The Machines hail
from the seaside resort of Southend-on-Sea, which is about 32 miles East
of London. Vocalist / Guitarist Nick Paul formed the band in 1977, recruiting
Duf (Ian Duffy) on Bass, and drummer John Dee. Nick was immensely fired
up by punk, having bought The Damned's New Rose single on the day it came
out, and literally had a life changing experience seeing The Clash at
the 100 Club Punk Festival in September 1976. Nick had loved The New York
Dolls / Stooges / MC5 and had started playing along those lines in his
proto-punk band, Raw Power (alongside Stephen 'Tash' Reddihough). They
folded in 1975 however, and after a short period in-between stints of
moving to and from London, Nick was back in Southend in 1977 and inspired
by the new punk scene he saw emerging, wanted to get a new band together.
meeting Duf through an advert in The Evening Echo, they met John down
the pub a couple of months later and began getting their set together
and began gigging in August 1977. Their first gig was in a local Rock
Contest at The Queens Hotel and they stunned everyone by playing a blinding
performance and winning their heat! Jointly managed by Richard and Dave
(Strange Stories Fanzine editors), the band began playing in earnest.
Regarding Machines gigs of the era, speaking to Southend Punk.com Nick
said "In addition to the already known gigs (Roxy, Vortex, City of
London Poly, The Queens Hotel) we played the Alex about 4 times and the
Roundacre youth club in Basildon about 4 times and the Shrimpers once.
Our first would have been around July 1977 and our last about March 1978.
In total I reckon we only played about 30 gigs. The life of a may fly
really. Still it seemed longer at the time..."
restricted, tied down, they could stop us getting off the ground, backstabbers,
hypocrites, pretend friends, you're just a bunch of shits." 'True
People began to take
notice, and the band would often pack out the local venues. Nick had been
writing a lot of songs, with titles such as 'Racing', 'Tomorrow', 'Parents
Zone', 'Weird Phone Calls', 'Chain Gang', 'Don't be Fooled' and 'Head
on Crash'. Thus the band decided to get something down on tape and put
out an EP on local label Wax
Records. They went into Spectrum Studios in Westcliff and recorded four
songs: 'True Life', 'Everything's Technical', 'You Better Hear' and 'Evening
Radio'. The single did well, soon selling it's pressing of 1,000, and
even entered the lower reaches of the Alternative Chart, as published
As well as various local gigs, the band played in London at The Vortex
(on the 07.11.77 with The Maniacs, Bazooka Joe & The Monotones), The
City of London Polytechnic (on the 02.12.77) and the legendary Roxy Club
(on the 17.01.78 with the Deviators). Things looked like they were going
pretty well, however Nick had grown a bit restless and had decided to
change the line up of the band, and moved to London in April 1978, effectively
splitting the band. When asked about this, Nick said "I fully intended
to rebuild a new Machines and even had a piece in the NME about the next
planned release 'The Machines Turn On' but it wasn't to be. Endless auditions
for drummers and bass players led to nothing and in (I think it was late
April 1978) a piece went into the music papers to the effect the Machines
dial a number on my telephone, answering machine says there's no one home,
so I'm just talking down the line, to a technical gadget, not a friend
of mine." 'Everything's Technical'.
the demise of the first line up of The Machines, Nick would return with
the more power-pop orientated 'The Collectors'
in 1980, whom released a 7" single titled 'Different World', on Central
Collection Records that year. Duf became a painter and John Dee continued
drumming, in 1978 finding time to help out fellow Southend punks The Vandals,
whom featured Alison 'Alf' Moyet on Vocals. He then joined his brother
Paul in a band called The Electric Shocks, and later on played in reggae-orientated
bands Bushfire and Charas.
