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Vic Godard – 30 Odd Years (Part 1)

Vic Godard has been called ‘The Greatest Living Englishman’ by  6 Musics’ Marc Riley (amongst others) and this motley, angular and diverse collection of ‘30 Odd Years’ via Vic’s newish imprint GNU inc mastered by Mike Coe is a worthy collection for lovers and indeed new comers to the world of Vic Godard and Subway Sect and testifies to the sheer depth of talent and songcraft from this ‘Bard of Barnes’ and ‘Maestro of Mortlake’. This double CD covers 23 tracks from the early punk years through the multiple influences and soundscapes (some often hard to decipher) and seemingly out of step with the times in which each set of songs were born. Vic is a true original, unaffected by the more vulgar and shallow, vain, loud, brash and distorted rock ‘n’ roll trappings, always spurred on by his inspirational references of Tom Verlaine, Lou Reed, Richard Hell, The ‘Rat’ Pack and even a hint of Bowie. Vic Godard charms, entertains, makes us click our fingers and refuses to step the instep. The real English eccentric gentleman art-punk kitchen sink poet cometh and delivers a template of honest integerity of sorts for all of the indie lables, scenes, and sounds that happily followed in his wake. Credit, merit and respect due and Vic still happily does the rounds and delivers in a first class of his own mode today!


01 Intro With Paul Reekie

The intro sees a short Paul Reekie talkover which is a noble, apt and moving way to start proceedings as this Scottish poet, writer, musician and counter culture legend, left us prematurely aged only 48 in 2010. He lived on the margins and was a true classic literary outsider.

‘I fell totally into that thing Vic Godard said ‘We oppose All Rock N Roll’, Avoid all these cliches’ – Lawrence, Felt (Mojo Magazine, May 2012)
‘Whenever Godard adopted a style it became a genre and when it became a genre… he did something else’ – The Daily Telegraph, London

02 Don’t Split It

Up goes the pace and a dry, tense riff, thundering echoing drums, pivotal bass wrestle yearning vocals that warn of ‘not knowing about tomorrow’ with a bluesy harmonica and stabbing keyboards polish the claustrophobia.

03 Nobodies Scared

60s undergound legends LOVE are revisited in this riffy garagey punk fuzz force with thumping bass, dead-beat drums and snarls of ‘nobody cares and nobodies scared’, the future seems bleak!

04 Parrallel Lines

Echoing vocals with crashing cymbals, choppy guitars underpin ‘class war will never change history’ blurred lines and the fear of being lied too seem to frame the song. Simmering frustration threatens to explode.

05 Different Story (B side to Ambition 7 inch)

Vic’s vocal lines bobs and weaves through a bouncing piano phrase and already the songcraft here sees more space and texture with some pretty nifty whistling! *(my old man R.I.P was also a Postie for a while in South London and told me with a straight face that they put chemicals in emulsion paint to make you whistle).

06 Double Negative

‘The only thing I’ve got to say is Double Negative’ retorts Vic as he struggles with seeking the positives of life.

07 Vetical Integration

Acoustic strumming in the vein of The Who or the Kinks sets up a snakes and ladders of wilderness woes with a blues harp making an appearance in this toe tapper of a tune.

08 Empty Shell

Chimes and chops and interplay into empty spaces, logs on the fire of lonliness, a soulful cry not unlike a lost Velvets classic with a sensitive and wonderfully honest atmosphere with the emotion restrained but able to raise a forlorn lump in anyones throat.

09 Make Me Sad

Pretty picked guitars, charming smart bass runs, jazzy swinging licks entomb these feelings of being let down again with ‘money only being good when it’s all been spent’ with soaring harmonies, well thought out piano melodies, this really is an over-looked radio friendly classic in the making. One day future generations well learn to discover, cherish and embrace tracks like these if there is any justice. It really merits a wider audience as this is what ‘pop’ music can really achieve.

10 Stop That Girl

Are we in a French New Wave Movie? Accordians tickle a fabulous bass line that builds with smooth cool backing vocals that layer fab textures entwined into this offbeat tale of a love triangle like no other! A twist and a meander and another instant pop classic!

