Posts Tagged ‘Steve Diggle’

Intended to capture their explosive and hugely popular live set in the studio, “A Different Compilation” sees Buzzcocks, led as ever by Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, re-visit 24 of their best loved songs, bringing a new energy to those familiar tunes.

Performed with all of the energy and pace of a live show, and captured in a raw and uncompromising state, ‘A Different Compilation’ sits as a perfect companion to the original recordings, and was a huge hit among fans on its original release. All of these songs in their original studio versions. It was a brave thing for Buzzcocks to revisit these old songs and give them a new coat of polish, but it works nicely. Pete Shelley mentioned that many of the earlier recordings sounded like demos, and he is right to an extent. However, the original recordings sounded crisper and less ‘muddy’. Some of the songs have a new slant, others are faithfully reproduced, but all in all this makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. It’s refreshing to hear these newer live versions. Production is more grungy and heavier sounding. Apart from that they have not attempted to embellish them which is good. Noticeable tracks are Boredom sung by Shelley and Love is Lies which is more electric than the original acoustic version. 

A Different Compilation” sits as a perfect companion to the original recordings, and was a huge hit among fans on its original release. Now available on vinyl for the first time, and spread across two glorious pink LPs, this is the perfect opportunity to revisit some old friends and see how well they’ve grown!

Now available on vinyl for the first time, and spread across two glorious pink LPs, this is the perfect opportunity to revisit some old friends and see how well they’ve grown!


As a member of the Buzzcocks, Shelley—alongside co-guitarist Steve Diggle, bassist Steve Garvey and drummer John Maher—released three albums (Another Music In A Different Kitchen, Love Bites and A Different Kind Of Tension) in the late ’70s which pretty much drafted the blueprint for modern pop punk.

The band originally started with frontman Howard Devoto in the lead singer slot for the infamous 1977 EP Spiral Scratch. When Devoto quit to join the band Magazine, Diggle was enlisted, and Shelley moved to the vocalist position.

During their late-’70s tenure on the United Artists label, the Buzzcocks crafted one perfect pop-punk track after another. They were masters of fractured love songs that were everything from cautionary (“Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”) to awesomely creepy (“Orgasm Addict”). While the band had energy to spare, the tunefulness of the songs caught the ears of fans of the then-nascent new-wave scene.

June 21st, 2019, Royal Albert Hall, London: What was intended as a celebration of perhaps English punk’s most universally beloved band, The Buzzcocks, is now a wake. On December. 6th, 2018, frontman Pete Shelley died of a heart attack in Estonia, where he’d been enjoying a less hectic existence than London had afforded him for 30 years.

The occasion was supposed to be the biggest 1977 punk gig ever, with opening sets from Penetration and the Skids. The original Buzzcocks rhythm section of bassist Steve Garvey and drummer John Maher would join remaining co-guitarist/songwriter Steve Diggle and current drummer Danny Farrant and latter-day bassist Chris Remington. But now the center mic had no one manning it. The band’s guitarist and chief songwriter was gone. Diggle announced he’d keep Buzzcocks going, in an agreement made with Shelley. Valiant and appropriate, considering all the best modern-day Buzzcocks songs, such as the extraordinary “Sick City Sometimes,” were Diggle’s. When you see them on tour, he will be singing Shelley’s songs, too. But that night at Royal Albert Hall, a brace of special guests took the stage. Peter Perrett of the Only Ones; Penetration’s Pauline Murray; The Skids’ Richard Jobson; Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible of the Damned; Tim Burgess of the Charlatans UK; and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore.

For the grand finale, every single guest vocalist piled onstage to sing the greatest Buzzcocks tune, “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?).” They needn’t have bothered: All that was necessary was to turn the mic toward the audience and play instrumentally. The crowd knew every word.

This was because Shelley did write the best songs in all of punk. So good, they went beyond punk. He had a keen melodic sense. It was born of ’60s pop but leavened with a yen for the strident experimentation of German art-rock acts (Can, Neu!) and the fundamentalist rock ’n’ roll of glamsters such as David Bowie. But most important was his subject matter: He wrote supremely universal lyrics. They were almost all love songs, except no one got the object of desire in a Shelley song. And they might as well have been objects, considering gender was never specified in any of them. Perhaps this was due to his lifelong bisexuality. But it was as revolutionary as any political lyric coming out of London.

