Caught unawares, Arthuro Bassick the frontman of the original first generation of Punk music, The Lurkers prior to Friday nights bow at Guilfest. They went on to play a hugely enjoyable set in the Vive La Rock Tent, well supported by Nelly on Drums and Steve on Guitar from the Hi-Fi Spitfires. Arthuro’s long day did not end there as he had extra bass guitar duties with 999 on the same night.
It’s late in the afternoon on another sunny day in Stoke park, Guilford. As I sip the remainder of my second Brothers Pear Cider, suddenly Lucy Galley suggested a video interview with The Lurkers frontman.. Pushing me into the fore. The reason the interview is in two parts is that as the next band started in the Vive La Rock Tent we could not hear ourselves. so asking Arthuro to leave the Lurkers merchandise stall, we cross over to the other side of this particular field to continue.
The Lurkers Band History
The Lurkers formed late in 1976 and played their first gig at Uxbridge Technical College in the December supporting Screaming Lord Sutch to an audience of 10! The original line-up consisted of Pete Stride on Guitar, Stephen Colegrave, Pete “Manic Esso” Haynes on drums, Howard Wall on vocals and Nigel Moore on Bass. Despite not being the principal vocalist, Stride was the band’s main songwriter. The band were one of the pioneering punk bands that played live in the first few months of the now-legendary Roxy Club in London. Nigel was swiftly replaced by Arturo Bassick. They supported The Jam in February 1977, Eater in March, and Slaughter & The Dogs in April.
The Lurkers recorded four sessions at Maida Vale 4 studio for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 (when it was still a good radio station), on 18/10/1977, 18/04/1978, 25/07/1978, and 24/01/1979. Their debut single ‘Shadow’, the first release on the mighty Beggars Banquet Records, was voted by John Peel as his twelfth best track of the year in 1977’s Festive Fifty. with “Love Story”, the B-side, at number 31. Bassick left the band after this first single, and was replaced by former Saints member Kym Bradshaw, who left before the recording of the third single, 1978’s “Ain’t Got a Clue”/”Ooh, Ooh I Love You” which saw the return of Nigel Moore to the band. That single was their biggest hit, reaching No. 45 on the UK singles chart.
The following month, the band’s debut album, ‘Fulham Fallout’, reached No. 57 on the UK Charts. One reviewer described it as “by far their best with production that really makes the guitar kick. It’s sloppy and amateurish, but that’s what makes it so great.” ‘Be My Prisoner’, a song from the album, also appeared on ‘Streets’, a 1977 compilation album of early UK punk bands from a variety of independent record labels.
In January 1979, The Lurkers’ fifth single, ‘Just Thirteen’, was released, and in 2001 it was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time. A month after the release of this single, The Lurkers’ track ‘I’m on Heat’ appeared, alongside songs by more famous bands like The Jam and The Stranglers, on the punk compilation 20 of Another Kind (Polydor, POLS 1006). The album reached number 45 in the UK charts. Another of the band’s tracks, ‘Out In The Dark’, appeared on the follow-up 20 of Another Kind Volume 2.
The band’s second album was not as well received, critically or commercially as their debut, and the band split for a few years. Pete Stride collaborated with ‘Honest’ John Plain (of English punk band the Boys) and released an album in January 1980. In 1982, Stride re-formed the Lurkers. They signed for Stoke-on-Trent-based label Clay Records, for whom they released four singles and one album. The band broke up again in 1984.
In the years since, they have reunited and continue to record and perform around the world to this day. The band’s legacy, however, is primarily based on their late 1970s output. ‘Shadow’, ‘Ain’t Got a Clue’, and ‘Just Thirteen’ in particular are cited by punk cognoscenti as classic examples of the style, and still show up from time to time on genre overview compilations. The current line-up is: Bassick (bass and vocals) who also plays for 999, Steve Straughan (guitar), and Nelly (drums), ex Hangups and Fiend now of Hi -Fi Spitfires. In January 2009 the band supported punk legends the Buzzcocks on fourteen dates of their UK tour. Esso, Stride and Moore are jamming again under the name of God’s Lonely Men. The next I see Arthuro, Steve and Nelly is at Guilfest 2011 of which they are due to play the Vive La Rock Tent.
