Released on 21/09/09 . In the mid-Eighties, as Thatcher turned the screw and the charts overflowed with what felt to many like the most boring pop music ever made, the underground exploded. The post-post-punk scene was a diverse collection of bands brought together by independent releases and a never-ending series of gigs performed in off centre venues the length and breadth of the UK, aided by reportage in fanzines and radio play from John Peel.
Death To Trad Rock is the first time this era collection of bands has been analysed and written about in such depth. It explores this loose confederation of noisenik outfits reacting against the bland conformity of the mid-Eighties, including Three Johns, The Membranes, Nightingales, The Ex, Wedding Present, Age Of Chance, A Witness, Bogshed and Big Flame. Bands trading in loud, discordant noise-rock with a stripped down punk energy, dirty bass, shrapnel guitars and surreal lyrics, all forged into quirky, original songs.
The scene didn’t have a name and was so smartass that it would never have called itself a scene, but there was a sense of a movement in every respect. The author lived this music, saw the bands, housed them, released their records, wrote about them in the music press and even played in one of the bands, the Membranes. Some of these acts went on to mainstream success, some were rounded up and herded awkwardly into the NME’s C86 bracket whilst others faded away, only to become seminal influences in later years. In Death To Trad Rock we meet everybody involved and find out just how they all arrived at such an unlikely tangent in such a boring decade.
John Robb is a musician, TV presenter and author of several books including The Oral History of Manchester and The Oral History of Punk. He has been reporting from the frontline of pop culture, celebrating its occasional genius and snarling with frustration at its failures since the punk era. He fronted the Membranes in the late 70s and has been touring the world ever since, currently with Goldblade.
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