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Interview

Red London
22/11/2000 (Interview with Gaz Stoker)

Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

The band formed in December '81 influenced by THE CLASH, CHELSEA, SLF, THE ANGELIC UPSTARTS, THE RUTS, THE JAM. By 1983 we were signed to Razor Records. Our first release was the "Sten Guns in Sunderland" E.P. in 1983 followed by the "This is England" L.P. in 1984. Since then we've been recording for various labels both English and foreign and touring everywhere including Germany, Poland, Belgium, Holland, France, Italy, Spain as well as the occassional English gigs. The current line-up is….

Steve Smith - Vocals
Kid Stoker - Lead Guitar
Steve Straughan - Rhythm Guitar
Gaz Stoker - Bass
Craig Casson - Drums

Discography.

1983 "Sten Guns in Sunderland" E.P. (Razor Records)
1984 "This is England" L.P. (Razor Records)
1987 "Pride and Passion" E.P. (Gougnaf Mouvement, French Label)
1989 "The Day they tore the old school down" (Gougnaf )
1989 "Outlaws" L.P. (Negative Records, French Label)
1990 "Tumbling Dice" L.P. (Released Emotions Records)
1991 " A look back in Anger"(Live sessions) L.P. Released Emotion)
1994 "Last Orders Please" L.P./C.D.(Knock-out Records, Germany)
1997 "Days Like These" L.P./C.D. (Knock-out Records)
1997 "Downtown Riot" E.P. (Combat Rock, French Label)
1999 "Once Upon A Generation" L.P./C.D. (Knock-out Records)
2000 "Streetlife…Best of Red London C.D. (Knock -out Records)

There has also been various re-releases and compilation L.P.s.

When you have toured abroad, what is the reaction like and how does the audience differ to UK audiences?

We only play in England once in a while. We'd love to play a lot more often but unless your one of the big bands, the whole punk and oi scene died a death a long time ago over here. Now there's only the "Holidays in the sun" festivals to keep the interest going. We're on next years bill which we're really happy about but in general we play nearly all our gigs in places like Germany, Italy etc. The scene there is so much stronger and we seem to be appreciated. I think the whole underground scene over there is brilliant. We get unlimited beer, somewhere to stay, either a hotel or someones house and we don't get ripped off. The reaction is usually great. We've just come back from touring Italy and we were drinking all day before going on stage at 2 a.m. drinking until 4 or 5 a.m. getting up at mid day then doing it all over again! Can you imagine that happening in England?

If you could see any band play live, either of the past or present who would it be?

I saw Slade once in about '84 but I would have loved to seen them earlier. They were great, powerful as fuck and just blew everyone away. A band I never saw, but I would really have liked to see were The Faces. The ultimate Lads band. Of the punk bands I'm the same as everybody and would have loved to see the Pistols in their early days.

What is the best sentence you have ever heard, that someone has managed to get into a songs lyrics?

"Yeah, we won the beer drinking war
The rest surrended after J F K
Eight hours in a flying bar
We touched down the Red Alert drinking way"

That's my favourite Red Alert song "Long night in Long Island" The lyrics are by Steve Smith about an unforgettable last night of a Red Alert american tour that I happened to be playing on. The lyrics of the whole song are great and really capture the spirit of that night. As for clever lyrics, look no further than Attila the Stockbroker.

Describe punk/oi at the beginning of the 21st century.

Down but not out. And still pissing on the mainstream.


Do politics and music go together?

Most of the time if the politics are extreme No, but if it's social comment there's nothing wrong with that. It's not something new it's been there for years. You only have to listen to Dylan to realise how long music and politics have been interwined together successfully. We played benefit gigs for the miners (a lot of them our friends) during the miners strike in '84. Is anybody going to tell us that was wrong? If they do, they can fuck off. I've a great respect for bands such as the Angelic Upstarts, Redskins, Attila the Stockbroker, The Clash etc, bands that play anti racist gigs and don't sit on the fence. As long as it's not rammed down your throat, I'd rather listen to lyrics with a bit of social comment bite than some no hope punk moaning or hippy shit.

Do you still go and see other punk/oi bands when they play in your area? If so, what was the last band you saw and were they any good?

Not that many well known punk bands play in Sunderland very often. I still like to get to see bands, the last one I saw was a local band called LOUDMOUTH. Their average age is 17 and they're fucking amazing for their age. If they can keep things together for another year or so, I think they could make it big.


Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2000-2001.

We're confirmed for next years "Holidays in the Sun" festival and we'll probably tour somewhere. We've recently had a Best of Red London C.D. released on Knockout Records called "Streetlife" We also have a great live C.D. bootleg recorded in Leipzig. The quality is excellent so we hope to get it released officially next year.


Any final comments?

Check out the website at www.redlondon.org.uk and if you get the chance to see Red London live, come and have a drink with the lads. It could be your last chance!

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Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.