The Stranglers & The Finchley Boys, the notorious street gang of hardcore punks and devoted Stranglers followers since 1976.

"…The weekend’s here,
The Finchley boys are gonna make a lot of noise,
It’s burning up time…”

"Burning Up Time" - The Stranglers

Photo 1: Dennis Marks, The Finchley Boys` natural leader, "strangled" in a Stranglers` gig in 1977.

Photo 2: some of The Finchley Mob.

Photo 3: some of The Finchley Boys hanging out with Hugh Cornwell & JJ Burnel.

Photo 4: The Finchley Boys photographed by Ray Stevenson on stage, dancing around the band and acting as their security (actually, one of them is trying to keep invaders off stage while saving his nuts).

Photos 5, 6 & 7: it seems the strippers weren`t the only ones who took their clothes off in the legendary Battersea Park gig, so did one of The Finchley Boys (photos 5 & 6©  Max Redfern).

(via & via)

The Stranglers performing "Nice`N`Sleazy" accompanied by strippers at Battersea Park, London, in 1978.

“…Burnel: The Battersea Park incident was completely misinterpreted. I was living with my girlfriend, Tracy, who shared her flat with a stripper called Linda. When we became the focus of attention, right-on shops such as Rough Trade banned our records, saying they were sexist and misogynist. So Linda said: “Look, I’ve got some friends who’d love to strip for you – to show we’re in control of our bodies.” So these girls stripped off on stage at Battersea during Nice’n’Sleazy and, of course, everyone thought we were being exploitative.
Black: The police inspector wanted everybody arrested, but he couldn’t find his coppers. They were all in the front row watching the show…”
(via)
(photos © Alan Perry)

Punks attending the 2nd Mont de Marsan punk festival, held in an ancient bullfight arena in the town of Mont de Marsan, France, in 1977, featuring bands such as The Clash, The Damned, Police, Jam, Eddie & The Hot Rods and Dr Feelgood.

(photos 1,9 © Jean Gaumy/Magnum Photos, photos 2-8 © Thierry Olmos)

"Redondo Beach" - Patti Smith (1975)

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 16)

"Redondo Beach" is a punk reggae tune included in Patti Smith`s 1975 landmark debut album "Horses", which is considered as one of the sparks that ignited the punk explosion. The song, often critised as a clumsy attempt on reggae, predates, by far, the late `70s punk reggae explosion and is obviously influenced by her interest in Jamaican culture, at the time:

"…With rock culture at a lull in the mid-Seventies, many looked to the ‘roots rebel’ sound of Jamaica, anointing Bob Marley as a kind of dreadlocked Dylan surrogate (the other Bob then being in a state of semi-retired seclusion). Smith was among those smitten. A year after Horses, she even plunged into a full-blown infatuation with Rastafarianism:

‘I can’t say I was a Rasta but I went through a period when I was studying all aspects of Rastafarianism, including smoking a lot of pot while reading the Bible!’…”

(via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

The late `70s punk reggae pioneers in the USA

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 15)

While the punk reggae phenomenon was mainly a late `70s UK thing (not to mention a London thing), glimpses of a punky reggae party could also be sporadically traced in the USA as well. Some of the punk/ska/reggae pioneers across the Atlantic were New York-based The Terrorists, who were major players with their unique blend of reggae, ska, dub and punk style back in 1977 and the Californian punk/new wave/avant-garde The Offs with their remarkable, uncategorizable at the time, sound since 1978.

Photos: cover of The Terrorists compilation Forces 1977-1982”  (1) and members of the band (2,3), cover of The Offs 1978 first 7” single "Johnny Too Bad" (4) and members of the band (5,6).

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

Jamaican/UK-based dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson & British punk performance poet John Cooper Carke.
"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 13)
Dub poetry had the meaning of "poetry with a musical rhythm", usually reggae rhythm.

”...Linton Kwesi Johnson`s work broke into the youth scene as other forms of protest in British culture such as punk, the anti-Nazi league and gay rights activism formed coalitions to fight what were perceived as common problems and a common enemy. Linton Kwesi Johnson would go on to give a joint concert with the punk poet and fellow recording artist John Cooper Carke…”
(via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

Jamaican/UK-based dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson & British punk performance poet John Cooper Carke.

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 13)

Dub poetry had the meaning of "poetry with a musical rhythm", usually reggae rhythm.

