Axegrinder / Maniac and Throbs at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South West London, Sunday January 4th 1987
Up to this point punk gigs at the William Morris had been limited to local Kingston bands. It was No More Bloody Destruction that had got the ball rolling with the first event there which my band, Throbs. also played. Adam and Mick from NMBD showed me the ropes of booking a gig – basically hiring the PA and agreeing a price with Ronnie, the manager at the venue.
This gig pushed things a little further. The flyer had a fox on it and was knocked off from the cover of Concrete Sox’s ‘Your Turn Next” LP. The reason behind this was that the gig would be a benefit for North Surrey Hunt Sabs for which £80 was raised and duly sent off. Axegrinder and Maniac put in their usually professional and heavy sets. I seem to recall that when I was onstage in the Throbs I fell off a bit of the stage that was made up of tables after jumping on to it. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that as everyone else has hopefully forgotten. It’s a good job camera phones didn’t exist back then
HDQ / Maniac and Slaughter of the Innocent at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South West London on Saturday 21st March 1987
This was the first time I booked bands from outside the London area. I’d been writing to Golly from HDQ for a while having featured them in my zine, Crisispoint. They’d been heading in an exciting new direction based more on US hardcore since their first mini LP and were looking for a gig down South. They said they’d travel down on the coach and turned up with all the gear they could carry. They may even have bought a guitar head but they used a lot of Maniac’s gear, cabs and drums and a big speaker cab i kept in the back of the venue or the back of my Austin Maxi. HDQ blew the roof off with their frenetic energy, Dickie Hammond’s riffing, Rob thundering away on the bass and Lainey kicking it all along behind the kit. Singer Golly still probably holds the record at the venue for the highest jump. I don’t think Jon from Heresy ever got quite as high.
I was pleased to get a bit of variety on the bill with Slaughter of the Innocent from Brighton. I really liked their demo at the time (since lost) and was in contact with Melita from the band who turned into a good supporter of what we were trying to do and I daresay educated me on feminist attitudes along the way.
After the gig we split HDQ into two parties with Golly and Dickie staying round my good friend Lee’s aka Wombat’s (RIP) house. It’s fair to say they had a much quieter night than Rob and Lainey who stayed around another friends house and had to contend with arguments / fighting / drug overdoses / ambulances and all the rest. They looked pretty shocked and pretty pleased to see me turn up the following morning. I’ve since learnt from their sleeve notes that they then went straight on to a recording session – they must have been operating on zero sleep for 48 hours at this time.
From my perspective the gig was a success. I’d moved on from asking my mates in the pub to play to getting bands from outside the area to visit. It was as simple as “If you book them they will come” though of course I was to later learn the hard way that wouldn’t always be the case.
Negazione and Deviated Instinct at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South London., Wednesday April 22nd 1987
Negazione, a hardcore band from Italy, were on a UK tour with Deviated Instinct at this time. This was one of two gigs they played in London. Looking at the flyer now I would have thought there would have been a third band – probably Maniac again.
The thing that really stuck in the mind about this gig was how long Negazione took to soundcheck. The PA system wasn’t much more than a vocal PA but they still managed to stress me out with constant tinkering of levels of everything. I kept asking one of their entourage how long they were going to be as Deviated Instinct were also keen to soundcheck. Every time I asked their frankly intimidating roadie he gestured at me five more minutes. The gig itself was fine when it got underway with early attendees basically seeing two sets as the soundcheck ran so late.
Gig Flyer – Instigators, Maniac and Deface the Nation – William Morris Club, Wimbledon, Friday 19th July 1987
Instigators have always been one of my favourite punk bands and Andy Turner was in regular contact at this time so it was natural they would be invited down to play. They turned up in a Ryder rental truck – I remember when they opened up the back to get the gear out weary punk after weary punk climbed out of the back. I’m not sure how many were in there but at least there was a ready made crowd for the gig as it was well into double figures.
