NO MORE HEROES
A Complete History Of Punk From 1976-1980
Release Date: October 2006 Cherry Red Books
Punk rock: it’s a well-worn subject, but this new book extends the
searchlight beyond the King’s Road, Roxy and West London –
though that crucial scene is by no means neglected. It also
encompasses some of the truly fantastic music (and sometimes
truly less than fantastic records) that emerged in the wake of the
Sex Pistols. The idea has been to give the progenitors their due,
but to listen to the reverberations around the UK, from Exeter to
Inverness. Participants (musicians, fanzine writers, observers)
recount first-hand stories of flea pit gigs, desperately financed
singles and local rivalries – punk as it was understood and lived
on the ground. The enduring impact of punk belonged to the
shires of Britain as well as the celebrated urban gene pool of the
capital, where it played out, with a mixture of indomitable
personal courage and amoral teenage mischief-making,
amongst the alienated of shitsville UK. In the process punk is
revealed as a much broader church than other histories have
depicted, an entry point for young men and women (and a
significant helping of old codgers) from differing backgrounds,
with widely ranging sensibilities and aspirations.
The book assesses each of the major ‘punk artists’, candidly, on
their output, following their development to the present day.
There’s an effort to redress perceived wisdom about the value of
those careers as the 70s turned into the 80s, when many of the
original punk bands actually made their best records. While many
names will be familiar others will not. Hence time is devoted to
punk’s splintered personality post-1977. From those bands that
took it as an inviolate template, to those who embraced it as a
rebirth for the original spirit of rock ‘n’ roll to those, finally, who
judged it the end of rock music and a jumping off point for
something completely new. There is no unifying view or theory
behind these accounts, instead the book serves as an attempt to
capture the beautiful chaos engendered by competing voices as
the walls came tumbling down. The idea is to be inclusive and
celebratory rather than cynical. Therefore opinions are sought
from outside the tight huddle of usual suspects and would-be
elitists, drawing on bemused and bewildered non-participants to
events, as well as those who served in the trenches. There is no
attempt to locate the ‘meaning’ of punk, nor to run a slide rule
over qualifications for its status. The author has instead, in the
majority of cases, let the protagonists make their own cases.
Where possible the bands concerned have exercised the right of
reply, leading to a more balanced account of their own history.
Some 200 interviews were completed in the course of
researching the book, leading to a plethora of first-hand insights
A secondary aspect of the book is the comprehensive
documentation of the releases, both contemporary and
retrospective, of the bands of the era. It’s an attempt to address
the jungle of retrospective CDs and box sets, the sheer volume of
which indicates the continued fascination around this period in
British musical history.
Over 300 individual band/artist biographies
Use of several unpublished photos
Forewords by Captain Sensible and David Marx
Complete discographies featuring capsule reviews and
|Compiled from hundreds of interviews, Ogg covers the
usual suspects – Gen X, Pistols, Clash – and also unearths
some funny, sad and amazing tales of punk’s bargain-bin
bands like the Molesters, Johnny & The Self Abusers, and a
few hundred others that you may vaguely remember
being played once, late at night, on the John Peel show.
An invaluable reference book as well as a bloody
8/10 (Tommy Udo, Classic Rock magazine)
These bands’ trials and tribulations are more entertaining
than those of the big boys. They make for an interesting
and informative read, helped by Ogg’s usually reliable
opinions and always sardonic wit
4/5 (Shane Baldwin, Record Collector)
You get a real insight into the do it yourself ethic that was
the undercarriage that carried the few bands that made
it out of the toilet venues where they were best at home
to the albeit brief limelight. This is a warts and all account
of what Punk was really like in those halcyon days. As well
as the history of too many bands to mention each has its
own discography and where it warrants it a guide to the
best of current re-issues so you can investigate the bands
you just discovered. Highly recommended.
5/5 (Simon Nott, Big Cheese)
Those on the also-rans and unfashionable are informative
and entertaining. The comprehensive guides through the
reissue minefield are indispensable . . . No More Heroes is
a valuable addition to your punk bookshelf”
3/5 (Kieron Tyler Mojo)
Every aspect of Punk life is here, from the troubadours to
the trouble makers, the visionaries and the just plain
useless, while you’ll often find yourself reassessing your
perspective on some bands purely as a result of the way
Alex had gone into their own mini-history. You also get to
see some bands who had a justifiable reputation locally,
and very early on, who maybe have the sadder tales to
tell, as they might have been there, but missed out.
