The Exploited

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The Exploited
Exploited Wattie 01.JPG
The Exploited's lead vocalist Wattie Buchan performing.
Background information
Origin Edinburgh, Scotland
Years active 1979–present
Associated acts
Members Wattie Buchan
Wullie Buchan
Irish Rob
Robbie Steedo Davidson

The Exploited are a Scottish punk rock band from Edinburgh, Scotland, formed in 1979,[1] in Edinburgh by Stevie Ross and Terry Buchan and later by ex-soldier Wattie Buchan (Terry's brother). They signed to Secret Records in March 1981,[2] and that year released their debut EP Army Life.

The album Punks Not Dead followed that year.[2] The band maintained a large cult following in the 1980s among a hardcore working class punk and skinhead audience. Their songs have been covered by Slayer and Ice-T, and despite many lineup changes, Wattie has remained as the Exploited's singer and leader.



The Exploited logo

The original line up was Terry Buchan (vocals), Stevie Ross (guitar), Alan Paget (bass) and Andy McNiven (drums). Formed in the West Granton area of Edinburgh, a large grey council estate on the north side of the city. The band's politics was reflected in its name, coined by drummer and song writer McNiven, whose father was a Korean War veteran and a communist. While in the early stages as a band, with little equipment, the band were invited to play their first gig at Craigmuir School. The band seemed to be a victim of their own publicity here. They had spray-painted their band name locally and had stolen Sunday papers, milk and bread rolls in the early hours of Sunday morning and redistributed them outside peoples' front door, with a note saying, "a gift from the exploited". Their first gig was on Friday 15 December 1978. The date was recalled by McNiven as it coincided with a performance by the Doomed (the Damned by another name) at Clouds in Edinburgh to which they went after their own gig. The gig was attended by Terry's older brother Wattie, who had recently left the army and was a punk in London. Wattie soon replaced Terry, and Andy McNiven and Colin Erskine were dropped from the line-up also. After a few gigs in and around Edinburgh, Stevie Ross left after an appearance in Aberdeen supporting the UK Subs. A few months later, he and Terry Buchan formed The Exposed. The Exposed split in 1980 after a gig supporting The Exploited. While Terry left for London, Stevie was prominent in the Edinburgh band scene during the 1980s and fronted bands like Strychnine and Burlesque before becoming lead singer with blues band Roadside Medicine. Now based in West Lothian, he still sings and writes original songs.[3]

A young punk wearing an Exploited T-shirt in 1984.

Influenced by 1970s punk rock music such as music by the Sex Pistols,[4] the quartet created a simple, no-frills sound characterized by speed and aggression. In 1980, the group founded its own independent record label, Exploited Records, and released their debut EP Army Life, which was number 6 in the indie/independent charts for eight weeks, then was in the top 20 for 18 months.[3][5] They then released another single, "Barmy Army", which jumped into the independent charts and remained there for 53 weeks, peaking at number 4.[3] Their single "Dead Cities" peaked at 31 on the national chart.[5] Their single "Exploited Barmy Army" peaked at number 4 on the independent/indie chart.[5]

In March 1981, the band signed to Secret Records, and took a month to record their debut album Punks Not Dead.[6] The Exploited released the single "Dogs of War", which peaked at number 2 in the independent charts and number 63 in the national charts.[3][6][7] Also in 1981, the band released their first live album, On Stage, recorded during a concert in Edinburgh. Thereafter, the band performed, along with Discharge, Anti-Nowhere League, Anti-Pasti and Chron Gen on a tour called Apocalypse Now, which was recorded and released as a live album. Their album Punks Not Dead, released in April 1981, went to number 20 in May,[8] then number 1 on the Independent Charts.[3][7] During this time, The Exploited appeared on the mainstream TV show Top of the Pops.[9][10] A lot of fans of The Exploited were unhappy with the band's decision to appear on the show.[10]

