Rimini skingirl: an interview with Betty Reazione

Ah, Rimini – one of Europe’s major tourist destinations, home to a sandy beach and over 1,000 hotels. But also the birthplace of important Italian Oi bands such as Dioxina, who were active from 1981–1986, and Reazione, who have carried on the flame since the 90s. Francesca Bologna interviewed Betty Reazione, founding member and long-standing bassist of the latter band.

Part of our Skingirls Italia series (click here for part 1 and part 2)

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Until the bitter end: The story of Daily Terror and Pedder Teumer

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Few readers, aside from fans of old-school European punk, will have heard of Daily Terror. Yet in the 1980s they were an important West German punk group – and later, they arguably turned into the best skinhead band the country had produced, even if the likes of Böhse Onkelz were more popular.

Truth be told, it’s hard for me to be objective because the matter is to a certain extent personal.  Continue reading

Do You Remember The Days of 79?

No Jeans! No Greens! No Casuals! London Scooter Clubs 1979-1985
Roger Allen, Old Dog Publishing 2020

Driving a scooter through London wearing a parka in 1980/81 was seen by other youth cults as a provocative gesture. It was seen as an invitation to violence by skinheads, casuals and bikers that roamed the same streets. Soon these scooter-riding mods banded together in clubs united by a shared interest in scooters, as well as fashion and music, to present a united front against their enemies.

After visits up North, on scooter runs to Scarborough, a lot of these clubs started to drop the mod fashion and picked up on the scooter boy look of the Northern clubs. Many London mods didn’t get it and banned scooter boys from their venues with signs proclaiming ‘No Jeans!, No Greens!, No Casuals!’ in other words no scooter boys.

Roger Allen spent two years interviewing over 60 members of the clubs that existed within the London area between 1979 and 1985. The A23 Crusaders and The Paddington, The Wasps and The Viceroys, The Nomads and the Virgin Soldiers and all the 80 scooter clubs that made up this scene. Andrew Stevens spoke to him about the 337-pages strong result.

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From the outskirts of Milan: Sempre Peggio

In Italy, like everywhere else, the live music situation is pretty dire at the moment. With regular gigs all being cancelled, sometimes the kids are lucky enough to catch bands playing acoustic gigs in parks and such. But in September, an anti-fascist benefit concert was organised outdoors at the CPA, a legendary centro sociale (occupied social centre) in the south Florence area. One of the three bands was Sempre Peggio, who are among the most cherished groups on the Italian Oi scene right now. Francesca Bologna had a chat with Martin, the singer of the Milanese band.

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Crophead record roundup #7

Tchernobyl: Consumé par le feu EP
(Une vie pour rien Vinyles)

Another new band from the Paris Oi scene – this digital EP (published in April 2020) is their second release. Their self-titled 2019 demo sounded like Brutal Combat: sluggish, brutal and a bit retarded. It did, however, contain some surprising minor key harmonies. With ‘Vengeance’, Consumé par le feu opens along similar lines, but then takes a sudden turn to frosty post-punk guitar atmospherics while maintaining its basic growliness. Although they hail from Paris, you could therefore say that the band distils the ‘best of Brest’. Or you could slam them for ticking all the trendy boxes du jour. But the truth is that Tchernobyl are bloody good. Better, in fact, that some of their sources from the 80s could have dreamed of becoming.

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Chicago area nazi skinhead: The life and times of Christian Picciolini

Christian Picciolini – where to start? Ex-member of the notorious Chicago Area Skinheads (C.A.S.H.), ex-frontman of bands whose names left little to the imagination: White American Youth, Final Solution. More recently, however, an established author, TED talker and anti-hate campaigner. 

Recently reading his first book White American Youth, which told a brilliant tale of tragedy, belonging and identity crisis, inspired our own Gareth Postans to ask him some questions. Enjoy the interview, where Christian touches on the Chicago scene in the eighties, his family, his white power distro, his bands, his love of punk, his friendship with Joan Jett… and some exclusive info on a famous metal musician! Continue reading

Tilbury Skins got it sussed: a chat with Dave Strickson of Angela Rippon’s Bum

You may remember that we were less than impressed with Adewale Akkinouye-Agbaje’s phony skinhead flick Farming that was briefly seen on British screens last year. What’s more, the director refused to answer any questions we subsequently tried to ask him.

