Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ambition...The Story of the Subway Sect...Show #178

Forming in 1976 around the same time bands such as The Clash and Sex Pistols were starting out came a band named Subway Sect. The first original line up of the band contained Vic Godard (real name Vic Napper) on vocals, Rob Symmons on guitar, Paul Meyers on bass, and Paul Packham on drums. The band was formed upon suggestion from Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McClaren who wanted more punk bands for the 100 Club Punk Festival in September of 1976. After four gigs, original drummer Paul Packham left the group and was replaced by Mark Laff, who would leave shortly after joining the Sect to drum for another punk outfit, Generation X; Bob Ward would be the replacement. Despite being thrown into the punk scene with no experience, the band was received well. They opened for the Clash on their 1977 White Riot tour, and opened for Sex Pistols numerous times. The bands sound was a bit different from the punk that was being turned out at the time, their music was a strange mix of loud guitars (in the beginning) and with pop (example: "Ambition"); The band was also managed by Bernie Rhodes who also managed The Clash.

In 1978, Subway Sect released their first single "Nobody's Scared", backed with the song "Don't Split It", both of which were recorded during a John Peel Session. Around this time the group also began work on their debut album, in London. It was supervised by Bernie Rhodes and produced by Mickey Foote (The Clash's soundman). For some strange reason while recording the album, manager Bernie Rhodes fired the entire Subway Sect band except for Godard. The album never got its release except for the single "Ambition" which was released on Rough Trade Records. Other tracks would see the light of day from these sessions, but not all of them. "A Different Story (Rock and Roll Even)" was the B-side to "Ambition", while the song "Paralell Lines" was released with an issue of NME Magazine. The other tracks from this lost album were released on compilations in poor quality, until recently when Goddard released them on some compilations.

Vic Godard formed a second line up of the Sect, but called it Vic Godard and the Subway Sect and in 1980 released an album titled What's The Matter, Boy? Around this time Vic Godard was changing his direction musically being influenced by music such as rockabilly and early rock such as Elvis Presley and Eddie Cochran. In 1982, the members of the Sect disbanded to form their own band titled Jo Boxers. Vic Godard continued as a solo artist briefly before retiring from music to become a postman.

In the 90's Godard returned to music releasing several solo albums and in 2002 revived Subway Sect,with the album Sansend. Godard has released several compilations featuring material from his career with Subway Sect and as a solo artist. In 2007, the original members of Subway Sect re-recorded their infamous lost 1978 album, and called it 1978 Now. Vic Godard was a musician that went under the radar, Subway Sect had some great material, but suffered constant line-up changes which would lead to their downfall. The band is a unique group that mixed elements of pop music with the energy and stamina of 1970's punk. For more info on Vic Godard and Subway Sect you can visit this site or their myspace page.

Play List:

1. Johnny Thunders – Subway Train
2. MC5 – Highschool
3. Modern Lovers – Road Runner
4. The Action – TV’s On the Blink
5. Teenage Head – You’re Tearin’ Me Apart
6. Zr04 – Gimme Attention
7. Sex Pistols – No Feelings (outtake)
8. Lurkers – Go Go Go
9. 999 – I’m Alive
10. The Fall – Bingo Master’s Break Out
11. Subway Sect - Nobody's Scared
12. Subway Sect – Parallel Lines
13. Scavengers – Violence
14. The Demics – The 400 Blows
15. Forgotten Rebels – Surfin’ On Heroin
16. Young Canadians – Just a Loser
17. Spiral Scratch – Streetfighter
18. Elbow Beach Surf Club – Surf Theme
19. Radio Birdman – You’re Gonna Miss Me
20. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – I’m Your Man
21. Television – Prove It
22. Wreckless Eric – Reconnez Cherie
23. Bamboo Kids – Right On
24. The Go – Mercurial Girl
25. Ramones – I don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement
26. Buzzcocks – I Can’t Control Myself

Some Videos:

Subway Sect - Live at Rehearsal Rehearsals 1977
Subway Sect - Why Don't You Shoot Me? (Punk Rock Movie 1977)
Vic Godard & The Subway Sect - Keep Our Chains

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