11 Stamp of A Vamp

Smokey 40s style swinging jazz in an effortless nod to sophistication and suave ‘rat pack’ leanings, trawling through boho, London streets with a glorious lead vocal perofrmance from the man himself and bold brass, perky piano, haughty harmonies that sit perfectly in the mix in this darkly upbeat ‘blind to reflection’ tale of romance that is not what it seems.

12 Hey What’s Your Name?

Love is a mystery, rumours abound, swinging romantic hearts are broken, tears are shed, strangers pass like ships in the fog ready to collide in a quirky jazz-bop kitchen sink frenzy.

13 Crazy Crazy

Another fine jazzy hip rave-up that make fingers pop, hips move to the brass volleys, this dancer bounces and bops and breaks into killer licks and is a real solid good time charlie of a track, well stroked drums and rolling piano motives stack up too a flapper of a frenzy!

14 Spring is Grey

Cinematic soundscape for an alternative James Bond will a Scott Walker type balad with on-the-continent easy style female backing vocals that hint at French Pop with a killer keyboard hook superb production values that never lose that loving feeling! Warm, emotive and stunning stuff!

15 Crazy Crazy

Another fine jazzy rave up that make fingers pop, hips move to the brass volleys, this dancer bounces and bops and breaks into killer licks and is a real solid good time charlie of a track, well stroked drums and rolling piano motives stack up too a flapper of a frenzy!

15 T.R.O.U.B.L.E

Troubled romance is in the air, daydreams escape to pastures anew, being kept on your toes spelt out clearly a la title! Curls of brass and vibes pinpoint the hooks with a perfect rhythm section that builds the atmosphere wherein danger lurks! Another cracker!

16 Stayin’ Outta View

Intrumental surf like twanging, brooding bass and drums with flute pops, brass loops with a lost spy TV movie theme springing to mind. Clandestine meetings in dark corners? Simply splendid! One for the DJs turntables methinks!

17 Ice On A Volcano

What’s not to like? Big band dynamics give way to a clinging to vanity and image story, of keeping up appearances, fuelled with frustration and dispair in a hot/cold world, a clever mesh of styles play out here, with a 60s swing meeting modern poptones head on with added soulful inflections, the beefy brass swells add an off-kilter angular cherry on the cake! Toppermost!

18 Malicious Love

A spikey end of romance snarl with a twisted backdrop, posike anger darting into the menacing throbbing rolling bass yet with a craftily blended Northern Soul type uplift, metrocentric hisses through slightly grinding teeth set this stomp heading to the dark river’s edge.

19 Same Mistakes

The Piano shuffles inside a few Country slides into circular matra of repetition and dismay at being stuck in the endless rut! Steep learning curves unleash deep drifting backing vocals that hide the breakdowns and changes. Vic manages to stand firm and win out the day! This could easily have been the final whistle?

20 Won’t Turn back

Sheer Northern Soul Style with a stirring string section lift offset with a clever fuzzy guitar and a nod to Motown with whoops and builds, this is a peachy classic of a tune, a triumph of will power and biting back!

21 No Love Now

An explosive shuffling almost Cajun tinted whirlwind, with a 60s freakbeat trick of a track that melds to the poetic words that speak of feeling shut out, over-looked,  and out of step – a strangely fitting way to round off and end Disc One’s buried treasures that knit together a mighty journey of songcraft and style from one of England’s true underground giants.

Vile Evils are Vile Evils…

So that’s Disc One – Part One of our 2 part review and we give this and the Monochrome Set LP a full score draw as our recent favourite releases. This band in all its forms and with all of its incarnations have been central and key in so many other peoples lives. Also in the pipeline, is Vic and producer-buddy Edwyn Collins will be putting out a collection of Northern Soul tracks called 1979 to delight us even more! Yes, Vic really is there… Part Two – Disc Two will follow very shortly!