Deface the Nation (great name!) were a local band just starting out and went on first and Maniac of course played again. The Instigators were every bit as good as I hoped. Simon Mooney drove the whole thing along with his guitar work and Andy leapt about like a madman. I actually got to watch some of the band and take some photos too.
Karma Sutra / Slaughter of the Innocent / Wat Tyler at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South West London, Friday 5th February 1988
Wat Tyler were playing everywhere at this time and were always great for a laugh. Between all the banter and mucking about they actually had some really fine and catchy songs. They always seemed to win the crowd over. I was pleased Slaughter of The Innocent played again too, making the short trip up from Brighton. Their politics were ahead of their time but now seem so obvious.
I really rated Karma Sutra. Such nice people with a great ethic. This whole gig had a different vibe from the usual, slightly macho’ hardcore whirlwind. There was a lot of positivity, Karma Sutra were a little theatrical in their style and had plenty to say. Their ‘Daydreams of a Production Line Worker’ LP remains a classic and the fact that they wanted it distributed for free in libraries at the time was a really typical and innovative idea to get a message across to a wider sudience. Never happened to my knowledge though!
Chaos UK / Axegrinder / NV Boys (Holland) and Mind Grind at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South West London, Saturday 20th February 1988.
This was a bit of a nightmare gig. The original line up had Napalm Death headlining and Ripcord as lead support and that was how it was going to be until a few days before the gig before first ND pulled out and then Ripcord. Then on a call with Shane from Manic Ears Records about Ripcord not playing he said he was with Kaos from Chaos UK and that they would do it instead. Saved my neck to be honest. I quickly knocked up a new flyer, sort of copying a picture off the back of Chaos UK’s ‘Short Sharp Shock’ LP and passed it around at a another gig just the day before but back then that was all you could do. Listings in Sounds etc. went in weeks before and in those pre Internet times it was all word of mouth and flyers.
I’d written ‘It’ll be alright on the night’ on top of the flyer maybe more in hope. Chaos UK turned up as promised, in a mini I think, and played their first London gig in years. I’m guessing they must have used either Axegrinder’s or Mind Grind’s gear? They played a real blinder, even including a raffle for cider. Only one person complained to me that Napalm Death couldn’t play – but they still paid their £2 to get in anyway.
Bolt Thrower / Deviated Instinct / Doom and Depth Charge at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South West London, Saturday April 2nd 1987
I loved this mix of bands. It was maybe the first time Bolt Thrower played London and it was a real crusty line up. I was in contact with drummer Whale at the time and also Bri from Doom which also explains Depth Charge’s addition to the bill. I was also writing to Leggo from Deviated Instinct too and it all came together with the flyer being a mix up of both DI’s and Bolt Thrower’s artwork with a load of rubbish added by me at the bottom including signs to their home towns of Birmingham and Norwich. I’m pretty sure Mark from Polka Slam zine was involved in setting things up too at this time but may have got that wrong. Like most gigs I was mainly too busy to watch the bands so I can’t tell you much about it. It must have gone well as I went on to do two more gigs for Bolt Thrower as they became more popular and could fill up the Fulham Greyhound. After that they started to get guarantees for gigs I couldn’t match. I operated in a different way – I just shared out the money made on the night with the bands with a guarantee only provided to cover expenses. When bands were being offered £500 a night I just couldn’t do that with my only income being a job in retail.
Oi Polloi, Intensive Care and Throbs at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South London, Saturday 23rd May 1987
I remember getting a bit of stick for having Intensive Care on this bill but don’t recall any problems on the night. Well except that someone spotted Oi Polloi’s drummer turned up with a Skrewdriver T shirt on. When confronted about it he said he just liked their music. I don’t think Deek was impressed but he was just a young kid. I don’t think he was in the band much longer.
