The love for vinyl has always been there and many stories are attached to it. There is whispers in some quarters that vinyl is back, and they are getting louder. Not in the same numbers that it was in the pre-cd day’s of the 70’s and 80’s, but the records are up on display shelves of record shop’s.
There is hundred’s of reasons why we like a certain song. Vinyl Junkies is looking for the stories behind them.
North East based Will Binks, a photographer, record collector and was editor for the 1980’s punk fanzines Hate and War and Still Dying.
Will said ’The year was 1982 and I was 16 years old. I had been buying records and attending gigs since I was 13. I never had the luxury of a chance to learn to play an instrument so what was I gonna do to contribute to our local Punk Scene?
I had access to a typewriter and an admiration for Acts Of Defiance fanzine. Together with my cousin, Paul Briggs, we’d follow around Hebburn Punk band The Public Toys. That was basically how the whole thing started’.
‘We needed a name and had cut out HATE AND WAR from a magazine so that was sorted. My Grandmother worked as a cleaner at Keppel Street Police Station in South Shields and on the sly would use their photocopier to copy the pages we had written. Two basic issues were published between July and November ’82, before we met up with Gary Payne at a Total Chaos gig in Newcastle. He suggested a new venture together with myself, the result was a new fanzine STILL DYING. My cousin had lost interest by now.
The two of us really upped the ante and set about putting together some really special reviews, articles and interviews. It only lasted 3 issues during 1983 but what an excellent time to be involved in such an endeavour’.
‘By the second issue we had to seek out a printer where Ian from Testament Of Reality fanzine helped out. Issue three was printed by Edition zine. We probably sold around a couple of hundred each. We sold loads at gigs at The Station in Gateshead, The Bunker in Sunderland and even some at Volume Records in Newcastle.
Looking back I’m really proud of what we achieved even if it was just a small involvement in the North East Punk scene, but incredibly important to us’.
These are Will’s 7 songs that shaped his world.
1. ‘I was only 11 years old in 1977 when Punk Rock shocked the establishment to its core. Even at such a tender age you couldn’t escape the furore and excitement surrounding this new music and fashion that had exploded onto the world thanks to Rotten & Co.
Top Of The Pops was staple viewing in our household every Thursday night, so even though I was at an age where my pocket money wasn’t enough to buy myself a record, I still saw lots of the first wave of Punk bands and I distinctly recall watching the Rezillos in 1978. I loved the zany colours, the catchy tune and the wrap-around sunglasses. It wasn’t until the following year when I earned cash for babysitting my brothers & sister that I had enough to purchase my first record’.
2. ‘So there I was a few months short of my 13th birthday but now with enough pocket money to buy my first record. Wherever you turned you couldn’t escape the fact Blondie were the biggest band on the planet and the stunning Debbie Harry was every schoolboys dream, I was smitten with her ! So I ventured to my local record shop, Callers, in South Shields. I passed this shop on my way to school every day and strangely it sold furnishings downstairs and records and tapes upstairs! I parted with my 65p and in my mitts was a slab of plastic, Heart of Glass. That would be the beginning of my love affair with buying and collecting records’.
3. ‘I used to take a short walk from my house to Boldon Lane in South Shields to visit S.T.A.R.S. (Second Time Around Record Shop) where they stocked second hand records and new releases. I remember one visit I bought Kill the Poor by Dead Kennedys and hurried home to make up a new compilation tape for myself with this song taking pride of place as the first track on it. Back then my hometown had at least ten record shops and it was great visiting them all, sometimes without a penny in my pocket it was just a thrill to flick through the singles and albums, taking great interest in the sleeves of the bands I loved’.
4. ‘What The Hell by External Menace is an absolute cracker of a track from one of Scotlands finest bands from that era. Taken from the Total Anarchy compilation LP on Beat The System Records released in 1982.
I recall buying this album from The New Record Inn in Sunderland. A place I frequented a lot back then. I remember the fella who ran the shop had a square jaw and his missus always had her shirt unbuttoned just enough to tease the blokes ha ha. However it wasn’t just that what drew me to the place, ‘coz they stocked all the great releases from back then. I bizarrely recall the records on a pegboard resting on golf tees !
