… and there was me thinking the internet had ALL the information we ALL want to know.
In typical ’77 punk style, Wakefield’s finest appear to have given the one finger salute, and completely subverted the information highway. But here’s what I’ve got on The Stukas.
Back in the day there were only a few means of discovering new bands and music. You could read about them in likes of Sounds, NME and Melody Maker; you could borrow an LP from a pal’s big brother, or … you might hear a new band play a late evening session on the John Peel Radio Show.
The latter came with the best guarantee of quality – I can’t think I heard any bands I didn’t like being invited onto the show.
This was how I became aware of The Stukas.
To be honest, with so little information on the band readily available, and with such a limited recorded output, I had forgotten about them until I once again stumbled across their energy and vibrancy a while back.
In my rather vain attempts to find out more about the band, I’ve seen them described as part punk / part rock ‘n’roll. Some folks have left a space for The Stukas to be filed in their ‘power pop’ pigeon-hole.
To me though, they are quality ‘Pub Rock.’ And I mean that as a compliment.
In the mid to late Seventies, when Punk and New Wave had usurped Glam, and the Rockabilly revival was gathering pace, people could become a bit sniffy about the term ‘pub rock.’ Perhaps it was seen as a style that had not moved on, developed; regarded as old hat? Uninspired?
I don’t know – I loved it. Vibrant and fun, it was. And that’s how I feel music should be. It should lift you, and put a smile on your face. When you consider likes of Dr Feelgood; Eddie & the Hot Rods; The Roogalator; Kilburn & The High Roads; Brinsley Schwartz and two of my favourites Graham Parker (& The Rumour) and Ducks Deluxe all came from this background, then why would anyone try to ‘dis’ the scene?
‘Sniffy?’ In his magnificent ‘A Sharp Shock To The System‘ tome, author Vernon Joynson is not very positive in his comments about The Stukas, which is a great shame. Much as I admire his work and love his books, I couldn’t disagree more with his view. Each to their own, I suppose.
Despite VJ’s opinion, it still puzzled me as to why a band such as The Stukas (a) recorded only three singles as their total output, and (b) only the first was on the Chiswick label, who, from afar, looked to be the perfect home.
Guitarist ‘Raggy’ explains:
“The Chiswick deal was done before we had a manager. Once appointed, and with big ideas for the band, he sacked the singer and bass player. The band then morphed into Autographs – put together quickly to capitalize on a deal with RAK.
“One single (‘While I’m Still Young’) and personality differences caused the band to split. Chris Gent, saxophone & vocals, would go on to later play with Radio Stars.“
(Since he mentioned it – here’s that single, with Raggy on guitar.)
The Stukas still get together about once a year with a deputy guitarist.
And just to prove they’ve still got it, here’s the band at a 2018 reunion show, performing the B-side to their second single, ‘I Like Sport.’
Paul Brown – Vocals
Raggy Lewis – Guitar
Mick Smithers – Guitar
Kevin Allen – Bass
John Mackie – Drums