Michelle Brigandage – The 1983 Punk Revival

Come on wikipedia! The starting point for many of these blogs is a bit of google; a bit of a wiki and then a trawl of old fanzines, interviews and websites; contact on Twitter/facebook if we can, in order to cobble a punkgirldiaries post that is original and insightful but also accurate.

Michelle Brigandage is an important enough punkgirl. Singer with Brigandage – a punk band that started in the late 1970s and continued into the anarcho-punk ’80s, where they enjoyed success with gigs, a Peel session and music press commendation. But with only a cassette release after failing to secure a record deal, the band have not been remembered as perhaps they should.

Since the 1980s Brigandage have continued to play and record sporadically, whilst Michelle has established a dynamic fashion collection inspired by Seditionaries and ’76 punk. She’s made her own website, put up numerous fascinating old photographs and seems full of the energy that started this whole thing off.  But apart from that, there’s little on the Internet. Please someone make a wikipedia page for this woman!

Like many of her age, she was ready for something radical when punk came along:

“All I can say about seeing the Pistols was that the first time Johnny stepped on stage I practically fell to my knees – it was like a religious experience – here was someone who understood what I was feeling inside- we no longer felt alone – we were individuals but with others, not some mindless gang, but a group of people who had finally found their way to a home.” Michelle Brigandage

In her own biog, Michelle explains how saved up pocket money and Saturday job money was spent on £25 guitars and amps.

“Thing was my parents wouldn’t let me have an electric instrument so I had to hide it in the wardrobe and only play when they went out. I used to play the bass whilst sitting IN the wardrobe for extra security but one day they came back early to find the light fitting shaking up and down to the bass line of My love lies limp (ATV). I was discovered when they followed the noise to the closed wardrobe and opened the door to find me sitting muffled between some coats.”

Before long, the band were doing prestigious supports at places like the 100 Club and touring endlessly. They were a live band who didn’t do a lot of recording:

“We had so many record deals thrown at us it was unbelievable – I had Virgin ringing me up at work. I’m not sure if we believed it all – I’m not sure if I was really interested in recording. We also had someone who was supposed to be managing us and I heard that record companies didn’t like dealing with him.”

For whatever reason, the lack of a significant contract and vinyl releases means that the band are not one of those desired by record collectors across the world. There’s the danger of being brushed out of history, unless someone does that wiki page.

Michelle Brigandage (left) – Photo by Caroline Coon

Here’s an example of the kind of shirt that Michelle Brigandage is making and selling these days via her Sexy Hooligans punk fashion website:   https://www.sexyhooligans.com/michelle_brigandage.php

Image may contain: people standing

 

 

And if you’ve got 25 minutes anytime, this documentary made by Michael Moorcock about the 1983 punk revival is brilliant. It includes quite a bit of Brigandage playing and talking, some Sex Pistols and Clash  interviews; it’s a real gem of its time!

Watch, enjoy and get in touch!

brigandage.com

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