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I asked from Vic Godard of SUBWAY SECT to write an article for the first days of British Punk.
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Reading the interview of Vic Godard of SUBWAY SECT in Ben Marshall for UNCUT, made me jealous... I asked him to write an article for the first days of British Punk. Thank you very much Vic!

Vic Godard Article            

In February 1976 we witnessed one of the first gigs by the Sex Pistols,and immediately decided to do something noisy although at that stage we didn’t know exactly what. At first it was just Rob Symmons and me, but soon we were joined by an old school friend  Paul Myers and his friend Paul Packham. We started with a tape recorder, an acoustic guitar and a waste paper bin made of tin. A big part of what we did was comedy, and having a good time by stretching what we felt able to do including a preposterous  attempt to record a translation of one of Moliere’s plays.

As we went to every Sex Pistols gig in London from then on we got to know Sid although we wouldn’t have called him that. He would always be right in front of where we wanted to be- right at the front but it was easier in those days as the audiences were small particularly the midweek ones. Also there were the Banshees, Billy Idol and most of the Punk groups from 1976 London. Sid took poseurs badly probably as he was the arch poseur of all.

When we formed the group we couldn’t play instruments nor did we know anything about them-they were totally alien to us, but we did have a great name-Subway Sect-we liked the sound of a sect and the Velvet Underground were our blueprint as they had easier chords and Rob who owned the guitar had learned three or four. A huge factor in the rise of punk was boredom-as we were all on Social Security and had little money [although looking back 14 pounds sounds OK now  as everything was dirt-cheap].When we were asked to audition for Malcolm McLaren for the  punk festival at the 100 club we were totally useless and we all knew it- he sighed and said you need to practise every day from 9 till 6 o’clock,but there was nothing else for us to do all day so we did it and proved it could be done although we only played four songs.

Audience reaction was OK so we felt emboldened to carry on and were offered the chance to go on tour as the support band for the Clash along with the Slits, Buzzcocks and Prefects later that year, as well as doing all the London support slots. We already knew Joe before the Clash were formed as he was singer in a cult band called the 101ers who had a single out that was a bit of an early London Punk classic-Keys to your Heart. We used to bump into him at various places –record stalls, gigs clothes shops etc and he was instantly likeable.The first night we saw the Clash was at the Lyceum Ballroom in early 76.They weren’t playing but had gone to see the Sex Pistols who were themselves the support band for a horrendous hippy band.We knew straight away that Joe was taking his new group out for the night.

We’ve come a long way since the early days. The current live line up is Me, Kevin Younger (Armitage Shanks) on keyboard and guitar, Mark Braby (Orchestra Pit) on drums and Dan Ashkenazy (Bitter Springs) on bass, all accomplished musicians which means we no longer have to rehearse as much1!

The new Album We Come as Aliens, released October 2010, is probably the best Sect album to date with special guests Paul Cook and Gary Ainge drumming on different tracks ( Mark played bass at this point). We are currently on tour promoting the album.

We’re hoping to record a new album this year 1979 Now, the Northern Soul numbers and Paul Myers from the original Subway Sect has agreed to play bass on it.

Vic Godard
We Come as Aliens cd Overground Records/ Vinyl GNU inc Records*
Vinyl available from Vic mail order or at gigs. 


Vic Godard and Subway Sect-

‘Vic Godard has forged his own unique trajectory since emerging from the 100 Club punk scene of 76 where Subway Sect debuted alongside contemporaries The Clash and Sex Pistols. Their garage sound and sense of melody set them apart from the usual run of the mill punk acts that joined the conveyor belt that year. Indeed, by the time their debut album ‘What’s The Matter Boy?’ was released, Godard and the Sect had tempered their sound to a more pop based (but nevertheless still edgy) mix.

The 1980s saw Vic Godard experiment with swing and Motown. However, it is his association with Orange Juice and Fire Engines (of the Scottish label Postcard) which defined the Subway Sect as purveyors of abrasive, catchy melodic punk pop. Indeed, the great Edwyn Collins has long championed the musical genius of Godard, producing three albums for him Long term Side Effects and In Trouble again in 1998 and End of the Surrey People in 1993) and inviting him on board to provide backing vocals on the classic Collins hit ‘Girl Like You’ in 1994.

The successful release of ‘1978 Now’ in 2007, the second on Overground Records (the first in 1996 was We Oppose all Rock and Roll), saw Godard and Subway Sect return to their initial punk sound deconstructing the earliest songs to their initial primitive roots.’

Vic is currently playing the best music of his career with a superb line of musicians and is currently on tour promoting  the new album We Come as Aliens  released 11 October 2010
CD/downloads Overground Records (UK) and a limited edition vinyl on Vic’s own mini label GNU inc which is exclusively available at gigs and mail order from Vic and the gnu.

The first two GNU inc releases are:
‘Live in Stereo’, a limited edition live album recorded at Stereo club in Glasgow, no longer available.
Blackpool epcd  released may 2010. I wanted to do something burlesque and gaudy - kind of vaudevillian, quite dirty. It shouldn't be all sanitised f***ing Lloyd Webber shit."

