Monday, 31 January 2011

Deaf Metal

My own local haunt as a music hungry teenager was a boozer in New Barnet, Norf Lundun, called The Duke of Lancaster.
Free music every night of the week, except Wednesdays; the pub's darts team had the run of the place.

And while many of my peers were studiously revising for their O Levels, there was I, often accompanied by a dude named Rickets [!], sipping on an illegally obtained pint of Courage Director's Bitter (or 'Bad Breath' as we coined it), firmly laying down the foundation of what would manifest in years to come as intermittent bouts of mind-fucking tinnitus.

But hey, it was worth every tone, ring and hiss; as there really was nothing better than bending one's ear drums to the likes of Strasse, Silencer, Spring Offensive, 64 Spoons, Spider, and many, many more kick ass bands whose names didn't necessarily begin with the letter S.

One of them being Bleak House, a firm favourite with the 'Duke' clientele.

Hailing from St. Albans, a very metal city at the time, Bleak House didn't have far to travel; and they were always given a very warm welcome by a most enthusiastic, mainly hirsute, mainly male, beer swilling, heaving bunch of hedonists who Bacchus himself would have been honoured to have been among.

Man, Bleak House were loud.
They used to use thunderflashes!
With green smoke!
The residue of which would settle itself atop the head of your 'Bad Breath'.

Bleak House were very much riding on the new wave of British heavy metal; their old school sound was a fusion of influences: Judas Priest, Budgie and of course Sabbaff; and with two guitars, bass, drum and an oscillating soprano they encapsulated the late seventies metal sound perfectly.

The big metal bands who followed in the wake of these early pub playing pioneers owed just as much to bands like Bleak House - and there were many - as did those such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash owe to those who did the groundwork for punk.

Personally, I lost interest when acts like Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Angelwitch turned up on the scene. All the fun seemed to go out of it; metal got serious.
And boring.

Anyway. Here's a right bit of self-indulgent nostalgia.
And who knows, it may be of interest to someone...

Bleak House 7" (1980)

Rainbow Warrior

Decent 7" vinyl rip @320kbs
Ear'ole assault here


. said...

The whole "pub rock" scene in the UK is undervalued. There was a massive variety of music, as you point out. It wasn't all beery Pub Rock. Sometimes it was beery Metal, or beery Folk, or beery Fusion, or beery Reggae. I'm sure some of the best gigs I've ever seen were during the pub rock heyday, but I can't remember most of them. Too beery, perhaps. I had the (mis)fortune to grow up in Coventry, an entirely shit town except for the (at the time - the seventies) fantastic music scene, every night of the week in some pub or other. The Specials (and other 2-Tone bands) came at the end of that era, but there was a lot going on before, bands you never heard of but were bloody brilliant anyway.

Do "kids today" enjoy such a diversity of Contemporary Sounds, performed live for the price of a pint? Frankly, I don't give a fuck ...

roy rocket said...

Well, they got Facebook, innit.

Yeah, even Trad Jazz sounded good in a pub; O I remember a few nights spent at The Goat, St.Albans, air tromboning with the best of 'em.

The days, the daze.

Can't remember the last time I was in a pub....