Credits (where they are due)

Subway Sect: Bob Ward, Paul Myers, Rob Symmons, Colin Scott, Steve Spartan Atkinson, Johnny Britton, Chris Bostock, Dave Collard, Rob Marche,
Sean McCluskey, Becca Gillieron, Sophie Politowicz, Leigh Curtis, Paul Trigger Williams, Mark Laff, Gary Ainge, Kevin Younger, Mark Braby & Paul Cook
The Black Arabs & Paul and Terry Chimes, Pete Thomas & Jumping Jive, Working Week
The Bitter Springs: Simon Rivers, Dan Ashkenazy, Nick Brown, Paul Wizard Baker, Paul McGrath & Phil Martin
Mates Mates: Andrew Ribas Escandon, Andriu Luc Ma, Luca Ferran Font, Fim Jorbel Errapicas, Erra & Pau Orri Comerma, Pau
The Sexual Objects: Davy Henderson, Douglas Macintyre, Graham Wann, Ian Holford & Simon Smeeton

Vic Godard & Subway Sect


  • What’s the Matter Boy? (1980), Oddball/MCA
  • Songs For Sale (1982), London
  • Long Term Side-Effect (1998), Tugboat
  • We Come As Aliens (2010), Overground
  • A Retrospective (1977-81) (1985), Rough Trade
  • Twenty Odd Years – The Story of… (1999), Motion
  • Singles Anthology (2005), Motion


  • “Split Up the Money” (1980), Oddball/MCA
  • ‘Stop That Girl’ (1981), Rough Trade
  • ‘Hey Now (I’m in Love)’ (1982), London
  • ‘Johnny Thunders’ (1992), Rough Trade
  • ‘Won’t Turn Back’ (1993), Postcard
  • ‘No Love Now’ (1996), Garcia
  • ‘Place We Used to Love’ (1999), Creeping Bent

Vic Godard


  • T.R.O.U.B.L.E. (1986), Rough Trade
  • End of the Surrey People (1993), Postcard
  • In T.R.O.U.B.L.E. Again (2002), Tugboat


  • ‘Stamp On a Vamp’ (1981), Club Left
  • ‘Holiday Hymn’ (1985), El


Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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February 4, 2014 By : Category : Eyeplugs Features Front page Heroes Indie Pop Post-punk Punk Reviews Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Interview with Vic Godard

Vic Godard- Vocals/Guitar of Subway Sect

Emerging from the 100 Club punk scene of 76, Subway Sect debuted alongside their contemporaries The Clash and Sex Pistols. With Rob Symmons on guitar, Paul Myers on Bass and Paul Packham on drums, their garage sound and sense of melody set them apart from the usual run of the mill punk acts that joined the conveyor belt that year. By the time their first album ‘What’s The Matter Boy?’ was released, the line up had changed five times. The influence of The Black Arabs and the Chimes brothers on this Lp produced a poppier, soulful sound.

In the 1980s Vic got together with musicians whose talents allowed him to experiment with Jazz, Swing and Motown beats. Beginning with the ‘Songs for Sale’ Subway Sect – Chris Bostock, Rob Marche, Sean McLusky and Dave Collard. Then recording ‘Trouble’ with Working Week and Pete Thomas’s Jumping Jive.

The 90’s saw the beginnings of some fruitful collaborations-With Motion Records-Twenty Odd Years 1999, Sans End 2002 and Singles Anthology 2005. We Oppose all Rock and Roll (1996) was the first of three successful releases on Overground Records, followed in 2007 with 1978 Now and in 2010 with the well received We Come as Aliens.

Close ties were forged with Edwyn Collins, who produced three albums for Vic- Long term Side Effects and In Trouble again in 1998 and End of the Surrey People in 1993).

And with Douglas McIntyre and the Creeping Bent Organisation. Vic and the Sect have been playing with Davy Henderson’s band the Sexual Objects, on their annual visits to Scotland for the past few years) and Vic sang with the Sobs at ‘Love’s Rebellious Joy’ at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August 2011 see here!

And the associations continue today, Vic is singing with the Sobs on a Marc Riley session and a 4 night mini tour at the end of this year.

Vic has started recording the next album, 1979 Now (two tracks done), a collection of songs originally written for The Black Arabs on their first tour supporting Dexy’s in 1979.The songs were also performed at a Subway Sect gig in early 1980 with Bob Ward and Paul Myers reuniting as the rhythm section.

When Gary Ainge had to retire in 2010, it broke up a great live combo with Kevin Younger on guitar/keyboard and Mark Braby on bass. Gigging continued with Mark Braby moving to drums and Dan Ashkenazy (Bitter Springs) temporarily joining the Sect on bass, followed by Yusuf B’layachi. In October 2011 Paul Myers and Paul Cook agreed to join the live line up for a number of gigs, as and when available, with the multi talented Mark Braby moving to guitar, Kev staying on keyboard/guitar and Vic on vocals.

