Saturday, October 08, 2011

Bermondsey Joyriders

The Bermondsey Joyriders could be described as a London rock'n'roll supergroup, with its members all veterans of the first wave punk scene when everybody wanted to be the New York Dolls rather than imitate the Sex Pistols. Lead singer Gary Lammin was a guitarist in Cock Sparrer, bassist Marty Stacey was in Chelsea and drummer Keith Boyce, formerly of Heavy Metal Kids, is sometimes supplemented by Rat Scabies of The Damned.

The name is explained by Lammin in this interview: 'It was graffiti on a wall in London Docklands at the time the docks were be redeveloped into yuppie warehouse apartments. At first I actually thought it was a name of a band but later found out that it was a vigilante gang of young lads who were pissed off about their neighbourhood being carved up by these property developers who sold the places (i.e. the docks) where their community existed for vast profits and what the Bermondsey Joyriders would do was steal top of the range yuppie cars, that were the cars of the yuppies moving into the area. and race them at speed before ceremoniously burning them out... enough said'.

Not sure if any of the band live locally, but judging by the fact that they conduct interviews in a cafe in the Old Kent Road and go to Millwall they are not far away.

Intriguingly they have recently started recording and performing with John Sinclair, a legend of the US counter-culture. Among other things he was manager of Detroit proto-punk band the MC5, founder of the anti-racist White Panther Party and victim of a police sting that saw him jailed for cannabis offences. The latter made him a cause celebre, with John Lennon writing a song about him and Stevie Wonder (as well as John and Yoko) performing at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in 1971.

A Bermondsey Joyriders album featuring Sinclair has been recorded but not yet released, and they played at the 100 Club earlier this year (reviewed at Red Mist).

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