The band released the album Let's Start a War in 1983[11] and Horror Epics in 1985.[12] The period between these albums was marked by severe discord over the band's musical direction: guitarist Big John Duncan and bassist Gary McCormack both left to form new bands – "bands with disco beats and guitar solos, total shit", in Wattie's words – and the band went through a rapid succession of drummers, one of whom allegedly left after a "nervous breakdown".[13] The band was driven away from the Secret label by new management who demanded unrealistic changes in style and personnel.[13] Their next label, a tiny enterprise named Pax Records, folded after its owner fled with all its assets.[13]

The concert album Live at the White House was recorded in Washington, DC in 1985 at the 9:30 Club and was released in 1986.[3] They also released the studio EP Jesus Is Dead in 1986, following up with Live and Loud, a videography of The Exploited performing around Europe and in the United States. "Sexual Favours", a single from the album Death Before Dishonour, was released in 1987. The album only ranked in the top 200 of the Britain Alternative Music list. The album sold out quickly, however.[14]


In 1990, The Exploited released their album The Massacre. The album is a crossover thrash album.[15] This album was by far one of the band's most commercially successful.[14] The band went on to release a Singles Collection album in 1993. The Exploited also released the videography Live in Japan in 1993. Their album Beat the Bastards was released in April 1996.[16]


Wattie on stage in 2006.

In January 2003, the band released their album Fuck the System on Dream Catcher Records,[17] and also in 2003, they toured in the UK[18] and US.[19] On 14 October 2003, about 500 fans of the band started a riot in Montreal, Canada after an Exploited concert was cancelled due to the band not being allowed into the country.[20][21][22] Rioters destroyed eight cars and set them on fire; broke 11 store windows and caused other damage.[21][22] The band were banned from playing in Mexico City due to the riot.[23]


A poster by The Exploited

In a 2012 interview, Wattie Buchan claimed that a new album was being finished.[24] In February 2014, Wattie Buchan suffered a heart attack on stage during a performance in Lisbon on the band's Taste of Chaos Tour with Hatebreed and Napalm Death. He was taken to a hospital, where he was expected to receive treatment for at least a week. The band signed a deal with Nuclear Blast Records, and was to have many of its albums reissued in March 2014. The band has also confirmed that its first album in a decade will be released during the 2010s.[25][26] It is currently unknown when the band's next album will be released.


The Exploited are one of the iconic bands of the UK 82 punk movement along with Charged GBH[27] and Discharge.[28] The term "UK 82" came from The Exploited's song "UK 82".[29] AllMusic described The Exploited as "one of most riveting British punk rock units of the early 1980s".[30]

The Exploited have influenced multiple bands such as Discharge,[31] Stormtroopers of Death[31] Agnostic Front,[31] The Virus,[32] The Casualties,[33] Anti-Flag,[34] and Blanks 77.[35]

Musical style[edit]

The Exploited has been categorized as punk rock,[15] thrash metal,[1] speed metal,[36] crossover thrash,[15][36] punk metal,[31] anarchist punk,[37] hardcore punk,[1][38] street punk[39][40][41][42] and Oi!.[42][43][44][45][46][47] Originally playing street punk and oi!, The Exploited moved to a more aggressive style featuring elements of both crossover thrash and hardcore punk with their album Death Before Dishonour.[10][36][48]

Lyrical themes and gigs[edit]

The Exploited has been controversial for their aggressive lyrics and rowdy gigs. They were considered "cartoon punks" by Ian Glasper.[49] Glasper wrote: "For many, The Exploited were the quintessential second wave punk band with their senses-searing high-speed outbursts against the system, and wild-eyed frontman Walter 'Wattie' Buchan's archetypal orange mohican."[49] The Exploited are known for their lyrics about anarchy,[37] politics[1][42][50] and anti-authority.[51][52] As a band with lyrics that have anarchist themes, The Exploited's vocalist Wattie Buchan is an anarchist[53] and openly hates politics.[52] The Exploited have made songs about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and have expressed a disdainful view towards Thatcher.[50][54] The Exploited's song "Maggie", a song from the band's album "Horror Epics", is about Thatcher.[42][50] The Exploited's third studio album, "Let's Start a War... (Said Maggie One Day)", focuses on Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands War.[36][50][54] Other topics of the album are police-driven riots, war, unemployment and hopelessness.[36]

