G.B.two represents all that is great about British Punk.
From the Sex Pistols onwards thru to Stiff Records in the beginning, the Roxy Club, the Nashville Rooms, following the work of Peter Gravelle all these images are original to him. From the Damned first album Damned,Damned Damned done in collaboration with Barney Bubbles which saw Andrew Jackman and Dave Robinson form Stiff Records with its release along with singles from Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and later Ian Drury. The Clash were already playing while in Manchester the Buzzcocks and Joy Division were starting. Other bands such as Susie & the Banshees, Subway Sect, Generation X, Wire, X-Ray Specs. The New York Dolls and the The Stooges had inspired Malcolm McLaren whose singer was Iggy Pop. Richard Hell, Talking Heads, Blondie and Devo all waited in the wings. The Ramones where about to set punk on fire with their 3 minute wonders .
However England was to ignite it all with the Sex Pistols and their immediate notoriety first on the Bill Grundy show and then with the release of their first single Anarchy in the UK. There next single God Save the Queen released in her jubilee year poured more fuel on the fire of youth and national discontent. The Sex Pistols were basically Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock. Soon Glen was to be replaced by Sid Vicious and a new chapter started. Banned from playing England they would resort to touring Scandinavia. Meanwhile in England the Punk Movement went into full force. The Roxy Club opened and the music had a venue. The Heartbreakers arrived from New York . Made up of Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan of the New York Dolls plus Billy Rath and Walter Lure they became the Saturday night headliners. Other bands filled the spots often playing for the first time, Wire, Johnny Moped, Snatch, the Police, the London Cowboys, the Only Ones, Eddie and the Hotrods, the Stranglers, Penetration, 999 and more.
The Roxy Club in its initial, original first stage only lasted for about three months. By then Joe Strummer and the Clash had been signed by C.B.S., the Police by A&M. In fact every label seemed to have signed at least one punk band. The band Chelsea had split and Billy Idol formed Generation X with Tony James . The Sex Pistols released Never Mind the Bollocks and decided to tour the USA while Malcolm McLaren put all his time and energy into making the film that was to become Who Killed Bambi. Really the first initial stage of Punk was over. Only tragedy was to follow. Sid Vicious’s girlfriend Nancy Spungen was found dead in The Chelsea Hotel, New York and months later Sid himself died.
All of this was witnessed and photographed by Peter Gravelle.
We remain the only outlet releasing his personal archive.
Whether you think Punk is off or on one can’t deny Punks influence. The music, the fashion and the attitude it gave us are still prevalent today …there is hardly a new band today that doesn’t re-count at least one Punk influence … Punk came to us in England in 1976 brought to light largely thanks to the Sex Pistols, a band that really only had one album but oh, what an album it was to be …they spawned numerous others while across the water numerous bands lined up to be counted under the banner led by the Ramones, Richard Hell, Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers . Thanks to Punk the music of bands like Talking Heads, Devo, Jonathan Richmond and more came to our ears. Patti Smith finally had a banner to fly under and Iggy Pop, due to his musical influence through the Stooges became a deserved kingpin that later had him proclaimed the Godfather of Punk.
In Britain there was a musical explosion. The Damned beat the Sex Pistols in releasing the first Punk Album. Billy Idol formed Generation X. Joe Strummer left the 101’s to form the mighty Clash. The Stranglers had a banner to fly under, thanks to Stiff Records and their Punk pedigree we were introduced to Elvis Costello. Ian Drury reached the public in force. Madness emerged. In Australia the Saints proclaimed they were Stranded. In Los Angeles there were X. In France Marc Zematti, a forerunner with his Metallic KO and Flaming Groovies releases on his Skydog label flied the flag high. The Punk message was spreading, or should one say, agreed upon. The infamous Roxy Club opened and a venue had been created for these new bands and their music. Wire, X-Ray Specs, Susie & the Banshees, Johnny Moped, Magazine, 999, the Boys, the Idols (later the London Cowboys), Snatch, Chelsea, The Slits, Joy Division , The Glorious Buzzcocks and many more. Johnny Thunders and his Heartbreakers moved from New York and became the Saturday night favourites of the Roxy. The list was endless.
What was more important was there was a sense of right and wrong. The Pistols spearheaded this with their exploits thru their musical releases and fights with the record companies. There was a sense of unity. Too right, it wasn’t just about the music. Within a year all was nearly gone. The Sex Pistols broke up followed by punk icon Sid Vicious ‘s untimely death. Miss-represented by a popular press who liked to portray Punk as no more than a safety pin and a music industry that liked to control what we heard, it’s probably quite amazing that it did last that long. Those in power really did have something to be worried about. However the spark had lit the fire. A fire that we believe even inspired early rap and hip-hop in attitude if not musically. There was to be no turning back. Even today Punk lives on in the heart and soul of smart youth. We really did mean it man …