”...Linton Kwesi Johnson`s work broke into the youth scene as other forms of protest in British culture such as punk, the anti-Nazi league and gay rights activism formed coalitions to fight what were perceived as common problems and a common enemy. Linton Kwesi Johnson would go on to give a joint concert with the punk poet and fellow recording artist John Cooper Carke…”

(via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

"Secret Police" - The Unwanted (1978)

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 14)

The Unwanted`s story was pretty much a synopsis of the two fundamental punk principles: a) everything was possible in punk b) nothing lasted long in punk.

The band consisted of Roxy Club regular goers who were inspired by The Sex Pistols to form a band, despite the fact they couldn`t actually play. Getting a lucky break, they managed to play at The Roxy just after 2 rehearsals and what`s more, by chance, the gig is being recorded for a live album that went Top-20, giving a lot of exposure to the bands featured, with The Unwanted appearing along the Buzzcocks, Eater, X Ray Spex, Wire, Slaughter & The Dogs, the Adverts and Johnny Moped and getting a record deal … and then,  according to the basic punk rule "live fast, die young", the lack of any real talent and songwriting or playing abilities and the multiple line up changes led them to oblivion.

(though "…this so called ‘talent less’ band gave the Psychedelic Furs a drummer Vince Ely and Guitarist - John Ashton, gave the Barracudas a guitarist Robbie. It would also a few years later spawn a club - The Batcave - the base for a whole musical movement called Goth, all under the direction of the Unwanted’s singer Ollie Wisdom…”, via)

In a desperate attempt to save their career, they jumped on the punk reggae train, at a time when the punk-reggae fusion meant success, and recorded their 1978 single "Secret Police":

"…78’s obviously the year all the bands have listened to so much reggae they don’t think twice about rehashing the clumsiest reproductions of reggae rhythm sections anymore than the Beatles thought anything was weird when they cut Motown tunes. Statutory punk/reality lyrics about shady men in shady macs, plain godawful neo-reggae myoozik…"Vivien Goldman, Sounds magazine (via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

Peaches” -The Stranglers  (1977)

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 12)

"…In the very early days, in order to earn a bit of money, we had a little PA, and one day we were signed to a black label called Safari, which was more or less a reggae label. We hadn’t released anything. But the owner phoned us up one day and said, "Look, do you want a few pounds to augment your PA to a sound system?" Well, we didn’t know what "sound system" was…

…So we turned up in part of London and we were the only white guys there. …So we stayed there for the whole gig. And at the end of it, I was hooked on the idea that the bass should be the most dominant feature. So I went back to where we were living and that night, came up with the three notes which constitute “Peaches.” And of course, I wanted to make a reggae song out of it. But we didn’t quite get the snare in the right beat. But never mind. We Strangle-fied it. We interpreted a reggae theme in The Stranglers way, which became “Peaches.”…”

JJ Burnel (via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

The Stranglers & Steel Pulse different views on the late `70s Punk Reggae explosion

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 11)

Not everything was "black and white" concerning the mid/late `70s punk and reggae fusion. The Stranglers, for example, had their share of reggae influences, some obvious in songs like "Peaches" or "Nice `N Sleazy"  and played with protest-minded roots reggae Steel Pulse but refused to take part in "Rock Against Racism" gigs and Hugh Cornwell explained The Stranglers different point of view, suggesting that RAR actually divided communities, creating separatism in the scene:

"…We weren`t going to jump on any political band-wagon…We refused to do RAR. We went on tour with the reggae band Steel Pulse who played with a strong political message… They were getting bootles thrown at them and all types of abuse from the white Stranglers audience-our audience and they didn`t know what to do. We were so embarrassed that we walked on stage and apologized. Jet made a speech: These are our friends and if you don`t have the intelligence to respect their 45 minute set then you have no respect for us. If you have a problem we will be waiting by the side for you. Silence. And everybody listened to the set… That said more about RAR bullshit. I think RAR created more division than not…”

(via)

Steel Pulse, on the other hand, were criticised, by British reggae acts who didn`t want to be associated with the punk rock scene days, of selling out, as co-founder and front man David Hinds remembers:

"…They didn’t want to have anything to do with that racket… to be honest, if the punk rock movement had not happened in England there would be no Steel Pulse - or any [British] reggae. Because it was on the backs of the punk rockers that reggae got its foot in the door.

Reggae, rasta, roots, repatriation, and riots against police brutality. So it was all about anarchy and the punks had their version of anarchy… And back then they said to themselves: ‘Hang on, here’s another style of music that’s about anarchy, so lets join them’. And that’s how reggae got on board….”

