THE NOW – “FUZZTONE FIZZADELIC” (Damaged Goods)
When our copy of “Fuzztone Fizzadelic” by The Now dropped onto the Bunker mat we couldn’t wait to jam it into our CD player. To say it’s been there ever since would be a total lie – but we have listened to it very carefully a whole bunch of times - & have grown to love it to death (in fact, fact fans, it’s become one of our LPs of the whole damn year).
To these ears The Now sound a bit like The Adverts shagging the Shapes to death over an old armchair stuffed with the very essence of Ye Olde Genuine Punke Rocke. With a social conscience to match their spikey tunes, The Now were a prime example of Punk In The Community. Their story deserves to be told:
The Now were a group from the good old days of Punk Rock - although they were far removed from what is traditionally known as 'Punk'. Intelligent songs, political lyrics and a musical style that was much more in keeping with bands like Wire, Gang of 4, PragVeg, etc.
The Now: Mike McGuire on Vocals, Steve Rolls on Guitar, Faz Farrow on Bass and Joe MacColl on Drums.
They released two singles: “Development Corporations” (Ultimate Records - 1977) and “Into The 80's” (Raw Records – 1979). They had split up by the end of 1979.
“Fuzztone Fizzadelic” was recorded during 2004 by the four original members of The Now. The track listing represents the first set list from The Now as performed in 1977. In true punk rock stylee:
rehearsed for 3 hours - with 2 days in the studio for recording and mixing. Not bad - after 27 years (some of the band not having played since then).
“The History of The Now” (From the forthcoming "Bible Of Independent Releases 1976 – 1979” by Mario Panciera)
The Now – “DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS” - Ultimate Records (ULT 401) - ps - 7" 45rpm
A primitive but wonderful single from a criminally underrated D.I.Y. Punk band from Peterborough, formed in the first half of 1977 by Mike McGuire (vocals, ex-The Faderz), Steve Rolls/Rowles (gtr, ex-The Faderz), Paul 'Faz' Farrow (bass) and Joe MacColl (drums). After a few local gigs, The Now joined London's Punk circuit playing at the Vortex Club on August 30th on a bill that also featured 999, The Art Attacks and The Flys: their set included self-penned numbers mostly penned by Rowles and McGuire, alongside re-makes of “A HARD DAY'S NIGHT” and “THE SHAPES OF THINGS TO COME”.
A self-financed single was recorded in September and was issued on November 4th on the local Ultimate label. With hints of The Sex Pistols' energy and of The Desperate Bicycles' enthusiastic amateurism, the 7" garnered positive reviews (only Danny Baker destroyed it in the pages of Zig Zag: shame on him) and sold about 2,000 copies.
The A-side is an under-produced Punk nugget - a rough gem which deserves a place in any UK Punk collection. The flip deserves an honourable mention, too. A re-issue made by the band in March '79, pressed on blue vinyl and housed in an insert sleeve, sold only 200 copies out of 1,000 pressed (the remaining copies were later destroyed by band members "using the vinyl as Frisbees": shame on them!). In 2002 German label Last Year's Youth Records re-released the single (500 hand-numbered copies) with the addition of the bonus track “DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS” (Rough Version) – LAST 11.
"This sounds like the Desperate Bicycles, and is a very simple, but effective protest song about a subject that should be dear to your hearts. And fuzztone fizzedelic guitar! You need more?" - Jon Savage, Sounds, Nov 5
"Amateur to the point of severe embarrassment" - Ian Birch, MM, Nov 5
"It sounds like the rough first cassette of two really good songs from a Peterborough punk band. Usual late '77 cynicism, plus (skeleton) Pistols-style melodic strength. I like it. Try and hear it" - Vivien Goldman, Sounds, Nov 12
"Well-intentioned identipunk. For specialists only" - Charles Shaar Murray, NME, Nov 19
"If you like Patrik Fitzgerald with a backing, you'll like this" - Alan Lewis, Sounds, Mar 31, '79
"Quality stuff apart from embarrassing lyrics" - Tony, Ripped & Torn, Issue 9
"Even though the sound is strictly garage production level, the songs too long, and the sleeve packaging amateurish in the most boring way, this is worth checking out. 'Why?' has an intro reminiscent of an old Velvet Underground tune (you decide which one), then bursts into one of the most anguished, bewildered cries at life's futility I've ever heard" - Chris D., Slash, Apr '78
The Now – “INTO THE 80's” - Raw Records (RAW 31) - no ps - 7" 45 rpm
A deal with Lee Wood's Raw Records was signed in mid-'78 - and two songs recorded in late '77 were re-mixed and scheduled for March 23rd release on a 7" single which was delayed due to economic problems which would soon force the Cambridge-based label to close down. When it eventually emerged on November 30th, only 800 copies were pressed, with at least half of these being destroyed in a fire at Raw's warehouse.
An improvement even on the excellent debut, this 7" is undoubtedly one of the very best Punk platters to have emerged out of the UK indie scene. The fragile underproduction is still there in all its charm, the guitar lines are an aural delight and both tunes are spectacular. This is arguably the quintessential post-SPIRAL SCRATCH D.I.Y. single. It would be - unfortunately - the band's swansong, as The Now split soon after its release. In the '80s, Mike McGuire and Steve Rolls formed A Sudden Sway, a worthy post-Punk combo whose interesting output emerged on their own Chant label - and later on Rough Trade and Blanco Y Negro. Joe Macoll joined The Name (along with former members of Gobblinz and The Dole), whose lone unsuccessful single appeared on the DinDisc label in 1980, and later re-surfaced with Dead Sellers. Allen Adams played with The Destructors.
Between 2002 and 2003, Last Year's Youth Records released three platters credited to The Now: a straight reissue of the “INTO THE 80's” 7" - using a 'reproduction Raw label' (Cat.No. LAST-1) - a limited three-track EP housed in an 8-page booklet cover (LAST-12) featuring the single version of “INTO THE 80's” plus unreleased demos of both sides of the original 7" - and an LP entitled “HERE COME THE NOW” - which includes five previously unreleased demos taped in 1979 alongside six other songs recorded in 2002 by the re-formed combo.
The Now – tMx 21 – 08/05