View Full Version : Classic and current UK punk

05-05-2006, 01:24 AM
I have a character who is in his ealry fifties and a life-long punk. I need suggestions for bands he would listen to, both from his youth and modern punk/ska and similar group --especially those likely to play Scottish gigs (e.g. Glasgow).

05-05-2006, 12:56 PM
He seems a bit old for being into punk. I'm slightly younger than your character and my musical taste was established before 76 (generally reckoned to be when punk started in the UK).

The most obvious bands would be the early Sex Pistols (don't know when they first played in Glasgow, but he could have seen them somewhere else), The Clash, The Stranglers and The Jam. Plus he would have listened obsessively to the John Peel Show on Radio One.

05-05-2006, 07:41 PM
He came into it as an angry not-quite-that-young man. He is an ecclectic guy who enters chpater one playing King Kapisi (polynesian hip hop) but I see him as having more British roots to his musical tastes and so I need to know what he might be following living just outside Edinburgh. Pretty much anything loud and rebellious without ever getting in the territory of rock/metal/goth... So it need not be punk per se so long as it is noticably downstream from the Clash et al ;)

05-05-2006, 10:16 PM
There's a book that came out recently that you could probably get from your library, DIY: The Rise of Lo-Fi Culture by Amy Spencer. A couple of chapters cover the roots and development of the UK punk scene. I don't remember her mentioning much, if anything about Scotland, but it might be a helpful starting point.

Spice Islands
05-06-2006, 08:18 AM
the exploited were a scottish punk band early 80 s

maybe the skids with richard jobson and stuart adamson???

perhaps the bay city rollers ;)

05-06-2006, 11:46 PM
The Skids very quickly became an art rock band as far as I recall.

Spice Islands
05-07-2006, 11:59 AM
To many labels in music!
For alternative stuff maybe the Fire Engines and Orange Juice...

05-07-2006, 08:44 PM
The Rezillos are pretty popular from Scotland.
Also, some from the UK...

The Damned
The Mekons
Patrick Fitzgerald (very cool)
Sex Pistols

For modern punk, here is a good website with an extensive list.


05-16-2006, 09:06 AM
The Who were kind of considered in that area when they came out, remember the broken guitars and drums!

Steve W
07-03-2006, 01:57 PM

The Buzzcocks
Stiff Little Fingers
Sex Pistols
The Skids Sham 69
The Clash

You could also look on Amazon at CDs to get an idea for actual songs you could mention.


Steve W
07-04-2006, 01:22 PM
Had a few more thoughts last night -
The Undertones
The Boomtown Rats (early)
Ultravox (with Foxx not Ure)
Generation X
Sousie and the Banshees
The Ramones

All punk isn't the same:
Hard-core - Clash, Pistols.
Commercial - Sham, Gen X
Arty - Ultravox
US-style - Blondie, Ramones
Edgy - Stiff Little Fingers, Rats

Have you checked out your local library? There may be a history of pop music to point you in the right direction.

07-05-2006, 04:04 AM
Don't forget the faux-punk of today, and how an old school punk would feel about what kids go punk for today.

07-05-2006, 11:50 PM
I second all the ones previously mentioned.

As for Scotland: there was a band called "The Plastic Flies" from Glasgow, and they supported the Clash when they played in Scotland.

As for ska, and we are getting into very early 80's here, the Specials and Madness were de rigeur.

Your character may well have been into the Tom Robinson Band, as well.

Spice Islands
07-06-2006, 08:53 AM
TRB were a left wing leaning band strong politically in the gay and anti racist areas...they didn t appeal to the punks round my way, they were too politicised and had a middle class punk wannabee following

clash, pistols, damned, ruts, can't go far wrong with them

07-06-2006, 04:17 PM
So did punks come in different classes then? Is a "middle class punk" somehow worth less, or less authentic, than any other kind of punk? How do you decide if a punk is "middle class" or not?

I've never really understood this kind of distinction.

Spice Islands
10-31-2006, 09:24 AM
like i said earlier too many labels but round my way bands like bauhaus and trb were popular with kids who lived in big houses and bought the nme

11-03-2006, 05:02 PM
Was charmed to see this thread - I just joined the forum today and hey, someone is interested in my specialism!

