Bleeding Pyles were all from Southend and its environs, and existed between
1979 and 1981. The Band had emerged from Drummer Steve Pegrum's earlier
outfit, Cut Throat and The Razors. Many members came and went during the
bands existence, but Steve Pegrum and Spencer Blake were it's core members.
It was with the aforementioned Cut Throat and The Razors that the story
started. Steve: "I'd loved punk ever since seeing 'So it Goes', and
after buying all the Clash, Pistols, Adverts releases etc punk took over
my life - Revolver cemented it and I just had to get a band together.
In 1979 I got a rudimentary drum kit, and within a week of having it put
Cut Throat and The Razors together. I was Cut Throat, and the Razors were
Chris Davies and Graham Godfrey. We managed to work up a couple of good
numbers - 'GBH', and 'Saliva' but the band didn't do too much."
The band started to look into playing, and managed a performance at The Focus Centre on the 08.09.80, although Spencer didn't make it for some reason and a member of local band 'Vice Squad' (not the Vice Squad!) stood in on guitar. The band continued writing and engaging in their 'glorious racket', but Spencer and Steve were blown away by a Discharge gig they saw at The Music Machine later that year, and as a result reevaluated their take on things. Energised by this new, harsher sound, The Pyles entered 1981 with a changing line up, and Paul Lawson, a friend from the local punk scene, and regular at punk club Barons at The Elms, came in on Guitar, Spencer switched to Vocals and a new Bassist, Mick Grant, was recruited via an add in a local music shop, The Golden Disc.
This was Spring 1981 and the first rehearsals were incredible. Steve: "After struggling and trying to get a band together for so long, it was very heartening to finally get to the stage where it all started coming together." He continues "From the first couple of rehearsals we had 'Blind People' and 'Receiver Deceiver' and things just clicked really quickly." Soon working up a set of numbers that would include many future Kronstadt classics, the band booked at gig at Thorpedene Community Centre on the 19.08.81, got their friends The Get to support, flyered Nasty's, Graffiti and just about every punk friendly shop in the area and managed to generate a lot of interest. Because of the venues location, it did cause some consternation amongst the local residents and in the press, but things passed peaceably and a great time was had by all.
Towards the end of the summer, the summer of '81, the band began looking into getting some of their songs down on tape, and had a look at Elephant Studios in London and booked it for later in the year. In the interim though, Pyles Bassist Mick Grant decided to leave the band to pursue his religious aspirations, and Spencers friend Andy Fisher was drafted in on Bass. With so many potent new songs being written, and to reflect the general consensus in the band to start taking things a lot more seriously, a new name was chosen - The Kronstadt Uprising - and so it was later that year that the band recorded the first KU demo and played their first gig as The Kronstadt Uprising at Focus on the 07.12.81.
Unfortunately, the earlier versions of the Pyles never got to record any of their songs in a studio, although genuinely frightening rehearsal cassettes are known to exist! Of the early line ups, Graham Godfrey went on to play Lead Guitar in Christian Rock band Spirit Level, Mike Heddon would go on to play Bass in The Beers-In Brothers, and Lee Lobb would go on to acting. Interestingly, there was a bit of an historical Pyles-KU interfacing going on at a CND Benefit at the Cliffs Pavilion on the 02.10.81, when Steve Pegrum, Paul Lawson and Andy Fisher quickly plugged in and played a couple of numbers. Spencer Blake hadn't come down, so Steves friend Gary Smith (and future KU singer) sang on the songs instead. Spencer, Paul and Steve would go on to the Kronstadt as already noted, and mentions should be made for people passing through the Pyles world via the infamous sessions at Daves. These would include Drac, Toad from Chelmsford, Tracey, Martin Nicolini and many others.
As mentioned in the Deciballs chapter, in the spirit of punk, many bands would often form, write a couple of numbers, jump and plug in at a gig, play a few numbers, maybe do a few more gigs then promptly disappear again. Such bands might have included The Sickies, Squark, The Menstruating Vaginas and many others. Thus it was that the ripples of punk spread far and wide, but whenever those ripples hit the shore, if it was 1980 you could be guaranteed to hear either 'Belsen Was a Gas' or 'Warhead' being played by some band emanating through the battered walls of Daves rehearsal studio...