I have a couple of tracks coming out on this forthcoming release due out in June 2017 on Cherry Red. This will be one of the most compelling Goth compilations ever to see the light of day.
On disc one, I co wrote and performed a song I brought to the mix after I was ‘poached ‘ by UK Decay from Pneumania in 1979 – ‘Black Cat’. This became one of the most enduring UK Decay live tracks during both the early and later periods. A few tracks later I appear with- IN Excelsis on a track called Carnival Of The Gullible’. I formed In Excelsis with Mark Bond and Errol Blythe formerly from Post Punk legends, Ritual and Colin Rocks who later joined Mark. E. Smith with The Fall.. Errol and Mark were left stranded after drummer Raymundo and Bassist Jamie were ‘poached’ by Ian Astbury form Southern Death Cult so after UK Decay split at the end of 1982. This was a weird period for me, I flirted with Gaynor and Rick from World Circus, Jammed with Rob from The Wall , then finally teaming up with Mark Errol and Colin to form IN Excelsis in 1983. Richard Anderson got in touch with me in 2016 explaining his interest in creating the ‘ultimate’ Gothic Rock compilation, so I digitally re-mastered ‘Black Cat’ especially for this compilation.
Below is a bit of ‘official’ blurb about the compilation
Cherry Red have announced the tracklisting for “Silhouettes and Statues” – A Gothic Revolution: 1978 – 1986 5CD collection, which is due 30th June. Silhouettes and Statues is described as “an era-defining journey through the gothic revolution that thrived in the underbelly of the UK’s music scene during the late 1970s and 1980s. From Joy Division’s haunted soul-searching to the wild, hairspray guzzling antics of Alien Sex Fiend and everything in-between, the myriad components of that time and place are brought together here for the first time in this kind of detail.”
The set comes in a deluxe hardback book format featuring 80+ tracks, with over 18,000 words of sleevenotes (including artist contributions) and unseen images.
Watch Dumping It On Parliament documentary by Andy Wilshire
I promised someone at the recent Luton Centre of the Punk Universe thing that I would post up a link to the recent documentary.
Last year I worked on with a couple of artists that were commissioned to take a look at the local alternative culture during the mid eighties.
Step back in time to the post-punk scene of the mid 1980’s. Think Siouxsie Sioux, a DIY ethic, scratch video, protest, Thatcher.
This is the backdrop to Dump It On Parliament Revisited, a new living history artwork exploring counter-culture local history, created by artists Dash MacDonald and Demitrios Kargotis (DASHNDEM) and artist/musician Roshi Nasehi as part of the 2015 Library as Laboratory commission.
DASHNDEM had discovered the story of the Dump It On Parliament post-punk compilation tape whilst researching Bedfordshire’s alternative local history. In 1986 a group of local post-punk bands, including Luton’s Steve Spon from UK Decay, had joined together to create a musical protest tape, to campaign against a proposed nuclear waste site at Elstow near Bedford. In the end the government withdrew its plans but the tape was released and proved popular. The artists wanted to understand the socio-economic and political climate at that time and contrast it with what people are people angry about now.
This was a really eye opening and exciting project to work on Dash, Dem, Roshi and company were really inspired by the local scene’s coalescing protest during the mid eighties against nuclear dumping in nearby Elstow. There was a huge focus on the pre internet, Social Media age when protest and the D.I.Y culture carved precursory inroads that laid the foundations to the contemporary. Here students backpedaled and used cut and paste with scissors ,glue and Letraset instead of Photoshop. Today’s bands from the area each provide a cover of the original compilation protest Cassette and go on to write an original song with today’s issues that one might want to dump on parliament
Abbo and I will be at Luton’s Hat Factory Art’s and Media Centre on Friday 25th November to talk about Punk in the Luton area back in the late seventies. This is part of the “40 years of Punk” celebrations going down over November at that venue and widely across the country. I am hoping to put together a few slides of various characters, bands, venues, fanzines from Luton and the surrounding are during the late seventies early eighties period. Hopefully this inspire discussion among ourselves and the audience.
Then Justin Saban will join us and we shall perform a couple our punk platters ‘unplugged’ style. So after I have written this I had better dust off the cobwebs of my guitar and get practicing!
When are UK Decay returning for more gigs and recordings? – As part of the talk we shall be hosting a questions and answers session hopefully this question and many others will be answered!
