The Machines
Nick Paul on the cover of Strange Stories Issue #3 1977
Nick Paul - Vocals / Guitar, Duf - Bass, John Dee (a.k.a. Dearlove) - Drums
The Machines - 'True Life' EP
Nick Paul on the cover of Strange Stories Issue #3 1977
The Machines - 'True Life' e.p. Cover
...The Story...

The Machines - Sounds Alternative Chart - April 22nd 1978The Machines were not only Southend's first punk band, but also the first to release a record - the infamous 'True Life' EP on Wax Records. As punk trailblazers, shaking off the R & B paralysis that had gripped the towns music scene for so long, the bands time together really was an incendiary one. Together for barely a year, they managed to play a load of local shows that have long lived on in the collective Southend Punk subconscious, together with some historic gigs at legendary London venues such as The Roxy and Vortex punk clubs.

Vocalist / Guitarist Nick Paul formed the band in 1977, recruiting Duf (Ian Duffy) on Bass, and drummer John Dee. Nick was immensely fired up by punk, having bought The Damned's New Rose single on the day it came out, and literally had a life changing experience seeing The Clash at the 100 Club Punk Festival in September 1976. Nick had loved The New York Dolls / Stooges / MC5 and had started playing along those lines in his proto-punk band, Raw Power. They folded in 1975 however, and after a short period in-between stints of moving to and from London, Nick was back in Southend in 1977 and inspired by the new punk scene he saw emerging, wanted to get a new band together.

After meeting Duf through an advert in The Evening Echo, they met John down the pub a couple of months later and began getting their set together and began gigging in July 1977. Their first gig was in a local Rock Contest at The Queens Hotel and they stunned everyone by playing a blinding performance and winning their heat! Jointly managed by Richard and Dave (Strange Stories editor), the band began playing in earnest. Speaking to Nick in 2005, he said "In addition to the already known gigs (Roxy, Vortex, City of London Poly, The Queens Hotel) we played the Alex about 4 times and the Roundacre youth club in Basildon about 4 times and the Shrimpers once. Our first would have been around July 1977 and our last about March 1978. In total I reckon we only played about 30 gigs. The life of a may fly really. Still it seemed longer at the time..."

"If restricted, tied down, they could stop us getting off the ground, backstabbers, hypocrites, pretend friends, you're just a bunch of shits." 'True Life'.

Nick PaulIndeed, when I asked Nick about local venues sympathetic to punk back then, he said "Well basically there wasn't enough punk around to have venues. The Queens did their bit for bigger bands 1977/79. The Shrimpers did their bit for Div 3 bands like us 1977/78. The Alex would book anyone ...".People did begin to take notice however, and the band would often pack out the local venues, including a key fan who loved the band and would see them regularly, namely Alison 'Alf' Moyet!.

Nick had been writing a lot of songs, with titles such as 'Racing', 'Tomorrow', 'Parents Zone', 'Weird Phone Calls', 'Chain Gang', 'Don't be Fooled' and 'Head on Crash'. Thus they decided to get something down on tape and put out an EP on local label Wax Records. They went into Spectrum Studios in Westcliff and recorded four songs: 'True Life', 'Everything's Technical', 'You Better Hear' and 'Evening Radio'. The single did well, soon selling it's pressing of 1,000, and even entered the lower reaches of the Alternative Chart, as published in Sounds.

As well as various local gigs, the band played in London at The Vortex (on the 07.11.77 with The Maniacs, Bazooka Joe & The Monotones), the legendary Roxy Club (on the 17.01.78 with the Deviators) and at the City of London Polytechnic. Things looked like they were going pretty well, however Nick had grown a bit restless and had decided to change the line up of the band, and moved to London in April 1978, effectively splitting the band. When asked about this, Nick said "I fully intended to rebuild a new Machines and even had a piece in the NME about the next planned release 'The Machines Turn On' but it wasn't to be. Endless auditions for drummers and bass players led to nothing and in (I think it was late April 1978) a piece went into the music papers to the effect the Machines were over".

"I dial a number on my telephone, answering machine says there's no one home, so I'm just talking down the line, to a technical gadget, not a friend of mine." 'Everything's technical'.