Current lineup[edit]

  • Wattie Buchan - vocals (1979–present)
  • Wullie Buchan - drums (1983–1990,1993–present)
  • Irish Rob - bass (2003–present)
  • Robbie "Steed" Davidson - guitar (2001–2007, 2016–present)

Former members[edit]


  • Terry Buchan (1979)


  • Stevie Ross (1979)
  • Stevie Hay, Hayboy (1979–1980; died 2013)
  • Big John Duncan (Jeff le Rennais) (1980–1983)
  • Karl "Egghead" Morris (1983–1985)
  • Mad Mick (1985)
  • Nig (Nigel Swanson) (1986–1988; died 2008)
  • Gogs (Gordon Balfour) (1989–1991)
  • Fraz (Fraser Rosetti) (1991–1995)
  • Jamie Buchan (1995–1996)
  • Arf (Arthur Dalrymple) (1996–2001)
  • Robby Davidson (Steedo) (2001–2007)
  • Gav Little (2007–2008)
  • Tommy Concrete (2011–2012)
  • Matt Justice (2008–2011, 2013–2016)
  • Robby Davidson (Steedo) (2016–present)


  • Alan Paget (1979)
  • Colin Erskine (1979)
  • Mark Patrizio (1979–1980)
  • Gary McCormack (1980–1983)
  • Billy Dunn (1983–1984, 1996–1997)
  • Wayne Tyas (1984–1985, 1986)
  • "Deptford" John Armitage (1985–1986)
  • Tony Lochiel (1986–1987; died 2007)
  • Smeeks (Mark Smellie) (1987–1993)
  • Jim Gray (1993–1996)
  • Andy Lenihan (1997 (Beat the Bastards Tour))
  • Mikie Jacobs (1996–2002; died 2013)
  • Eddie Meehan (2002)
  • Arf (Arthur Dalrymple) (2002 (on Fuck The System))
  • Davey (Dave Peggie) (2002–2003)
  • Robert Halkett (Irish Rob) 2004–present


  • Andy McNiven (1978)
  • Paul Gill (1979)
  • Jimbo (1979)
  • Glen Campbell (Dru Stix) (1979–1982; died 2016)
  • Danny Heatley (1982)
  • Steve Roberts (1982–1983)
  • Tony Warren (1989–1991)
  • Wullie Buchan (1991–present)



Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Totally Exploited (1984)
  • Twenty Five Years of Anarchy and Chaos (2004)

Split albums[edit]

  • Don't Let 'Em Grind You Down (with Anti-Pasti) (1981)


  • "Army Life" (1980)
  • "Barmy Army" (1980)
  • "Dead Cities" (1981)
  • "Rival Leaders" (1983)
  • "Jesus Is Dead" (1986)
  • "War Now" (1988)


  • "Army Life" (1980)
  • "Exploited Barmy Army" (1980)
  • "Dogs of War" (1981)
  • "Dead Cities" (1981)
  • "Attack/Alternative" (1982)
  • "Computers Don't Blunder" (1982)


  • Alive at Leeds (1983)
  • Sexual Favours (1987)
  • Live in Japan (1993)
  • Rock and Roll Outlaws (1995)
  • Beat 'Em All (2004)

Music videos[edit]

  • "Troops of Tomorrow" (1982)
  • "U.S.A." (1982)
  • "Sexual Favours" (1987)
  • "Beat the Bastards" (1996)
  • "Never Sell Out" (2003)
  • "Chaos is My Life" (2003)
  • "You're a Fucking Bastard" (2003)