External Menace released two classic E.P.’s back then and in April 1983 I saw them as part of the Beat The System tour at Dingwalls in Newcastle. Leaving the shop that very day I bumped into Stu from Uproar who were also included on that album’.
5. ‘The Station in Gateshead was a legendary venue. I’m really grateful to the promoter Toot who brought some amazing bands up to the North East between the Summer of 1983 and September ’85. That was when Onslaught headlined the last ever show there, Power from Hell one of my favourites. There wasn’t a bar so you brought your own grog and the only rule was no glue or glass bottles. I’ve gotta say the scene changed a lot in those two short years. Basically it went from a carefree, do as you please attitude to the introduction of unwritten rules. Some of the more influential and vocal in the scene were asking things like why do you eat meat, why do you wear leather, how can you like that band when you wear this bands t-shirt and so on.
Already, for quite some time I was aware of the rise of the bludgeoning thrash scene thanks to tapes I exchanged with Final Curtain fanzine editor Paul May and I instantly loved the sound and attitude of bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Venom and Slayer.
Punk bands Discharge, English Dogs, Onslaught, Sacrilege and Broken Bones were by now in full crossover effect. So with the demise of The Station I took it as my cue to break away from the rule-laden Punk scene and I branched off down a more Thrash/Metal avenue.
It’s not as if I suddenly hated Punk, I loved both genres as much as each other. I kept all my records and played them both side by side. I just needed to escape the Punk scene’s stringent regulations. I stuck with it for about another three years or so. The last gig I attended in the 80’s being Slayer at The Mayfair in April 1987 and the last record I bought was the Metallica double album …And Justice For All in 1988.
It wasn’t long after this that I took a total break from gigging and record buying when other things in life became more important you know, the responsibility of a job, house, mortgage and all that other shitty stuff ha ha! Thankfully I returned after my self imposed exile by the mid-90’s’.
6. ‘No longer owning a turntable I succumbed to the CD. At the beginning of 1990 still not reacquainted to the Punk & Metal scene I found myself only purchasing a handful of albums from bands I heard mainly on Radio One while I was working as a delivery driver. Never Loved Elvis by The Wonder Stuff, Manic Street Preachers album Generation Terrorists, there was Nirvana with Nevermind and Irish band Therapy? released Troublegum. Gig wise I had only accompanied my wife Tracey to a handful of gigs mainly at Gateshead Stadium’.
‘Fast Forward to October 1994 and I’m watching Top Of The Pops. Simon Mayo introduces a band from California making their UK TV debut. I thought wow! these are great! who the fuck are these? It was Green Day playing Welcome To Paradise live. The very next day I finished work and drove to Our Price in South Shields and bought Dookie. Coincidentally two other things happened – Firstly, around this time wor kid gives me an old hi-fi with turntable that was destined for the tip if i didn’t want it. Great! I started to play some old records and even made up a few mix tapes. Secondly we get cable TV installed in November ’94 so now I’m watching Headbangers Ball and getting accustomed to loads of fantastic bands that are part of the new and exciting Yank Punk explosion. That was the catalyst that got me interested again. I started eagerly buying CD’s. Going to see Stiff Little Fingers the following year in March 1995, that is when I consider my proper return to gigging’.
7. So, to wrap this up I’m gonna pick a song by a band that has always maintained a level of high quality in whatever they do. Constantly releasing excellent albums throughout their twenty plus years and having the ability to mix song styles effortlessly from Ska to Hardcore Punk with so much more in between. My introduction was the mighty Rancid album…And Out Come The Wolves. An album that ranks in my Top 10 without question. A truly superb record that has great songs with stories, tunes and songwriting to match. It seems impossible not to sing along. Saw them for the first time at the Reading Festival 1998 and they didn’t disappoint and, to be fair, they have always delivered every time I’ve witnessed them live.
Pretty difficult to pick one track but I’ve chose Fall Back Down on account of it bringing back a grin on my face. Recollections of road trips to Manchester and Glasgow in September 2003 to see them on the Indestructible Tour. A song that exudes positivity and optimism. ENJOY!
Introduction by Gary Alikivi July 2017.