In 1976 I was a spotty school kid into Roxy, Bowie and Bolan fancying my female
Paisley schoolies (Pat, Karen, Alison, Maggie, the list goes on!) and doing well at
martial arts, when a mate Chris came round with a new album by a band called
The Damned, and BANG!!!, my attitude to life and music changed forever!
I had to hear more of this shit so I asked about and a mate (Gerry Attrix)
mentioned a place starting up called Disco Daves in the Silver Thread in Paisley,
which was showing all the banned groups that couldn't get into Glasgow. Well, we
ended up going there every Wednesday for punk night (the only place a 16 year old
could get in for a bevvy!) and it was magic! Groups like Generation X, Cortinas,
Saints, Adverts, Buzzcocks, Boomtown Rats, Slaughter & The Dogs, Chelsea,
Jolt, Lurkers, Vibrators etc., and you could have a drink with them as well! I
remember asking Billy Idol to do Anarchy In The U.K. as part of his sound check
and he did!
There was me, all the Renfrew crew (2 x Maxis, Jinxy, Stan, Flemmy, Norrie,
Leo, etc.) and Drew the doctor! All pogoing about like mad with Jim the click
taking pictures when he could and you were right on top of the groups as well.
The only downer was after it, going home, it was always a running battle with the
Hunterhill Team (as they didn't like the look of us!).
We'd also go and start hanging out at Listen in Glasgow and Bruce's record shop.
Also, Gerry's group (The Pencils) and The Sneex would play the St. James
School and that's where I met a real mate Clarky (rip buddy) from Ferguslie with
his mates Joe and Kenny etc. and we just had a ball! You could just picture me
going to school on a Thursday morning with a hangover and the way I looked! I
remember Gerry (and my now brother in law Pencil) playing a gig at St. James
Church Hall in Renfrew which hit the local rags when Gerry kicked a pigs head all
over the stage (anarchy or wot!)! Well, the pig shit hit the fan (I should know as
me wee mam played the church organ!!). On Saturday we would either go to the
Listen shop in Paisley and hang out or the Bruce Arms, then at night it was either
the Paisley Town Hall or the Renfrew YMCA (I used to get the occasional kicking
there as I would noise up the neds by singing on the stage "Where have all the
bootboys gone?" and me, Clarky and Kenny had to do a runner a few nights after!
When the Silver Thread stopped the gigs there was a bit of a lum apart from the
Glasgow Apollo gigs and the Saints and Sinners, Arkleston Inn and Sattellite
City, until the Bungalow Bar opened its doors to us! It was brill, even better than
the Thread. It was our local (especially me as by this time I had been suspended
from school for wearing skintight leather trousers with a safety pin for a zip - a
swap with Gerry Attrix for some records). At 17 now and plenty of time on my
hands, I hung out here with the lads all the time. I was also lucky to start an
apprenticeship with local firm Balfour Kilpatrick, so money was no problem for
gigs and drink! Me and my best mate Beany would play the Space Invaders
machine in there until The Fegs came in and then it was party time, watching
the groups (local bands Defiant Pose, The Fegs, XS Discharge, Interzone etc. as
well as groups like Slaughter & The Dogs, Cockney Rejects, Rezillos, Photos,
Spizz, Associates etc.). Me, Clarky and Joe would sometimes venture out to
places like Edinburgh for the Anti Nazi League gigs etc. I sometimes stayed with
Clarky or Joe and Kenny in Feegie, and then back down to the Bungalow to
meet up with the rest for the Saturday jamming sessions. Lego, Davey, Fadge,
Hanney, James etc. would all be going off there rockers and it was only opening
time! Then it was onto the train in the afternoon and into Glasgow to go down
tothe bandstand or hang out at the Mars Bar. I remember once we jumped onto
the Skids open top bus in Glasgow with them and Simple Minds (who had just
changed their name from Johnnie & The Self Abusers) and then they told us they
were doing a secret gig at the Bungalow that night, so we headed back to tell
everyone. Secret my arse!! The queue was about a mile long!! That was a great
night! There was even times when Joe and the guys would just get up in the
morning and put the gear out in the backdoor and play!
Yes, Paisley was booming with punk and then new wave music. The groups I saw
there were better than most of the big gigs we went to at the Apollo etc. 'cause
there was no intimacy with the bands (well, apart from the time we all got the jail
after the Clash gig and we were all singing Jail Guitar Doors in the nick with
At about 1982, it was starting to phase out and New Romantics were everywhere.
I started to work away from home and lost contact with a lot of the lads (except
my best mate Beany, who still goes to gigs with me, and I still bump into Gerry at
gigs), but I'll never forget the excitement that that era in Paisley gave out. Guys in
my local slag us off 'cause me and Beany still go and see the groups but, apart
from Rock n Roll, nothing changed the history of music quite like punk, so I salute
the Paisley punk era and I'm glad I was part of it!!
Neil (Tam Pax) McLean
PS - a wee side note - It's ironic but I kept my connection with Feegie, as I ended
up boxing for their local boxing club years later and also I am now the British
Boxing Board inspector (I've been in the corners of Hatton, Kalzaghe, Harrison,
Arthur, Khan etc.). But, did you know Frank Warren (the promoter's) matchmaker
Dean Powell was a mad punk who ran around with the Cockney Rejects etc. and
was at the Bungalow Bar!!! Small world eh?