From Thamesmead
Wayne Lewis - Vocals Norman Fasey (aka "Death Ray") - Rhythm Guitar
Hans Klabbers (aka "T.D" / "Johnny O") - Lead Guitar Martin Fasey (aka "Exchange & Mart") - Bass

George Watkins (aka "Monkey Bollocks") - Drums


Biography By Norman Fasey - June 2004.

In the mid 1960's, England was facing a crisis. Despite rapidly approaching The Summer of Love and England winning the World Cup in 1966, all was not a bed of roses in 60's Britain. The main crisis facing England during this time was an acute housing shortage. To try to remedy this, the GLC decided to build a new town on the outskirts of London. The aim was to provide affordable housing for the thousands of people who were in desperate need. A competition was run in the now defunct London Evening Standard to name the new town and the winner was Thamesmead.

Work Started on Thamesmead in 1966 and, by 1968, the first residents were moving in. The construction was based on prefabricated concrete blocks and the houses were 'built on stilts'. The site chosen for Thamesmead was reclaimed marshland and so there was a real threat of flooding. Instead of being the Utopia the GLC had envisaged, the result was a sprawling concrete jungle with a maze of underground garages which were warrens where people could hide/escape from the law. The town was immortalised in song by another band based in the area called R21 who came from nearby Erith in Kent. The song Newtown just about says it all... Despite having a population of 12,000 in 1976 - 2,000 of which would have been kids born on the estate or had moved there at an early age - there was nothing much for kids to do. There was one pub, two working men's clubs, all of which were out of bounds to the kids, and a youth centre, affectionately known locally as 'the youthie'. Crime was rife in the town, as was vandalism, born out of sheer boredom. Thamesmead's only claim to fame is that Kubrick chose it as a location for the filming part of A Clockwork Orange. It was with this concrete jungle as a backdrop that The Violators were formed and burned bright for a year before disappearing again. This was in the time when anybody could learn three chords and start a band. It wasn't about fame, riches or girls! We just wanted something to do! Below is a biography of the band. I have tried to be as accurate as I can about the dates of events but it was 27 years ago!!!

On September 4th 1976, The Sex Pistols appeared on Granada TV's 'So It Goes'. This was their first TV appearance and pre-dates the infamous Bill Grundy interview by almost three months (The Today Show appearance was on 1st December 1976). I was sitting up alone in my parents house watching the programme. I had been seriously into music for around 3 years (I was 15 at the time) but had never found anything that inspired me. I had bought my first guitar a year before. It was a Spanish Acoustic with one string missing. My dad had seen how dedicated I was to learning the guitar so he bought me my first electric guitar on my next birthday - A Jedsen guitar - 15 quid from a second hand shop. This really surprised me as I never got on very well with the old fucker at the time.

So there I was up in my bedroom with my Jedsen and my Woolworths 5 watt practice amp playing along to early Stones (Satisfaction, Sympathy For The Devil etc), Sweet (Teenage Rampage, Ballroom Blitz etc), The Shadows, David Bowie (Suffragette City, Jean Jeanie, Ziggy Stardust etc) and a band called The Sensational Alex Harvey Band ( Vambo rools OK!). All were bands that I listened to but never felt particularly inspired by. I just liked the fast loud songs but the words didn't mean anything to me! I used to watch programme's like 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' and 'So It Goes', trying to find something I could get into and identify with. Saw the New York Dolls on OGWT and they struck me as interesting. Then came September 4th 1976 and the Sex Pistols on TV and I was blown away! I knew almost straight away that I wanted to start a band. I never considered myself good enough to start a band before that day, as all the bands I saw on TV had the same thing in common. The guitarists had obviously been playing for years and had become accomplished musicians. Now it seemed that this did not matter. It wasn't just the fact that you didn't need to be able to play to be in a band that I liked, it was also the energy and 'fuck you' attitude of the Pistols that made me sit up and listen. John with that ripped up pink jacket held together with safety pins screaming about how he wanted to destroy passers by was just how you felt at 15!!! The whole spectacle was like nothing I had ever seen before in my life and it immediately captured my imagination!

A couple of doors down from where I lived was a Social Worker called Alan. A bit of an old fart - he used to invite me in to listen to his Bob Dylan albums and I can remember thinking 'what the fuck has this crap got to do with anything???'. Anyhow, he seemed to know everyone and so he introduced me to Hans (Now known as Johnny O). Johnny O had a cool record collection which included The Velvets, Iggy Pop and Patti Smith. What's more he had a guitar and could play a bit! So there was the nucleus of what became The Violators.

I knew Wayne from Riverside Comprehensive School. Another bloke who had a great taste in music. He was into Roxy Music and Bowie and always dressed cool. He couldn't play an instrument but was the perfect choice for a front man. All we needed was a bass player and a drummer. A guy at school we knew had a bass and we invited him to join. Unfortunately he didn't last long as he wore flared trousers to a rehearsal which we thought was a real fashion faux pas! We had considered writing a song about him called 'Alan Kings Trousers' but we didn't go through with it. He was soon dispatched in favour of my brother Martin.