  1. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve. "The Exploited - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b The Exploited +++ Real Punk Rock Since 1980. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "KFTH - The Exploited Page". Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "RED magazine". 18 September 2003. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Cherry Red Records - Exploited, Punk's Not Dead / On Stage, Anagram". Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Exploited Singles Collection Page". Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Cherry Red Records - Exploited, Punk's Not Dead / On Stage, Anagram". Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Buckley, Peter. The Rough Guide to Rock. London: Rough Guides Ltd, 2003. pg 350. ISBN 1-84353-105-4.
  9. ^ Glasper, Ian. Burning Britain: The History of UK Punk 1980–1984. ISBN 9781901447248. 
  10. ^ a b c The Exploited at Kill From the Heart
  11. ^ J. Scott McClintock. "Let's Start a War...Said Maggie One Day - The Exploited : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Horror Epics - The Exploited : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Kowalewski, Al (September 1984). "The Exploited Interview". Flipside. Kill From The Heart (43). Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  14. ^ a b "Matt McGuire Bio | Matt McGuire Career". MTV. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c
  16. ^ Torreano, Bradley (23 April 1996). "Beat the Bastards - The Exploited : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "THE EXPLOITED Return To Action With 'Fuck The System'". Blabbermouth.Net. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "THE EXPLOITED Announce U.K. Dates". Blabbermouth.Net. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "THE EXPLOITED Announce First U.S. Tour In Over A Decade". Blabbermouth.Net. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  20. ^ Alex. "Montreal Also Hearts Riots". VICE. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "Cars Overturned, Set On Fire After THE EXPLOITED Cancel Concert In Montreal". Blabbermouth.Net. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil (15 October 2003). "Fans Riot In Montreal Due To Canceled Exploited Show - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "THE EXPLOITED Banned From Mexico City". Blabbermouth.Net. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "Interview with Wattie Buchan of The Exploited 2012". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  25. ^ "The Exploited Forced to Cancel Remainder of Tour After Singer Wattie Suffers Heart Attack". Blabbermouth. 14 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "The Exploited’s Wattie Buchan suffers heart attack on stage". Scott Rowley. 14 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Glasper 2004, p. 44
  28. ^ Matt Diehl, "The Young Crazed Peeling", My So-Called Punk: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, The Distillers, Bad Religion—How Neo-Punk Stage-Dived Into the Mainstream, New York: Macmillan, 2007, ISBN 0-312-33781-7, ISBN 978-0-312-33781-0 p. 107.
  29. ^ UK82 Access date: August 11, 2015]
  30. ^ On Stage - The Exploited - AllMusic
  31. ^ a b c d Bradley Torreano. "Troops of Tomorrow - The Exploited | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  32. ^ First Virus Interview
  33. ^ "The Casualties Biography". 
  34. ^ Anti-Flag's Biography at Allmusic
  35. ^ Killer Blanks [Bonus Tracks] - Blanks 77 - Allmusic
  36. ^ a b c d e
  37. ^ a b Anarchist Punk - Allmusic
  38. ^ "Exploited Singer Wattie Buchan Has Heart Attack On Stage". Ultimate Classic Rock. 
  39. ^ Don't Forget the Chaos - The Exploited by Allmusic - Retrieved August 11, 2015
  40. ^ "MUSIC Exclusive: The Casualties List The Most Influential Punk and Hardcore Bands". 
  41. ^ "The Exploited – Punks Not Dead (1981) [CBR 320 + FLAC]". PunkWarez. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  42. ^ a b c d "Red Magazine". 18 September 2003. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  43. ^ Glasper 2004
  44. ^ Bregman, Adam. "Oi! The Album - Various Artists : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  45. ^ Huey, Steve. "Lords of Oi! [Box] - Various Artists : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  46. ^ Lamey and Robbins (1991), p. 230.
  47. ^ "The Exploited - Punk's Not Dead". 
  48. ^ "The Ultimate Punk Music Store!". Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  49. ^ a b Glasper 2004, p. 360
  50. ^ a b c d "Top 5 Songs Hating On Margaret Thatcher". 
  51. ^ The Exploited biography at AllMusic
  52. ^ a b
  53. ^ "Amnesia Rockfest Interview With Wattie Buchan of The Exploited". Nadia Blostein. 
  54. ^ a b

Notes and sources[edit]

External links[edit]