GOOD VIBRATIONS

We’ve spent quite a lot of time in 1967 recently. (Running tally here)

Time to pogo forward ten years to 1977 and one of the ‘first wave’ punk bands, The Vibrators.

Pure Mania was released in June 1977

Is it ‘true’ punk?

There is some debate amongst sad (now middle-aged) former punks as to whether The Vibrators were ‘legit’ punk, despite them having performed with the Sex Pistols in 1976, played at the 100 Club, and supported Iggy Pop in 1977. Then there are those who demand proper punk involves as many bodily fluids as possible. Looking at the front cover of my copy, I think we can tick off the ‘nasty stains’ category.

Does the cover use a punk mash-up of different typefaces?

See cover photo above. The album title mixes it up while the songs display a range of typefaces.

Does it hate the present?

First track is “Into the Future”. Sample lyrics:

I want a new world, I want it with you

I’ll build a new tomorrow

(Sex kick)

So don’t you be a pain in the ass

(Sex kick)

Any interesting factoids about the band?

Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers took their name from The Vibrators song, track 5, side 2 of this album.

Stripped down sound?

Basic four-piece line-up. Most songs three chords and mid- to fast-paced.

Punk style?

The cover shows three out of four members are wearing black leather jackets, following the rock ’n’ roll rebel without a cause aesthetic. The back cover photos have a Polaroid / Instamatic feel.

Are the songs short?

Here’s the breakdown.

Of the fifteen songs:

5 are under two minutes. In anyone’s language, that’s getting in and out fast.

8 are between two and three minutes.

3 breach the three-minute barrier

So the album is short too?

Fifteen songs in under 35 minutes. ‘Nuff said.

Singles?

“Bad time” / “No heart” (March ’77)

Baby baby” / “Into the future” (May ’77)

Neither did squat, but the album clawed its way into the Top 50. Just.

Still, “Baby baby” is a mid-paced classic. My favourite: “No heart”. Magnificent.

Well, hard day out, working at the mill

When I come in I’m feeling pretty ill.

“Kiss me, honey” is what I said

She wanna watch television instead.

Did the band burn out in a proper punk way?

Not exactly. A version of The Vibrators is touring in 2017—2018. More at their website.

So, is it punk?

Who gives a fuck? It’s jump-start amphetamine fuelled rackety rock ’n’ roll. When you get to the end you want to flip it over and spin it again. As Johnny Rotten frequently observed, Wot’s in a name? That which we call a punk by any other name would smell as sweaty. Eh, Romeo?

 

35 comments

  1. Seems I need to check out the Vibrators then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is classic UK punk, JH. When you’re in the right mood, it kicks arse!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to check out some ‘Vibrators’ music. Thanks, Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well Michael, if you like the songs linked in the ‘Singles’ part, you’ll love the whole album!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like the Stones at 78 rpm !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha! That’s ALL UK punk, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Pure Mania” was somewhere politically and socially critical, but The Clash with “London Calling were more varied.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sure. Perhaps a more contemporaneous comparison would be with the first Clash album. On that basis, there is a little more melodic sophistication on the Vibrators album. Both are terrific, of course!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. The Clash were my favorite band. I first liked their raw energy, then their style diversity. The punkrock was soon too limited for them, they discovered dub and jazz, everything else.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. All true and good! I first discovered them via London Calling and worked backwards (and forwards). Love the first album nowadays.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. The vibrators were essentially a bunch of pub rockers who upped their game when they heard the pistols. As you may know John Ellis the guitarist was a proper musician who went on to play with the likes of Peter Gabriel and bassist pat collier was a record producer. I love ‘whips and furs’ but don’t play it back to back with ‘another girl another planet’ by the Only Ones ( another great non punk punk band)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, that was Joe Strummer’s background too!
      ‘Another girl another planet’ is ace. Must pair them to hear the, er, dual inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m very intrigued by this one. Prior to this, I’d only ever heard the name (I think they may have been playing in Glasgow a few years back?)… but I might have to check them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re probably playing Glasgow later this year (if you wanna hear superannuated punks!). The album is grouse, though.

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      1. I might need to check them out if they are. Slightly different line-up, I’d imagine?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When I tried to follow the line-up changes, I started feeling dizzy!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. So, some slight changes right enough…

          Liked by 1 person

  6. At 15 in 35, it’s relatively long-winded compared to The Circle Jerks’ 14 songs in 15 minutes(!) but I’d still say that’s pretty efficient.
    Is it punk? I think you gave the definitive ‘punk’ answer to that question!
    I quite liked the Q & A format of this post – will you be in ’77 for the next little while?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tempting, Geoff, but although there are a couple of others I quite like to visit, the plethora of unwritten 1967 posts demands attention.

      By the way, in an appropriation of ‘Verbalise the positive’, I’d just like to acknowledge that I would never have attempted that sophisticated pie chart without your inspiration. Kudos!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suppose that’s a good problem if there’s still too much quality ’67 material to leave behind.
        And Cheers Bruce – I was delighted to see a pie chart make a cameo (isn’t excel wonderful?), another part of the post format I enjoyed here!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. 15 songs in 35 minutes makes me think that if it walks like a punk, and talk like a punk, it’s probably a punk. 🙂

    Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Never a fan of punk – all noise and no music. I have to admit, though, (now that I’ve heard it) that Baby Baby is a decent track. And anything, (emphatically) anything was better than the sugar-coated glam rock that punk swept away.

    I appreciate your valiant effort to educate me, here, but I was quite happy back in1967, thank you. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Phil. May I politely suggest that you are showing your age there my son? 😆
      But your comment does remind me of a little story I could tell about my early explorations of the ‘new’ music of 1977 (or thereabouts)…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh, you’re such a tease! Are you going to tell us the story or is it, like the proof of Fermat’s last theorem, “too big to fit in the margin”?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Almost done. Stay tuned.

          But be assured we will be returning to ’67 again very soon.

          Like

  9. Heard the name but not the music. I’m jumping around right now giving myself whiplash. Sounds like rock n roll to CB.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Too right! Knock yourself out (but don’t break anything). 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Too late. The room is trashed and my neck really hurts. Some good guitar licks on the album

        Liked by 1 person

  10. One of my absolute faves, this. They had a great sense of melody.

    Also contains one of my fave lyrics ever – ‘They call her petrol because she burns like a flame / They call her petrol because that’s her name’.

    Stick that 1967!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Knew this was a 1537 fave. It’s become a VC one too. The decade thing is very amusing. Some, er, less grey readers are hollering for more ’77 while the boomers favour more ’67. What’s a blogger to do?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fast forward to 1987 and show the world your hitherto totally hidden love for glam metal. It’s the obvious thing to do.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ll get onto that this afternoon. Just as soon as the sequins have dried on my Flying V Strat.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. oh my gawd…another fan of No Heart by The Vibrators. Vibrators/The Damned/Ian Dury/Ramones/Devo/Nick Lowe…and so many more. Those records sound like FUN. Not every recording has to be awe inspiring,or heartbreaking,or feature some twit playing128 notes a measure. thanks for pulling this one off the shelves,Bruce.
    ++
    In the studio next to mine,I heard a familiar set of lyrics coming through the walls the other day. One of our producers of the “adult hits” radio station( that would be top 40 without the rap songs) was uploading a remake of Wreckless Eric’s “The Whole Wide World”,by a group called Cage The Elephant. Made me grin like a fool for the rest of the day.

    cheers-ted

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] The Vibrators — Pure Mania […]

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