The Tales from Bradistan Blogsite today published a Blog about the Subs.
Archived on T&M below:
The UK Subs are one of the most important bands that emerged in the late 1970s UK punk scene. They appeared on the cusp between the first and second waves of the genre and were noted for being able to stay remarkably successful right through to around the mid 1980s. Since then, they have continued on a grass roots level, touring incessantly across the world and still releasing new material regularly.
When I was a young punk growing up in Edinburgh I saw numerous bands but I never saw the Subs live and I not sure why. I certainly don’t recall them playing nearby as I would have certainly gone to see them. I purchased their records when they appeared and can recall seeing them many times on Top Of The Pops. It wasn’t until about 1987 when I finally saw them live. They just happened to be playing at Bradistan University while I was there doing my old radio show. I bumped into the drummer and blagged my way into the gig.
Much of the UK Subs earlier, and most commercially successful material, doesn’t sound that strong sonically now when listened with older ears. It is hard not to compare all the output from that era production-wise with the later wave of bands who were unbelievably heavy (and laid a lot of the foundations for the American thrash movement). However, I am still seduced by the lethal riff and musical backdrop of "Emotional Blackmail" from 1980’s "Brand New Age" set. Although I owned all the UK Subs records up until around 1982, this song remains my personal favourite.
The band still play with at least two members from the early days and their gig in Bradistan last week featured founder and leader Charlie Harper and bassist Alvin Gibbs. Original guitarist Nicky Garratt still plays when the group are in America, but elsewhere the line-up is made up with Japanese guitarist Jet and young drummer Jamie Oliver. Charlie is an incredible sixty-seven years of age now but shows no sign of slowing down despite the band’s heavy touring schedule.
I met up with the group when they arrived in Bradistan in order to take some photographs for my Middle Aged Punks project. This was a successful mission and I will publish these portraits shortly. The gig itself wasn’t as well attended as I would have thought, but the band were very tight and well-drilled and got an enthusiastic reception. Tons of old hits were pumped out at high speed and it was good to hear "Emotional Blackmail" although it was the short cut and didn’t include the blistering Part Two from the original album. Jet and Jamie provide some youthful vigour and keep the energy levels high.
Interestingly, there was some talk of the UK Subs doing an acoustic album which I think would be a very good idea. I don’t think I have ever heard such an experiment with punk music but I may be completely wrong. Here are a few pictures I took at the soundcheck and the portraits will follow soon.
- Tales From Bradistan
- I am a resident of Bradford in the north of the UK. Being a city with a high population of Muslims, both immigrants and some indigenous, this town is often known as "Bradistan". It is a multi-cultural hybrid while at the same time being one of the poorest towns in the north of England. This blog contains stories and observations of life here in Bradistan, as well as my travels at home and abroad. I also write on other subjects - music, film, travel and politics, in particular. As a keen amateur photographer, I use my blog to showcase my photos. If you wish to use any of my writing and/or photographs on your website/blog then please credit me and this blog