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October was the singer/frontman of the original London retro-rock and roll band Chelsea, which formed in late 1976, featuring William Broad AKA "Billy Idol" on guitar and Tony James on bass. The band's repertoire at this time consisted primarily of cover versions of 1960's Beatles and Rolling Stones songs, but it broke up after a few weeks and a handful of live performances due to an incompatibility of personalities between October with Idol and James, the latter two departing with the drummer to form another band, leaving October with the 'Chelsea' name. In early 1977 October assembled another line-up for the act, which became part of the London Punk Rock movement, with which he performed from 1977 to 1984, with numerous record releases.
In 1976 October was involved in the creation of the punk club/gig venue The Roxy, when he suggested to the management of a West London nightclub called 'Shageramas' that they convert the venue into a centre for the new punk-rock scene to coalesce around. He briefly managed a club called Revolution No.9, and subsequently was employed as an A&R man for Miles Copeland III's IRS record label.
From the mid-1980's-1990's he was a solo artist, releasing two singles, and a long-player entitled Life and Struggle (1995).
Since 1999 he has intermittently performed and toured internationally with Chelsea, and continued to release material commercially. In 2016 he rejoined the band for a 40th Anniversary tour.
Solo artist discography
- Suffering in the Land (1983).
- Don't Quit (1984).
- Life and Struggle (Receiver Records RRCD 196) (1995)
- 'Gene October - a fighter who's in it for the long haul', 'Mid Sussex Times', 12 May 2016.
- 'Dancing with Myself', by Billy Idol (Pub. Simon & Schuster, 2014).
- Interview with Tony James, 'Generation X Anthology', April 2012.
- 'Chelsea History', band website. http://www.chelseapunkband.com/history.htm
- 'Gene October - a fighter who's in it for the long haul', Mid Sussex Times, 12 May 1916. http://www.midsussextimes.co.uk/whats-on/music/review-gene-october-a-fighter-who-s-in-it-for-the-long-haul-1-7379096