UK Subs and Charlie Harper heading to Rebellion Festival, Blackpool
By John Anson @LT_Features (Features Editor)
CHARLIE Harper has been manning the barricades on punk’s front line for 40 years with the UK Subs.
But the punk pensioner has vowed to keep on rocking at the age of 74.
Harper, who once dubbed the UK Subs as the SAS of punk bands, said: “Why would I want to retire? Retirement kills a lot of people.
“I might need a little more rest now, and I don’t stay out late, but playing fast punk music is what I love and age is just a state of mind isn’t it?
“The UK Subs help me stay young, I live and breath their music.
“I’d never give it up – I’ve no plans to call it a day.”
He added: “We’re the punk plumbers, and while there’s pipes to be fixed, we’ve gotta do it.”
The UK Subs scored four top 20 albums – including their debut smash Another Kind of Blues - and seven top 40 singles: Strangehold, Tomorrow’s Girls, She’s Not There, Warhead, Teenage, Party in Paris and Keep on Running.
“Our record company told us that Top of the Pops wanted us to go on, but the bosses said play a commercial song, not that we had any of those,” he said.
“So we did Warhead, a protest song with a very strong anti-war sentiment, which is as relevant today as it ever was.
“We never did Top of the Pops again, but I don’t think that we did ourselves any harm.
“Instead of being a flash in the pan we earned ourselves longevity.
“What I like about punk rock is that it is uncensored.
“People just expect you to be a tame animal these days and bow down, but wild animals are much beautiful and far more interesting.”
While the UK Subs have delivered their 26th and final album Ziezo, the release of a new EP on their own Subversive Records and a Saturday night slot at Blackpool’s Rebellion Festival next month, means they remain as much in demand as ever on the punk circuit.
“We’ve done 100 gigs this year, Poland, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland and the Czech Republic - and we are off to America in October,” said Charlie.
“I was born in London and live in a little seaside village on the south coast now, which is lovely, but very different to my early days in the hustle and bustle of the capital.
“I was a street singer, a busker.
“Rod Stewart was a busker at the same time, and Al Stewart. He shared the same patch as me on Tottenham Court Road - and sometimes the same songs!
“That’s a long time ago, but I still get inspired by having my mind blown by new bands, paintings or architecture.
“As for the UK Subs: I can’t have it loud enough – we still burn the amplifiers.”
UK Subs play the Empress Ballroom at the Rebellion Festival, Blackpool, on Saturday, August 4. The festival at the Winter Gardens runs from Thursday, August 2 to Sunday, August 5. The line-up includes Public Image Limited, Stiff Little Fingers, The Members, Slaughter and the Dogs and Ruts DC. Details from www.rebellionfestvals.com or 02476 601678