The Lurkers
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The Lurkers – Freak Show

The Lurkers were the closest the UK ever came to giving birth to a Ramones of it’s own. Influenced by the New York Dolls, The New York Scene circa 1975 & 60s Garage Punk, The Lurkers kicked the doors down with “Shadow”, kicked our heads in with “Fulham Fallout” & remain one of the finest Punk Rock bands to ever “come out of” Ickenham.

Pete Stride – Gtr
Howard Wall – Vocals
Nigel Moore – Bass
Manic Esso – Drums

The Lurkers formed in the summer of 1976 in Ickenham, Middlesex. They played their first gig supporting Screaming Lord Sutch at the Uxbridge Technical College in late 1976. They soon began picking up gigs on the London pub circuit & started attracting a loyal (if modest) following.

In May 1977 bassist Nigel Moore left The Lurkers to join Swank & was replaced by Arthur Billingsly (aka Arturo Bassick) & through his contacts the band began to play venues like The Vortex, The Music Machine, The Marquee, The Roxy, The Acklam Hall & The White Lion. During the first 6 months of 1977 The Lurkers supported the likes of Chelsea, The Adverts, Generation X & 999.

By June 77 The Lurkers were rehearsing in the basement of Beggars Banquet, a record shop in Fulham. The staff of the shop were so impressed with the sounds escaping from the basement they began actively seeking a record deal on the band’s behalf. When one failed to materialise they decided to start their own label. Beggars Banquet Records was born & “Shadow”/”Love Story” – aka “The Free Admission Single” (Beg 1) became the label’s 1st release on August 20th 1977. To promote the 45 The Lurkers began a month long residency at The Red Cow in Hammersmith.

The Lurkers were soon invited to record a John Peel session. They recorded 5 tracks: “Freak Show”, “Total War”, “I’m On Heat”, “Then I Kissed Her” & “Be My Prisoner”. The session was broadcast on October 27 1977.

The Lurkers second 45, “Freak Show”/”Mass Media Believer” (Beg 2), came out on November 5th 1977. The sleeve was a cartoon image drawn by Sounds’ Savage Pencil (aka Edwin Pouncy) who was also vocalist with The Art Attacks (Pouncy also designed the cover for Beggar’s “Streets” Punk compilation LP to which The Lurkers contributed “Be My Prisoner”.

Just as soon as “Freak Show” hit the streets Arturo Bassick left The Lurkers to form Pinpoint & was initially replaced by ex-Saints bassist, Kym Bradshaw. Bradshaw only stayed long enough to write “Hey You” & was speedily replaced by the return of original bassist, Nigel Moore.

The Lurkers recorded their second John Peel session in April 1977: “Ain’t Got A Clue”, “Pills”, “I Don’t Need To Tell Her” & “Jenny”. The session was broadcast on April 24th 1978.

The Lurkers 3rd 45, “Ain’t Got A Clue”/”Ooh! I Love You” (Beg 6), appeared with a limited gold coloured flexi disc featuring a rambling studio jam by the name of “The Chaos Brothers”. It peaked at number 45 on the national charts.

The Lurkers released their debut LP, “Fulham Fallout” (Bega 2), in June 1978. The LP was housed in a sumptuous gatefold sleeve featuring painted images of the band loaded with hidden clues. The LP featured 11 tracks including re-recordings of “Shadow” & “Be My Prisoner” & a cover of the Crystals “And The I Kissed Her”, re-titled “And Then I Kicked Her”. Initial copies came with a the same free gold flexi that had accompanied “Ain’t Got A Clue”.

“I Don’t Need To Tell Her”/”Pills” (Beg 9) was The Lurkers 4th 45 & was released in four different picture covers (one for each band member – an idea later lifted by Chiswick Records for The Damned’s “Love Song” 45). The single reached number 49 in the charts & led to TV appearances on “Revolver” & “Top Of The Pops”.

The Lurkers would eventually record two further John Peel Sessions, one BBC Radio session for an unknown programme & a second LP, “God’s Lonely Men”. All The Lurkers BBC sessions are available on “The Lurkers – The BBC Punk Sessions” on Captian Oi Records (Ahoy CD 137).

The Lurkers often come off very badly in most Punk retrospectives: sidelined & much maligned, they are rarely given the props they rightly deserve. The Lurkers, very much like The Boys, were Punks in the real sense of the word: rough, ready & bloody good fun. “Shadow” remains one of UK Punk’s 150% solid gold 45s & “Fulham Fallout” (Captain Oi Records – Ahoy CD 73) deserves shelf space in any self respecting Punk rockers authentic 77 UK 1st wave section. They sure as hell won’t change your world, but if the UK had a true answer to The Ramones – it was The Lurkers.



Marquee Smith – trakMARX.com – Jan 2003
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