Tag Archives: New model Army

Hope Show 112 – the lowdown

Hope Show 112 the lowdown

1. The Specials – Racist Friend
2. The Men They Couldn’t Hang – The Ghosts of cable Street
3. Chumbawamba – The Day The Nazi Died
4. New Model Army – Better Than Them
5. Steve ignorant – If this is the way things are
6. Four Letter Word – Johnny Foriegner
7. Funeral Oration – This Punk Thing
8. Fifteen – Punk Song
9. Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come
10. Francis Black – Legal Illegal
11. Mike Park – Korea is so far away
12. The Hanson Brothers – Brad
13. Toxic Waste – Burn Your Flags
14. The Restarts – Jihad

Starting off tonights show with a few songs around racism and the feeling that somehow some people are more superior to another depending on where they are born. I was born on the North side of Dublin and grew up playing football. I still go to games and have friendly rivalry with people from other areas. There is no way that can and should be confused with any feeling of superiority. We are all here by virtue of birth and pure luck as to what land you land on

The Specials sang “If you have a racist friend, now is the time for that friendship to end” while the men they couldn’t hang sang about the time Fascists took the streets in the UK. There was a battle of Cable Street with people willing to stand up to those spreading hate.

Hate was trying to spread itself in the capital of Ireland today and hundreds of people were out to show that we wouldn’t blindly accept prejudice. At times it was a bit intimidating as Garda Special Riot squad drew their batons in an effort to prevent those standing up to hate mongerers from getting near those peddling racism. I thought of this song as it seemed like us, with our families, were going to be attacked and then thought of Chumbawamba’s the day the Nazi Died and wondered why those who look at history don’t see that hate is wrong.

“We’re taught that after the war
The Nazis vanished without a trace
But battalions of fascists
Still dream of a master race

The history books
They tell of their defeat in 45
They all come out of the woodwork
On the day the Nazi died

They say the prisoner of Spandau
Was a symbol of defeat
Whilst Hess remained imprisoned
Then the fascists they were beat

So the promise of an Aryan world
Would never materialize
So why did they all come out of the woodwork
On the day the Nazi died

The world is ridden by maggots
The maggots are getting fat
They’re making a tasty meal
Of all the bosses and bureaucrats

They’re taking over the board rooms
And they’re fat and full of pride
And they all came out of the woodwork
On the day the Nazi died

So if you meet with these historians
I’ll tell you what to say
Tell them that the Nazis
Never really went away

They’re out there burning houses down
And they’re peddling racist lies
And we’ll never rest again
Until every Nazi dies”

“Truth is only what we need it to be” Said Justin Sullivan when he was writing Better Than Them for New Model Army, at times we may feel that way but truth be know we are not. We all have doubt but we need to show humanity

“We are not like them” and “I know where I stand”. I stand with people who are trying their best, people looking to make the world better for all, people willing to work together regardless of colour or creed. Thankfully we outnumbered those who opposed us today.

Four Letter Word were from Wales and were singing abot “Johnny Foreigner at the turn of the Century, trying to highlight peoples ignorance.

I moved on to a set of songs with Punk in the title, just to make sure you are under no illusions where this shows heart is.

Funeral Oration were from the Netherlands, Fifteen were from the Bay Area in San Francisco who say the “only thing that matters if you’re in a band, can you successfully divert the next generation from accepting racism”. Exactly.

Refused were from Sweden, their “Shape Of Punk to come” album was hugley influential at the time. Their gig in Dublin on a Saturday afternoon was the shape of memories to come, for sure

I mentioned last week about the new Songs Of Solidarity and Resistance compilation which proclaims that “Written history is nothing more than the propaganda of the victors. If you want the real history you’ll have to go to the folksong” Ewan McColl has written his version of modern history and here Frances Black takes on his Legal illegal, “Don’t upset the oul’ apple cart”

Mike Park has upset many in his day. His Asian Man record label has highlighted many freat us hardcore and ska core bands. Indeed Mike was in and has toured the world many times. His acoustic warblings always make me smile.

Nomeansno were another seminal Canadian band and are held in huge regard in punk circles. I’ve seen them many times and have always been astounded at their sound. Their offshoot, Hanson Brothers, were the ramones playing ice hockey arenas. Brad is the hanson brothers covering nomeanso, Confused? You will be.

