So, there I was. I was doing a little time, nothing too serious, you know. Just biding my time, waiting to get back to the comrades. Still smarting, though. I was set up – a political prosecution. Cunts. In a non-sexist way, of course. I was in this open place, day release, got to go into town on a regular basis. OK, so I pushed the limits a bit, but the screws didn’t take it personal, like. I’d hang around town a bit, and next thing you know, I was catching a show or two. The Feelgoods were still playing around Canvey and Essex then. It was visceral. It had heft.
Lee, confronting the masses, challenging them, almost, to rise up… It may have been disguised as paeans to 17-year-old girls or whatever, but to me, this was the reinterpretation of the blues for the fucked generation. A call to arms. A cautionary tale – don’t wake up, bruised and with a mouth like a 1970’s ashtray in a pub car park. Burn the fucker down. And Wilko… The man was an inspiration. The eyes, full of fervour. The jerky, uncontrollable, spasmodic movement across the stage. The implied gunning down of the audience. Here was a man who literally took no prisoners. His sound, too – that staccato, connected, soulful Noise… It was incredible. Made me pick up my guitar and play. I couldn’t cope without a plectrum, like him, but I sprayed my fair share of blood across the strings. Never had the balls to get a red scratchplate like him, mind. Proper fackin’ socialist, too. Shouting down the Tory bastards who wanted to expand the refinery bollocks across Canvey. No – not shouting them down – reasoning. Pointing out the flaws in their fucked ambitions.
It was all still a bit punk then, back in the day, but we soon found the way. The historical thread – the medium being the message and all that. And the ideological purity. You can play R&B – properly – without selling out to the man. And you can adapt it to whatever time you happen to be in. So we rocked, and became Thee Faction, slowly. The Miners’ Strike was a turning point for us. That Ebbw Vale gig convinced us that we needed to properly join the communist international. As far as we were concerned, Ebbw Vale (of which we have recently, miraculously, found the 16 track master tapes) convinced us that the revolution was at hand on our own shores, so, for various reasons, we decided to cross over and tour behind the so-called Iron Curtain. As the comrades have made clear, we won’t discuss it. Never. And we won’t discuss why we decided to come back. Let’s just say that it had something to do with a choice between North Korea, China (capitalist sell-outs), and Cuba. And my horrible hives when exposed to humidity and heat. Not to mention the old Farmers, to which I have always been a martyr.
So. We’re back. And we’re rocking. Soon, you might get to hear the legendary sound that reverberated around the Valleys at the height of the struggle.
Join the movement, comrades. Don’t sell your consent. Reject the bourgeois capo, and play it in E.
And, whatever Baby Face says, remember – Situationism was, and is, cool. I’m with Asger Jorn on this one.