Punk Rock
Southend Punk RockWelcome to Southend Punk Rock History 1976- 1986. This website is dedicated to saving the history of this important era before it is lost, whilst simultaneously celebrating the rich diversity of music and creativity that the area spewed forth to an unsuspecting world.

Since the '60's, with bands like The Paramounts and The Orioles, and in fact, dating right back to the Swing era, Southend had always had a thriving music scene. Located at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, 30 miles or so from London, the town always had something to say, and by the 1970's, many bands from the era felt there was a lot that needed to be said about the prevailing state of prog-rock tedium that was at once stultifying, numbing and nullifying any life force out there.

To this end Dr Feelgood decided to do something about it and started to cut a swathe through the existing bilge and managed to start infusing Rock and Roll again into a land grown barren by the prog rock dinosaurs. With manic guitarist Wilko weighing in with some great original material, the band soon got chart success and managed to tour incessantly, igniting many a torch in the process and thus providing a beacon of hope.

Fellow Canvey Islanders Eddie and The Hot Rods picked up that baton and took it further, providing the bridge between the roots orientated manic R&B of the Feelgoods, and the nascent punk scene developing around them and which was gaining momentum by the day. The Hot Rods too tasted chart success, penning one of the classics of '77 in 'Do Anything You Wanna Do', and were high above the radar for a while, inspiring legions in the process.

Thus the basis of the punk fire had been forged locally, and bands such as The Machines, The Vicars, The Psychopaths, The Sinyx, The Kronstadt Uprising + many others took up the torch and all contributed to a thriving punk scene. Southend had it's own alternative press in the form of fanzines like Strange Stories and New Crimes, it's own punk friendly shops like Nasty's and Projection Records, and most importantly, a wealth of venues for bands to play at, including The Queens Hotel, the Shrimpers Club, The Top Alex, The Grand Hotel, The Focus Centre, The Esplanade and many others.

Southend Punk RecordsLocal labels recorded some of the bands, such as Wax (The Machines), No Pap (Speedball) + Dog Rock (Kronstadt Uprising). As the timeline section of this site reveals, for a certain period, there was so much going on, that it was almost impossible to keep up with. In addition to the legendary performances by some of the home grown bands, visiting punk bands would often play infamous gigs in the area, including The Damned, Stiff Little Fingers, The Ruts and Killing Joke. Crocs (Now The Pink Toothbrush) put on some sterling shows in the era especially, often getting a local band in to support one of the bigger headline bands.

As the ripples created by punk spread further and further, so too did a whole variety of musical offshoots, creating in the process a very healthy scene and one that was immeasurably diverse. With nightclubs like the aforementioned Crocs, Electric Blue, The Taste Experience, The Swag, The Monkey House and others springing up, the alternative scene truly peaked around the mid-80's, before slowly changing by the decades end. It seemed that many local bands eventually folded in 1986, as the scenes changed, various members scattered to the four winds and various banners were lowered. However, many exciting and truly thrilling times were to be had in the period and it is to these times that the site is dedicated and is attempting to document.

Steve Pegrum January 2006
Punk Rock