Throughout history, the city of Glasgow has been linked with many trends and art movements, including having a solid 1980’s post-punk indie and fashion heritage (see photo above of
In this excellent piece with Vic Galloway on BBC Radio 6, Clare Grogan of Altered Images implies that there was a musical void but plenty of attitude ready in the late ’70s:
“I think Glasgow was just waiting for punk on a level that maybe is undocumented…. there was a political bubbling under of dissatisfaction and annoyance… we all became very willing rebels without a clue!” Radio 6 Glasgow’s Punk Scene
Altered Images, Orange Juice, Strawberry Switchblade, Simple Minds and Aztec Camera all came out of an early 1980’s Glasgow scene that was recovering from the shake-up caused by punk. In 1976, faced with the tabloid news coverage of The Sex Pistols, the Lord Provost banned the Sex Pistols from performing in Dundee and Glasgow, saying:
“We have enough hooligans in Scotland without importing them from South of the border”
A subsequent ban from the local council meant that none of the popular punk bands could perform in Glasgow. However, they were able to play in Paisley, just outside of the city boundaries, with two notable venues hosting some cracking gigs and even providing buses from the centre of Glasgow.
The Bungalow Bar featured gigs by The Fall, The Skids, Annie Lennox and The Tourists, Orange Juice, Roddy Frame, The Buzzcocks, Echo and the Bunnymen, Aztec Camera, Teardrop Explodes, Simple Minds, and Siouxie and the Banshees.
The Silver Thread Hotel had gigs by The Rezillos, Generation X, Chelsea, Cortinas, Adverts, Boomtown Rats, Elvis Costello, Fabulous Poodles, Crabs, Jolt, Johnny & the Self Abusers (later to become Simple Minds), Prefects, Saints, ATV, Buzzcocks, Backstabbers and the Exile organised by Disco Harry
This website has more information about punk boys in Paisley, including memories like these:
“Everyone lined up at the bar to get their mouths pierced for £1 – where you sucked on an ice cube for a minute before big Kenny Clash slammed a safety pin into your gub!”
“I remember going into the toilet to find Bobby Valentino (Fabulous Poodles member who went on to play Clark Gable in many an advert and doc) kicking seven bells out one of my mates for spitting all over him during the gig, with my mate actually reveling in it!!”
The one punk band that everyone does remember is Johnny & The Self-Abusers, which included guys with proper punk names: ‘Johnnie Plague’, ‘Pripton Weird’, ‘Sid Syphilis’ and ‘Charlie Argue’, most of whom went on to form Simple Minds a year later. After their first gig in April 1977, they were asked to support Generation X in Edinburgh and after a series of concerts, released a single ‘Saints and Sinners’ on Chiswick, splitting up on the day of its release. .
All this about Paisley and Glasgow is fascinating, but the punk bands seem few and there’s very little evidence of 1970’s punkgirls up there in Scotland. So, are there tales to tell? photos to be scanned? any female bands to be discovered from Glasgow before Clare Grogan, Jill and Rose Switchblade came on the scene? Let us know, please!