THE DESTROYERS

Kirkby

 

 

Tony 'Gibbo' Gibson (aka M. Balmer) - Vocals Mark Barry (aka Mark One) - Guitar
Ian Barry (aka Mort Cherry) - Bass Freddy Palethorpe (aka Dee Kay) - Drums


A real obscure punk band from just out side of Liverpool who's claim to fame is that they played 'Erics' more times than any other band. Sadly, this band doesn't really get the recognition that they deserved as they weren't part of the "IN-CROWD" of the Erics scene and always get over looked!

In the bands short career, they ventured into 'Amazon Studios', Kirkby in 1977 and recorded 4 killer tracks.

"LA Storm Drain" (Written by Ian Barry)

"Motorway Madness" (Written by Ian Barry)

"Deathwish" (Written by Ian Barry)

"Outkast" (Written by Mark Barry)

 The Destroyers were formed in early 1976 by Ian, M, Freddie and Gibbo.  The band were playing covers and writing their own material but lacked direction.  However they did have a name.  Nothing to do with the scraggy t-shirt worn by Mrs. Lydon's little boy.  The name was coined by Ian's dad.  After yet again being asked to subsidize a weekend at Ericís, he said, "Why don't you call yourselves The Destroyers; you're always looking for a sub".

Then the band saw the Sex Pistols at Ericís November 76, they were the same age, same working class attitude and the time was right. Now they knew which gang they belonged to - Punk.

The legendary Ericís Club in Liverpool was at the forefront of all musical genres and this was the club in which The Destroyers quickly established themselves.  All four were club members and they practically lived in the place. One night Roger Eagle, the legendary owner of Ericís asked them to try out for a battle of the bands he was holding that Saturday afternoon. The current resident band were not pleased when they were also told to take part. That night The Destroyers started a residency at Ericís that would last about 20 months and see them support every decent band that was gigging at that time.  That first night, these 16 to 18 year olds had their eyes and ears opened by the outrageous Wayne County and the Electric Chairs. Mr County stopped the gig every 15 minutes to pass his top hat around to collect cash for his surgery. He must have done that a lot, as he's Jayne County now.

The next night The Destroyers opened for Split Enz, not very punk but amazing musicians. This was the first time they'd witnessed a manager giving a pep talk and a band doing an all American huddle and high five before going on stage. A mark of their professionalism, as much as the driven nature of the Finn brothers. They later went on to form Crowded House.

Other notable bands The Destroyers opened for were, The Clash, Ultravox (three times), The Slits and Black Slate (they had a threeway with them - on stage that is), The Pirates, XTC, The Damned, Generation X, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Buzzcocks and m, any others too average to mention.

Almost all of the bands were very friendly regardless of their own stature, few displayed any bad behaviour toward the support band.  One notable exception was the Buzzcocks. After trying to "access" The Destroyers amplifiers without asking and being told how dangerous that was, they decided to ambush the band as they left the stage.  Big mistake, it was all over before you could say Bdum Bdum.  Destroyers 4, Buzzcocks 0.

The Clash on their White Riot tour, on the other hand, not only enjoyed The Destroyers opening set at Ericís, but then, after their own amazing set, they followed The Destroyers over to the Swinginí Apple, another notorious Liverpool Punk club, where they were also the resident band. Destroyers, Ďso good The Clash watched them twice, in one nightí.

By this time The Destroyers had acquired a manager. As was the fashion at the time, he was the owner of a clothes shop, 69A.  The Manager got talking to Bernie Rhodes at the Swingin' Apple and Bernie invited The Destroyers onto the extended Clash tour that was now taking place in large venues around the country.  One particularly memorable gig with The Clash was at Lanchester Poly, somewhere in the midlands. After The Destroyers had played three encores, with the crowd shouting for more, the ever delightful Bernie literally pulled the plug and not only silenced The Destroyers, but left the entire auditorium in darkness for ten minutes. No problem, they could smell their way to the beer rider anyway. So off they ran to the backstage party area to let the games begin. One met a very pretty punkette who wanted to go backstage to meet her boyfriend. Yep, Mrs. Mick Jones. Others in the band were much luckier.  One got laid by twins in the shower, clean as a whistle when they'd finished; one screwed himself into a clinic and another won a pineapple shagging contest against Topper Headon. What else did you think the fruit on a rider was for?

As The Destroyers gained in popularity, they also attracted a large following. This led to some crazy nights on tour when the band would show up at somewhere like Barbarellaís in Birmingham to be greeted by a coach load of fans from Ericís and the Swinginí Apple.

One night this led to one of the band's more infamous moments.  Raftersgate.

The Destroyers had been booked to play Rafters in Manchester.  There was a mix up and somebody had also booked Sham 69 to play that night too. The Destroyers' manager did his best to reach a compromise with the Sham management, but to no avail.  Threats were made about what the Sham Army would do to the stupid Scousers if they showed up. Of course, they showed up.  With their own army. Everything was going fine until about halfway through the gig. Gibbo had to stop singing to stem the blood flowing from a cut on his face. Then a Destroyer unhooked his guitar strap and raced across the stage to land a perfect Gibson Melody Maker home run. Right across the head of a gobshite who was lining up to launch his beer mug into the face of the bass player, who was blinded by the stage lights and blissfully unaware of the imminent danger.

Then WW3 broke out. The Sham Army met the Swinginí Apple Clockwork Orange boys mid dance floor and had the shit kicked out of them, helped in no small measure by the 50 or so baseball bats, iron bars and other assorted items of mass destruction smuggled in as band equipment. By the time the Greater Manchester Police SPG and dog unit arrived most of the Sham Army were on their way to hospital for a well deserved rest.  Rafters lost its license the next day, so from then on The Destroyers had to play the Electric Circus for their Manchester gigs.

As 1977 turned to 1978, The Destroyers found themselves gigging around the country, but eventually punk became so mainstream that it lost most of its edge and all of its appeal.  One of the last gigs was at The Nashville in Kensington where they shared the stage with Rockabilly legends Matchbox.

Ian Barry
February 2015

 

 

Above is the front cover to 'No Future' #3 and a article about the band at the Swinging Apple in Liverpool from late 1977.

 

Above is the gig review from the Swinging Apple in Liverpool from 1977.

 

 

Thanks to Mick Mada, Mario Panciera, Jamie Farrell & Ian Barry

 

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