A blinding piece of work on every level, if you have any
interest in Punk whatsoever, you need this book because
it’s going to intensify your drive to find out even more.
(Mick Mercer, The Mick)
I could go on and on but really you have to purchase this
book yourself. It's published by Cherry Red and has a pink
fluoro cover pinned with a deal of lapel badges. Buy it,
take it home, slap it down on the table, the weight... I tell
you, it's a bible.
(DJ Johny Brown)
PUNK ROCK NERD BOOK OF THE YEAR 2007
The amount of toilet trips this book will receive is beyond
countable on human hands [yes, I do think that's intended
as a compliment]
It’s almost too big! I have been reading this book for more than
two months, which seems bizarre, but you can just dip in and out, even if you find yourself pulled further in, until
satiated. Then you need to recover for a while. At a little over 700 pages, and densely packed pages at that
(complete with frighteningly detailed discographies), this is a book to savour; less of a fine wine, more pure vintage.
There are bands from the allotted timeframe that you will simply never have heard of, but that doesn’t matter,
because they share the same experiences as others you know, and it adds up to an overwhelming picture of those
exciting times, and with the greater variety involved it makes this not just better than John Robb’s wonderful ‘Punk:
An Oral History’, it makes this the best book on Punk, bar none.
It’s not complete, for the simple reason that some bands proved impossible to track down, or to get involved, and
some choices clearly ended up on the cutting room floor. So for me it’s sad to see no Gloria Mundi, Ultravox or
Adrian Borland’s The
Outsiders, but it’s far more distressing to find out that rubbishy Jet Bronx single I once bought (as we all would when
there was only one or two ‘punk’ singles available each week), actually featured Loyd Grossman on vocals. Learning
something like that after all these years simply isn’t fair. The short sections of bands who never recorded, or had
one single to their name and burnt out as quick as a cheap match are still insightful, but when Alex gets his claws
into a known target he can compress so much detail, plus anecdotes, into a regular space that you’ll feel you’ve just
read a whole book on that band alone. This is a weighty tome, in every sense. It is also quite touching how many
bands still look back on those times as inspiring, without resorting to rose-tinted glasses. It’s not just their wild youth,
it was a doorway to better things.
One of the unusual and helpful aspects of the book is its geographical reach, as the comparatively darker dangers
associated with being punks in Northern Ireland is brought home here in a way I have never read of before. It’s also,
on the flipside, breathtakingly funny at times, when you recoil at the crass decisions made by bands, or the escapes
from trouble, or their descent into chaos. You’ll gasp as Paul Morley turns out to have managed The Drones, you’ll
nod approvingly that someone’s pre-punk band was called Greta Garbage and you’ll just be happily bewildered by
the reminiscences of Chaos’s 11 year old bassist Lee (even weirder, his dad was in Gentle Giant!) who made his
debut at a local golf club gig, attended by local dignitaries. While mainly playing their own songs the crowd was
okay. The moment they switched to an original young Lee got so into the punk spirit he gobbed straight in the face
of a woman in the audience, and the crowd turned on
them. Character building, mate.
Every aspect of Punk life is here, from the troubadours to the trouble makers, the visionaries and the just plain
useless, while you’ll often find yourself reassessing your perspective on some bands purely as a result of the way
Alex had gone into their own mini-history. You also get to see some bands who had a justifiable reputation locally,
and very early on, who maybe have the sadder tales to tell, as they might have been there, but missed out.
A blinding piece of work on every level, if you have any interest in Punk whatsoever, you need this book because it’s
going to intensify your drive to find out even more. Literally astonishing.
Mick Mercer, The Mick Issue 42
Alex Ogg's NO MORE HEROES is a bible of a book. The bible of Punk. Of Punk Rock between the years 1976 and
1980. Punk as it was and how it should be. And maybe shall be again. It is... in the crude and nasty layman's terms
'The Absolute Bollocks'.