Toxic Waste were from Belfast, never interested in borders or hate. Burn your flags exactly.

Finishing off tonight with the Restarts and Jihad. Don’t forget evil is evil, bad things happen in many countries.



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Rebellion Festival 2015 Review Day 4

Rebellion Day 4 Another day of highlights New Model Army Probably the band that I have seen the most, as well as a band whose albums and songs I have looked to for inspiration for almost 30 years. At Rebellion a snippet of a documentary about the band as shown, followed by a Q&A with singer, Justin Sullivan and art-work designer, tattoo artist, author and one, manager of the band, Joolz Denby. She described the process of managing musicians/creative people as not just herding cats…but herding headless cats! And that is the crux of the inter section of art and commerce….by both of their admissions, Joolz and Justin have no head for money….their focus is naturally on creating art and expressing themselves. The film looks great, although getting the human first-hand version of the story was even better. They are a disarmingly honest pair of modern troubadours…and it was interesting learning how the decision by Malcolm Gerrie from The Tube to put an unsigned independent band on the show changed the band’s fortunes. Every artist needs a break. I look forward to taking time. To watch the film when it is released next month…so much to be learnt for New Model Army. The Avengers and Penelope Houston were another eye-opener. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that The Avengers were one of those bands I knew I should listen to…yet never had! They were fantastic on the main stage. Tuneful, dynamic, exciting, vibrant and with so much to say about youthful possibilities and challenging orthodoxy. And this was a female-led band from San Francisco in 1977!!! It is funny how history coalesces around big names and chart bands….the strivers, the innovators, the pioneers get undeservedly forgotten. That is why a festival like Rebellion is so enlightening for me. The Q&A sessions are a big part of how I learn the secret history of punk. Theorem Peneople spoke about how small yet innovative and exciting the early SF punk scene was…and this was all pre-Dead Kennedys. To her, thee were no barriers to entry…anyone could do it regardless of class, colour, sexual preference etc. It was fascinating to learn how before the ‘codification’ that came with hardcore….punks rock was an open canvas! The Q&A is naturally enhanced by a good moderator…and the ‘battle of the Dead Kennedys authors’ hosted by Andy Higgins was fantastic. Alex Ogg’s book is, quite simply, one of the best books I have every read about music. It is funny and heart-breaking and full of lessons, not jus tab out the music industry and cultural files, but also about art, creativity, collective action and the law, I bought Michael Foley’s book, and have not read it yet but it promises to be excellent, covering the political and social context to the band in the tumultuous times of late 1970s San Fran. Foley spoke about how the band emerged from a highly politically city where young people were taking an active…and creative…stance in the democratic process. As a historian he placed this activity in the context of other social movements and concluded how the pivotal Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables album was one of the key documents/artefacts from American youth of the era. That is a remarkable legacy for a band who were formed with the idea of: ‘imagine if Crass were funny’, I felt very privileged to be in a room listening to Higgins, Foley and Ogg speaking with such knowledge and insight about the band. I only wish they had longer to discuss it. Ignite They were new to me…that exciting tight passionate intensity of the Revelation bands. Quicksand always have a special place in my heart. Anyhow, Ignite had plenty to offer musically and in terms of advocacy. The singer urged people to get involved in the political process and democracy. perhaps the legacy of the Avengers and the Dead Kennedys survives and thrives! He urged the audience to think about. The consequences of war, the reality of migration from war-torn places, and also about the conservationist group, the Sea Shepherds. In one of the most shocking moments of the festival, he dedicated the band’s next song to them and it was Sunday Bloody Sunday. Yes, a U2 cover by a tight and talented post- hardcore band!! And guess what? It worked. They pulled it off….dragging an 80s MTV staple into the punk present. It was surprisingly great…..the song really invigorated by Ignite’s classic up-to-date punk rock vision. And it made sense because punk has always been able to draw from its neighbours…to recombine different music in different ways and make something fresh and new. And here was a youthful and exciting Californian band who were inspired by One Way System as well as Peter and the Test Tube Babies….and also found something in early 1980s U2! I don’t think any band in Ireland could openly admit to being influenced/inspired by the UK punk of the class of ’82 and play a U2 song without ridicule..or ridiculing it. Good on Ignite for their open hearts and open minds…they inspire me and make me feel that the future of punk is in great hands. And that is important when both Justin Sullivan and Penelope Houston spoke today about how in 1980-1982 punk began to have rules and restrictions placed on it…it was ‘codified’ as Penelope said….and here’s to the rule breakers….The innovators..long may they bring excitement to punk, art and life! Other highlights Snuff….one of my fave bands….a band I saw countless times back in the day…and here they were….with new members, granted, yet still playing barmy, brilliant, playful, tuneful funny and exciting songs….hooray for trombones and punk rock! Roy Ellis Always a highlight…..ska from a pioneer….fun fun fun. John Langford The soundtrack for young Niall McGuirk…and a big part of the soundtrack of my youth too. Very inspiring to listen to his songs about democratic struggles in Wales in the 1800s, as well as his songs about gamblers, outlaws and do men who didn’t ‘walk the line’. He played a song he wrote with The Sadies (who opened for Treble Charger all those years ago in Toronto) as well as X-Ray Style by the great late Joe Strummer, and even Waco Brothers and a Mekons’ song! Another pioneers at the crossroads of punk and so much more… Carly Slade No disrespect to all of the other acts that I saw over the 4 days…but this was the voice that stopped me in my tracks…incredibly beautiful. I only saw a little of her set with Josh Chandler Morris, but that was enough to make me want more….it didn’t sound like punk rock..maybe Americana is how it would be described…and maybe that made it very punk rock at the punk rock festival!! And finally….the night belonged to TV Smith the quintessential punk troubadour….getting hoarse by the end of the weekend yet still leading the singalong with veins on his neck bulging and his skinny frame straining in tie-dyed outfit. A prefect summation of all that is great about the Rebellion festival punk rock and music!


