40 Years: 76-77

Punk Flak

25 SEPT 1976. The new Melody Maker today features a review and interview with the band that many in the music press were talking up as the next big thing – Eddie and the Hot Rods. Because the Rods played short, fast, and (sometimes) loud, they – like many other new bands appearing this year – tended to be lumped in with punk.

008120_EDdieathehotrods_LGBut they did not want to stoop to that level of incompetence, and sent their Island Records rep, David Betteridge, to explain the situation to Melody Maker’s Chris Welch:

“They’ve recently been copping a lot of this punk flak and I don’t think they really want to be associated with that sort of music, because ‘Punk’ in England at this moment seems to mean the Sex Pistols, and the Clash and the Buzzcocks and other bands who really can’t cut it when you put them alongside the Rods because they don’t have that energy and vision.”

That didn’t stop Eddie and the Hot Rods being caught up in the media’s growing interest in punk. Perhaps fans across the country – influenced by posters like the one below – went along to see Eddie and the Hot Rods just to see what this new punk thing was all about …

“The Rods could be termed as punk, but they are not a ‘Punk Rock Band’,” their PR man said, further confusing matters. “And they don’t want to get involved with Sex Pistols because it’s just more press for THEM …”

Elsewhere, on the letters pages of this week’s Sounds, was a rant from a disgruntled teenager in Manchester going by the name of Steve Morrissey. He bemoaned the attention that the new punk bands had lately been receiving, saying that it was “a joke that the New York Dolls should be compared to such notorious no-talents as the Ramones and the Sex Pistols.“

Well, touché … “Steve” …


By John Scanlan

John Scanlan is the Series Editor of Reverb with Reaktion Books.