of a punk rocker
Bassick - still rocking with the best|
Arturo Bassick from
The Lurkers and 999 was one of the well known faces of the punk era.
Lurkers got started in 1976 and are still going strong today.
lives in the North East which he describes as "the punk rock capital of the
Thirty years ago punk was starting to change British music
forever, kicking out the old and bringing in the new.
But in the 1970s it
took awhile for punk to catch on in the North East, being an outpost away from
the main scenes in London and Manchester.
Once it did take off, the North
East produced a multitude of punk styles from the working class aggression of
The Angelic Upstarts to the angry but melodic punk of Pauline Murray's Penetration
from County Durham.
Arturo Bassick presents an Inside Out special on North
East punk, looking back at some of the bands who were punk rebels in the 1970s,
and meets up with them nearly 30 years on.
In this exclusive web interview
Arturo remembers what it was like to be a punk in the late 1970s.
Out's Sue Wilkinson asks the questions:
Bassick getting those teenage kicks in 1977|
What was it
like gigging at the height of the punk era?
Well, early times were
all a big adventure - we were very naive and signed rubbish deals with record
companies, agents etc - and got ripped off.
But we had loads of fun playing
towns and cities which we'd hardly heard of, meeting new people and making our
amateurish noise in far flung places such as the Isle of Arran, Accrington, Plymouth
etc, playing for the princely sum of £50 a night.
It was great!
were your favourite punk bands back then and did you get to meet any of them?
Sex Pistols - ever felt you've been cheated?|
The Gorillas, Wire, Johnny Moped, The Stranglers - I met them all as I was one
of the first fans of many of them.
Except for The Ramones, it was easy to
approach bands when they were starting out.
Most were good blokes but the
odd one was an A hole but that's just folk in general isn't it?
was the craziest or funniest thing that happened to you during the punk years?
Sting at the Marquee Club in London in '77 and thinking he was called Stink.
|"The songs were short, sharp and energetic. The bands
were sticking two fingers up at the establishment - it was an exciting time."|
I remember asking if I
could borrow his bass and him flipping out coz I got his name wrong, getting all
precious about it.
I just laughed and he got madder, but fair play to him,
he lent me it anyway.
They were a really small band at that time before
they had Andy Summers in the group or any hit records.
do you think punk was as ground breaking as rock critics claim?
has never gone out of fashion. Photo - PA Images.|
It was more
ground breaking than most people realise.
The effect that it's had in all
aspects of the media is easy to see if you know the roots of where it came from,
be it art, TV, styles of dress, attitude...
Today punk's influence is massively
Was punk a great rock'roll swindle or was it the real thing?
There were some who were a huge con trick and some were very well intentioned,
as in all movements.
The charlatans are always gonna be there.
Lurkers - Fact File|
Formed in London in mid 1976.
their own brand of punk encompassing subjects such as social unacceptability and
Inspired by American groups such as the Ramones and
the New York Dolls, the British beat boom of the 1960s and glam rockers Slade
Signed to Beggar's Banquet and had five top 40 hits between
1977 and 1979.
Appeared on Top of the Pops and were regulars on the John
Called it a day in 1980 but two years later got back together
to record for Mike Stone's Clay label due to a resurgence of interest in their
Singer Mark Fincham ran off to work the drag clubs of Berlin in
1984 and the band folded.
Bassist Arturo Bassick revived the band in 1987
after a chance meeting with German punk band Die Toten Hosen, who were huge fans.
Die Toten Hosen financed the comeback album, 'Wild Times Again'.
Lurkers line up is Arturo Bassick (bass and vocals), Nellie (drums) and Dave Kemp
What do think punk's legacy has been to
the musicians of today?
That you don't have to be a virtuoso to play
in a band...
And that if you get stuck in and don't take no for an answer,
you can express yourself and have a voice.
What do you think of today's
bands who carry the punk banner?
Well, Green Day have been around
a long time - about 18 years, I think.
But music is always being recycled.
It's incredibly hard to be totally original really.
In a lot of ways
it's the same thing but with different faces for a new generation.
you think it's a bit sad that some of the old bands have reformed all these years
No, I don't think so if they really enjoy it and can make
a few bob entertaining people and can play it with spirit.
As long as they
are not back thinking that they are some sort of long lost genius gods - that's
where there's a problem.
It's better than tribute bands cluttering up stages
pretending to be someone they're not.
What are up to these days? Are
you still gigging?
|"Thirty years on, punk is everywhere - it's so much part
of our culture that you can't even see it anymore."|
All the time in The Lurkers
and 999, and doing my own solo punktry and western gigs
What do you
think of the North East and Cumbrian local music scene today?
are some great bands from the area - Crashed Out, Holy Racket, Barse, Loudmouth,
Sancho Grey, City Kids, Distortion.
I love the scene and long may it continue.
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