Irvine Welsh  Sunday Herald 10/02/02 Andrew Burnet)

2000- I first got together with Irvine over a cup of tea in North London to throw about some ideas for songs for a musical. Only 3 were used for the production, a blessing in disguise as it turned out,it did not go down well. And the whole project slipped away into the night…. The Blackpool numbers always went down well live so over the years I’ve got together with Bitter Springs to record the Blackpool tracks. As this is this is still a work in progress,   I decided to release the 4 finished tracks, featuring the Springs’ Simon Rivers on the Working Class Song and the legendary Jock Scot on The Sewer Song.

Copies of both this and 1978 Now (Overground) are available from Vic.

The We Come as Aliens Recording  line up :
Mark Braby- bass guitar/ backing vocals (He is now on drums since Gary Ainge  had to retire wounded, see below. Multi talented, he has fingers in many pies including The Orchestra Pit club, The Orchestra Pit Recording Company and more.

Kevin Younger on keyboards and guitar, the resident garage man and witty raconteur, also plays with Armitage Shanks

Gary Ainge on drums, the northern soul expert, who previously played drums for Felt and Gokart Mozart, is unfortunately out of action, his back gave out 5 tracks into recording We Come as Aliens. He is now recovering and the rest of the band are looking forward to seeing him back on his kit.

Very Special Guest-
 When Gary couldn’t continue with the recording, by an extraordinary stroke of luck a fellow Chelsea FC fan stepped in to finish the album with the Sect, none other than Paul Cook.     

The Live Line up is:

Kevin- guitar/keyboard
Mark (on drums)
Me- guitar/harmonica
and now includes Dan Ashkenazy on bass. He is also bass player for Bitter Springs who Vic’s had many fruitful collaborations with over the years, including the Blackpool epcd.

Discography and Contributors
We Come as Aliens  CD 2010 Overground Records (UK) and limited edition vinyl on GNU inc

Gary Ainge
Paul Cook
Mark Braby
Kevin Younger
Simon Rivers

Blackpool epcd GNU inc Released May 4 2010 songs originally written for the ill fated Irvine Welsh musical of 2002
Vic Godard
Bitter Springs
Jock Scot

Live in Stereo  GNU inc 2010 Vic and the gnu’s first limited edition release on their new micro label. A recording of Subway Sect live at Stereo Glasgow 15/11/2008 by Murray Robertson.
Gary Ainge
Kevin Younger
Mark Braby
Vic Godard

1978 Now  Overground Records 2010. Vic decided to lay all the ghosts to rest re: ‘the lost album’ and rerecorded it as it would have sounded.
Vic Godard
Paul Myers
Leigh Curtis cont’d above
1978 Now cont’d
Mark Laff

Singles Anthology-Motion records

Sans End: Motion Records 2002 Vic Godard
Nick Brown(sans end cont’d)
Larry Marshal (cont’d above)
Simon Rivers
Paul Reekie
Ali Hakemi
Milo Ross
Jelena Djerdjeric
Chantelle Lamond
Rob Simmons
Whitney Bing
Phil Martin
Ashid Sunsitter
Hamish Brown
Holly Cook
Mina Sassoon

What’s the Matter Boy re-issued- Universal 2000

20 Odd Years:Motion Records 1999
Compilation, including rareties and demos,collected from various sources
In Trouble Again: Tugboat Records 1998, includes the track Trouble which was not on the original and vocals redone.
Working Week
Pete Thomas and Jumping Jive

Long Term Side Effects: Tugboat Records 1998
Dave Morgan
Edwyn Collins
Martin Pines
Clare Kenny
Pete Saunders
Paul McGrath
LTSA cont’d
Boz Boorer
Dick Cuthell
Paul Cook
James Dutton
Janan Kuba
The Long Decline

We Oppose All Rock & Roll Subway Sect 1976-1980
Overground Records1996
Rob Simmons
Paul Myers
Bob Ward
Johnny Britton
Spartan Atkinson
Colin Scott
Virginia Astley
Nick Brown
The Black Arabs

End of the Surrey People: Postcard Records1993
Edwyn Collins
Paul Cook
Paul ‘Wiz’ Baker
Martin Duffy
Clare Kenny
Graham Knibbs
Tony Treble-O

Trouble: Rough Trade Records 1985
Working Week
Pete Thomas and Jumping Jive

Retrospective: Rough Trade Records 1984
Vic Godard
Paul Myers cont;d above
Rob Simmons 
Bob Ward
Colin Scott
Johnny Britten
Steve ‘Spartan’ Atkinson

Songs for Sale: London records 1982
Vic Godard
Rob Marche
Chris Bostock
Dave Collard
Sean McClusky

What’s the Matter Boy: MCA 1980
Vic Godard
Terry Chimes
Paul Chimes
The Black Arabs
Bob Ward

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29/10/10 14:35