This is the Gonads’ seventeenth album release but the first that it is entirely rock and metal.
Legendary street-punk titans THE GONADS have been going strong since 1977 with a back catalogue of classic songs including ‘Buy Me A Drink You Bastards’, ‘Alconaut’ and ‘I Lost My Love (To A UK Sub)’. They grew out of the remnants of earlier schoolboy boogie band Pink Tent, who – inspired by the Clash and the Sex Pistols – re-invented themselves as a punk band.
01. Hey You 3:46
02. Skinhead Girl 2:14
03. Tattooed Love Girl 3:35
04. Dr Punk 2:40
05. Beki Bondage Please 2:31
06. Charlton Warriors 4:19
07. Oblivion 2:45
08. Made in London 3:10
09. Big Balls 3:07
10. We Are the Boys 2:36
11. Lager Top Blues 0:48
12. Gob 3:00
13. Haemorrhoid 1:47
The early set included cover versions of AC DC’s ‘Big Balls’ and the Small Faces’ ‘Filthy Rich’ as well as forgotten numbers such as ‘Antigalligan Last Bell’, ‘Whelks’ and ‘The Legend of Sam Bartram’. The original line-up were together for less than a year, playing at local pubs in Charlton, south east London. They released one single, ‘Stroke My Beachcomber Baby’ b/w ‘Big Balls’ on their own Scrotum label, and were completely ignored by the rock press.
Years later rock writer Christine Cousins described them as having been “as tight as a gnat’s fore-skin” and “louder than a Bernard Manning belch”. But others remember them as being rather more chaotic than that sounds. Highlights of this first incarnation included the now legendary acoustic tour of South London curry houses.
After unsuccessfully approaching Charlton striker Derek ‘Gypo’ Hales for management, they accepted an offer from a local character called Dodgy Dave Long who immediately decided the band should stop gigging and “hold back until the time is right”.
The Gonads would never have been heard of again if singer Garry Bushell aka Gal Gonad hadn’t reformed the band in late 1980. This second Gonads line-up included Steve Kent on guitar (later replaced by Steve Whale, Clyde Ward and then JJ Bedsore) and Mark Brennan on bass, with a succession of drummers including at one stage Mark Brabbs from Tank.
The band released their Pure Punk For Row People ep in 1982.
Many other classic Gonads recordings date from this productive period, including ‘Jobs Not Jails’, ‘Dying For A Pint’, ‘Punk Rock Will Never Die’, ‘I Lost My Love To A UK Sub’ (based on a true story) and ‘Tucker’s Ruckers Ain’t No Suckers’. The Gonads also pioneered the punk/metal cross-over with the song ‘TNT’ on the Total Noise ep, and began to refer to themselves as “street rock ’n ’roll”. Gal and Steve Kent went on to create both Prole and the Orgasm Guerrillas as studio projects.
Like many of their contemporaries, the Gonads petered out in the mid-eighties and weren’t to exist again in a concrete form until 1990 when Gal teamed up with Clyde Ward to record the original versions of ‘Lager Louts’ and ‘British Steel’.
Small gigs and song-writing sessions followed.
In 1997, they recruited Casanova Kev on bass and released the single ‘Oi! Nutter’ b/w ‘(What’s The Story?) England’s Glory’, touring the USA the following year with Rockin’ Dave on guitar and the Romulan on drums. Gigs included New York (CBGBs), Boston, San Francisco and Long Beach.
Albums Back & Barking, Schitz-Oi-phrenia and Old Boots, No Panties followed, along with the first of many appearances at the Rebellion festival in Blackpool.
‘Oi Mate’ proved to be the band’s most popular live song, but Clyde’s production commitments kept them off the road for long periods of time. Frustrated, Gal was about to break up the band once and for all until New York fan André Schlesinger (formerly of The Press) persuaded him to keep going.
Gal recruited Tony Feedback (ex-Angelic Upstarts) and Scoops (Superyob) on bass and with a changing procession of drummers began gigging regularly again.
2008 saw the Live Free, Die Free album; followed at the end of 2009 by Glorious Bastards. That same year the band played Germany (the Punk & Disorderly Festival) and Sweden for the first time, returning to Germany for a mini-tour and the Total Noise Festival in 2010.
A brief, inglorious period saw Waysted’s legendary rock lunatic RD (aka MacGonad) join as drummer, however this association ended after just four gigs because of what it would be polite to describe as “musical differences”. But maniacal RD did help put together the hard-hitting line-up of Gal, Nacho Jase (guitar) and Mick Maverick (bass).
They were joined on drums by South Coast Steve, the world mumbling champion.
However progress is not always smooth and after playing Germany, France, Glasgow, London, Rebellion, Charlton Liberal Club and a major festival in the North East of England, and recording two glorious Greater Hits albums, the mighty quartet went their separate ways with no hard feelings.
Fast forward to 2015 and the new and latest incarnation of the Gonads began to take shape with Phil McDermott (ex Blackmayne) on guitar, psychobilly Paul Mummery on drums and Wattsie Watts promoted to full-time backing vox. Mark McMighty guests as lead guitarist.
Greater Hits Volume 3 – The Complete Cobblers confirmed the combo’s new-found lease of life. Gentleman John returned briefly on bass guitar but was permanently replaced at the beginning of 2017 by Clyde Ward.
This new permanent line-up sees the band enter their fortieth year (celebrated as Forty Years of Failure!) with new recordings on the horizon and a triumphant live debut at Montpellier’s Festival of England.
In November 2017 the band’s latest US tour was filmed for a documentary by Hollywood producer Sandie West who says “the Gonads story has only just begun”.
Be afraid, people. Be very afraid.
Gal Gonad – vocals
Paul Mummery – drums/vocals
Clyde Ward – bass
Mark McMighty – lead guitar
Phil McDermott – rhythm guitar
Shona Wattsie Watts, backing vocals.