Lucy Galley of With Guitars, waves her mini video camera, and suggests I interview the first generation punk, singer and bassist, as well as future spoken word provider (I wish). I did not have more than a minute to prepare, but that made two of us, still, we pushed on so of the interview is a little ramshackle, my apologies, we tried our best. Please have a play of With Guitars impromptu ‘interview’. I must point a few things out, that may not be common knowledge; Sadly after Arthuro’s Mum was mugged in London, the family first moved to Lincoln, before Arthuro moved to Sunderland (Just outside of the city, in a small village to the West) on the North East coast of England. Also the band are all on the tired side, from the excursions of the last few days. Enjoy.
For more go to www.thelurkers.co.uk/
- Fulham Fallout (June 1978: Beggars Banquet, BEGA 2) # 57 UK Albums Chart
- God’s Lonely Men (April 1979: Beggars Banquet, BEGA 8)
- This Dirty Town (July 1983: Clay Records, CLAY 104)
- Wild Times Again (Feb. 1988: Weser)
- King of the Mountain (June 1989: Link)
- Powerjive (October 1990: Released Emotions)
- Non-Stop Nitropop (November 1994: Weser)
- Ripped n Torn ( 1995: Step 1)
- 26 Years ( 2003: Captain Oi! Ahoy 229)
- Fried Brains (2008: Captain Oi! Ahoy 301)
- Last Will and Testament – Greatest Hits (November 1980)
- Totally Lurkered (Dojo, December 1992)
- The Beggars Banquet Punk Singles (Anagram, May 1997)
- Take Me Back To Babylon (Receiver, December 1997)
- Live And Loud (Link, November 1989)
- Live In Berlin (Released Emotions, June 1992)
- Freakshow Live (Kotumba Records 2004)
Appearances on various artist compilations (Selective)
Listing of of the various artist compilation albums mentioned in the text introduction;
- ‘Be My Prisoner’ featured on the ‘Streets’ compilation album (End of 1977: Beggars Banquet BEGA1)
- “I’m On Heat” featured on the 20 of Another Kind compilation album (1979: Polydor Records POLX-1) UK #45 UK Albums Chart
- Shadow / Love Story (July 1977: Beggars Banquet, BEG 1)
- Freak Show / Mass Media Believer (October 1977: Beggars Banquet, BEG 2)
- Ain’t Got A Clue / Ooh Ooh I Love You (May 1978: Beggars Banquet, BEG 6) # 45 UK Singles Chart
- I Don’t Need To Tell Her / Pills (July 1978: Beggars Banquet, BEG 9) # 49
- Just Thirteen / Countdown (January 1979: Beggars Banquet, BEG 14) # 66
- Out In The Dark E.P.: Cyanide / Suzie Is A Floozie / Cyanide (pub version) (May 1979: Beggars Banquet, BEG 19) # 72
- New Guitar In Town / Pick Me Up / Little Ol’ Wine Drinker Me (November 1979: Beggars Banquet, BEG 28) # 72
- Shadow / Love Story / Freak Show / Mass Media Believer (1979: Beggars Banquet, BACK 1) double-7″ pack
- I Don’t Need To Tell Her / Pills / Just Thirteen / Countdown (1979: Beggars Banquet, BACK 3) double-7″ pack
- This Dirty Town / Wolf At The Door (June 1982: Clay, CLAY 12)
- Drag You Out / Heroin (It’s All Over) (November 1982: Clay, CLAY 17)
- Frankenstein Again / One Man’s Meat… (February 1983: Clay)
- Final Vinyl EP: Let’s Dance Now (No Time To Be Strangers) / Midnight Hour / By The Heart / Frankenstein Again (March 1984: Clay)
- Let’s Dance Now / Midnight Hour (May 1984: Clay, CLAY 32)
- Go Ahead Punk / Lucky John (Empty Records 1999)