FIRST LINE UP - 1977 / 1978



Some of the gigs that we played with the above line up are as follows:


28th September 1978 "Park Tavern", Streatham, London With 'The UK Subs', 'The Tickets' & 'Security Risk'
13th November 1978 "2000 Club", Battersea, London With 'The UK Subs' & 'The Pack'
24th November 1978 "Wandsworth School", London With 'The UK Subs' & the 'Great British Heroes" (aka GBH)
13th December 1978 "Rainbow Theatre", London With 'Adam & the Ants' CANCELLED






 * Sadly died of a drug overdose

** Went onto be in the 'Sex Gang Children'


Some of the gigs that we played with the above line up are as follows:


14th March 1980 "Conway Hall", London With 'The Epileptics', 'The Eratics', 'Sinyx' & 'Graff-X'
23rd March 1980 "Hammersmith Odeon', London With 'Stiff Little Fingers'
?? May 1980 Marquee, London With 'Brian James Hellions'
19th June 1980 "Clarendon Ballroom, London With 'Pink Military' & 'Icarus'
25th July 1980 "Electric Ballroom", London With 'Slaughter & the Dogs"



THIRD LINE UP - 1979 / 1980


*Replaced by 'Luke Rendle' who went onto be in 'Crisis' then 'Theatre Of Hate'

**Later went onto be in 'Epileptics' then 'Theatre Of Hate'

***Later went onto be in 'The Wall'


Some of the gigs that we played with the above line up are as follows:

??  July 1980 "The Latchmere", Battersea, London  



FOURTH LINE UP - 1980 / 1982


*Later went onto be in 'DOA' and then 'The Pack
** Later went onto 'The Pack'
***Later went onto 'Public Image Ltd' then 'The Pack'

 Some of the gigs that we played with the above line up are as follows:


8th August 1980 "Music Machine", London With 'The UK Subs'
10th September 1980 "Music Machine", London With 'Panic Button'
11th December 1980 Go On the "Black Album Tour" With 'The Damned' inc
3rd December 1980 "Hammersmith Odeon", London Play support to 'The Damned'
27th December 1980 "101 Club", Clapham, London With 'Chaos'
6th January 1981 "Marquee", London With 'The Stiffs"
??  ?? 1981 "Gossips", Soho, London  
??  ?? 1981 "Bowes Lyon House", Stevenage  
13th March 1981 "Star Hotel", Croydon, Surrey  
15th March 1981 "Lyceum Ballroom', London With 'The Wanderes', Martian Dance, FK9 & Cosmetics
??  ??  1981 'The Bridgehouse", Canning Town, London  
??  ??  1981 "Basement Bar", Claredon Hotel, London With 'Brutal Attack'
17th April 1981 "Star Hotel", Croydon, Surrey With 'The Damned (A Special Secret Gig)
??  ??  1981 "100 Club', London With 'Brutal Attack'



'Jim' the drummer leaves after releasing  the two singles 'I just can't take anymore' & 'Brixton' in 1982 &  the ‘Pete Davies’ of the ‘UK Subs’ stands in for the recording of the album. Rat Scabies even records a track as well!


9th April 1982 "Skunx", Blue Coat Boy, Islington, London With 'Action Pact'
25th April 1982 "Lyceum Ballroom', London With 'The UK Subs'', The Meteors' & 'Peter and the Test Tube Babies'
??  ??  1981 "Digbeth Civic Centre", Birmingham With 'Drongos For Europe'
15th May 1982 "Skunx", Blue Coat Boy, Islington, London With 'Brutal Attack & 'Chaos'
15th July 1982 "Klub Foot", Clarendon Ballroom, London With 'The Meteors' & 'Peter and the Test Tube Babies'
17th July 1982 "Skunx", Blue Coat Boy, Islington, London With 'Urban Dissidents'
28th July 1982 "Klub Foot", Clarendon Ballroom, London With 'Southern Death Cult'



We had a few drummers after including the comedian ‘Lee Evans' for a short period but ‘Jock’ sacked him.

'Neil Holdom' from ‘Brutal Attack’ drums on the third and final single but unfortunately it was never released as & we split soon after.






