The Roxy

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The Roxy was a fashionable nightclub located at 41-43 Neal Street in London's Covent Garden, known for hosting the flowering British punk music scene in its infancy.

Brief history[edit]

The premises had formerly been used as a warehouse to serve the Covent Garden wholesale fruit and vegetable market. In 1970 they were converted to a late-night bar called the Chaguaramas Club. At that time it was owned by record producer Tony Ashfield, who had several hits with 70s reggae star John Holt, with whom he formed a company called Chaguaramas Recording Productions, probably after Chaguaramas Bay in Trinidad.[1]

The Roxy was started by Andrew Czezowski, Susan Carrington and Barry Jones. The main entrance was on street level where you would walk into a small bar and seated area. Downstairs there was a small stage, bar and dance floor. The intimacy of the club had a feel to it similar to The Cavern Club in Liverpool where The Beatles had performed early on in their career.

In December 1976, Czezowski, Carrington and Jones organised three gigs at the Roxy. They financed the venture with borrowed money (Jones, a musician, pawned his guitar to stock the bars, and hire sound equipment, etc.). The first show, on 14 December, was Generation X, a band Czezowski managed. The second on the following night was The Heartbreakers. The third, on 21 December, featured Siouxsie and the Banshees and Generation X. However, it was The Clash and the Heartbreakers that headlined the official gala opening on January 1, 1977.

The only thing that could count as a "scene" is the Roxy. And the Roxy is a dormitory. The last time I went I was feeling really uppity. I stood in the middle and looked around and all these people were slumped around dozing! I threw tomato sauce on the mirror and stormed out. And I haven't been back there. I don't think I will go back there. The sooner it closes the better.

Joe Strummer[2]

Don Letts was the resident DJ at the club and he was instrumental in encouraging punk rockers to embrace reggae.

In 1977 Harvest Records released an album Live at the Roxy WC2, featuring some of the regular acts who performed there, that made the top 20 in the UK. A further live album was released in May 1978 of lesser known acts such as the UK Subs, Open Sore, Crabs and the Bears. Since the late 1980s, a number of previously unreleased recordings of Roxy gigs from the late 1970s have been released as live albums including the Buzzcocks (Trojan, 1989), The Adverts (Receiver, 1990), X-Ray Spex (Receiver, 1991), and The Boys (Receiver, 1999).

The anarcho-punk band Crass featured the Roxy as the subject of one of their most well known tracks, Banned from the Roxy.

The doors of the club were shut for the last time in April 1978. Today the site is the flagship store for the swimwear brand Speedo.

DJ Letts recorded many of the band performances in 1977 at the Roxy, some of which were released in 1992 as The Punk Rock Movie.

Bands that played at The Roxy in its first 100 Days[edit]

Aside from five bands mentioned above in connection with the December 1976 gigs and the gala opening, other bands that appeared there in the first four months of the club's life (January 1977 to April) included:[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Marco (2007). The Roxy London WC2: a punk history. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ Coon 1977.
  3. ^ Thompson, D. (2000) Punk, Collector’s Guide Publication, Ontario, Canada, p. 61 - 62;

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Marko, Paul (2007). The Roxy London WC2 - A Punk History. Punk77 Books. ISBN 978-0-9556583-0-3. 
  • Tassell, Nige (June 2011). "Warming up in a Winter of Discontent". The Word (100): pp52–55. ISSN 1479-1498. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′53″N 0°07′35″W / 51.5147°N 0.1265°W / 51.5147; -0.1265