After the gig we learnt that Oi Polloi hadn’t got anywhere to stay so a quick call was made to home to see if they could kip in my bedroom. Begrudgingly my folks agreed. I don’t know how but I must have kept the band quiet when we got back because my Mum never realised they were there until she walked in about 8am with a cup of tea and was surprised to see five skinheads asleep on the floor. My Dad had the same reaction too when they all trooped out the front door saying ‘Morning’ and ‘thank you’ as he stood there fixing his car. The whole band got into my Austin Maxi with one of them lying across the others on the back seat on their way to the station. I think my parents were surprised when about a year later I showed them the latest Oi Polloi LP where Deek had written thanks to ‘Steve and his folks’ on the sleeve notes.
Culture Shock / Capital Gain / Shrapnel / Throbs at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South West London Saturday August 8th 1987
I don’t think there’s ever been an event at the William Morris Club with more people than this. It had a capacity of 180 to 200 but some enterprising soul find an alternate way in and so by the time Culture Shock were on stage it was well over capacity. Only in later years did I have any concept of just how dangerous this probably was – if anything had gone wrong it could have been a tragedy. Getting in for free was something of a sport at Culture Shock gigs at the time – I remember seeing them at The Richmond in Brighton where the venue hall was on the first floor. Someone found a ladder outside and all of a sudden people started coming in through the upstairs window. Two quid was a lot of money for people in those days.
I was writing to Shrapnel at the time and knew they were keen to get a gig and I was really happy to put them on. Some of the nicest people I ever did a gig with. I don’t remember being in contact with Capital Gain so I guess both bands came along as a 2 for 1 deal from Wales. The Throbs, my own band, made up the bill which means I probably relied on Sean Forbes (Rugger Bugger / Wat Tyler) to help me out with the door while the Throbs were playing. Sean did that a lot and it remains much appreciated.
Ripcord, Real Molesworth Dirt and Maniac, William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South London. Saturday Nov 4th 1987
You might look at the flyer and think that’s Heresy and and not Ripcord – and you’d be right! I think Heresy were originally slated to play but pulled out early on the and flyer was updated as Ripcord playing. RMD were in fact Real Molesworth Dirt – a fantastic name for a band at the time. Maniac completed the bill (again)!
There’s a super clearing mixing desk tape of this gig which is a bit legendary as you can hear a dog barking between songs. I’m not sure how it got in but it was definitely on a bit of string rather than a lead and didn’t spend long in the hall. I also remember taking a knife off someone at this gig during the pat down search at the door. I don’t think the person had any intention of using it but was one of those moments when you realise why the club insisted on checking people. Ronnie, the owner, put up with a lot because he was basically a good guy happy to give us kids a chance. When Sid from Rubella Ballet ripped a sink off the toilet wall in a drunken stupor he could have charged me a lot more for the repair and once when there was a Cowboy style fight in the bar (with chairs flying) he was understanding. He observed most of the people involved were actually trying to stop it and that no one really got hurt. He eventually left to run the Prince of Wales theatre in the West End – now that’s a change of pace for you.
Oi Polloi and The Throbs at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South London. Sunday 18th July 1988
Maniac and Max Penalty at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South London. Saturday 8th October 1988
Decadence Within, Wat Tyler, Prophecy of Doom, Drudge at the William Morris Club, Wimbledon, South London. Friday 24th November 1988
I don’t really remember much about this gig, sometimes I wonder if it happened at all! I think though that I recall Prophecy of Doom arriving with Decadence Within, certainly I remember Shrew telling his stories. I probably don’t remember much about the bands as with Wat Tyler playing Sean Forbes couldn’t of been helping me out on the door. This meant I probably saw nothing of the bands as I was too busy fretting about money. Putting gigs on at the William Morris was getting harder by this time. The cost of the venue had gone up and other promoters were booking it out too – often putting on bands that I would have liked to such as Snuff and Mega City Four. I moved on to putting on gigs at the more central and more established Fulham Greyhound and George Robey about this time.
Final note and a please for help/ These are just my memories of gigs I personally put on here. It was a long time ago and we all have different bits we remember. So I’d love to see if you have any memories, photos, recordings, whatever too. Send any recollections to the artofthestate contact address. Cheers, Steve