So I’m sat here nursing a cuppa, poised to fire up the mixing desk and start work for the day, trying to decide where to go with my sophomore post. There’s so much material to cover that it’s daunting knowing whether to commence with the obvious or go straight in with rare gems.
I’ve opted to start at the start, thereabouts, with this clip from The Punk Rock movie. Released in ’78 and spliced together from 8mm footage shot by Don Letts largely at The Roxy, the movie featured a few backstage and behind the scenes moments including this candid clip of Alternative TV running through their soon to be single Life After Life.
This is not by any means the 1st punk-reggae track but it’s arguably one of the 1st great ones, and as far as I know the 1st to receive a decent dub on the b-side. Of course Generation X’s Wild Dub preceded this 7″ but Wild Youth was a good old fashioned rock n roll record, which makes it a but a distant cousin of what we like to call Spiky Dread here at SBB.
Also of note is the track’s producer Joe Sinclair, seen here singing the drum fill to Chris Bennett; Sinclair added some worthy credentials to the mix having stacked up production credits for various reggae labels including Trojan, Pama and Black Swan as well as being a one time Vulcan on Trojan’s glorious synth cash-in project Star Trek. As you can see, Sinclair’s presence was almost essential given the less chaotic outcome on the record, and I’d like to think he personally kept Jools Holland’s ever threatening boogie-woogie tinkling at bay with a few carefully timed cold looks.
Incidentally this wasn’t even ATV’s 1st punk-reggae release as Mark Perry had happily bowed out of the movement and cast off punk’s shackles with the final issue of his own Sniffin’ Glue zine featuring Love Lies Limp on the accompanying flexi, bringing this tale full circle as it featured former Gen X member John Towe on drums.
And of course I couldn’t leave you without sharing the studio version of Life After Life (with the obligatory dub mix)…