Punk was my first crushing love. I was fifteen when i picked up on it. It was the first thing in my life that truly felt like it
was mine. I was afflicted by punk no doubt. The stance, the manner, the dress, the sound. And violently so too.
Violent in the most ecstatic possible sense. I understood punk, punk understood me. No one else did but all of a
sudden nothing else mattered. Love hate lust despair call it what you will. I loved punk, it's smoke its spit its germ its
noise. Like most raw infatuations mind i soon wore the passion right out of the thing and was sick bored disdainful
and contemptuos by the end of it all. Other attractions were there to be had, and punk, well, you know... i was
seventeen all of a sudden with newer addictions on my mind, the shine had gone, the kick had faded, predictability
That's how it felt to this bored teenager anyway. It was all about the moment and all too soon I moved away from that
moment. I really thought i would never listen to, or enjoy, another punk record again. Like all first infatuations it had
been consigned to the scrapbook and the cupboard. A tattoo on my arm and no thanks for the memory. I'd see the
repackaged records every now and then sure, but take them to be just that. Repackaged product. The ownership of
punk belonged to other people. Why should i even bother with a second glance. Punk to re-paraphrase Watty was
deid, well deid.
Alex gave me a copy of No More Heroes and i found i couldn't put it down. I loved it. Loved reading about obscure
unsigned bands from Macclesfield, Truro, Harlow, Dalkieth and all tawdry suburbs and sattelite towns beyond. I
found there were plenty of bones to be picked out of the big city tales too. The political machinations and petty
paranoias of London, Liverpool, Manchester. And the venues too, places i'd been to like THE ROCK GARDEN in
MIDDLESBROUGH were brought back to life. But there were others that had burned in my imagination. Clubs that I
had never managed to get to. Toilets in Penzance and Cromer, in Aylesbury, Belfast and Doncaster. It's a
comphrensive read this book, like i say, some kind of bible. I found myself salivating over new details that were there
to be picked out of the old stories, namely the bands i thought i knew so much about. The Damned, Stranglers, The
Clash etc, all were given new perspective by Alex.
The Boys, for instance, a band of glam poppers from West Kensington who were much derided in the press, turn out
to be quite pivotal in the whole pre-pistols pre-clash scene. Certainly more than being credited for. I remembered
their song 'Sick of You' and had a yearning to hear it once again.
More than that No More Heroes lead me back to great obscurities like Forest of Dean longhairs The Table with their
single that came out on Virgin records 'Do the Standing Still'. A recording which wouldn't be considered punk at all
now, but was much cherished as a good blast of noise back then. Alex had a recording of it and kindly burnt me a
CD. It sounded great. I had to know if others sounded just as brash and noisy and rude.
Slaughter and the Dogs 'Cranked up Really High' sounds better than it did then. Motorhead meets Bowie on a big
fuck off bag of sulph and some cheek grinding chalkies
'la, la, la, la la, la la, la... cranked up really high'
I now wanted to hear Eater's 'Outside View' The Models, the Cortina's, The Vibrators, the Adverts, woah how I loved
the Adverts, Penetration, oh man, Penetration, Pauline Murray....
'Don't dictate, don't dictate, don't dictate, dictaaaaaaate...to meeeeeee'
I had a sudden yearning to hear these gems again. The book was bringing a whole lot of memories back. I felt
myself getting the good charge every time i picked it up and opened the pages. It was reading like a novel fired as i
was by all these stories. Probably an indictment of the senility of my mind these days but then again maybe a truer
indictment of what cultural offerings i recieve and respond to these days...
I couldn't help thinking about the spirit, or lack of it, that I percieve to be around at this moment in time. It bugs the
fuck out of me I can't help it.
More than any of that I was just enjoying the read. For me the best aspect of No More Heroes, the books true worth
even, is the acknowledgement of the multitude of bands who never got to make a record, who existed for a brief few
months, fired by the spirit of the times, and then dissapeared again. The book is packed with great names of bands
who otherwise would have been lost to the punk ether. The MP's, Raw, Blitzkrieg Bop, Parole, The Negatives...