The story of The Straps is one so similar to many other punk bands from the late Seventies/early Eighties, and indicative of the volatile creativity of that period. Together as a serious recording unit for but a few short years, the band were responsible for a clutch of great records but, frustrated by the cynical music industry and plagued by fragmentary line-ups, split before they ever realised their true potential. Still, as this long-overdue retrospective CD so ably demonstrates, the music they rushed onto tape with the wild impetuosity of youth over twenty years ago stands up to scrutiny even today.

Formed in Battersea by guitarists Steve Macintosh and Dave Reeves, the original short-lived incarnation of The Straps featured Howard Jackson on vocals, Brad on drums and Green on bass, but things started moving for the band when John ‘Jock’ Grant took over behind the mike.

“It was in Glasgow, in 1977, when I first came across Jock Strap,” recalls Dennis Fallon, one-time manager of the band. “We met in Renfield Street, and our meeting was rather a strange one that led to us stealing a transit van full of musical equipment belonging to the band that I sang with at the time! Basically we stole the van for a laugh - not really to nick anything - and parked it up further down the road, leaving the bass player of the band all bemused when he came out of the music shop to find his van was missing! We became good friends and looked after each other for many years after that event.

“We moved down to London after going down there for The Clash gig against racism and ended up squatting in Abercrombie Street, Battersea, which is where The Straps first came about. There was a geezer called Brad who used to come round to visit us and Dave ‘Diesel’ (Reeves) would turn up on his moped - no parka just his school uniform! They had this rehearsal one day and Jock was fucking about with the bass and Green came in and asked him if he could sing and that basically is how Jock ended up in the band, and I ended up working with them.”

The band made their public debut supporting the UK Subs at the Streatham Park Tavern, before suffering their first casualty.

“Green died of a heroin overdose very shortly afterwards,” sighs Dennis sadly. “They had to play the Latchmere pub in Battersea with Andi Sex Gang [from the Sex Gang Children] standing in on bass; he had only a few days to learn how to play, but he did okay… although his fingers were all cut and bleeding afterwards!”

Andy Forbes (nicknamed ‘Heed’ by Rab Fae Beith from The Wall ‘because of his big head!’) took over on second guitar, Stan Stammers joined on bass and Luke Rendell on drums, before the band relocated to what would become their spiritual home, Brixton.

“Jock got a part-time job in [fashionable London punk emporium] Boy, down the Kings Road, but he wasn’t really that interested in it and I ended up working there instead, as did Stan, whilst Jock focused on his music. Dave also worked occasionally in Boy - he got paid in T-shirts! – and yes, it is true that I used to have The Straps play in the window of the shop! That was fun ‘cos they were like fish in a bowl and caused total chaos with the passing traffic… and, of course, the Chelsea Old Bill came and pulled the plug and I got nicked! Or, should I say, Boy got nicked… but we went on to do this on several other occasions when the owner John Krivine was away on business in The States.”

“We used to finance our rehearsals by ripping off all the foreigners that were shopping in Boy by overcharging them for goods,” laughs Dave. “I remember that there was a spare piece of red tartan cloth about 12” x 30” long, and we sold it to an American girl for £30 as a mini skirt; we just put a safety pin at the front to hold it together. £30 was a lot of money in 1979, it was nearly a week’s wages to me back then! That £30 paid for a rehearsal and a decent meal.”

Stan and Luke left to join Theatre Of Hate (the band formed by The Pack vocalist, Kirk Brandon), and Heed departed for The Wall, with Canadian-born John and Simon Werner joining on bass and guitar respectively. Another Canadian, Jim Walker, joined on drums, fresh from a stint with ex-Sex Pistol John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd. (he played on their first single and album) to complete the definitive Straps line-up.

“I think the first time I actually saw The Straps was onstage, at the Music Machine... with me on drums!” laughs Jim. “I’d been offered to sit in for one gig and as I was between bands at the time I thought, ‘Why not?’ So I just showed up and we played to - I think - around 1,500 UK Subs fans, it was a great gig.
“Before PIL I had been in a cool little punk rock band on the West Coast called The Furies... then along came PIL, which wasn’t really a punk band, was it? It was more post-punk, I think… well, I don’t really know what you’d call it! But The Straps was like going back to my roots, real primal stuff...”