Martin had been learning the guitar for as long as I had. He had a slightly different taste in music to me pre-punk and leant more towards Deep Purple and Quo. Even so, he liked his music loud and fast and was as inspired by the Pistols as I was. He swapped from guitar to bass and joined the band. Martin and I used to walk to rehearsal carrying this large bass bin he had made from a yellow tea chest in a nicked shopping trolley from the local supermarket, Happy Days! :) Martin's energy and drive as part of The Violators rhythm section was pivotal to their sound!

We started to rehearse without a drummer in the back room of the 'youthie'. Within a few weeks, we had started to attract attention and word had started to get around. One night a head poked through the window of our rehearsal room. It was a guy called George Watkins who said he had a drum kit. We said it was OK to come along to rehearse with us. He went straight home and got his drum kit and was back inside the hour. He was heavily into The Who and Keith Moon and he played that way - which wasn't a bad thing! Thus the line up of The Violators was complete.

A few weeks rehearsal as a full band, we had penned a number of songs of our own. No recordings of the band exist even though they did obtain a publishing deal at the time that gave them free recording studio time and rehearsal space. The Violators sound can best be described as a driving drum beat much in the style of Georges idol. A driving bass playing one octave lower than the rhythm guitar which played half barre chords on the 5th and 6th strings with the occasional open power chord stolen 'Play in a day the Bert Weedon Way'. Lead Guitar made embellishments over the top sometimes - in the minimalist style of Television. The vocals were naive and carried out with more than a hint of Lydon about them. We never went in for ground breaking lyrics, you can tell from this snippet of 'Suicide'

Suicide, it's contemplation
Suicide, I need masturbation!

Earth shattering! I don't think! But what could you expect from a group consisting of two 15 year olds, one 17 year and two 19 year olds! Song titles that stick in my head from that time were the afore mentioned 'Suicide', 'There's A Killer In You Tower Block' and 'No Justification'.

We had managed to put together a half hours set and felt ready to conquer the World! A couple of hippies from Thames Polytechnic Student Union came down to rehearsals to suss out if we were good enough to play a gig. Our first gig was supporting a rock band called Red Track in the Students Union Bar of Thames Polytechnic in Woolwich, SE London. We were nervous as hell but managed to play all our songs twice to fill out an hour. Johnny O got a smack in the head outside the back door as we were carrying out our gear. Some Hells Angel had a go at us saying something about Red Track being better than us. All in all the whole experience was all we expected it to be. We were hooked on playing live and getting better as a band.

The next gig was an open air Punk Festival on the waste ground behind Fararr House, Crossfields Estate in Deptford. This was also reputed to be the debut of Cafe Racers who were to become Dire Straights but I am pleased to say we did not hang around to see them! Headlining the gig were Squeeze. The whole occasion was a bit of a blur. I remember one of the other bands guitarist was riding around on a skateboard. Looked pretty cool with his spiked up hair. I remember doing our set, getting a few claps from the audience - which had far too many hippies in in for a punk festival. We packed up our gear and fucked off. I don't even remember seeing Squeeze.

In 1977, like most bands, we sent a tape to The Roxy to see if we could get a gig. On 23/4/77 we supported Siouxsie And The Banshees at the Roxy on the same night as they were filmed for Don Letts' Punk Rock Movie. Two months later we played there as the headline band. There was no support band so we supported ourselves. I can remember there were about 10 people there. It was midweek, the gig was not advertised and it was during the (sad) decline days of the Roxy.

There was a long period of rehearsal followed by our next gig at the Rock Garden with XTC. This was a couple of weeks before their 3D EP released which made it around October 1977.

Band fizzled out towards the end of 1977 for no real reason except we all got bored with it and couldn't see it going any further in it's present form or line up. I joined R21 for a short time then formed New Devices with Wayne and Martin. Johnny O's next steps are a mystery as we lost touch although his web page says he moved to Australia.

The above text has also been used on the



T.D, Death Ray and George Watkins pictured
with 'Tavy Bridge' shops in background.
Death Ray, T.D and George outside the chippy on
Tavy Bridge. We weren't responsible for the
graffiti of the amendment!


Photo booth shot showing George, Death Ray
and Jerry (Replacement Bassist for
Exchange and Mart) in foreground.
Photo booth shot showing Jerry, George (rear),
Death Ray at top and T.D in front.

Norman Fasey (aka "Death Ray")

Promo shot. Taken in Thamesmead. Death Ray Left, T.D. Center, George Right. We were not
responsible for the graffiti. There were a lot of Ted's in Thamesmead, and Hells Angels!
Spent a lot of time dodging both of 'em!


Wayne Lewis
at our first rehearsal.
Wayne Lewis
at our first rehearsal.
Martin Fasey
aka "Exchange & Mart")


Promo shot taken on the roof of our rehearsal studio in Waterloo. Death Ray Left, T.D Left Center,
Jerry Right Center, George right.



Later on after Wayne left the band, we carried on with Death Ray on vocals.
Here is us rehearsing in Waterloo. T.D Left, George Center, Death Ray Left
giving it some wellie!!


Soundcheck at our second appearance at The Roxy. Death Ray Left, George at the rear,
Wayne with mic and shades. T.D Tuning up, Exchange and Mart just going for a slash!
You can see the staircase at the rear, Anyone who went to The Roxy will remember the
bands played downstairs and the stage was at the bottom of the stairs. D.J Booth was just
behind where Death ray was standing.


Review From "Live Wire" Fanzine Press Cuttings





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