There are exactly five essential Buzzcocks albums that are stone-cold classics.

Behold the dawn of U.K. indie rock, as well as DIY and several other historic firsts. Buzzcocks were initially conceived by university students Howard Trafford and Peter McNeish in 1976, after having their Damascene moment seeing the Sex Pistols earlier that year. Diggle met them after they became Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley at the summer 1976 Pistols gig in Manchester that sired the entire local scene. (The Fall, Joy Division, Factory Records and the Smiths all start here.) Diggle was meeting someone else at the venue, and it was then Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren accidentally introduced him to the Buzzcocks singer/guitarist. With teenage Keith Moon acolyte Maher on drums, they wed a noise akin to a krautrock Ramones to Devoto’s arch lyrics, delivered in a flat yawp impossible without Johnny Rotten’s example.

Following a rough-and-ready demo session (captured on Domino’s Time’s Up LP), the band decided to properly document the sound they’d forged. Four songs were recorded in late December 1976 by Martin Hannett, the man who shaped the sound of Manchester. “It took three hours [to record], with another two for mixing,” Devoto recalled of the session. Funds exhausted, the band borrowed £500 from friends and family to press it. Released on Jan. 29th, 1977 on their own New Hormones label, Spiral Scratch made Buzzcocks the first British punk act to issue their own records. It swiftly sold out its initial thousand-copy pressing.

Historical value aside, the music makes this such a brilliant release. Crisply recorded and sonically dry, there’s an urgency to these speedy missives, especially “Breakdown” and “Time’s Up.” “Friends Of Mine” bemoans pals who keep Devoto “pissing adrenaline,” while Shelley unleashes a two-note guitar hook across “Boredom” that sounds simultaneously like a siren and the death of six-string heroics.

Almost immediately following Spiral Scratch‘s release, Devoto decided punk’s over and he’s done all he wanted with Buzzcocks. He left to finish his university studies, eventually forming prime post-punk outfit Magazine after graduation. This put Shelley in front of the centre vocal mic, enabling Diggle to return to guitar. Garth Davies assumed bass duties, replaced by the more-amenable Garvey by the time Buzzcocks signed with United Artists Records. The explosive “Orgasm Addict” 45 soon followed, guaranteed to escape airplay.

In December, the band entered the legendary Olympic Studios to essentially liquidate their inventory of Devoto-era material for a debut LP. Another Music In A Different Kitchen offered 11 slices of loud speed pop. With Maher’s animalistic drums propelling Shelley and Diggle’s hot-wired guitars, the former’s fey, delicate warble delivered lyrics surely penned by Devoto, such as the skewering of the traditional rock obsession with hot rods, “Fast Cars.” But it was on “I Don’t Mind” that Shelley previewed his vision for Buzzcocks’ future: a singles band offering a bitter view of romance, with no one getting the object of desire.

Six months after the release of their debut LP, Buzzcocks appeared bleary-eyed and disheveled from Love Bites‘ pure white sleeve. The music also sounded less upbeat than Another Music. This is the sound of a band who’d undertaken two national tours, countless Top Of The Pops appearances and issued two hit singles on the way to its creation. Not that Love Bites lacked energy. The key track is their greatest single, “Ever Fallen In Love.” Perhaps the most glorious singalong ever written, the lyrics lament a secret love that could ruin a friendship. (“I can’t see much of a future/Unless we find out what’s to blame, what a shame/And we won’t be together much longer/Unless we realize that we are the same.”) Yes, Shelley essentially wrote “Love Will Tear Us Apart” a full two years before Joy Division did. “Ever Fallen In Love” is better, however.

The greatest Buzzcocks album isn’t a proper LP. It’s a greatest hits album, assembled from the eight U.K. 45s they’d released across the previous two years, presented in sequence with the A-sides on Side One and the Bs on the reverse. Intended as a U.S. introduction to the band as they embarked on their first American tour in the second half of 1979, “Singles Going Steady” worked because it presented all of Shelley and Diggle’s best material. It’s their essential music. Buzzcocks would never record a more perfect full-length.

