Like many others, I first became aware of punk through the music press (Sounds, NME,
Melody Maker, Record Mirror) all of which I bought religiously from a very young age. I had
always been into music, firstly the Beatles and other Sixties British music then T.Rex,
Bowie, Alex Harvey, Slade, Lou reed, the Sweet etc., but by the mid 70's, I felt it had all
got a bit stale and, like other young teens, went on a mission of discovery. In late 1976 I
read about punk and then, a few days later, I saw footage of the Stranglers at the Hope
and Anchor and the Damned's appearance on Supersonic playing 'Neat Neat Neat'.
It was almost impossible to see bands in the beginning as there were very few options
unless you were 18 or over and/or a student, but slowly it it became easier. A guy who
worked on an ice cream van in Foxbar was selling tickets for a gig at Zhivago's on St.
Enoch's Square in Glasgow. They were £1.00 each and it was to see the Jam. I had seen
them on Top Of The Pops and now they were playing in a local club. They were awesome
and I still love them to this day. I think the support that night was The Jolt. The guy who
sold me the ticket also went to the gig with me. His name was Johnny Grant. He moved to
London shortly afterwards with his pal Stevie Hughes. I'm told Stevie ended up as a model
for "BOY" on King's Road. Johnny started a band called the Straps.
Then all the name bands of the time gradually toured Scotland. It was great for a while
going to places like The Apollo, Satellite City, Shuffles and one or two other places, but it
was short lived. The local scene I remember, didn't really happen to any degree until the
next year, and most bands who were on the go were apathetic hippies with neds for an
audience. Also, if you believed the press (many people did, and still do), then Punk was
dead, at least from a mainstream journalistic throwaway point of view, but not as far as we
The first band I heard about playing locally was Fire Exit at Paisley Tech., but I never got to
see them as they didn't let non-student riff raff in. It was very elitist in those days. The Sneex
had started playing in a school hall in Renfrew on Thursday nights with various others, then
the local SWP (Tommy Kayes and friends) put on a couple of gigs at the TUC club in Orr
Square, Paisley. This is where I first came across X-S Discharge. Out of time, out of tune,
and they didn't give a fuck, but they were still great entertainment. Mod Cons also played,
possibly that night. They were a pretty good noo wave type band who eventually took the
New Romantic road.
The bands on the go at that time were all those who featured on the first Groucho Marxist
EP, "Spectacular Commodity", named after TK's situationist interests. Most of us
youngsters weren't that clued up about that sort of thing then but it was probably about the
clash between the hippie/anarcho remnants and the young punks using each other as a
means to an end.
Around then I started working as a roadie and doing the sound (badly!), for Mentol Errors,
who were one of the few local bands gigging regularly around the west coast. They would
play anywhere to anyone, and in some very scary places. They would lie about the type of
music they played so no one knew what they were getting until they turned up. Fed up with
watching other bands doing it, the Fegs came out of the bedroom and started doing the odd
support with them, which was handy as their drummer Eddie Cochrane, was also ours.
The local hangout/meeting place then was Listen records in Paisley High Street. There were
a couple of other branches in Glasgow as well. There was a very hippy-type aura about the
place to begin with, then the punks invaded. Picture a very much rougher version of the shop
in the movie "High Fidelity". If you think the staff in that shop were musical snobs, it's
nothing compared to Listen Records. I'm sure Nick Hornby must have visited the place in a
past life before he wrote the book and then done a watered down version. Big John of the
Exploited worked behind the counter, as did my brother Kenny, although they're not the
snobs I'm referring to. It was a great place to hang around on a Saturday. I'm sure many
bands/friendships/enemies were formed there. It finally closed its doors in the early eighties.
Next door was a pub called the Bruce Arms. The staff in there were mostly cool towards
their young upstart clientele, which says a lot compared to most people's attitude towards
us at the time.
Joe - The Fegs, Defiant Pose, the Uprising, Close Lobsters