Lighthouse was founded on the spirit of inclusivity, and it remains at the heart of everything we do. As we reopen our doors to the public, #MondayMemories hears from David John who, as John the Baptist guitarist with Intestines, spent this week in 1980 getting ready to bring grass roots punk rock to our doors...
"The weekend of the Mob gig (23 May 1980) is particularly memorable to me as the day before was my last full day at school before the exams started, and the day of the gig was on my last day working weekends at Waitrose.
The poster (pictured below) looks like it was handwritten by Rob which would have been photocopied to be put up in places such as Armadillo and Uptown Records, and also stuck up outside other gigs. We had played the Stateside Centre in Bournemouth with the UK Subs a few months before and were looking forward to playing a similar sized venue, but the Seldown Gallery was not the large hall but a tiny room in comparison.
There were a reasonable number of people for that size of room. When we got there at about half seven everyone was sat on the floor around the walls, but the room slowly filled up over the evening.
We had lost our previous bass player (Steve “Snatch” Morgan) in March and had been in the latest line up for just over a month. The three remaining Intestines Harry (vocals), Dave (guitar) and Rob (drums) were joined by three former members of Illegitimate: Mike (vocals), Menace (guitar) and Paul (who had been the drummer in Illegitimate but now switched to bass).
The full line-up had two lead singers who shared singing duties, but that night Harry had to be working out of town, so Mike took over lead vocals on all songs. We did make some changes to our normal set. We had just released our first single, but we didn’t like performing it anymore as it had been recorded almost a year and a half before and was no longer representative of the band. However, that night we played all three songs from the single.
The stage was very small, so it was a good job that we didn’t have all five standing members squeezed in front of the drums. I actually jumped down onto the dance floor to stop knocking my guitar into the other guitar and bass and spent most of our performance looking up at the rest of the band. I was largely untroubled by the audience who remained clinging to the walls, but I do remember one drunken punk jumping around.
Although there was a slow start there was a good atmosphere at the gig and we had a good response from the audience who made a good positive loud noise between the songs. Dale, our former bassist, who was in the band when we performed at the Bournemouth Beat Contest almost two years before, was there and his girlfriend took some photos, but I never saw them.
Out of the other support bands I preferred The Revue to Null and Void. The audience did not go to the front of the stage until The Mob came on.
After the gig we were able to sell some of our records and exchanged singles with The Mob. We made good contacts with them and other associated anarcho-punk bands which led to offers of gigs at London squats and a gig in Wantage with Flux Of Pink Indians who were then number one in the indie charts.
However, our band lost momentum as I had to suspend activities for over a month until my exams were over, by which time The Mob had finished their tour and Flux Of Pink Indians had pulled out of the gig in Wantage, which we played with The Sinyx headlining instead. Bassist Paul broke his arm, and Harry, Mike and Menace lost interest. We made our farewell performance at the Brewers Arms, Poole in August 1981.
Rob and I reunited with Snatch to form Butcher with Sid as the new singer. Snatch tragically died in 1982 but Butcher remained active for next six years releasing two singles, two flexi disks and appeared on several compilation albums. Paul and Menace resurfaced in 2014 in Trickster and released their album Welcome To Clone Town in 2020.
Intestines kept in touch over the years and performed locally a couple of times in 2009 and 2010 as a four piece with Harry, Rob and me, joined by Menace on bass, and we’ve just released our first album – Can’t Fake It No More – on coloured vinyl.
*Available from www.facebook.com/intestinespunkrock/
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