The last original Buzzcocks album was the sound of Shelley’s nervous breakdown, set to a precursor of modern cut-and-paste digital record production. Yes, it was recorded analogue. But all guitars and vocals were set atop tape loops of the Maher/Garvey rhythm section. Electronic elements were seeped in, flavouring even Diggle’s punk screamers (“Mad Mad Judy”). But the heart of this LP is the fragile, disturbed tunes Shelley was penning under doses of LSD. “You Say You Don’t Love Me” was the one great 45 not on Singles Going Steady. But the album’s highlight is truly the lengthy existential breakdown “I Believe,” with its shrieked refrain of “There is no love in this world anymore!” From here came the 45 RPM triptych that became 1981’s Parts 1,2, 3 and dissolution until eight years later. Buzzcocks live, since 1989.

Unlike many acts with similar beginnings, the Buzzcocks carried on making great records and sharing stages with contemporary acts. Whether he was supporting ’90s alt-rock staples (Nirvana, Pearl Jam) and still getting must-see notices on stages from Warped Tour (summer of 2006) to the 2017 Riot Fest stage, Shelley was still bringing joy, sweat and harmonies for your head, feet and heart. The man may be gone, but his place in punk history will continuously resonate and evolve.

“It’s good that people like what we do,” Shelley told AP in July 2008. “It’s an unexpected side effect because when we started out, we thought no one would like what we did at all. It was the most uncommercial form of music we were attempting to do.”

When younger fans approached him to say their parents were big fans of the Buzzcocks, Shelley would say “I congratulate them on a fine choice of parents.”

This is a must have reissue, containing 12 gems of precious, perfect pop. Available here in their original 7″ vinyl format.

A thrilling run of singles, primarily written by Pete Shelley & Steve Diggle, which showcased their effortless ability to write three-minute-mini-masterpieces that would endure long after the initial spark of punk had faded, many of these tracks were compiled and released on the album Singles Going Steady, a record which came out in the U.K. in November 1981 and quickly transcended its status as a mere compilation going on to become regarded as a seminal and era–defining release. Re-mastered from the original tapes and in the original Malcolm Garrett designed sleeves, the box, also contains a 36-page booklet written by acclaimed author and punk chronicler Clinton Heylin.

Orgasm Addict / Whatever Happened Too…?
What Do I Get / Oh Shit
I Don’t Mind / Autonomy
Love You More / Noise Annoys
Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn’t’ve) / Just Lust
Promises / Lipstick
Everybody’s Happy Nowadays / Why Can’t I Touch It?
Harmony In My Head / Something’s Gone Wrong Again
You Say You Don’t Love Me / Raison D’Etre
Part 1 – Are Everything / Why She’s A Girl From The Chainstore
Part 2 – Strange Thing / Airwaves Dream
Part 3 – Running Free / What Do You Know.

Buzzcocks require no introduction. Pivotal to the punk and post-punk DIY movements, the group, led by frontman Pete Shelley and co-conspirator Steve Diggle, brought an essential pop sensibility and sartorial style to the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Having disbanded in 1981, the band re-grouped in 1989 and continue to write, record and perform to this day, despite the saddening and untimely loss of Pete Shelley in 2018. This handsome box set captures the eight albums and numerous singles the band produced with Shelley during a twenty three year period, alongside previously unheard rarities, demos and outtakes.

Packed with remarkable music, including excellent re-visits of much of their best loved material on ‘A Different Compilation’, ‘Sell You Everything’ showcases a longevity and a hunger rarely seen in a band now into their forty-second year.

Released in association with the band, ‘The 1991 Demo Album’ is alive with the combination of punk energy and melodic and memorable song writing the band’s reputation is founded on, and is both a long-awaited treat for fans and an important document of the group’s rebirth

When the Buzzcocks broke up following what, sad to say, were the worst three singles they’d ever made, it did feel as though that was it. What had been one of the sharpest, fun-est, poppiest and most successful of all the first generation punk bands was no more. Of course, now we know better. Reuniting in 1991, the band not only outlived their original incarnation, they dedicated the best part of quarter of a century to renewing, if not always refreshing, their legacy across what is now gathered together as an eight CD box set that contains… everything.

