"What makes you breed like rabbits?"
- Above: Endangered Species UK LP release, 1982, front and back covers.
Click to enlarge.
Cat. No: NEL 6021
Recorded: August/September 1981
Released: 19th March 1982
Endangered Species (Harper, Garratt)
Living Dead (Gibbs) #
Countdown (Harper, Gibbs)
Lie Down And Die (Harper, Garratt)
Fear of Girls (Harper, Garratt)
Down On The Farm (Harper, Gibbs, Garratt)
Run-out groove: NEL 6021 A1* tone WE WAITED & WAITED & WAITED
Sensitive Boys (Harper, Garratt)
÷ 8 x 5 (Harper, Garratt)
Ice Age (Harper, Garratt)
I Robot (Harper)
Flesh Wound (Harper, Garratt, Gibbs)
Run-out groove: NEL 6021 B1*
Vocals, Harmonca: Charlie Harper/Alvin Gibbs #
Guitar, Keyboard, Backing Vocals: Nicky Garratt
Bass, Backing Vocals: Alvin Gibbs
Drums, Backing Vocals: Steve Roberts
First (and last) album on NEMS who, like GEM, folded a few months later.
In retrospect, it was not an obvious choice of label with the Subs stablemates consisting mostly of heavy metal acts like Black Sabbath and Nazareth. Also signed to NEMS at the time was Marianna Faithfull, although The Damned were on the label at the same time. However that was not through choice but because no-one else would have them and they knew NEMS weren't financially sound (See Paul Gray's account of his time in The Damned).
Recorded at Jacobs Studios in Farnham, Surrey in August to September 1981, Jacobs Studios was named after a rare breed of domestic sheep local to the area and provided a rural setting for artists just a stone’s throw away from London after being renovated to make space for the recording studio in the 1980s by its owners Andy and Fran Fernbach.
and produced by Nicky Garratt. There was a definite progression of sound and style with Garratt changing to Gordon Smith guitars for rhythm instead of his old Gibson SG (which was raffled off through the fan club). The first side featured classic blues influenced Subs with a harder and more polished edge whilst the second side was slower and more experimental.
Considered by Charlie and Nicky to be their best album, sales were slow based largely on NEMS lack of promotion, not helped by them going out of business. Endangered Species didn't make the official chart and produced only one single (Countdown), though it did get to number 8 in the UK Independent Chart, staying there for two months and earning the band another gold disc.
The last album with Nicky Garratt and Alvin Gibbs until the re-union album; Killing Time. This would also be the last album release (for now) with Steve Roberts on drums, who would return once more for Japan Today.
The LP came in a paper inner sleeve with an insert featuring all the lyrics plus a photo of the band taken by Sheila Rock.
Alvin revealed in his memoirs, which are exclusively published on this website, that it was his idea for the front cover artwork, but it didn't quite come up to his original specifications:
"It was an adaption of my original and band approved concept that informed the artwork on the front cover. I was a regular visitor to the British Museum and one of the more fascinating exhibits in the Egyptology section of that institution was a large glass case that contained the corpse of a five-thousand, four-hundred year-old male mummified by time and desert. Interred alongside this Predynastic period body had been some personal belongings which those who had buried him had assumed he would still have need of in the afterlife: jars of grain, dining bowls, a dagger, various pots and drinking vessels.
My adapted idea was to have the album cover emulate this burial with a mummified Punk rocker surrounded by a number of his or hers’ modern personal effects. Instead of ancient artefacts there would be a stack of rotting vinyl records, a Walkman cassette player, a decaying guitar, a rusted studded belt and wristband, etc. I was therefore disappointed that the artist NEMs had chosen and with whom I’d discussed the notion hadn’t exactly reproduced my fundamental concept in its entirety. In place of the mummified Punk and possessions they had provided a Day-Glo, multi-coloured skeleton wearing headphones attached to a Walkman player with just a guitar resting on its bones as the only other relic in the piece."
Mick Fennel got in touch with us about how the name for the album came about:
"Just a line about Endangered Species. I have been informed by a mate that I have been credited somewhere on the website with naming this album. That is true to a fact, but there were 3 friends who collaborated with me. Stuart Sawicz, Sten Sawicz and Chris Howarth. It's no big deal but it was a combined effort so credit where credit is due. It all came about on the Diminished Responsibility tour after a backstage chat with the Subs. Charlie challenged us to come up with the name for the next album, obviously beginning with E. I remember Charlie going mad for Black Jack chews which you could only get from up North. He got some sent down along with a load of album names for the new album. Hence Endangered Species."
We asked Mick what he remembered of the Subs gig:
"Cant remember too much about it apart from it was the Diminished Responsibility tour. The gig was at King Georges Hall in Blackburn with Anti Pasti supporting and I think The Stiffs, who were a local band. One of the other titles was Ecce Homo. We just wrote a load of ideas down and sent them down to the 4 Newbridge Street, London EC4 address. Also went down there and met Steve who was always going on about Thomsons chippy in Oldham."
Many thanks to Mick for getting in touch!
Click on images to enlarge
- Above: Charlie's Gold Disc, every collectors wet dream!
- Above: Endangered Species enters the Indie Charts at number 26.
Sounds, 10th April 1982, page 8
- Above: Press ad, unknown origin. Image courtesy of Paul Mileman.
- Above: Endangered Species review, Sounds, 10th April 1982, page 45
Click to enlarge
- Above: Article in Record Mirror, 8th October 1981
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