Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Scottish punk timeline (part 2)


One Saturday evening at Glasgow's Doune Castle, Alan Cairnduff meets with two lads named Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill. Cairnduff tells the pair about the group in his head that's going to "blast all those fucking bands here off the stage." Kerr and Burchill are now on board with Cairnduff and the next morning, find themselves wheeling an amp down to the home of one of Cairnduff’s punk acquaintances: John Milarky. Johnny And The Self Abusers are born. One week of rehearsals later, the band takes the stage at Dounce Castle with one original song (Milarky's quasi-cover of The Modern Lovers' "Pablo Picasso." Johnny And The Self Abusers aren't, however, the first Glasgow punk band to play live; The Jolt beat them to this distinction by two nights. The act's second gig takes place at Saints And Sinners on St. Vincent Street in Glasgow (today it's King Tut's Wah Wah Hut), and quickly descends into pint-glass-smashing and furniture-breaking chaos. The punk movement has officially arrived in Scotland.

March 12, 1977
By many accounts, the first English punk band to play in either Glasgow or Edinburgh is The Damned, when they support Marc Bolan at the Glasgow Apollo in March. The Damned will headline their own show at the same venue roughly nine months later.

May 7, 1977
The White Riot tour rolls into Edinburgh. Some of the biggest punk acts of the day perform: The Clash, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Subway Sect, The Slits, The Prefects. A young Edwyn Collins is in attendance, along with future Orange Juice members Steven Daly and James Kirk. The gig unofficially kicks off what turns out to be a wild summer of punk madness in Scotland.

June 9, 1977
Lenny Love signs The Rezillos to his Sensible Records, which is the first punk/new wave label in Scotland (it's based in Edinburgh). Love was formerly a promotion rep for Island Records.

June 22, 1977
Glasgow's ban on punk acts (following the Saints And Sinners incident) is lifted, as the city gets its first proper gig courtesy of The Stranglers. Predictably, the Apollo show descends into violence and the following morning, the city's papers are abuzz with the previous night's ruckus. The Evening Times reports: "Punk rock will never again be heard in any of Glasgow's theatres or halls." The movement has been forced out of the city a second time.

June 23, 1977
Scottish punk gets its first rightful D.I.Y. release as Glasgow's The Exile issue the Don't Tax Me EP on their own Boring Records. The four-song album is recorded in three hours at Thor Studios; only 500 copies are released.

July 11, 1977
Bruce Findlay -- who recently sold his highly successful, 13-shop record chain to Guinness -- starts up a record label: Zoom. The label releases just singles, with finance and distribution coming from Arista. One of Zoom's first big signings is Edinburgh's The Valves (nee The Sale), who are fresh from an opening gig for The Saints in Edinburgh. Like many other Scottish punk acts, The Valves initially dabble in other rock genres (in this case, pub rock) before gravitating towards punk.

Hear it for yourself. Download: "Saints And Sinners" and "Dead Vandals" by Johnny And The Self Abusers.