From the 1991 Demo LP that announced their return; through Trade Test Transmissions (1993), All Set (1996), Modern (1999), Buzzcocks(2003),Flat Pack Philosophy (2006) and the self-released The Way (2004), adding on demos, home recordings and live tracks, plus a collection of rerecordings that take us back to their first ever EP, this has to be the last word on the Buzzcocks archive.

In terms of the actual music, little had changed – Pete Shelley could still be relied upon to write the quirky sharp pop, Steve Diggle remained a rocker at heart. The balance of the songwriting would change over time, however. For the earlier albums, Shelley continued to pen the lion’s share of the songs; by the time of Buzzcocks, and again on The Way, the division was almost equal.

It was a smart move. In many ways, the later albums in this box are the most even, with the two songwriters almost-but-not-quite invading the other’s territory. Few people, one imagines, would ever hold up one of these albums as a true rival to Another Music in Another Kitchen or Love Bites, the first two albums from 1977/78. But in terms of solidity and, to an extent, an aversion to either novelty or space-filling jams, they are certainly stronger.

Of course, all bets are off as we confront disc seven. Subtitled A Different Compilation, it is the sound of the Buzzcocks readdressing their past from a couple of decades on, learning the lessons that both hindsight and however many live renditions had taught them, and what the likes of “Noise Annoys” “Oh Shit,” “Whatever Happened To” and “Ever Fallen In Love” lose in terms of freshness, they gain as true rock classics.

At their best, the Buzzcocks were one of the national treasures of punk-and-thereafter. We will never see their like again, but at least we can hear the whole story.








Buzzcocks require no introduction. Pivotal to the punk and post-punk DIY movements, the group, led by frontman Pete Shelley and co-conspirator Steve Diggle, brought a unique pop sensibility and sartorial style to the late 1970s and early 1980s. Having disbanded in 1981, the band re-grouped in 1989 and continue to write, record and perform to this day, despite the saddening and untimely loss of Pete Shelley in 2018. This release captures the eight albums and numerous singles the band produced with Shelley during a twenty three year period, alongside previously unheard rarities, demos and outtakes.

Released in association with the band, ‘The 1991 Demo Album’ is alive with the combination of punk energy and melodic and memorable song-writing the band’s reputation is founded on, and is both a long-awaited treat for fans and an important document of the group’s rebirth


For their 40th Anniversary, we’ll re-issue our first two albums, Another Music In A Different Kitchen & Love Bites, viaDomino Recording Company on January 25th, 2019.Both Lovingly re-mastered, with newly curated booklets featuring a Jon Savage penned essay & unseen images.

Like many bands first albums, “Another Music In A Different Kitchen” collected material written by the group – in particular Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle – that had been amassed during the previous years, going back to 1974 and 1975. According to Tony McGartland in his Buzzcocks: The Complete History, the songs were sequenced in the order that they were written. The play through seems to bear this out: the album begins in fast protest punk and ends in the seven minute, definitely non punk length Krautrock of ‘Moving Away From The Pulsebeat.’

Most of Shelley’s songs on the first side concern the vicissitudes of romance, but the opener Fast Cars name drops US campaigner Ralph Nader in an ecological diatribe: “They’re so depressing going ’round and ’round/Ooh, they make me dizzy, oh fast cars they run me down.” ‘No Reply’, ‘You Tear Me Up’, ‘Get On Our Own’ and ‘Love Battery’ are sharp, short (all under two and a half minutes), speedy disquisitions on the tortures of interpersonal communication, love and lust played with a perfect balance between pace, abrasion and melody.

Side closer ‘Sixteen’ is something else. It’s longer and contains an avant-garde breakdown around two minutes in, recorded with each group member isolated and unable to hear each other. “It started off as a false ending,” Shelley told me in 1977: “All sloppy, and then it carries on longer so that people are thinking, “Oh I’ve just clapped but they’re not thinking — what’s up?” and then it comes back in again.” It was, as John Maher added, “A remnant of our chaos days.”

