It is a rare thing that a band from the beginnings of London’s punk scene are still together. It is even more rare that a band like this would find it’s way to Tulsa Oklahoma. But on Sunday October 19th that happened when The Vibrators took the stage at the small White Flag venue.
The Vibrators have been going strong since 1979. Sure they have had a few quiet periods along the way, but for the most part this band has been constantly touring and recording since they begun. And maybe it is not the original line up, but very few bands surviving that long still have the original members. I can name you loads of bands around for lesser time with different members (my favourite is one of them).
They can impress you with their name dropping of who they have played with… Sex Pistols and Johnny Thunders to name a few. Being a long time punk fan, I was ecstatic to see them play live. I had listened to them when I was younger. I was seeing history, but you also wonder, if them and age would show in their performance.
I had nothing to fear, The Vibrators brought it to the stage, giving the younger punk bands that opened for them a run for their money. They shot thru a 18 song set list, including songs from their new album and a long list of hits such as, Whips and Furs, London Girls, Automatic Lover and my favourite, Baby Baby.
The small crowd that gathered there knew they were seeing something great and they embraced them, getting on stage with them to sing along, so much so, that they had to be asked to settle a bit. We all knew this was rare, and we wanted to take advantage of the moment.
Before the start of the show, I had the honor of sitting down with original member and drummer John ” Eddie ” Edwards for a bit of a chat. It was pretty much a dream for me to talk about early punk life with him.
How do you think punk had changed from when you started until now?
That is a hard question to answer cause its so hard to look back at what it was like then. It is less frantic now than it was then. It was all new and different. It is more an accepting part of peoples like, the punk thing innit? It is more of an underground culture thing now.
You opened for the Pistols…
Yea, we played with them at the Hundred Club in London. Played with them a couple of times in Amsterdam with Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers
There is always a controversy between the Americans and the English on where punk started
I think it started in both places at the same time didn’t it? People were bored with like twenty minute drum solos and all that crap. And then you got Queen with Bohemian Rhapsody, which is eight minutes of pretentious bullshit and you know people wanted to get back to real rock and roll. You know two minute songs. Fun. Excitement. Like Little Richard. Like Chuck Berry. Like The Who. You know like The Rolling Stones. People in New York were doing it and people in London were doing it.
Do you feel there were a difference between the punk rock that started in New York and the punk rock that started in London?
Yeah in New York they had longer hair ( laughs) Shorter hair in London. Couldn’t have long hair in London
So are you playing Baby Baby tonight?
Oh yeah, we always do that
The music was so new and different back then, were you treated differently because of it?
How’d they treat us. I don’t know ever one treated you so differently. Some people kept you at arms length and some people embraced you. It’s the same. Different strokes for different folks. Some people were terrified of the whole thing and thought it would bring down civilization and others thought it was like freedom and the beginning of civilization .
How did you end up in Tulsa tonight?
Dunno really. Well we got offered a gig here. I have been here before. I had a friend who lived here and I came over for a week and we ran some bars and clubs and stuff, it is a pretty cool little city. It’s nice, but it is the first time we have played here.
What else do I wanna know. Honestly I am just sitting here rather fan girling
( laughs )Oh I got one. I don’t know what a blog is. Do you put that on the internet or something?
Yeah. I am going to write about the show, write a bit about you. Let our readers know about you
Ok. Yeah cool. I’m a bit ignorant about all these internet things, but I am very interested. I have a computer that doesn’t work very well. Give us a card and I will look it up when it’s all done.
I will! I am excited to see you play live. I listened to you in High School. Baby Baby, I know that is probably your most popular song?
Yeah. Well funny enough it wasn’t big. It wasn’t a hit or anything, you know. Automatic Lover, Judy Sez, were bigger hits, but people always know it.
What about now? Are you recording new material?
Yeah. We have a new album out, it’s on Cleopatra. You can buy it here tonight or you can get in from them or in the shops. Should be out on vinyl in the next week or so as well as CD
And you are touring a bit?
Yeah. We’re doing about 120 shows a year. Seven weeks in American and then were back in England and then in the British Isles until Christmas and then a European tour in January and February
I know you have went thru a lot of changes in the band. Different members and such.
Yeah Yeah, that is always a problem, but that’s one of them you just got to do. If we were multi- millionaires we probably wouldn’t do that cause every one would be happy.
But the group you have now..it’s working well?
Yeah Yeah, its been good. I mean Pete our bass player in England couldn’t do the tour cause he couldn’t get a Visa, so we got a guy named Andy filling in and he is doing a fantastic job. He had been really brilliant as you will see later on. And Darryl had been with us a couple of years now and he was with us thru 96 so he;s done 3 or 4 years. He is getting the knack of it now. It is all good now
Plans for new music in the future?
Yeah, I hope so. I mean this album is just out so maybe there are one or two more albums. We’ll have to wait and see. I hope so. I am pretty confident there will be yeah.
Think Punk Rock is dead? Think again. There are loads of bands out there keeping it alive that we will be featuring in the near future, proving Punk Rock is still alive and well and will not go down without a fight.
** I would like to give a little shout out to our friends Tony and Michelle Cozzaglio who work so hard to keep this dream alive in Tulsa. You guys are fantastic!!