The Machines - New Crimes Issue #2 - The Machines Review by Jah OvJamAfter the demise of the Machines, Nick would return with the more power-pop orientated 'The Collectors' in 1980, whom released a 7" single titled 'Different World', on Central Collection Records that year. Duf became a painter and John Dee continued drumming, in 1978 finding time to help out fellow local punks The Vandals, whom featured the aforementioned Alison 'Alf' Moyet on Vocals, and then later he helped out 'Idiot' and played drums on their song 'Ging Gang Gooley' that appeared on the Southend Rock Album. He then joined his brother Paul in a band called The Electric Shocks, then The Deciballs, then later on played in reggae-orientated bands Bushfire and Charas.

Fast forward to 2005, and Nick Paul had found a rare recording of a live demo the band had recorded late in '77, before the recording of the ep, containing songs 'Racing' and an early version of 'You Better Hear'. Detour/Bin Liner Records released these songs on a compilation called 'Bored Teenagers Vol 4' in July 2006.

Also in 2006, Nick Paul and Steve Reddihough (Raw Power) linked up with Steve Pegrum (Kronstadt Uprising / Sinyx) to play some songs that hadn't been heard in a long time. These songs included 'True Life', 'Evening Radio', 'You Better Hear', 'Everything's Technical', 'Chain Gang', 'Parents Zone', 'Racing' and 'Head on Crash', as well as one or two new songs. Since regenerating, the band have played numerous shows around the country, including a great slot at The Rebellion Festival a couple of years ago, and released their Debut Album on December 12th, 2011.

* Click here to see details of Angels in Exile Records Machines Album *
Click here to see details of 1977 Records Machines EP Reissue
Click here to see details of Bored Teenagers CD
Click here to see a Special Machines Gallery
Click here to see details of First Machines Gig in 28 Years!
The Machines - 'Videos'
The Machines - '40th Anniversary Year' - 1977-2017
Click here to see details of The Machines - 'Machines' - EP - 2019
Click here to see details of The Machines - 'You Better Heear' - on Southend Punk Volume One - CD - 2020
Click here to see details of The Machines - 'True Life' - on 'Punk 45: I'm A Mess!' - LPx2 & CD - 2022


The Machines - 'True Life' EP

'True Life' / 'Everything's Technical' / 'You Better Hear' / 'Evening Radio' - 7" EP (Wax EAR 1 March 1978)

("The pressing on Wax was 1,000", says Nick, "however since then its turned up on different labels and all sorts of compilations all over the world e.g. It was released on a dayglo pink 7" in Japan , plus tracks have turned up on other comps and releases like these: 1. 'Killed By Death' LP #2 on Redrum in 1989, 2. 'True Life' on 7" and CD on Gecko 1996, 3. 'Bloodstains Across the U.K'. LP on Insekten in 1997, 4. 'Break the Rules' Volume 7 on CD Insekten in 1997, 5. 'Compilation CD Bloodstains Across the U.K' 1996, 6.' Killed By Death' on CD #2 Redrum 1996, 7. 'Every One A Classic CD! Volume 6 Punk, Mod, Powerpop' 2001."

'Weekend' / 'Girl in Black' / 'Racing' / 'Sue This Song' - 7" EP With Fold Over Insert (Fierro! Records FR 025 June 2019)

'Bored Teenagers #4' - Features The Machines songs 'You Better Hear' and 'Racing' - CD (Bin Liner Records RUBBISHCD005) - 2006

'Bored Teenagers Volume #4' - Features The Machines songs 'You Better Hear' and 'Racing' - CD (Bin Liner Records RUBBISHCD005) - 2006

The Machines - 'The Machines' - CD (Angels in Exile Records AIECD 001)

'The Machines' - Sixteen Track Album (Features 'You Better Hear' - 1977 Demo, and 'Racing' - 1977 Demo plus The True Life EP) - CD (Angels in Exile Records AIECD 001) - 2011

Various Artists - 'Southend Punk Volume One' - Angels in Exile Records (AIECD 004) - Features The Machines song 'You Better Hear'

'Southend Punk Volume One' - Features The Machines song 'You Better Hear - CD (Angels in Exile Records AIECD 004) - 2020

Various Artists - 'Punk 45: I'm A Mess!' - D-I-Y or Die ! Art, Trash, Neon - Punk 45's In The UK 1977 - 1978 - Soul Jazz Records (SJR CD505 2022) - Features The Machines song 'True Life'

'Punk 45: I'm A Mess!' - D-I-Y or Die ! Art, Trash, Neon - Punk 45's In The UK 1977 - 1978 - Features The Machines song 'True Life- LPx2 + CD (Soul Jazz Records CD505) - 2022

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