In true punk anthropolgist spirit Alex has sought out members of these bands and allowed them to talk. No media
agenda. No self serving angle. No pontificating. No patronising attitude. Just the facts. Through the memories of the
protagonists he really has captured something unique, something you won't find in any Sunday supplement or style
magazine or documentary even. He manages to convey a rare sense of how it was then, both in the city and the
province, of a beautiful savage moment, when a door was kicked open and the light of the knowingly unwanted
poured through. The three primitive chords rang out. And took their moment to reverberate around the globe.
Before the packagers and the processors moved in and smoothed the whole racket out, called time on the
dreamers, worked on the margins of the profits, cut out all the prophets. Fucked up the good and righteous scene.
Know what I mean.
Mind that's only my outside view. Alex also extricates just what a laugh and a joy it was for a lot of the perpetrators.
And empowering too for so many participants. How crucial it was to working class artists, how it went so far to bridge
the religious divide in Northern Ireland. The effect it had on gender and race issues and of course most crucially
kicked off the whole DIY movement.
What No More Heroes does so well too is track down the members of the bands to find out what they are doing now.
Some are predictably lost to office jobs and other straight pursuits, a good few are dead. But many, a great deal
many are still doing inspired crucial stuff, JOHN EVANS of THE TAX EXILES for instance is doing great art in the
valleys of Wales, our own TAM DEAN BURN once of the scabrous and filthy DIRTY REDS is now an established
actor, with none of his punk energy or attitude diminished. I could go on and on but really you have to purchase this
book yourself. It's published by Cherry Red and has a pink fluoro cover pinned with a deal of lapel badges. Buy it,
take it home, slap it down on the table, the weight... I tell you, it's a bible.
Johny Brown, Mining For Gold
Nice interview with author here (well, I think it's nice anyway)
From Peter Don't Care's Nihilism On The Prowl site.
NO MORE HEROES
By Alex Ogg (Cherry Red)
Of course being Ostralian carries with it some baggage when it comes to summing up the original UK punk scene.
The vanguard were undeniably great but a lot of the bands that followed were style over substance. You can't help
but wonder about a movement that gave the Saints short shrift and spat in Radio Birdman's face when both hit the
Old Dart. But when I read a book like Alex Ogg's 730-page labour of love and become sufficiently moved to go back
to those old Clash, Damned and Pistols records.
"No More Heroes" is an alphabetical book of biographies, using many primary sources (first-hand interviews) to
piece together the history of the bands were that there. There have been others, but what distinguishes this book is
that it goes beyond the accepted wisdom and unashamedly offers up opinion. Where a band clearly fell outside the
prevailing sharp parameters of punk, Ogg makes it clear, but he doesn't dismiss them because of that. Ogg's
summation of the paper facade that was the working philosophy of The Clash is critical, but he doesn't go in with an
ideological blowtorch. Similarly, his treatises on the Pistols and the Damned are delivered with off-beat aides and
Maybe the most off-beat entry is that of Johnny Moped, whose focal point, Mr Moped, has his story told through the
prism of personal bemused experience. "No More Heroes" also lays out the most intricate history of the London SS
I've ever seen. Of course we know their output was non-existent, but their status as a jumping-off point for many
other bands is enough to win them inclusion.
There are a few hundred listings - "from the Anal Fleas to Zyklon B" - and the author's original vision of a book
exhaustively covering every facet of the scene from 1976-80 had to be whittled down to a manuscript half its original
size. There's no shortage of obscure bands along with the main names. If there are any glaring inaccuracies, I've
not picked them up.
The strength of "No More Heroes" is in the detail and the quality of the writing. Ogg doesn't stop at 1980 and briefly
goes on to outline where various band members went. Each entry has a (CD Age) discography. Incisive forewords
by David Marx(The Aggravators) and Captain Sensible are cream. About the only deficiency is a detailed index or
cross referencing but after assembling such a bulky, readable and detailed book, who can blame the author? I'll be
dipping in and out of this for a long time
(From the excellent Australian website 1-94 Bar)
How many more books on punk can the planet’s eco-system stand? It’s amazing that the doings of young folk at the
tail end of the 70s has produced more doorstop-sized tomes than has the history of the Hundred Years War.