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Rebellion 2015 day 2 from the wildhearted outsider

Rebellion Day 2

Here’s the thing…a few thousand punks gathered together in a Northeastern English Seaside town in August 2015…why would that matter? Is it all nostalgia? An attempt to recapture, relive, or even reimagine youth?

The Q&A conversations provide an opportunity to hear first-hand reflections from some of the people who were there. Pioneers.

Jules Denby has lots to say. Se is also fantastically articulate about what it was like to try to break into the music industry in the post-punk era. To get New Model Army gigs she pretended to have he own agency…yet as she reflected on how hard it was to break into the inner circle of culture…she concluded that it is harder now. To her freedom of expression has become more difficult for young artists…it has become a declining circle of opportunities….now parents pay thousands of pounds to get their kids’ bands started. Never mind DIY.

Today’s highlights included a number of female-fronted bands. And the most positive thing is that the female musicians and singers didn’t appear to be pandering to some cliched idea of what ‘rock stars’ or ‘girls in bands’ should look like. These were young women worthy of respect…commanding respect.

In Evil Hour showed another way that punk had reinvigorated and inventing itself:by getting a blood infusion from heavy metal. The female singer had a great tuneful voice and wasn’t afraid to screech when the music called for it. A band with a kick and a punch….and looking comfortable on the main stage.

Brassick were also impressive….powerful, packing a blast of energy and exciting to watch. I know I am using the language of fighting to describe these bands and that seems appropriate when there are so few women being taken seriously by the music industry…or taking the brave decision to bypass it.

The Ruts DC in conversation with Alex Ogg was another highlight. I feel that punk’s history and legacy is in good hands with people like Alex around to research and champion it.

The Ruts DC were fantastic in conversation and just as impressive on both the acoustic stage and during their full electric set. They took the essentials of that early punk movement and made songs that were pared down to their essentials yet had room to breathe and have a deep rhythmic resonance. They always bring to mind Fugazi…that no-nonsense economical approach…nothing wasted…everything in the perfect place. It sounds easy but is meticulous. They both make music that stands the test of time.

The Gang of Four’s debut, Entertainment, was one of the great albums of the era. So different….so exciting….funk rhythm….dance music with considered lyrics…words that made us think about our consumption…how we lived…how we received our information…..isn’t that a fine legacy?