Would Shelley like to be sixteen again? “In some ways yes, in some ways no. The words go: “And I wish I was sixteen again/Then things would be such fun/All the things I’d do would be the same/But they’re much more fun/ Than when you’re twenty one.” Things like going for a drink — now the novelty’s worn off but the enjoyment’s still there. There’s no difference between doing something when you’re 16 and 22, except there is a difference if you’re doing it for the first time.”

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the song is its rapid fire, venomous ending:
“And I hate modern music/Disco boogie and pop/They go on and on and on and on and on/HOW I WISH THEY WOULD STOP!” Never has a truer sentence been written about the true impetus behind Punk: not just boredom with progressive rock or dinosaur sixties acts but an intense disgust with mainstream pop music, which in 1976, the year of number one singles by Elton and Kiki, Abba, the Brotherhood of Man, Adge Cutler & the Wurzels, seemed not to have anything to do with teenage life and certainly nothing to do with excitement or the true teenage news.

The five songs on side two reflected the group moving away from simple love tropes into something more complex: as Shelley sang on ‘I Don’t Mind’, “Reality’s a dream.” Unlike the increasing militarism and violent posturing of the Clash, Buzzcocks aimed to explore male sensitivity and frailty (‘This pathetic clown’) – which in pop terms was still new, exactly what punk had set out to be. They began to use love songs as a conduit through which they could talk about other things: the nature of human relationships in a capitalistic society, the nature of reality itself.

Onstage Buzzcocks did not present as macho. Sometimes they’d try a group uniform, like the Mondrian shirts of early 1977, but mostly they just dressed as themselves: Diggle and Maher in various permutations of Mod wear, Paddy Garvey in leather jacket and skinny tie, and Shelley in a bewildering variety of styles. “It’s no good me wearing anything like that (bondage pants),” Shelley told me; “I’m just not the fashionable shape.” “You put those clothes on and you become a different character,” Diggle added: “I don’t feel myself, I feel like somebody else.”

‘Fiction Romance’ continues the themes of ‘I Don’t Mind’: male frailty, the commodification of emotions, the difference between reality and fantasy. Steve Diggle’s powerful ‘Autonomy’ spells out the true theme behind Punk: self determination. “It’s a discussion between two sides of your personality,” he told me; “It’s about discipline in yourself, like when you say you’d like to do something and you haven’t got control, you’re not autonomous. Like giving up smoking, which I’m trying to do now and it’s very difficult. I haven’t got control of myself.”

Shelley’s pell-mell ‘I Need’ tackles the capitalist perplex head on: “I used to only want but now I need/To get by with what I got but now I need.” After a fine bass led instrumental break, Shelley lays it out again: “I need sex/I need love/I need drink/I need drugs/I need food/I need cash/I need you to love me back.” ‘Moving Away From The Pulsebeat’ continues the breakneck pace: lasting at least three times the standard punk rock single, it features some stinging psychedelic solos and some rapid fire classic break beats from John Maher.

There’s a pause, then the riff of ‘Boredom’ returns: back to the beginning. Another Music in a Different Kitchen is a perfect circle: thirty five and a half minutes of tuneful, exciting and thoughtful music that stretched the boundaries of guitar pop music at the same time as it delivered on the group’s promise. It was a critical and a commercial success, reaching the UK album top twenty in March 1978 and staying there for nearly three months. But Buzzcocks had no time to rest on their laurels.

Image may contain: 7 people

Behind the chocolate box cover, Love Bites is an album of paradoxes if not clashing opposites: real/imaginary, past/future, love/lust, connection/alienation, commerciality/experimentation. It’s to the group’s credit that they walk the high wire with ease: the attack is less punk, more measured and on occasion psychedelic, as befits the perceptual and philosophical nature of Shelley’s lyrics. The glossy pop star photo on the sleeve is matched by stranger photo realist portraits on the inner, by Robin Utracik of the Worst: Shelley in particular looks dishevelled, having just vomited when the source photo was taken.