But hey, that’s no big deal – we found a more reliable interview subject with Dave Strickson, ex-guitarist and main songwriter of Tilbury Oi band Angela Rippon’s Bum. His distinct advantage: back then, Dave really was a Tilbury Skin.

That is also the reason why Dave began to investigate into Adewale’s life after watching the movie. You’ll be surprised to read what he managed to find out. Matt Crombieboy was all ears. Continue reading

Cropheads Between the Covers Special

She’s My Witch, Stewart Home, 2020 (London Books)

9780995721746As with Defiant Pose (1991), Red London (1994) and Tainted Love (2005) before it, Stewart Home raided his record collection for this novel’s title, epitomised by mean and moody rocker Kip Tyler’s smouldering classic single. ‘She’s My Witch’ has been covered by several artists since its 1959 release, most notably in a Cramps style by the Panther Burns (1987), woozy garage rockers the Fuzztones (1992) and most recently psychobillies The Radiacs (2010). I mention these only as Home’s own musical tastes and live forays, particularly to Dalston’s Garageland, get frequent mentions and largely fuel the online relationship which unfolds between the novel’s two protagonists, Vespa-riding personal trainer (and former skinhead) Martin Cooper and video editor Maria Remedios, a former dominatrix more likely to be found in bars with Hells Angels and skinheads than behind an editing suite in her native Spain (in one Facebook message she rues how the latter are now all “just fat middle-aged men”). This in itself opens up the time and place of the novel, East London in the post-financial crisis, pre-Brexit era (understandably as this is published on John King’s London Books imprint, the jacket text goes in heavy on this) where personal wellness and the creative industries meet, mutually reinforcing. As London riots then prepares to stage a few weeks of global sport, Martin and Maria get further acquainted on social media and commence the exchange of favoured YouTube clips of garage rock and proto-punk and the odd cult film trailer. Continue reading

Made in England: John King talks to Lee Wilson of Infa-Riot

When forming in 1980 in Wood Green, north London, Infa-Riot instantly became the borough’s greatest Oi band by default. Appearing on compilations such as the notorious Strength Thru Oi!, their 1980s career culminated in two albums, Still Out of Order and the somewhat ignored (though probably worth reevaluating) post punk follow-up Sound & Fury. In their prime, Infa-Riot were known as a band that didn’t shy away from playing Rock Against Racism gigs. On one occasion, this stance apparently earned them beatings from Skrewdriver and their enrourage in their dressing room.

Following a hiatus of no less than 26 years, Infa-Riot reemerged in the last decade to record Old and Angry and perform slots at events such as the annual ‘Boot Boys Christmas Knees Up’ at the 100 Club. Here’s Infa-Riot lead vocalist Lee Wilson interviewed by Football Factory author John King, who hardly needs an introduction. Topics discussed included being British, the superior mentality of the British, and how everyone still looks up to the British. Ahem. Continue reading

Where Are They Now: London’s Lost Music Venues

God knows how many London music venues have shut down in the past decade. Just off the top of my head, there’s the Astoria, 12 Bar, the new 12 Bar, Buffalo Bar, T Chances, Intrepid Fox, Big Red, Archway Tavern, Metro, Hackney Trash Bar, Silver Bullet, Gossips, and probably many more I can’t remember. While it’s normal that city landscapes change, these places haven’t been replaced by new venues. The music side of London just seems to wither, leaving behind a cultural wasteland populated by yuppies.

Paul Talling probably smelled the coffee a bit earlier than others, for he began taking picures of venues that would soon vanish as early as 2003. His book London’s Lost Music Venues is out today on Damaged Goods Books. Andrew Stevens talked to him – and of course, he was especially curious about the croptop aspects of London’s lost venue history. Continue reading