To sum up Jules Denby and to quote Segs from Ruts DC: this is about “people unite”! It is about a caring community. And what could be more inspiring than that?

Honourable mentions to the energy of Cynadie Pills, Arthur Brown who pioneered the theatre of heavy metal in the 1960s, and the Damned whose Neat Neat Neat and Smash It Up were still joyous after all these years.

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New Model Army – Between Dog And Wolf


New Model Army played a huge part in my life. There I’ve said it. When Conflict had their only stupid Bastards sign to EMI t-shirt I was devastated. Here was my band, new Model Army, a band I had almost befriended. a band I had bought every record by, believed in and now they jumped ship to the other side. I was 18, the miners had lost their strike, our victories were in songs and little else. We were the independents fighting against the sharks of the major labels. NMA went with the sharks, appeared on Top Of The Pops and then Conflict had the t-shirt…..

Of course it is never that easy. The midst of time has helped me realise that. I left school and found myself a job. i was working for the man railing against those who wanted to be the man. But we travelled different roads and i wished them well on their journey. The way I see it we are travelling
through this life on a journey. What we do with our time and how we reach the end is the direction we take. In the 1980’s when a band signed to a major record label they decided to go on the motorway, me? I’ve always preferred the bypassed villages, the secondary roads are more interesting.

I’ve seen New Model Army quite a few times live. I was a regular in the early days with arms flapping as the clog travellers who attended their gigs were the family that I was an outsider to. I have great memories of gigs in Liverpool, Bradford, London and Dublin that reached a crescendo when the band hit the stage. I interviewed them for my zine in 1984 and they have never been anything but nice. I questioned their wisdom of finding an employer for their music.

I guess after this time I bear no grudges but for a while I questioned. It is no harm to question, Justin Sullivan has been doing so since he was speaking as Slade The Leveller and has always been nothing but emotional in his words and music. I can’t believe it is Thirty years since their first record. it is that midst of time we can’t prevent from moving. What we do with it is important though.

I’ve written tons of reviews since my first attempt at getting someone to listen to a Crass record. i have spoken of the virtues of many many bands but New Model Army have always been up there for me. There’s no other way of saying this but I LOVE NEW MODEL ARMY. Their songs are laden down with emotion, sang with such feeling. I can never imagine them being in a studio and someone having to say “One more take, this time with feeling”. There is an intensity to everything they do and the latest record is no different. The opening track of Horsemen must have Justin exhausted every time he sings with such feeling.

The other 13 tracks are no less intense. There is a haunting eeriness to their sound. The modern day Sherlock Holmes, chasing down the Hound Of the Baskervilles on the moors would have to listen to NMA. When the haunting rhythmic percussion kicks in during Ghosts or Did You Make It Safe you can almost feel the fog on those moors. Tracks like Lean Back and Fall and I Need more Time have such a haunting sound the season of Halloween seems the perfect time for them. Of course it’s not all mean and moody and Seven Times will give you a chance to get those arms moving in through NMA style when you are singing along to “I tried to tell you that you had everything you need, but you wouldn’t believe it”




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Rebellion 2013 day 1

So, 53 weeks (I know, whats’s in a year?) after last years event the annual punk rock shindig returns to blackpool. The punk rock is on sale in the local rock shops as 5000 punks submerge on blackpool to keep this decaying seaside town going. Local hoteliers greet their spiky friends with open arms and even the local police welcome the anarchy warriors as rebellion comes to town.

This year there seemed to be more bands than ever and the winter gardens was bustling nearly as much as when the recent world darts series was on. 8 seperate venues under one roof, all with a selection of music that somehow has it roots in punk rock. Some connections are more tenuous than others but from 11.45 am when max splodge kicked off proceedings with bingo it was all systems smashed (sorry go!!)

Due to the Irish Sea being between me and the winter gardens I missed Max’s take on the numbers and arrived just in time to see The straps play Punk rock and roll. I don’t know them at all but hey did announce “this is from our 7″ released in 1980″ so they must be around a while!!!

The acoustic stage is a winner for me. You get to sit down and see old and new punk steps wrestling through the noise on acoustic guitar. Wayne lost soul had tons of energy and went down positively with the well attended crowd. Not unlike tv smith he bashed at the guitar and had songs that meant something.