Tickets are just £5.00 bookable in advance from here
I shall be calling in on the two punk music documentary s, “The Clash: Westway to the World & Dump it on Parliament Revisted” being shown at The Hat Factory Art and Media Centre in Luton on November 3rd. This being part of the Punk 1976 season…
November 2016 marks 40 years since the release of the Sex Pistols' debut single, Anarchy in the UK. To mark the anniversary of the movement, Luton Culture present a short season of Punk events. Punks influence and impact on Luton will be explored, as well as its continuing influence, from fashion to film, politics to identity, and, of course, music.
A film double bill.
The Clash: Westway to the World is a career retrospective of British punk band The Clash, featuring exclusive interviews with the entire band.
Dump It On Parliament Revisited tells the story of how in 1986 a group of Bedfordshire bands put together a music compilation tape to protest against a proposed nuclear waste dump near Elstow, and how that counter culture, DIY ethic still resonates for local bands and musicians today.
The film, created by Andy Willsher, meshes the past and the present, using interviews and original footage, and referencing the cut-up film making techniques that emerged in the Punk & Post Punk era in the late 1970s & 80s.
I make an appearance in the The Dump It On Parliament Revisited documentary a project I was significantly involved with and very much enjoyed over 2015.
Mathew Hudson’s ITV Anglia News piece featuring Bauhaus and UK Decay about the origins of the Gothic Rock genre in Luton and Northampton. Interviews with Bauhaus manager Graham Bentley, UK Decay’s Steve “Abbo” Abbott and myself…Steve Spon.
Also includes footage of a very early Bauhaus gig at the Romany Pub, Northampton. The TV piece was first shown 31 October 2014.
The location of the mixing room, rehearsal and interview footage was Sound Arc Studios in Shefford near Bedford, recorded summer 2014.
I shall be performing a small solo set alongside Irritant at my dear late friend’s Rising From The Greg tribute event at the Hat Factory in Luton on July 23rd. This is an event supporting local charities. Not too sure at this point, what exactly I am going to do on the night but I am brewing up some ideas that will involve my trusty guitar, we shall have to see what happens!
The entry is free.
I will be attending a question and answer session at the festival…
“Dumping It On Parliament Revisited”
I am helping host a fiesta of protest, a host of bands covering tracks from the original 1986 “Dumping It On Parliament” and also presenting their own contemporary original protest songs to ‘Dump On Parliament ‘ today…
As an artist and musician I am currently involved in an exciting new project. Because of my involvement in the Post Punk music culture scene of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in the Luton and surrounding area, I am lending my experience and support in crafting an alternative music culture cross generation dialogue in Bedfordshire.
The aim is to revisit a project born of protest in the mid eighties that galvanised many musicians to contribute to a musical compilation of protest songs. The result was called, ‘Dumping It On Parliament’ a cassette album produced by local musicians on behalf of the ‘Bedfordshire Against Nuclear Dumping’ (B.A.N.D) campaign. The government had earmarked land in Elstow to act as the nation’s nuclear waste dumping ground. B.A.N.D was put together to protest against this.
The wind was taken out of the sails of this campaign however when the government, perhaps seeing the severity of the protest lined up against them in Bedfordshire, backed down. We sensed a victory and our attentions soon wandered to protest elsewhere.
Today there are more issues to protest about than ever before, particularly if you are young. There are many ways to protest and they might say ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ but music is still a great way to get an idea across to a new audience. This project is seeking to find look for new generation to ‘dump it on parliament’ today!
The project run by is part of ‘Library as Laboratory’ an idea funded by Central Bedfordshire Council Libraries, in partnership with Bedford Creative Arts. The artists Dash MacDonald, Demitrios Kargotis and Roshi Nasehi have been commissioned to create a new project, ‘Dump it on Parliament Revisited’ . I will be meeting and mentoring the musicians and bands with the target idea of creating a 2015 compilation album of protest songs by contemporary bands. There will be a recorded live performance , which is hoped will result in a live recording for the compilation.
More information about this project can be found here.
Ps. Late Aug 2015, if you are a musician or band and want to protest or are simply interested in being involved in this project there are a few places left. We have had a lot of interest, get in touch!
My role includes mentoring, consultation, creative production and performance.
I am Steve Spon guitarist with the 1980’s internationally known post punk band UK Decay. I have always been a keen fan of independent record stores and as a band we would go out of our way to support the small retailers. However Record Store Day 2015 has unfortunately made us aware that some areas of criticism are rightfully justified.
Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
British Library (Open until Tue 20 Jan 2015)
Last weekend EJ from Diamondseeds and I spent a day visiting exhibitions held at the British Library and at the British Museum in London.
