The Plague (English band)
|Years active||1976–1981, 2005–present|
- Marc Jefferies - Vocals, lead guitar
- Gareth Martin - Vocals, rhythm guitar
- Graham Robinson - Bass guitar
- Greg Horton - Drums, vocals
The Plague are notable as a band who played London venue The Roxy many times, as well as many more shows all over the country. They also scored a minor hit with their 1978 single "In Love", which received Radio 1 airplay and became a favourite of the late John Peel, a long-time champion of underground music.
After meeting at college Gareth, Graham and Marc noted a shared interest in bands such as The Damned, The Who and The Sex Pistols, and formed The Plague in the autumn of 1976. Drummer Greg Horton completed the line-up, and the band began playing together at a rehearsal space attached to a church in Bromley.
By early 1977 The Plague were playing locally, soon securing a regular slot at the Battersea Arts Centre - initially as support to musical-play "The Food Show". They were the first punk rock band to play at the venue, playing a twenty-minute set to open the show as well as providing a contemporary soundtrack to The Food Show in return for rehearsal space. As The Food Show was put on by the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA), the unlikely pairing played other ILEA venues together. However this was a short-lived arrangement after the band played soon-to-be fan-favourite "1, 2, Fuck You!" one night at a school. Despite requesting a punk show, school staff in the audience went berserk, almost leading to a fight between the school's PE teacher and the band/manager. The headmaster demanded an apology from The Plague, which was unforthcoming, so from that point onward they were banned from all ILEA venues - rather a fitting and appropriate state of affairs for a hungry teenage punk band in 1977.
Having recorded their first demo (containing such embryonic examples of their sound as: "Again and Again", "On The Dole", and "Nightmares")  The Plague began their long-standing relationship with The Roxy club, playing shows with such punk luminaries as the UK Subs and Slaughter and the Dogs. Eventually the club manager Kevin St John would phone the band up when others had cancelled gigs at the last minute.
As well as regulars to the club the band brought with them their "Battersea Mob", a group of punks based at The Old Swan pub in Battersea. The Battersea Mob proved to be the most loyal of fans, some even trekking as far afield as Coventry and Manchester to see the band. It was during this time that the band wrote many songs including "Spies", "Personality Clash", "No Strings Attached", "End of the World", "Politician" and "Nuffin' Doing".
After The Roxy closed The Plague remained active, playing at the Institute of Psychiatry, Camberwell, and Toyah Willcox's club night "Mayhem". One outstanding gig at the Institute resulted in interest from CBS records.
"In Love" (backed with "Wimpy Bar Song") was released on two independent labels in 1978: Psycho Records and Evolution Records. Despite Radio 1 airplay for "In Love" and its backing by John Peel, The Plague's second single "Out With Me All Night" (backed with "Er!" and "I Don't Wanna Be Like Jimmy") was released in 1979 to little success.
The End of the World
Sadly, around this time problems started to emerge within the band. Rhythm guitarist/vocalist Gareth Martin left in 1980. After that the remaining members tried to keep The Plague going, trying out vocalist Sue Slack for a while and eventually re-inventing themselves as Indoor Games with vocalist David Hood, who is still performing and now living back home in Scotland. Knowing that their initial chemistry was broken and feeling unable to continue, the band finally disbanded in 1981.
The X Tapes
Following a resurgence of interest in original punk rock, Detour Records contacted the band in 2004 regarding the compilation of all The Plague's various demos and singles onto one vinyl/CD album. The result was "The X Tapes" ((p) and (c) 2005 Bin Liner Records), containing the following tracks:
- "Come Together" (Lennon–McCartney)
- "Lay Me in the Moonlight"
- "In Love
- "Wimpy Bar Song" (B-side of "In Love" single)
- "Nuffin' Doing"
- "I Don't Wanna Be Like Jimmy" (B-side of "Out With Me All Night" single)
- "Dog Days"
- "The End of the World"
- "Er!" (B-side of "Out With Me All Night" single)
- "Out with Me All Night"
- "Stop" (vocals by Sue Slack)
- "On the Dole" (from the original Plague demo tape)
- "Again and Again" (from the original Plague demo tape)
- "Nightmares" (from the original Plague demo tape)
After "The End of the World"
The Plague got back together in 2005 when Gareth and Greg, who had remained in-touch, contacted Marc. Graham Robinson declined to rejoin, possibly because he is now living in Scotland, making rehearsals a difficult matter. The band understandably decided to become a three-piece, with Gareth taking over bass duties in place of rhythm guitar. Since their reactivation, The Plague have played gigs in London and are working towards recording and releasing an album of brand new recordings, containing both new and old material.
- "The Plague - A punk history with pictures". www.punk77.co.uk.[unreliable source?]
- "www.myspace.com/originalplague". The Plague.
- Information about The X Tapes album at www.detour-records.co.uk/rubbishlpcd006.htm. Retrieved Feb 8, 2012
- Are You Happy? - A short interview with lead guitarist/vocalist Marc Jefferies at www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,1888155,00.html. Retrieved May 3, 2007