Punk vibrations

It’s that time of the month again – you need to get your vote in on The Beat Goes On MySpace page before this month’s poll closes. It’s been great for me listening to so many bands during TBGO MySpace project – some that have featured and many that haven’t. It’s really reminded me about the power of music – how sometimes a tune can just pick you up and carry you away.

Music as a lifeline and an inspiration is one of the main themes of Eric’s The Musical, currently showing at The Everyman and the subject of many rave reviews. Members of the cast  bobbed into the exhibition earlier in the month with former Eric's director Ken Testi. I never went to Eric’s myself. We hear a lot in Liverpool about the legacy of Eric’s – the seeds of talent that it spawned in the form of Echo & The Bunnymen, Holly Johnson, Julian Cope, Pete Wylie, Jayne Casey and others. The repercussions of that little club have reverberated through the decades and created a specific strand of Liverpool’s cultural history.

However, what has always interested me about Eric’s is not what came out of it, but what went in to it. As a venue it played host to many legendary and seminal bands like Joy Division, The Clash, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Damned. I am just reading Vivienne Westwood’s biography and loved this fascinating pic in The Guardian. It features Siouxie Sioux and original punk Jordan (not that one) at Eric’s. Jordan was a key figure in McLaren and Westwood’s circle and of course in The Sex Pistols story. 

Of all of the bands mentioned I think The Damned are given less mainstream recognition than they deserve. They are credited with releasing the ‘first ever’ punk single ‘New Rose’ in October 1976 – just days after Eric’s opened its doors and a month before The Sex Pistols got their act together (well, sort of).

New Rose was an Eric’s favourite and it’s a song which still causes a riot. I recently went to see former Guns and Roses’ Duff McKagan with his band ‘Loaded’  at the Carling Academy and they did a raucous cover with the crowd going absolutely ballistic. Duff who is originally from Seattle is a massive punk fan, which I think is what gave Guns and Roses that gritty edge compared with other LA bands. The song also featured on their ‘Spaghetti Incident’ album.

So the moral of the tale, boys and girls, is that a great tune can go a long way. The rebel factor in punk may be diluted now that nothing’s shocking and The Sex Pistols go on reunion tours, but the have-a-go mentality where anyone can pick up a guitar and be their own band is more evident than ever. That’s why it's a good idea to get out and see some music. Which of today’s bands will be the stuff of tomorrow’s legend?

Vote for you favourite The Beat Goes On MySpace track now.  Revenge Tragedies, Metropolitans, Red Threads, The Vanities, Kings Parade, 28 Costumes, David Tyrrell, Callum McMorran, Buzz Radio, Soft Toy