In 2005 Nick Paul had found a rare recording of a live demo the band had
recorded in September '77, before the recording of the EP, containing
songs 'Racing' and an early version of 'You Better Hear', and Dizzy at
Detour / Bin Liner Records released these songs on a compilation called
'Bored Teenagers Vol 4' in July 2006. Before that though, in 2005, Nick
Paul and Stephen 'Tash' Reddihough (Raw Power) had linked up again after
many intervening years, and then in February 2006 they were joined by
Steve Pegrum (The Ghosts of Lovers / Kronstadt Uprising / Sinyx) to play
some songs that hadn't been heard in a long time and to take things as
far as they would go. These songs included 'True Life', 'Evening Radio',
'You Better Hear', 'Everything's Technical', 'Chain Gang', 'Parents Zone',
'Racing' and 'Head on Crash'.
There was a great chemistry between the three members, with Nick and Steve
Pegrum's mutual love of heartbreak Punk Rock 'n' Roll (being epitomised
by Johnny Thunders) being a key shared reference. Combined with a mutual
calling to play high energy rock 'n roll, they decided to play some shows
and take the band forward, and The Machines underwent a kind of 'rebirth'.
The first gig was at the Boston Arms, Tufnel Park in London at the launch
party for the Bored Teenagers compilation CD and was a fantastic evening,
and after this success more shows were booked, including a brilliant homecoming
show at Chinnerys in Southend in 2007.
girl in a black dress, pulls up in a taxi on a cold winters day, Hawaiian
eyes, Parisian skies, and then she turns and she walks away...At the Chelsea
Hotel itís not going well, and Johnny said 'It'll end in trouble'."
'Girl in Black'.
next stage was recording and over the summer the guys laid down two live
5 track Promo EPs, with minimal overdubs. Songs included 'Racing', 'Don't
Be Fooled', 'Cyclone', 'Girl in Black', 'Weekend' and many more. The rest
of 2007 was spent gigging and writing new material such as the infectious
'Rocket Red' and band anthem 'With The Machines'. Key gigs at this time
included great blitzkrieg shows at the 12 Bar Club and Bar Monsta in London,
and The Engine Room in Brighton. Various fanzines and 'Net Radio Stations
started picking up on the band, describing them variously:
"Classic punk, served New York Style" - Bubblegum Slut Fanzine
"The Machines are pretty bloody fantastic" - Total Rock Radio
"The Machines are brilliant" - Noisy Fanzine
"Their sound contains something fresh and vibrant, which is missing from
so many bands doing the rounds today, if fact they sound much better than
many of the larger punk bands which have reformed" - Street Voice Ezine
are all pretty catchy, in a Ramones / Heartbreakers style, but in a similar
fashion to The Phobics, the lyrics and vocals are very much grounded in
a distinctly English style" - Fear and Loathing Fanzine
"You guys still have an incredibly honest sound" - Lucy Hell, Mystery
saw the band writing more new material, with songs such as the infectious
'Mainline' and 'Denmark Street'. The year started with a flurry
of gigs at various London haunts such as Tommy Flynns, The 12 Bar Club
as well as a very special gig at The Bridge House 2 in Canning Town.
The Machines wanted to try and play further afield too, and to this end
small tours incorporating places such as Bedford, Westcliff, Brighton,
Trimley, Brandon and more were undertaken. Towards the end of their summer
dates the band played the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool and were gratified
to meet many fans there and find inspiration in their love of the band.
Since then, the band have been busy consolidating their set, whilst also
seeing seeing several tracks appear on Compilation and Covermount CDs.
Early 2011 saw the release in Japan of the original 'True Life' EP on
1977 Records and the rest of the year was spent gathering resources for
The Machines debut album, 'The Machines'. Released on December 12th, 2011,
on Angels in Exile Records, the CD collects all The Machines material
recorded so far. A 16-Page full colour booklet tells the band's story
and brings everything up to date.
"I cruise the streets With The Machines,
I spend my time With The Machines, Iím hanging out With The Machines,
I spend my life With The Machines." 'With
The Machines are:
Paul - Guitar and Vocals
Stephen 'Tash' Reddihough - Bass and Backing Vocals
Steve Pegrum (aka Steve Machine) - Drums