Monday, 29 October 2012

I was a teenage Death Planet Commando


In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the first Death Planet Commandos gig, The Glass Walking-Stick proudly presents:
Part One of The Secret History Of The DPC...

Long before I joined the Punk band previously known as Primitive and embarked on a two-year mission of maximum rock 'n' roll I was also in a succession of almost bands, bedroom bands, made up bands. They went by such cringe-making names as Magus, Heretic, Vicious Bastard ( lovely! ), Perverse Society and Sons Of Evil. I also hit on the name Primal Scream which I thought sounded pretty cool ( I'd read about John Lennon going through primal scream therapy and thought it sounded Punk ) but I discovered some band from Glasgow already had the same moniker. Whatever happened to them? The name that hung around the longest was Sons Of Evil and my concerted graffiti campaign around my sixth form managed to convince people that we actually existed. Well, we did... sort of...


Alongside various fly-by-night band members such as Martin "Trev" Trevitt, Mark "Casey" McAsey and someone called "Spaz" ( according to my old diary, but I really can't remember him ) the Sons Of Evil were basically me and my mate Paul  -  pictured above on the drums.


And here we are again, propping up the bar in a Blackpool B&B. Paul and I were thick as thieves for many years and had various adventures, mostly involving alcohol and chasing after girls  -  although, in my case, too much of the former and too few of the latter :-)

Inspired by a thriving local gig scene ( bands such as The Lemons, Final Verdict, Major Detail, The Patrol, Ronald Rim Ram and Primitive themselves ) as well as by seeing bigger bands passing through ( Crass, Tenpole Tudor, Omega Tribe, Poison Girls, Newtown Neurotics ) we thought we'd give this Punk Rock thing a go. Paul tried guitar and bass before settling on drums, while I had always wanted to be a guitarist... well, ever since seeing old footage of Hendrix on the Old Grey Whistle Test, anyway. Unfortunately, I was never going to be the next Hendrix or even the next Joe Strummer, or even a competent guitarist for that matter. But we were young and had the old "three chords is all you need" Punk spirit on our side. We practiced in an old cow shed which had been converted into a snooker room, so we always had beer and peanuts to hand, and could always play a couple of frames of snooker when the musical inspiration was lacking. Which was quite often...

We never managed to break out of the cow shed and achieve international fame, but we did have a laugh and I started to write dodgy lyrics which got better as time went by and which I began to stockpile for future reference. Time passed and the Sons Of Evil retreated into the mists of obscurity. I gave up thoughts of being the next Joe Strummer, while nightclubs and horrible '80s suits began to replace Punk gigs and leather jackets. Until I found myself working with this young man...


In 1987 I was packing greeting cards for local card company, Paper House, when I met Ade, Primitive's frontman. I remembered Primitive from various gigs around Stroud and especially from the one above, a Battle Of The Bands at Stroud's Marshall Rooms which they really should have won, being the audience's favourites but, unfortunately, not the judges'. Primitive claimed to be "Gloucester's fastest band", being inspired by American Hardcore Punk, not the more stodgy UK Street Punk that had been so prevalent in the  previous few years. Ade invited me along to one of their practices at Time Out Studios in Gloucester Docks and I was impressed by their sound and their songs. It turned out their excellent Malaysian drummer, Lee, was going back home, leaving the drum stool vacant. It also turned out I happened to know a drummer by the name of Paul. A devious plan began to form in my mind. With all the arrogance of youth I proposed that Paul joined Primitive... as long as they took me on too as rhythm guitarist...
Cocky bugger wasn't I?

To be continued...

( Thanks to Mark B for this post's title )

2 comments:

Tomas said...

Hi Simon. The Death Planet Commandos sound amazing! Did any recordings survive? I'd love to hear you guys!

cerebus660 said...

Hi Tom! I don't know if "amazing" is quite the right word, but we had our moments...

Along with lots of dodgy old cassettes I've got a CD of our one trip into a professional studio, where we recorded five songs. Also, when I was at the 4ft Fingers gig at the Guildhall a couple of weeks ago, former DPC guitarist Mark B gave me a CD of the gig we played at that same venue back in 1989. Rock 'n' roll!

I'll see if I can get you a copy of our demo... but it might not be your kind of music :-)

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