(via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

"Love Lies Limp" - ATV (1977)

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 10)

Alternative TV was a punk band formed by Mark Perry,  editor of U.K.’s first punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue. "Love Lies Limp" was their first single in 1977, given away as a flexi disc with an edition of the zine, never meant to be considered a punk reggae milestone, as Mark P. himself stated:

"…like it’s reggae, but it’s not quite reggae, it’s very quite jazzy, it’s a weird one that. We still play that in our set, it’s one of our most popular songs. It’s a funny song, a bit of a comedy song, havin’ a larf…" (via)

Still a good punk reggae tune, from a band that always moved on the outer limits of punk in the true punk spirit of non-conformity, it definitely

"…incorporated a reggae beat which confirmed Perry`s cultural awareness  of the club-based punk culture and the fact thst DJ`s like Don Letts recquired something to stick on between The Voidoids and Lee “Scratch” Perry…”

(via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

(…I suspect that ratscabies, for one, will appreciate this…)

The 1976 Notting Hill Carnival riots & Don Letts immortilized on The Clash album covers

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 9)

This photo of Don Letts walking against police forces during the 1976 Notting Hill Carnival riots (though, as he has admitted-here, for more-, he may seem like he was fronting the cops off, but he was actually crossing the street) was taken by Rocco Macauley and was later used by The Clash as cover of their 1980 "Black Market Clash" and 1993 "Super Black Market Clash" compilations.

"…For my parents’ generation the Carnival was a reminder of life back home but for my generation it was statement about duality of our existence which was black and British. Tensions had been building through that year and it came to a head when police tried to arrest someone close to Portobello Road. Several black youths went to help the guy and it escalated into a riot…

…To this day people think that there was a racial theme to the riot in 1976, but it was not a black or white thing. It was a wrong or right thing. Working class people being harassed by the police…

…Behind me are 500 brothers all armed with bottles and bricks and the police lines were right in front of me. It was best that I moved out of the way. Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon were also caught up in it. They were throwing bricks. The white youth were right in there alongside the black youth, including myself, all sick to death of the SUS law. The SUS law was a stop-and-search policy based upon Sections 4 and 6 of the Vagrancy Act, 1824, which made it illegal for a suspected person to loiter in a public place. SUS was routinely abused, usually to the detriment of black youth…”

Don Letts (via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

Mikey Dread

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 8)

…Michael Campbell, a.k.a. Mikey Dread was one of the most influential performers and innovators in reggae music. His abilities, technical expertise, and unique vocal delivery combined to create a unique sound that told the listener emphatically that it was the “Dread at the Controls.”

…Perhaps Mikey Dread’s work with The Clash has garnered him with the most recognition, but his credentials and resume started long before his eye-opening production on several releases with the renowned punk stars from London. His work and interaction with The Clash was a significant event in the integration of reggae into popular music throughout the world…

…The reggae aspect of The Clash's album distinguished their sound from the other punks that emerged in the 1970's. Soon thereafter, it was a must for just about every punk band to have a reggae cover song on their album…”

(via)

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)

"Love In Vain" - The Ruts (1980)

"Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute (pt 7)

Killer B-side of The Ruts` 1980 7” single "Staring At The Rude Boys" by one of punk rock`s finest, yet sadly underestimated bands. Their love for punk rock and reggae blended with a strong will for anti-racist and social activism and was supported by an incredible songwriting ability that produced a stream of punk rock and reggae classics, plus some excellent anti-drug tunes.

"Love In Vain" turns into a heartbreaking, mournful punk/reggae ballad with raw lyrics and vocals, in light of Malcolm Owen`s, the band`s singer, struggle with heroin addiction, which led to his death by an overdose in the same year this was released. The lyrics are simple, yet clever, since they can be interpreted in both ways, as reffering to a love that has died or to Owen`s "love in vein", the heroin addiction he couldn`t quit but didn`t want in his arms:

"…Don`t want you in my arms no more,
Don`t want you in my arms no more,
'cause it's certain like it did before,
The tracks I made are reading like a map,
All the time I`m spending on my back,
Oh God, Now I ache inside,
Oh God, now, I`m really tired,
Sleepness nights I spend in pools of sweat,
Cant get you outta my mind,
Well not just yet,
Don`t wantcha, don`t wantcha, don`t wantcha in my arms no more,
Now your gone sometimes I think of you,
Dont want you back now `cause I changed my view,
I use to love you,
Oh, it’s true,
But if you come back, well it’s prrrrrrp to you!…”

(More stuff on "Wedlock In Dreadlock": The punk & reggae connection weekly tribute, here)