

    Still listening to Strive to Survive as well! Happy days

  2. glad you directed me to these, just downloaded and will use my ears on them soon enough.

  3. any chance for a reup? thanks

  4. If that Damned Bridgehouse gig was the one with the Cockney Rejects & the 4Skins making their debut, then there were at least 2 others also not siegheiling.
    Scary gig, probably not helped by never having been to Canning Town before. Only other gig that I saw so many boneheads siegheiling was Madness at the Rock Garden where at least I didn't feel so threatened. Glad gig-going has been a lot safer since those days.


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