Love Bites hit its moment. The reviews were good, and so were sales: it reached number 13 in the album charts, Buzzcocks’ best showing. They immediately went out on their fourth tour, Beating Hearts – supported by Subway Sect – which was marked in this year of Sham 69 by skinhead violence and stage invasions, definitely not what Buzzcocks were about. The fifth single of that year had already been recorded: ‘Promises’ and ‘Lipstick’, the latter of which used the same riff as Magazine’s debut ‘Shot by Both Sides’. Buzzcocks had reached their commercial peak, but Pete Shelley was deeply troubled.

Late 1978 was a harsh place, with competing styles and fads and the relentless pressure of rapid fire novelty that punk had set up. The pace was killing and on top of that the impetus of 1976 punk had faded. Shelley also felt that the original sense of community had gone: “Once we were in the music industry, people had become more diversified, there was nothing really to pull people together again.” More importantly, the constant touring was driving him mad: “It was a bit unnerving. When we did the Love Bites tour I was convinced by Richard not to leave the band. It was all getting too much for me.”


Manchester outfit Buzzcocks’ innovation in punk was making the personal political. They didn’t go for grand statements like the Clash or the Sex Pistols would, they didn’t brand themselves experimentalists a la Wire. Yet there was something profound in the art of Buzzcocks writing high-energy songs about relationships and anxieties, Pete Shelley’s emotive yelp giving the songs their sneer and their heart. Shelley and guitarist Steve Diggle’s twin buzzsaw guitar attack was bright and the rhythm section of Steve Garvey and John Maher were what gave the songs propulsion. Singles Going Steady has all the trappings of a greatest hit compilation, mind boggling when you consider everything on the album was written, recorded and released during a span of two years. Unfortunately, Singles’ slight revisioning of Buzzcocks as a premiere singles act pushes some of their experimental tendencies to the wayside but that’s a small complaint when you’ve got some of the best pop songs including the eternally incandescent “Ever Fallen in Love?” in your arsenal.

On this day March  10th in 1978 Manchester and UK punk band The Buzzcocks released their debut album, Recorded & mixed at Olympic Studios in London December 1977/January 1978 ‘ Another Music in a Different Kitchen‘, on United Artists Records.

The original UK vinyl is issued with a black cardboard inner sleeve, with color photo on front cover. Subsequent pressings substituted a black and white photo. The initial few thousand copies shipped in a matching silver-grey outer ‘PRODUCT‘ shopping bag. The album was originally conceived with the track “I Need” on side one; but after a test pressing was made, the group felt the song should appear on the second side. A mix-up occurred at the pressing plant, and, as a consequence, some early copies of the album contained no “I Need” at all.

A blue vinyl version was re-released around 1986. The corresponding CD was released in March 1994 on the same record label. An undated songbook was published (VR 8003 2) with sheet music from the album, band photos, brief biographical material, and discography which includes the band’s second release, UAG 30197 “Love Bites”. As such, it would have been released after 22nd September 1978 the release date of “Love Bites”. In keeping with other releases, the line “Agreed Images” appears on the back cover below the stocking number.

It featured the band’s second line-up, with Pete Shelley handling lead vocals following the departure of their original frontman, Howard Devoto; the album included the single “I Don’t Mind”, which would reach UK #55; to promo the LP, Virgin Record Stores in London, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester & Newcastle each released 500 helium-filled balloons containing coupons for a free copy . The term “perfect pop” is misused to hell, because it’s mostly applied to bands that never went near the charts; but Buzzcocks were pop, in that they consistently had top 20 singles. In Pete Shelley – angelic, sexually ambiguous, eyebrow-raised – they had one of the best songwriters of the time, and in Steve Diggle – loud, mod, a bit barky – they had his perfect foil, and a man also capable of great songwriting. The songs are all brilliant pop tunes in the classic style, but with lyrics whose doomed romanticism would put John Lennon to shame, and the kind of riffs that only a Stooges and T.Rex fan could write. From I Don’t Mind’s woozy declaration that “reality’s a dream” to Sixteen’s stentorian “And I hate modern music! Disco! Boogie! Pop!”, Another Music… was as melodic as pop has ever been and as honest and real as any plaid-faced grunge act.

  • Arranged By – Buzzcocks
  • Bass Guitar – Steve Garvey
  • Drums, Vocals – John Maher
  • Guitar, Vocals – Pete Shelley, Steve Diggle
  • Producer – Martin Rushent