And it was actually Jim who set up his own label, Donut Records, and released the debut Straps single, ‘Just Can’t Take Anymore’, a slightly surprising choice for an opening gambit from the band seeing as it’s almost-Rockabilly vibe wasn’t really in keeping with the rest of their set.

“It was recorded at Rollerball Studios in Charlotte St., London,” reveals Dave. “By the bass player from the Glitter Band – can’t remember his name, sorry - who owned the studio. The cover was designed by a friend of the band called ‘Grey’, who lived in a squat in Brixton with Simon; the sketches of the people on the front cover are supposed to be me and Jock… Jock’s the one with the big nose, haha!”

The 7” sneaked into the Indie Charts at No. 49 for a week upon its release during February 1981, no doubt helped by a UK tour the band had just undertaken with The Damned.

“That cost us £2000 to get on!” exclaims Dennis. “I’ve got no solidarity with the oily rag who was tour managing The Damned then; it’s well documented how he buggered off with all their cash as well. But that tour really showed how mature The Straps had become as regards their discipline and performance; it was a great feeling seeing them on all those big stages across the UK… and the pranks that were played were unbelievable. The Damned switched the power off at one gig, and The Straps could only hear the monitors but no sound was going out front to the punters, so Jock decided to get his own back and threw a bucket of cooking oil over the stage just before The Damned came on! Haha, talk about a fast entrance! I also remember Lemmy from Motorhead coming on stage at Hammersmith with a brush, as if he was the caretaker cleaning the stage; that was not scripted and even The Straps had to laugh…”

“My favourite gig memory of all has got to be the one we did supporting The Damned at Durham University,” adds Jim. “Just before going on I consumed a bottle of rum,  and between each song I stood up, walked over to one of the guitarists’ mikes and harangued the university crowd. We ended up totally winding them all up and stealing the show from The Damned! However, that entire tour was a case study in getting wound up, and there were many more gigs almost as memorable.”

The second single remains to this day the band’s crowning glory. ‘Brixton’ was recorded at Hillside Studios in Streatham, released once again by Donut, and made No. 43 in the Indies during July 1982. An incredibly raw, energetic affair that captured the band at their fiery best, it was backed by the enjoyably moody semi-instrumental ‘No Liquor’.

“The cover was designed by Jim Walker and John Werner,” reveals Dave. “It was a photo of the Brixton riots and summed up how dangerous and rough it was living in such a deprived area at that time. It was a bit of a no-go area really, and that’s probably why such a lot of punks moved there, as they felt that they could fit in.”

Unfortunately Jim left following its release to start his own band The Human Condition, leaving The Straps without a drummer or a label. These days he actually makes horror films!

“I just had to get out due to a complete lack of business competence; my heart just wasn’t in it, to tell you the truth. Also, no one was showing the slightest bit of interest in us... which is a shame, ‘cos we had some incredibly cool fans that really deserved to have followed their band all the way to the top. No regrets though... what’s the point of regretting anything?”

For the band’s sole, self-titled album, this time on Simon’s own label, Cyclops, The Straps enlisted the help of the UK Subs’ Pete Davies to stand in behind the drum kit (although Rat Scabies from The Damned plays on the re-recording of ‘No Liquor’), whilst Captain Scarlet (AKA Dave Lloyd, one of the Subs’ many guitarists) and Andi Sex Gang provided backing vocals. Considering the duress it was recorded under, it still sounds amazing, occasionally reminiscent of The Ruts at their snarling best, although Dave maintains some reservations as to the production.

“We had no money and had to record it all live. Me and Jock have never been that keen on how it turned out, ‘cos we don’t think it reflects the real ‘raw’ sound of the Straps. It was such a rushed recording; we just feel it has something missing from it,

The cover was designed by Lynn Werner [John’s wife], she took all the photos for it as well.”

Although it was the band’s last release (a third single was recorded but never released), The Straps enjoyed considerable success gigging, their reputation as a live act continuing to grow right up until their premature demise.