At least this one is a welcome addition to the mound. Compiled from hundreds of interviews, Ogg covers the usual
suspects – Gen X, Pistols, Clash – and also unearths some funny, sad and amazing tales of punk’s bargain-bin
bands like the Molesters, Johnny & The Self Abusers, and a few hundred others that you may vaguely remember
being played once, late at night, on the John Peel show.
An invaluable reference book as well as a bloody entertaining read.
8/10 (Tommy Udo, Classic Rock magazine)
A 727 page labour of love that does it’s level best to document the history of punk from when it first reared its head
in 1976 when it arguably snuffed it in its initial form in 1980. The well known bands such as the Sex Pistols and The
Clash are as you expect covered in great detail but the real joy of this book are the pages and paragraphs on the
great unknowns of the era, hands up all of you who’ve heard of Dole Q, Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds and The
Scabs? Not many I’ll wager but once you’ve dipped into this book a few times you’ll know all their gory details and
(non) achievements. You get a real insight into the do it yourself ethic that was the undercarriage that carried the
few bands that made it out of the toilet venues where they were best at home to the albeit brief limelight. This is a
warts and all account of what Punk was really like in those halcyon days. As well as the history of too many bands to
mention each has it’s own discography and where it warrants it a guide to the best of current re-issues so you can
investigate the bands you just discovered. Highly recommended.
5/5 (Simon Nott, Big Cheese)
“Ogg says he had double the material published, so he “abandoned any claims to equivalence or balance, negating
the subtitle’s claim: “A complete history of UK punk from 1976-1980. Hence pub rockers Plummet Airlines are
included; Eddie And The Hot Rods aren’t. Peterborough’s Dole appear, Bristol’s Pigs do not. Entries on the oft-
covered (Clash, Jam etc) are incisive, but offer little new. Those on the also-rans and unfashionable are informative
and entertaining. The comprehensive guides through the reissue minefield are indispensable . . . No More Heroes is
a valuable addition to your punk bookshelf”
3/5 (Kieron Tyler Mojo)
As he states in his introduction, Ogg’s intention of providing ‘a reference work that documented everything that
moved in the punk era’ was plainly insane. The amount of material amassed would, he admits, have comprised
‘comfortably more than double what you will read here’.
Eventually, we may get to see some of the edited stuff. More important, however, is what Ogg’s 727 pages brings to
our already groaning punk bookshelves.
Naturally, he covers all the main London and Manchester acts in detail, but wisely carves himself out a niche among
some of the more stylishly presented books of this kind on offer (the cover is, it must be said, rather gaudy, even by
punk standards) by giving heavy coverage to the more provincial and obscure acts that have grown in importance
among collectors and fans over the years.
These bands’ trials and tribulations are more entertaining than those of the big boys. They make for an interesting
and informative read, helped by Ogg’s usually reliable opinions and always sardonic wit
4/5 (Shane Baldwin, Record Collector)
I wasn’t looking forward to this book as I suspected it would have all the same old bands that tell the same old
tiresome stories. While it’s true that the usual suspects are featured in here there are also many other bands who
get excellent coverage too! In all Alex Ogg interviews over 200 bands over 727 pages from the Sex Pistols right
down to bands who only may have just played a few gigs like Muvver's Pride. Fair play to Alex for seeking out some
of these bands as the research must have been painstakingly hard! Just by reading the book you can tell the
amount of effort that has been put into it and I have to say this book is real good value for money. It certainly was a
great read for me just finding about all these bands that were unknown to me before I picked this book up. No doubt
my bank account will get a hammering when buying up some of the rarer releases. When my partner moans I’ll point
her in Alex’s direction as it’s his fault for opening my eyes to these bands! I expect many others will do the same
after reading this book as some of the rarer bands have just a good story to share as bands like the Pistols and the
Clash. Also included in this book are forewords from Captain Sensible and Dave Mark of the Aggravators. Both
pieces are worthy inclusions in this book. My only grumble is maybe Alex should have split the bands in to areas
rather than alphabetical order? If early UK Punk is your poison then you’d be a fool to miss out on this book as this
really is the best guide to the early years of UK Punk Rock. I don’t think anyone else will better this book no matter
how much they try.
Steve DIY (Full Frontal Recordings)
(there's also a full interview with FFRUK here
“The best summary of our short career that I have read”.