First we visited the British Library near St Pancras to view the exhibition, “Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination” where “Two hundred rare objects trace 250 years of the Gothic tradition, exploring our enduring fascination with the mysterious, the terrifying and the macabre…”
It was pointed out to me a few weeks back that one of our UK Decay records “The Black 45” was on display at the exhibition as well as a giant sized poster of the seminal “The Face of Punk Gothique” article written by Steve Keaton for Sounds in 1981 (he is still around but today uses his real name, Steve May). A number of years ago we visited the Tate Gallery for “Gothic Nightmares” exploring the dark and gothic side of art, this time the emphasis at the British Library was of course to be expected on the literature side.
So in a clockwise direction we headed into the crowds viewing each of the exhibits, starting with memorabilia centred around Horace Walpole’s “The Castle of Otranto” written 250 years ago , supposedly the first of the ‘Gothic romances’. There were audio clips and video clips to enjoy dotted around the exhibition with the ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and Boris Karloff making appearances in the movie realm. A poster for the ‘Night Of The Demon’ loomed, a film that scared the shit out of me as a kid, me and a mate used to rent the super 8 version to play to the other kids in the neighbourhood in our very own ‘garage cinema’. A mention of how Batman was in some way inspired by Victorian bogeyman ‘Spring-Heeled-Jack’ here a spread of Police newspapers with an extended cartoon impression of the Whitechapel murders (Jack The Ripper).
The Wicker Man, The Birds, The Night Of The Living Dead, a Vampire slaying kit, Dracula, Frankenstein, Christopher Lee, Mary Shelley’s first draughts of the literary Frankenstein, Wallace & Gromit’s Were-rabbit sat alongside a host of early and almost unknown 18th and 19th century Gothic romances. Then there was Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Stanley Kubricks The Shining and a selection of recent novels, films and TV, notably clips from BBC 3’s “In The Flesh” a Zombie/Vampire drama series. All in all fascinating stuff, camera’s were banned so unfortunately no pictures! However turning the corner into room 6 , the giant sized poster of “The Face Of Punk Gothique” can’t be missed, it hits you in the face! Sitting right underneath it is the inner spread out sleeve of the Black 45, alongside Bauhaus’s Bela Lugosi’s Dead – we took the opportunity to cheekily snatch a couple of photo’s at this point. They can’t actually do us for breech of copyright can they?
Ella Jo joked about me turning into a museum piece now! Hey we are still active today and writing new stuff although the Black 45 is now pushing forty years , gosh!
The last room contained a series of photographs of the April 2014 Whitby Goth Weekend, of course pertinent to the band and myself as we performed there on that weekend. I saw the odd face in the photo’s that I recognised!
Witches and Wicked Bodies: The British Museum
That was it , time to move on to the British Museum to view amongst other things an exhibition of “Witches and Wicked Bodies” , a fitting supplement to the Terror and Wonder experience earlier.
This was about paintings, sketches, engravings and other artwork examining the portrayal of witches and witchcraft from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. There was nothing to say against taking pictures, so we had a field day. The only difficultly was negotiating the crowds, many of whom we noted and recognised from the gothic exhibition earlier.
Macabre, sublime and succinct images by artists such as Dürer, Fusseli, Goya, Delacroix, Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti held the slow snake like processions transfixed . “The magus, or wise practitioner of ‘natural magic’ or occult ‘sciences’, has traditionally been male, but the majority of those accused and punished for witchcraft, especially since the Reformation, have been women” , so stated the museum blurb on the subject of the art. Sadly this was the last day of the exhibition, for us (and hundreds of others) it was a must see!
A selection of art from the exhibition.
Anglo Saxon (almost!)
After that with the whole of the British Museum at our disposal and too little time and with fatigue beginning to set in we headed for “Ancient Europe” and particularly the Sutton Hoo Anglo Saxon material. This was befitting because Ella Jo and I have just completed an album project entitled “Almost Anglo Saxon”, which is a collection of (modern) songs depicting myths, legends, life and sounds from the Anglo Saxon period. We marveled at the famous armored helmet and at the Franks Casket with it’s inscriptions of Weland the Smith and at the nearby Lewis Chess set who’s pieces almost comically displaying their bulging eyes and glum expressions.
We also caught a brief glimpse of some of the horrific and dark Aztec material which freaked EJ right out! Very soon we were nearly out of time and in need of a resuscitating coffee, which we drank in the magnificent covered courtyard , just time to enjoy before our journey home.