“We used to headline a lot in London back then,” says Dave proudly. “At venues such as Skunx in Islington, the 100 Club, the Marquee, the Bridge House in Canning Town and Klub Foot in Hammersmith. We’d nearly always sell out these gigs; we could pull a crowd of over 500 a night… and up to 1500 at places like the Music Machine in Camden. But we barely earned enough money to pay for a van and a few beers, because we were always getting ripped off by various promoters.”

“But the funniest gig must have been at the Canterbury behind Brixton police station,” adds Dennis. “You see, there were these cigarettes called Doctor Potter’s Asthma cigarettes and if you ate them you would hallucinate much worse than with LSD. Jock did not believe this story and decided he would eat five of them that night; by the time the gig started he was totally tripping and seeing things… at one stage the microphone

turned into a frog and Jock threw it away and started jumping up and down on it!

“But my funniest story about The Straps was when Simon and myself were going round the West End of London asking record shops if they would sell our single - you just can’t beat the personal sales pitch! The singles came in boxes of 25, pressed by Fresh records on the Donut label… anyway, we had been walking about for a couple of hours and decided it was time for a coffee, so we went into this café at Trafalgar Square. Bear in mind that the previous week had seen London rocked by IRA bombings and there was a lot of paranoia around the City. We sat and discussed where we would go next and Simon said something like, ‘We can go over to Kensington and drop a few packets off there!’ You see, we had a holdall with

about ten parcels of singles in it…

“So, after our coffee we went to the bus stop… and the next minute we were surrounded with Old Bill with guns and shit, and told to put our hands above our heads. I asked Simon where Jeremy Beadle was, but unfortunately it was for real. The Old Bill asked Simon what was in the holdall, and Simon said, ‘Open it and see for yourself,’ but the Old Bill were real nervous about doing that, and Simon played on this as he knew he could wind them up.

“What had happened was that someone had overheard our conversation and picked up on us dropping off packets in Kensington. Simon had the Canadian accent and was wearing a black beret and I had the Glasgow accent, which could sound Irish to the untrained ear. Eventually I told Simon to stop fuckin’ about and open the bag, and

when the Old Bill finally saw what was in there, they laughed and apologised. And then I asked if they wanted to buy any singles!”

Sick to their back teeth of having doors slammed in their faces, The Straps eventually disbanded, Jock and Simon going on to work briefly with Jah Wobble. Jock and Dave even reformed the band for a well-received one-off reunion at 1993’s Fuck Reading festival at the Brixton Academy, but – until now, and this welcome overview CD – that was the last anyone heard of The Straps. The band remain justifiably proud of their musical legacy and philosophical about the impact they had on the underground music scene.

“As far as I am concerned they were one of the best bands about in ‘78 and beyond,” claims Dennis. “They just never got the recognition they deserved; that was mainly down to management (or lack thereof), and myself and Jock’s outspoken attitude. You see, we were from the very working class areas of Glasgow and took the whole ‘76 punk movement very seriously – still do, in fact - and we would not compromise to promoters. Basically we were punished by not getting the chance to play the gigs that we should have.”

We feel very proud looking back now on what we achieved,” says Dave, in closing. “We are only now realising, from the amount of interest we still get worldwide, what sort of impact we had on the British punk scene… especially as we only really gigged in London. Apart from doing the Damned tour in 1980, we only played outside London three times: Reading in ‘79 with Crisis, the Birmingham Digbeth Civic Hall in ‘79 with Drongos For Europe (which ended in a riot!) and Stevenage, at the Bowes Lion House, in ‘82, where we headlined.

“And we did it all by ourselves with no help from anybody, and with hardly any money at all - but it was a very exciting time to grow up during. And it just shows that, if you are determined to give it a go and don’t give up too easily, no matter how many times you get knocked down, you can still do it if you really want to!”


By Ian Glasper

With thanks to Dave Reeves, Dennis Fallon and Jim Walker


Read more about The Straps in Ian’s book, ‘Burning Britain’, out now through Cherry Red (ISBN 1-901447-24-3)








Marc Brekau Interview 2013





Thanks goes to 'Dave Reeves' for supplying us with the above information.




Detour Records