Akala examines the history and impact of reggae music in Jamaica and Britain.
Akala examines the history and impact of reggae music in Jamaica and Britain.
Thanks www.repeatfanzine.co.uk for a wonderful review 🙂
THE RUTS DC – MUSIC MUST DESTROY
The Ruts were a band that never took any shit. Back when they started playing live in the late 70’s, gigs, and especially punk gigs, were scary places to be. You usually took your life in your hands attending and ran a fare chance of coming home with a few less teeth than when you went out. Whilst several bands, such as The Clash, tried to quell the violence by actively pleading with their audience, many were, at best, ambivalent to the melee unfolding in the crowd. But not The Ruts. Whilst not actively seeking or condoning aggro, led by their man-mountain singer Malcolm Owen, they were more than capable of looking after themselves should the need arise.
On a dark, cold and wet evening in 1979 I went along to Cardiff University intending to enjoy two of the best punk bands around at that time. The Damned, fresh from their reformation, were headlining whilst the aforementioned Ruts opened proceedings. Unfortunately, no one had told a certain section of the audience that this was supposed to be a pleasurable experience, as they laid boots and fists into anybody within close proximity. Back then there were no crash barriers at the front of the stage, only a thin line made up of innocent students and the band’s road crew separating bands from the crowd. Tension mounted as several short haired attendees made a nuisance of themselves with acts of random violence. In fairness to Malcolm he gave them more than one warning but, after one too many casual punches, the band fought back. I still remember the house lights going out, darkness ensuing, the sound of instruments hitting the floor and band members silhouettes jumping from the stage. Fast forward a minute or so and normality, of a sort, had resumed with the lights re-established and the band back on the stage. But not so for several of the wannabe pugilists as they departed the scene dragging the rather dazed torso of their leader with them. Instant karma!
Sadly, despite the commercial success they were shortly to gain – Babylon’s Burning, Staring at the Rude Boys, West One etc – Malcolm wasn’t to be with us much longer. Whilst the band continued on after his sad demise as the Ruts DC, by 1982 the game was up and they disbanded. In 2007 they played once again. However, this was not the celebration it should have been as they had reformed, with Henry Rollins on vocals, as a benefit for guitarist Paul Fox’s who was battling cancer. Sadly, it was a fight he would ultimately lose the same year. Thereafter, the two remaining founder members, bass player John “Segs” Jennings and drummer Dave Ruffy, only intermittently recorded and played the occasional gig.
So it was a pleasant surprise to receive an advance copy of their new CD “Music Must Destroy” recently. Now a threesome, being augmented by Leigh Heggarty on guitar, the album boast collaborators such as Boz Boorer (Morrissey and Adam Ant), Captain Sensible (The Damned), Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers), Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny) and, once again, Henry Rollins (Black Flag).
Starting with the thunderous roar of drums and bass line, opening track and single “Psychic Attack” delivers an aural punk rock punch to the guts. Slower, but no less anthemic, “Music Must Destroy” is darn catchy. The distorted vocoder-like vocals give it a different feel to the Ruts of old, but the repeated chant of “We are not your property!” show that the band have lost none of the fire in their bellies. “Surprise” starts with an almost Stone Roses “I am the Resurrection” beginning, but this doesn’t last long and another mid to fast tempo number ensues, resplendent with Banshee/Cure guitars, whilst “Second Hand Child” has an almost mid-80’s AOR feel
Soft City Lights” with an opening reminiscent of “It was Cold” from their debut album “The Crack”, transported me back to those heady days of the late 70s when bands like The Ruts created a seismic shift in British music. “Kill the Pain” delivers another fast paced, adrenaline fuelled slice of good old punk rock, whilst “Peace Bomb” is a slower tempo. Bizarrely, whether due to the sound or subject matter, I could see John Lennon performing it in his heyday.
“Tears on Fire” is almost psychedelic at times and penultimate track “The Vox Teardrop” also has a strange, sci-fi intro, but soon settles into a rattling good four minutes of heavy rock. The band have chosen a slow number to finish in “Golden Boy” that works well after the maelstrom of noise that had preceded it on the album. Give the lyrics, I can’t help thinking that some of the words refer the wasted potential of dear old Malcolm.
So there you have it, one of the leaders of the second wave of punk still going strong. Whilst they will never be able to replace their fallen comrades, nor do I expect they want to, it’s good to see them able to still crank out first class punk rock and maintain a presence on the live circuit. I’m sure Malcolm and Paul are smiling down on the legacy the Ruts DC continue to create.
RIP Malcolm and Paul
SEGS -PSYCHIC BLOG -Boiled Egg and Sailors
I cant believe that this tour is slipping by like the endless grey ribbon that rolls beneath our Super Circus Wagon as I speak .We are hurtling towards Bristol -it’s the Fleece tonight -always a goodie -and its a saturday night .