I've just published a large format book on the UK punk movement (No More Heroes, through Cherry Red) which included some 200 interviews with musicians etc. I've covered a number of Scottish bands from that period. As previously mentioned, the Rezillos and the Skids are probably the two best known, but there were dozens more, including the fantastic Scars, the Prats, the Valves, Fire Exit, etc, before the 'second/third wave' bands like the Exploited, who are not really very interesting. My friend also contributed a chapter to the book concerning the Blair Street punk scene in Edinburgh of that time, which is fairly amusing (probably more amusing than my own work anyway).

I also wrote a piece specifically about 'Scottish punk' for a new book on the history of Scottish music by Martin Kielty, which is also now out. I've printed it out below as it might provide some useful pointers -


Looking from the outside, Scotland’s punk revolution by and large mirrored the key elements of its southern incarnation. Records by the Pistols and Damned were snapped up in eager teenage hands, which immediately embraced its DIY, anti-authority ethic. And just as in London and elsewhere, there were working bands who saw the opportunity to break out from the confines of the pub scene. Examples of the latter include the Zones, Zips and Exile in Glasgow, while the Edinburgh scene was split between more arty bands (Scars, Freeze) and the prole punk threat based around Blair Street’s squat scene, from whence came the Axidents, Badweeks and, eventually, and tragically for all concerned, the Exploited.
The mythological construct that musical ability was no barrier to participation was certainly taken to heart, as was the importance of tackling regional issues (as in Exile’s ferocious assault on local ‘Fascist DJ’ Tom Perrie for his refusal to play punk or new wave records). Many, notably the Prats, Scotland’s take on Eater, were schoolkids having a go. Some Scottish artists headed south to London (Midge Ure almost became a Sex Pistol. Alex Fergusson joined ATV, and John McGeoch, arguably the most innovative guitarist of the period, are three such examples). Others never got out of the bedroom. But, being Scotland, there was a natural resistance to swallowing this new London phenomenon wholesale. So when the Valves sang ‘Ain’t No Surf In Portobello’, they weren’t talking about West London, but rather their local sewage treatment works.
Undoubtedly the real jewels of Scotland’s punk scene, both in terms of record sales and critical reverence, were Dunfermline’s Skids, fired by Stuart Adamson’s layered harmonics and Ricky Jobson’s thesaurus, and Edinburgh’s art school mavericks the Rezillos. The Rezillos burned out way too soon though they did leave one of punk’s greatest, most satisfying albums and a clutch of fizzing retro-pop singles, while the Skids grew in stature as a mainstream pop band as the 70s progressed.
But arguably the most interesting aspect of Scotland’s immersion in punk was the way in which it allowed so many subsequently acclaimed artists to take their baby steps. Jobson is now a filmmaker, the troubled Adamson found global success with Big Country, and the Rezillos are now back as a going concern. But there were many others who were either once part of punk’s cause or adept at seizing the opportunities it offered. Novelist Ian Rankin once performed with long-forgotten punk band the Dancing Pigs. The Reid brothers played guitar and drums in Blak Flag before becoming the Proclaimers. Jim Kerr was a founder of Johnny And The Self Abusers who, unlike his later band Simple Minds, never did sell out any arenas. And Mike Scott was involved in various permutations of bands who embraced the punk credo (with liberal helpings of Patti Smith art damage) before alighting on the Waterboys.
And as for the celebrated Postcard scene and its offshoots, Edwyn Collins was a Nu-Sonic prior to Orange Juice, Roddy Frame laboured in a band entitled Neutral Blue and Davey Henderson was a member of Marxist art punks the Dirty Reds (who also included actor Tam Dean). And Alan McGee, the Creation Records founder, also had a bedroom punk band and continues to talk up the impact of the Pistols et al to this day.
Several of these bands never recorded or played outside their hometowns. But what was important was that punk gave an entry point to a whole generation of Scottish artists and musicians. Many of these would doubtless have prospered anyway on the back of pure talent, but others would have remained of the view that the music industry was something separate, both ideologically and regionally, to their own backgrounds. So for list compilers coming up with the greatest works of Scottish musical history, there may only be a couple of legitimate contenders from the punk canon. But without its influences, several of the landmark records of the 80s and 90s may never have gotten off the block.

11-03-2006, 07:30 PM
OMG, great stuff. I expect my edits any day now and will massage a little more of this info into the text--much appreciated!

11-03-2006, 09:31 PM
You're most welcome.

If you do need any other information on the bands etc, I've got a whole heap of research that I can email to you if you need it.

Good luck with the editing.