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Interviews

Riot/Clone
18/04/2004



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

I formed the band in August 1979 as a reaction to the state of the punk scene at the time as I saw it. We played mainly local gigs in the West London area for the first couple of years and went through numerous line-ups before getting fairly settled in late 1981. Early in 1982 we managed to save and beg enough money to release an ep on our own label and the result was the “There’s No Government Like NO GOVERNMENT” ep, launched on an unsuspecting public in March 1982. To our astonishment it sold its first pressing within 3 weeks, something of a double edged sword, as whilst we were pleased that people liked it enough to spend their money, we also had to sit down folding another batch of covers for the second pressing. Two more eps later, that line-up self destructed and the band was laid to sleep for a few years, playing the occasional gig with various people playing, but nothing particularly serious. Following a project between myself and Pete called Mad Dog in the early 1990s, we received mail asking about Riot/Clone and the eps, which I re-released along with a book in 1994. That release sold quickly, and Pete from Time To Think records contacted me to ask if there was any chance of us recording an album for him. I talked about it with Pete Spence and we decided to resurrect the band, but as a going concern, not just interested in playing the old songs. Eight years, various line-ups, three albums and two unreleased eps later, we once again have a settled line-up and are currently writing the songs for a new album to be released sometime in 2004. We also have a new EP released through Alternative Records from California in May titled “Mad Sheep Disease”.

Discography

Not including cassette comps, that are too numerous to remember:

1979 Musical Destruction cassette album
1981 Crime Pays cassette album
1982 There’s No Government Like NO GOVERNMENT EP
1982 Punk & Disorderly – Further Charges (Track - Death to Humanity)
1982 Destroy the Myth of MUSICAL DESTRUCTION EP
1982 Riot/Clone live – 2 gigs back to back on cassette
1983 Blood On Your Hands EP
1994 Dead…But Not Forgotten (3 x EPs & 64 page book)
1995 Still No Government Like NO GOVERNMENT CD & 142 page book
1996 Still No Government Like NO GOVERNMENT double LP
1997 To Find a Little Bluebird (blue vinyl LP & CD with extra tracks)
1998 Keep It Angry CD (Tracks – Taste & Wake Up!)
1998 Bare Faced Hypocrisy Sells Records (Track – Chumbawanka)
1999 Aftermath - Profane Existence benefit album (Track – One Less Parasite)
2000 Punx Riot picture disc LP (Tracks – Chumbawanka & One Less Parasite)
2000 Do You Want Fries With That? (vinyl LP & CD)
2000 Acts of Floccinaucinihilipilification EP (unreleased)
2001 Rip Off EP (unreleased)
2002 Direct Action Animal Rights comp (Track – One Struggle, One Fight)
2003 Live at the Grey Horse, Kingston CDR video
2004 Direct Action Arkangel CD (Track – Cows With Guns)
2004 Mad Sheep Disease EP
2004 New album, as yet untitled

I realise there has been several line-up changes over the past years how has that come about and has any of the current band member played in other bands, if so what?

We’ve had our fair share of line-up changes, but now seem pretty settled. Of the current line-up, Sean was once guitarist for Pope On A Rope and Charlie also plays for Bug Central and Public Execution.

Where did the name Riot / Clone come from and what other band names do you rate?

We were originally called Riot but two members of the original line-up wanted to be called Clone. I joined the two together separated by a slash as a compromise on the first gig poster, and it stuck. Had I thought that 25 years later I would still be using the same name, I might have given it more thought. :-)

As for other band names, Chineapple Punx, Dead Kennedys, and while they weren’t a punk band I liked the name, The Fat Lady Sings.

How has the punk scene changed since you started? And how would you like it to progress (and how do you think it will)?

It’s become stronger on the DIY gig level which is good, particularly in Europe where the organization is superb. I’d hope that that continues to rise, and that the UK and US can manage to catch up with the Europeans so that we have a scene that is self supporting, rather than relying on big businesses for venues etc.

On the negative side, the near destruction of independent record shops and distribution channels by the multinationals can make it very hard to hear and get hold of new bands’ material. Luckily, we have computers and MP3s now so that it’s possible to hear new stuff without spending money blindly, then if you like something can get it direct from the bands or through DIY distros. This isolation slows the growth of the scene though, because people who know nothing other than chart music will never get the opportunity to listen to anything better unless they happen upon it by accident online.

Is it important for punk lyrics to be meaningful? And what do you have to say through yours?

All songs have meaning to someone, it’s more a question of subject matter. Most of ours are political in nature, but I don’t need a band to write political stuff for me to listen to it. When it comes to listening to songs I’m more driven by what the overall sound is like, rather than whether the band fits into a cosy little pigeonhole that I’m comfortable with. As long as the lyrics are reasonably well put together and not expressing opinions I strongly disagree with, I’m willing to give most things a chance.


What is the funniest thing that has happened to you whilst touring?

Not sure I can think of anything funny as such. Most funny things are only funny to those there at the time and don’t translate well in the retelling, or are near disasters that you laugh about later. As such, I guess the time when the driver forgot to put the van in reverse one morning in Switzerland and narrowly avoided driving us straight off the edge of a mountain would rank up there.

Do you do any covers in your live set, if so what and why?

Yes, Dapple Rose from the ‘Do You Want Fries With That?’ album was originally a Slade song, Time For Action by Secret Affair we recorded with different lyrics for a Baltimore benefit comp tape and we do that one, then do a double chorus from Cows With Guns which we recorded for the Direct Action Arkangel comp. We do those cos they work well live and we like them.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2004.

We have a few odd gigs planned in the UK, and our new ep will be released in May or early June. Aside from that, we are looking to finish writing the new album and recruit a new bassist.

Any final comments?

Thanks for taking the trouble to compile the interview, and sorry for the delay in getting it back to you. Hope it was worth the wait.


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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.