The UK dates have passed smoothly and yeah -they’ve been fun .I thought I’d post a few pics –The Incredible Shrinking Mirror in Leeds , The Facist Butlinz Bear -Skegness ,Ruffy as Badger Head -Guildford , Gig in a church -Colchester ,The only Bass guitar I ever signed ( i think )-Edinburgh , La Ruta Malbec ( recomended ) -Brighton , Mysterious Sand Circles in Poole , Daves solo acoustic night ( almost) -Glasgow ,An improptu Gas Fitters Convention !-can’t remember where … And a beautiful sunrise over Liverpool . Sadly no pictures of the soft boiled eggs served up during our stay at the Royal Maritime Club -a strange but very interesting place , originally constructed to provide sailors with a roof when returning from long hauls at sea and still functioning as a charity to this day .
Yes , life can be fun on the road with RuTs DC 🙂
So….For those who’ve made it down to see us -we salute you ,for those who havent ,we have Bristol tonight and Oxford tomorrow -otherwise try to catch us with Dreadzone and the Levellers in early December and we will salute you too .
Next week we are going to launch our new Pledge campaign .This time to raise funding to make our Psychic Attack album .
If you are interested in becoming a Psychic Investor e-mail us at email@example.com and we will send back details .
Keep the Faith . Increase the Peace . Feed the Future .
Psychic Attack Tour Berlin Day 3
Ruffy : Good day y’all. Shower and breakfast at the Werner Rose hotel and on the bus for Berlin
Stop for lunch at the services in former East Germany it’s full of people heading for Berlin, for its Marathon time in Die Hauptstadt.
I love Berlin, I first came here in 1980 with the Ruts when the wall was still up and I have been here many times since pre and post unification and have always found it to be a fascinating city.
And it’s proud inhabitants have always treated me well.
We are staying at the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Herberge in Kreutzberg, it has a bar and pool tables downstairs while rooms are located upstairs in an adjoining building.
We check in at the bar area and are greeted by the rudest person I have ever met in Berlin
We have booked 1 single and 1 twin room as Mutti and Katja are locals and are staying at their respective homes tonight.
We go up to check the rooms…….oh dear!
The twin room is the size of a wardrobe and contains a pair of bunk beds, and has no loo, bath, shower or even a sink……….wilkommen!
We check out the single room, it is dominated by a large welded steel bed base with an undersized mattress which must be 3 inches deep at most……luxury……….
We decide however to make the best of it as there are no rooms anywhere due the the popular marathon weekender, we figure it’s a late gig and tomorrow’s gig in Torun, Poland; necessities an early start so we will be here for a few hours at most.
We manage to locate some sheets and Segs kindly takes the upper loft bed leaving me the iron double.
It’s 4pm Mutti wants us ready at 17:30 for sound check so He Leigh and Me go round the corner to the Marktalle (indoor food market) and
grab some tapas of albondigas (meat balls), calamari and a carafe of Tinto de verano (summer red wine) a bit like sangria, made from Tempranillo mixed with carbonated water some fresh fruit and what tastes like angostura bitters, yum!
Mutti is there promptly as always and off to sound check we are playing club Clash tonight it’s also in Kreuzberg it has a great bar with lots of local ales too, it also has two pinball machines quite a rarity these days, (there was a time when every German club had at least two)
A great place for a drink here’s the address:-
Segs –Day 2Wake up and smell the coffee As we arrive in Bremen for our second date we are greeted by the sensuous smell of fresh coffee .We have just pulled up outside our accommodation for the night but sadly, the smell is not emanating from our friendly landlady’s welcoming percolator but is generally drifting through the Bremen air, this town; being one of the major ports involved in the import of this deceptively strong drug. Last time we stayed in this very Bed and Breakfast we availed ourselves of the first B but not the second as we had to leave before the butcher, the baker or the coffee maker had risen. It’s a little unusual here –please see Ruffy’s blog for photos of the pillowcases pinned to the wall …???
Segs & Ruffy’s day out in Oxford to hear the mastering of The Crack.
Segs & Ruffy play some of their favourite tracks as they are interviewed on Team Rock Radio and you can here it this Sunday 7 December 2014 at 5pm.
Tune in here:
& this link may come in handy for those that don’t understand DAB
Happy Listening! 🙂
A few words from our sponser – Sosumi Recordings – well actually – Sosumi is Ruffy and I and we’re very happy to have Rhythm Collision Volume 1 back in our own camp .This was a pivotal record for us – being originally released on our own Bohemian label and re- released by some rather dodgy labels along the way who seemed to conveniently forget about paying any royalties . Eventually though , it found a home with our friend Nicolai at Echo Beach in Germany .Over the years it’s been remixed and re- released but this is in it’s original form with a few un-released tracks .With sleevenotes edited from the forthcoming ( yes it’s still forthcoming ) book Love in Vain – it feels like a child returning home.
Welcome back RC1
Were off again .After our very enjoyable campaign in Scotland we returned to London Town on Monday – Ruffy and I hot- footing it to the luxurious surroundings of the TeamRock radio station for an interview with Matt Stocks for his Punk Rock show.His first question was ” So – is it true you met in a record shop over a mutual appreciation of The Ramones ? ” Great question Matt …and we were off .The interview seemed over in a flash- although it was actually about 45 minutes ! We do like to chat . The show will be broadcast soon – probably a week on Sunday we’ll keep you posted on these pages .