Vic ruggeiro from the slackers was up next with his bluegrass country but he managed to get us all singing along to the clashs rudie can’t fail so it was memorable for me.

I then wandered into the arena venue and came across Slime. Again new to me but they seemed to be around a while, it was lost punk to my ears. I am always uncomfortable when a band announces from stage that their new single is amazing. Of course they will think its good but I prefer if they play it and let the listener decide i left slime before making a decision on their new record as their singer informed the audience how rockin’ it was. I did leave so I could get a good spot to see leftover crack. I’ve sen them a few times now and have enjoyed their blitzkrieg attack. Tonight was just like Stza crack all stars. Stza is the singer and the one constant in the band. it was a bit bizarre at times as he spoke about but unifying hardcore. however it is more than rocking out with a ska beat and should be more than just introducing your band to the audience. I find it strange that so many bands do that, surely punk rock is not about letting people know the names of each member of the band as they play a pointless 10 second solo?

Neville staple skanked to the frailties of human life as he used the mic stand as his walking stick. Neville recently had a stroke and I’m not sure if this is what the doctor ordered for him but its fine medicine for the audience. There was a certain sadness as Neville sang these classic ska songs as best he could. He tried to move across the stage and it was visible he was just not able for it. It was still brilliant and we all sang along and enjoyed ourselves.

The ramonas are four women playing Ramones songs. A cover band basically, not a great one either. I didn’t stick around for too long as I wanted to catch a bit of Walter lure. I have no doubt was hanging around with Jonny thunders, maybe if I played in the Golden Horde I would have got him. As it was, it was late and new model army were about to hit the stage

What can I say about the modellers. I have a vested interest as I have a vivid memory of buying their fist album, vengeance, in base x records in Dublin in 1984. Music is a magnet for memories and played such a huge part in my youth, for a portion of that new model army provided the soundtrack. I sat watching them tonight and closed my eyes and could almost smell those double 12” as I sang along to no rest for the wicked. They have such a huge back catalogue , 11 albums but what a brave decision to start with 2 new songs from their as yet unreleased 12th.

No rest for thousands tonight in blackpool as we trooped home in the rain after 2am


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Bands that changed a life – New model army


New model army

It’s almost impossible when thinking or reminiscing about the modellers not to look back on their top of the pops appearance.  Lead singer slade the leveller appeared dressed fashionably in his “only stupid b#####ds use heroin” t-shirt. Confrontational anarcho punks conflict then amended this slogan to proclaim that “only stupid b#####ds sign to emi” and the war was on.

My introduction to nma was way before their emi days. They were on abstract records and had just released their debut 7″, the price.  I read the review in sounds and added them to my list of bands to check out when I next travelled across the water to probe records in Liverpool. A year later I got the never mind the jacksons here the Pollocks album of which they had a song, small town England. This prompted me to actively seek out their vengeance lp and I wasn’t disappointed. vengeance was a regular on my turntable in the mid 80’s. There was an intelligent anger about the band and a sound which was infectious  to me.  Heavy bass lines and incredible drumming led a rhythmic rabble that I couldn’t get enough of. Then I heard they were coming to ireland to play in the tv club, to say I was excited was an understatement.  In a way it became my introduction to putting on gigs yourself as I was felt the admission was expensive, £5 for a poor student was the bulk of my weekly spend. I wrote to the band, I interviewed them for my fanzine and asked directly why it was so dear to see them play. Of course the answer I got back was a reasonable one about costs associated with a gig and all that goes into it, promoters, agents, publicists, all those working on the gig need to get paid.  I felt it was too much and resolved to do my own thing – that eventually morphed into hope promotions and I stepped out of that world of the music industry. 


Nma continued with it and I did follow their progress with interest. Myself and the wild hearted outsider went to see them a few times, travelling to London, Liverpool and other places and meeting the loyal crew that made a modellers gig unique. Clogs, hands in the air at coordinated times and a camaraderie rarely equalled at a music event. This is a special band. 

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10 bands that I loved seeing live:

Dexy’s Midnight Runners
New Model Army
Senseless Things
Rollins Band
Jane’s Addiction
Rage Against The Machine
That Petrol Emotion
The Wild Hearted Outsider

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