Vic and the morphing Sect continue their ‘5 Year Tour’ in 2012 after 27 gigs in 2011, with stalwarts Kevin and Mark and a moveable feast of guest musicians in the live line up- Dan Ashkenazy (Bitter Springs); Yusuf B’ Layachi (Dear Thief), Joe McKechnie, paul Myers and Paul Cook. Upcoming dates: London, Manchester; Newcastle and Glasgow. More dates to be confirmed.

The 5th limited edition on Gnu Inc, Vic’s own micro label is a compilation cd released at the end of 2011- ‘Subway Sect Live and Rare Vol 1, Vol 2 due out in the autumn of 2012. It follows ‘Live in Stereo’ (limited edition live cd, no longer available), ‘Blackpool’ epcd (based on a collaboration with Irvine Welsh and performed by Vic and the Bitter Springs as well as the vinyl edition of We Come as Aliens. All available from the website as well as Gnu Inc’s first download only single Better Not Turn On.

01 How did you first get started in music?

When we were at Shene College we used to go in the music room at lunch time and make a racket.

02 Where did your obvious love of film and visuals originate from?

I went on a school trip to Russia when I was thirteen and was inspired by the hoardings and I’d always been into films through my family being avid cinema fans.I was more into American TV as a kid.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Lots of those, but I will say European Romantic Lit, Johnny Rotten, Debussy, The VU, and The Tough of the Track: Alfie Tupper. I wouldn’t vote for Putin.

04 What drove you to make this type of music?

I don’t stick to one type. I had always had tunes in my head but never had a way of using them so I learned to play a guitar and piano in a rudimentary way.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

It would totally impossible to say without knowing which Sect the four piece and the five piece are quite a different kettle of fish.The first are a bit more Northern Soul inspired,whereas the four piece are more spur of the moment and off the cuff.I am also doing some gigs soon with the Sexual Objects who are a different sound again. The set lists vary from group to group.

06 What frames your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Any theme or subject is possible.They have also varied through the years.The theme isn’t always apparent when the song is initiated and can hold up a songs completion for years or even decades.

7 How did your music evolve since you first began playing?

We learned to write songs with minor chords when touring with the Buzzcocks.Then more and more chords via Dylan and the a few jazzy ones.The tunes have always come but the rest is hard work for a group.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

Learning to drive and five attempts to pass test.

09 Do you play any covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We don’t currently,but on our latest CD Live and Rare Volume 2 we have a live version of Born to Lose with Scottish group Shock and Awe.I used to do I’m Set Free about eight years ago. I would like to do New York New York.

10 What do you love and hate outside of music?

Eton Rifles and Hi Viz Army, hate and love.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

The Subway Sect [not joking-want to get on with album 1979 Now]

12 Your thoughts on the current state of art and music?

Looking forward to this Pre-Raphaelite show as I have been into that since the seventies-my art taste is a bit old as is the music taste. Apparat are a modern group I like.There are a multitude of talented local groups out there and they are musically more diverse than ever.

13 Your thoughts on the current state of culture?

Not an easy climate for creativity to thrive in but we are benefiting from a constant influx of different influences from Asia Africa and Europe.

14 Would you share a book, a film, and a painting that you love with us maybe?

The book My Phantoms by Theophile Gautier, three of the tracks on 1979 Now borrow heavily from it. The film would be Le Grand Meaulnes (The Lost Domain), and the painting might be Work by Ford Madox Brown as the Pre-Raphs are back.

15 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

Our micro label Gnu Inc will be releasing Live and Rare Volume 2 in a few weeks. We’re recording 1979 Now, with Edwyn Collins producing, also hoping to record a couple of new tracks for a single at some point. I’m doing a mini-tour starting with a Marc Riley, session singing with Davie Henderson’s group The Sexual Objects end of November/early December.


Photos by: Nigel Bailey and Peter Stevens


Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

More Posts - Website

June 5, 2015 By : Category : Front page Genres Indie Interviews Music Post-punk Punk Tags:, , ,
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