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Background information
OriginBelfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
GenresPunk rock, pop punk, power pop
Years active1975–1983
LabelsGood Vibrations, Jammed!
Associated actsStiff Little Fingers, the Outcasts, Station Superheaven, the Tigersharks, the Roughnecks, the Sabrejets, Shame Academy
Past membersDrew Brown
Leigh Carson
Graham "Grimmy" Marshall
Ronnie Matthews
Brian Young
Johnny Stewart
Gordon Blair
Drew Brown
Paul Martin

Rudi were a punk rock/power pop band from Belfast, Northern Ireland formed in 1975.


Rudi formed in 1975 as a covers band, playing rock 'n' roll and glam rock hits.[1][2] The original members were Drew Brown (drums), Leigh Carson, Graham "Grimmy" Marshall (bass guitar), Ronnie Matthews (guitar, lead vocals) and Brian Young (guitar, vocals). The band's name was taken from a single called "Oo Oo Rudi" by the Jook.[2]

Carson left, and after bassist Johnny Stewart joined, Marshall moved to drums and the group adopted a pop punk sound.[3][4]

The band wore a stage uniform of boiler suits, stolen by drummer Marshall from his place of work.[2] Original Stiff Little Fingers bassist Gordon Blair joined in 1977, replacing Stewart.[2]

The band's debut release was the "Big Time" single, the first release for Terri Hooley's Good Vibrations label in May 1978. It received positive reviews in the music press, and was later described by Henry McDonald of The Observer as "one of the most perfect pop songs to come out of this island". The single's success prompted the band to relocate to London.[1][2] They failed to secure a record deal in London, and suffered a further setback when guitarist Matthews and drummer Marshall were jailed for a week after their Clapham squat was raided, and they returned to Belfast.[2]

In 1979, Rudi contributed "Overcome by Fumes" to the Battle of the Bands EP, and were offered a record deal by Polydor, on the condition that they replaced Marshall, but the offer was declined.[2] A four-track EP of their own followed, and the band embarked on a tour of England. Blair was sacked, later joining the Outcasts, with Matthews moving to bass.

A television appearance on BBC2's Something Else in 1980 showcased the band's proposed next single on Good Vibrations, "The Pressure's On"/"Who You", but the band left the label in frustration with Hooley.[2] The band recorded a session for Mike Read's BBC Radio 1 show The Evening Session in June 1980, and a deal with Target Records was proposed, but failed with the label's demise.[2][5] They were offered a deal with Ariola Records by Pete Waterman, but instead decided to sign with the Paul Weller-funded Jamming! label.[2] Sessions for John Peel and David Jensen's radio shows and two further singles followed between 1981 and 1983, the latter ("Crimson") being named "Single of the Week" by Sounds.

Rudi supported the Jam on their 1982 Transglobal Unity Express tour.[2] When the Jam split up, the Jamming! label folded soon afterwards, and Rudi found themselves without a label, and also split up.[2]

Matthews, Marshall and Young re-emerged with a new band, Station Superheaven. Young later formed a series of bands including the Tigersharks, the Roughnecks and the Sabrejets; in the 2000s, he played in Shame Academy along with Greg Cowan of the Outcasts and Petesy Burns of Stalag 17.

A compilation CD of Rudi's recordings was released in 1996 on the Cherry Red label Anagram.[1]

Rudi influenced several later bands, including the Saw Doctors and Therapy?, both of whom recorded cover versions of "Big Time".[2]


Original line-up (1975)[edit]

  • Brian Young – guitar, vocals
  • Ronnie Matthews – guitar, lead vocals
  • Graham "Grimmy" Marshall – bass guitar
  • Drew Brown – drums
  • Leigh Carson

Second line-up[edit]

  • Brian Young – guitar, vocals
  • Ronnie Matthews – guitar, lead vocals
  • Johnny Stewart – bass guitar
  • Graham "Grimmy" Marshall – drums

Third line-up (1977–1979)[edit]

  • Brian Young – guitar, vocals
  • Ronnie Matthews – guitar, lead vocals
  • Gordon Blair – bass guitar
  • Graham "Grimmy" Marshall – drums

1981 line-up[edit]

  • Brian Young – guitar, vocals
  • Ronnie Matthews – bass, lead vocals
  • Graham "Grimmy" Marshall – drums

1982 line-up[edit]

  • Brian Young – guitar, vocals
  • Ronnie Matthews – bass, lead vocals
  • Graham "Grimmy" Marshall – drums
  • Paul Martin – keyboards


Singles and EPs[edit]

  • "Big Time" (1978, Good Vibrations)
  • I Spy EP (1979, Good Vibrations)
  • "When I Was Dead" (1981), Jamming!) UK Indie No. 29[6]
  • "Crimson" (1982, Jamming!) UK Indie No. 23[6]
  • "The Pressure's On" (2000, Last Year's Youth Records)
  • 14 Steps to Death EP (2001, Last Year's Youth Records)
  • Yummy Yummy EP (2002, Last Year's Youth Records)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Big Time – The Best of Rudi (1996, Anagram Records)
  • The Band That Time Forgot (2002, Last Year's Youth Records)
  • The Complete Rudi Singles Collection (2002, Last Year's Youth Records)
  • The Radio Sessions 1979–1981 (2005, Wizzard in Vinyl)

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • "Overcome by Fumes" on Battle of the Bands 7" EP (1979, Good Vibrations)


  1. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 134
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ogg, Alex (2006) No More Heroes: a Complete History of UK Punk from 1976 to 1980, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 978-1-901447-65-1, p. 471-474
  3. ^ Joe Donnelly. "Punk Profiles: Rudi". Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Rudi – A Fan's View". Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  5. ^ Gimarc, George (2005) Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock 1970–1982, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-848-6, p. 343
  6. ^ a b Lazell, Barry (1998) Indie Hits 1980–1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 193

External links[edit]