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UK Subs


UK Subs (1976-present): a Punk band from London, UK.


tarted in the spring of 1976 by ex-R&B singer Charlie Harper and guitarist Nicky Garrett, UK Subs was completed by Paul Slack on bass and Pete Davis on drums. Farewell To Roxy was their debut with a track on a compilation before issuing their own single titled C.I.D (1978). Although they arrived late for the punk party U.K. Subs nonetheless had a string of minor hits stemming from their 1979 debut album, Another Kind Of Blues, an album that received a 21 in the UK. The album featured Ramones like lyrics and catchy hooks.

After the famous Warhead single in 1980, a track that got 30, their sophomore album was released that same year titled Brand New Age. It took a bit of time but by the end of the year the album made 18 on the UK side. As successful as Brand New Age was, it was overshadowed by the quick release of their live set Crash Course that same year. Released only in England by 'RCA' subsidiary 'Gem', it made 8.

After a set of personnel changes that saw Alvin Gibbs (ex-Ushers/ex-Hellions) replace Slack, and Steve Roberts replace Davis, Diminished Responsibility (1981) was released to a UK 18, it, along with all future releases, were not issued in the USA. Kim Wylie took over on drums for the Endangered Species (1982) release that got them no chart spots and from here it was all downhill despite the wholesale membership change resulting in Charlie Harper recruiting an entirely new band in the form of Captain Scarlet (guitar) and the returning Paul Slack (bass) and Steve Jones (drums).

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A stream of albums basically came and went from here on in including Flood Of Lies (1983), Gross Out USA. (1985) now with Harper replacing the band with John Fallon (guitar), Jezz Monclur (bass) and Rab Fae Beith (ex-Wall/ex-Patrik Fitzgerald; drums). Huntington Beach (1985), In Action: Tenth Anniversary (1986), Japan Today (live) and Killing Time (1989) followed later.

In 1990, seeking better sales, another line-up was recruited by Harper with Alan Lee (guitar), Flea Dave Farrelly (bass) and Matthew McCoy (bass). Mad Cow Fever (1991) was a moderate success despite not making the charts. Normal service was indeed resumed with Normal Service Resumed (1993) failing any significant headway outside of the die-hard fans. Occupied (1996) and Quintessentials (1997) would then follow.

For the remainder of their career thus far, a tremendous number of membership changes would ensue. Add to this, successive U.K. Subs album titles started with consecutive letters of the alphabet, and the band announced on 24 October 2015 via their Facebook page, that the 26th album starting with the letter "Z" would be their last long playing record, although they would continue to release EPs. That held true until the release of the Subversions twins. That final "Z" album, Zeizo would be funded through the crowdfunding site Pledge Music. The U.K. Subs track Down on the Farm was covered by Guns N' Roses on their 1993 covers album, The Spaghetti Incident?.

Along with EP's the albums Riot (1997), Universal (2002), Work in Progress (2011), XXIV (6 February (2013), Yellow Leader (2015), Ziezo (2016), Subversions (2018) and Subversions II (2019) followed.

Despite the relative un-success the UK Subs have demonstrated on paper they have managed to maintain their core fan support and have become one of the infamous names of punk rock.

Footnote: Charlie Harper attempted a self-named side project from 1980 - 1983 resulting in one album Stolen Property in 1982.

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