Iain Shedden (Jolt)
The book is quite simply indispensable if not entirely 'complete', though as you explained you have plenty more
where this came from.
For me, (and I've said as much on my site) the piece on the Skids is worth the cover price alone!
And then there's the piece on The Rezillos.
And The Scars.
Oh and The Valves.
Not forgetting The Fakes
Spizz was fascinating
Enjoyed The Zones too.
I too loved The Freeze who supported Trax in Dunfermline & Kirkcaldy.
I guess Killing Joke were just too late?
That's all I've managed to read so far and writing this has taken some time because I keep dipping in and reading
Congratulations on a great reference work I will enjoy until it disintegrates and I need another copy!
Thanks again for immortalising Trax, you've made an old anorak very happy.
Ghoulz (Kinema Ballroom website)
Your book is a whole tree of stitches in Rock's rich tapestry. It might not seem like that now. But the postwar period
up to 9/11 will be known as the Second Enlightenment. Sculpture and painting were the motor of the first, music and
film are the motor for the second. Your book will be like Varesi (don't
laugh. Ten years ago Johnny Cash was a washed up redneck who'd sold his ass. Now he offers an alternative to
Elvis, who let's face it has some un rock-god like characteristics)"
Shane Roe (Sods)
“If the standard of the rest of his book is as good as his section on The Boys this could be the best most definitive
book ever released on the punk period (and for once the Boys haven't been airbrushed out of punk’s history!)”
Steve Metcalfe, Boys website.
I have now got a copy of the book. A very good read. I am a sucker for such reference books. I hope it sells well as I
think it captures some of the essence of what punk was about way back then. Good to see bands like the Ruts in
there, much underrated then as now. I feel , however, we should have had more pages dedicated to us than the
Clash - only joking.
Pervez (Alien Kulture)
"I'm sure the book will be great, because I've done loads of interviews over the past 30 odd years, and not only did
you get 99% of my rantings down verbatim, but then you summed it all up succinctly - and more impressively -
Brett Ascott (The Meat, Chords etc)
"Thanks for the section in your book "No More Heroes" about the Tunnelrunners. I am reading the book now and
enjoying the behind the scenes stories. Most of all I think it is the attitude that comes through. Every now and then I
meet someone of my age who has that bit of edge to them and they invariably turn out to have been in a late
seventies punk band. I don't think we will ever take over the world but then that wasn't the point "
Got the book today - pretty thick and full! Aww, the memories! It’s now an eggsmas present for ma daughter – she’ll
Am eggmortilised in print - well there ye go!
(Mr, erm, Egg, of the Fakes)
"Just a quick couple of lines to congratulate you on your excellent book which, I haven't been able to put down since
I got it earlier this week. Really chuffed with the Addiction piece you have put in it. It is probably the best reference
book i have seen of it's type for that era of punk."
Andy Bevan (Addiction)
"Got my book today, it's a belter! So many names in there that make me remember back then. It must have been a
hell of a task to get all that info and to track some of 'em down, but you should be proud of that as a body of work - a
very comprehensive tome of stuff that most people will have forgotten or in most cases never known......but they do
now!!! Brilliant, Kid, well done."
Tino Palmer (Negatives)
“NO MORE HEROES" is the book that I was waiting for, for years!
Greetings from Germany!
Ralf (Real Shock)
Hey Alex! Really enjoying your excellent book. It’s a winner.
Dave Philp (Automatics)
EVERYBODY go out and buy this book . . . not just cos we're in it (thanks Alex!). But because it's got more info in it
than Mr Info working at the Info Office of Info Inc. There's bands in here that time forgot, but are worth reading
about. Damn, there's bands in here that their PARENTS forgot . . . go get it now for someone for Christmas, it'll keep
'em quiet for ages, except for when they read the funny bits. Try a recording session held up while the engineer's
mum wanted to watch the news . . . they were recording in the front room - this IS punk history at its best!!!
My copy of 'No more Heroes' arrived a few days ago and I’ve gotta say it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read. Your
research must have been monumental. Thanks for including such a concise potted history of us Stiffee Boyz too.
Hope it sells a million,
Phil Hendriks (Stiffs)