The Machines (band)
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|Years active||1977–1978, 2006–present|
|Website||The Machines Official Site|
Stephen 'Tash' Reddihough
Steve Pegrum aka Steve Machine
|Past members||Ian Duffy ('Duf')
The Machines are an English Punk Rock 'n' Roll band, formed in 1977 by Nick Paul in Southend-on-Sea. The band initially lasted until 1978, before regenerating in 2006.
The band are known for the incendiary 'True Life' EP which they recorded and released in 1978 on Wax Records, and for their storming live shows, both then and now. They played legendary London Punk venues The Roxy and The Vortex, and in 1978 appeared in the Alternative Chart as published in Sounds, after True Life received a favourable reaction after being played on the John Peel show. The 'True Life' EP was cited as one of the '100 Most Collectable Punk Records' in Record Collector Issue 323, May 2006.
The First Chapter
Nick Paul had played in Proto-Punk band 'Raw Power' in Southend with Stephen 'Tash' Reddihough in 1974–1975, playing a selection of covers (including 'Mystery Girls' by The New York Dolls) and a few originals. The line up included Tony Gower on Vocals and Gary Purkiss on Drums. Failing to make the headway they strove for, the band split in 1975, and they all went their separate ways.
In 1976 Nick liked the new sounds he was hearing, ranging from The Ramones in New York to The Damned in the UK. These visceral times Nick has often described as 'the best time of my life'. He was very inspired to get a new band together, and in Spring – Early Summer 1977, he began putting The Machines together. He met Bass Player Duf (Ian Duffy) via an advert in the local paper, and Drummer John Dee (née Dearlove) down the pub.
A set of songs, including 'Racing', 'Head on Crash', 'True Life', 'Everythings Technical' etc. were assembled and the band played their first gig in August 1977. They began playing locally at such venues as The Railway and The Top Alex, before venturing to London to play The Vortex and The City of London Polytechnic.
Dave Tulloch and Richard Seager, the Editors of Southend's first punk fanzine, Strange Stories, became the band's managers after being impressed with a blistering Machines gig at The Shrimpers Club, and arranged for the band to record four of the songs at Spectrum Studios in Westcliff in early 1978. 'True Life', 'Everythings Technical', 'You Better Hear' and 'Evening Radio' were recorded by The Machines in early 1978, and were subsequently issued in conjunction with Paul Truslove on his label Wax Records in April / May 1978 and the recording became known as 'The True Life' EP'.
However, Nick found himself going in a different musical direction to the others, and decided to break the band up. He returned to the live scene in 1980 with the more indie-oriented 'Collectors.' (The band released one 7" single 'Different World' on their own Central Collection Records that year and they played a few live gigs at venues such as Dingwalls and The Bridge House.)
Bass Player Duf dropped out of music and Drummer John Dee found himself much in demand on the local scene after his stint with The Machines, and initially drummed in local punk band The Vandals for a while (featuring future star Alison Moyet), before playing many great shows alongside his brother in local band The Electric Shocks (soon shortened to The Shocks). He helped many other local punk bands, before changing direction and embarked on a lifelong love affair with reggae, and played in local bands Bushfire and Charas before retiring from music later in the '90s.
The Second Chapter
In 2004, Raw Power bassist Stephen 'Tash' Reddihough got back in touch with Nick Paul after many intervening years, and together with Nick and Collectors drummer Adrian even had a couple of jams before realising a fresh new approach was needed. In 2005, Nick found an old reel to reel tape of a long lost Machines 'live demo' session from 1977, containing two songs: ‘Racing’ and ‘You Better Hear’. Dizzy of Detour / Bin Line Records wanted to release the tracks on a forthcoming edition of his punk rarities series, Bored Teenagers.
Simultaneously, also in 2005, Drummer Steve (ex-Ghosts of Lovers, Kronstadt Uprising, Sinyx) was putting together a website called ‘Southend Punk History 1976–1986’ which focused on the towns Punk History and its lost generation of bands whom hitherto had no voice. In compling this site, Steve got in touch with Nick, and soon established a dialogue, based on a mutual love of High Energy Punk Rock’n’ Roll, as played by bands like The New York Dolls, The Ramones and Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers.
Together with Bassist Steve, a jam was had at the end of February 2006 and instantly a special chemistry was found and the three decided to form a band and continue the unfinished business from before. A launch gig was planned for the LP/CD ‘Bored Teenagers Volume 4’ in London at the Boston Arms (the record featured the two aforementioned Machines songs). Following a fantastic evening at the launch, The Machines were back and firing on all four cylinders.
2007 saw the band continue to expand, playing a celebratory ’30 years of Punk’ gig in Southend at Chinnerys, as well as playing many shows in and around London and the South-East with bands such as The Vibrators, Vice Squad and Choking Susan. The band undertook two ‘live recordings’ with engineer Barry Gardner of Safe and Sound Studios, and used these to help secure future bookings.
2008 – present has seen the band consolidating their set, which includes classic Machines songs such as ‘Chain Gang’ and ‘Don’t Be Fooled’ as well as newer songs like ‘Girl in Black’ and ‘Rocket Red’. 2008 also saw The Machines play at the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, which was a special moment for all concerned.
The band have also appeared on several CD's, notably 'Still Dying in The 21st Century' ('Weekend'), 'Noisy!' Fanzine ('Chain Gang' – Covermount) and most recently Vive Le Rock ('Weekend' – Covermount). 24 December 2010 saw the release in Japan on 1977 Records of the band's original 'True Life' EP, on 7" clear and black vinyl.
12 December 2011 saw the release of The Machines eponymous debut album – 'The Machines' – on Label 'Angels in Exile'. The album contains 16 Tracks, including the ten tracks they recorded with Barry Gardner, plus two 1977 Demo Tracks and the complete 'True Life' EP, and comes with a 16 Page colour booklet.
- “True Life” / “Everythings Technical” / “You Better Hear” / “Evening Radio” EP (Wax Records, EAR 1, 1978)
- “True Life” / “Everythings Technical” / “You Better Hear” / “Evening Radio” EP (1977 Records, S079, 2010)
- “The Machines” (Angels in Exile Records, AIECD 001, 2011)
- “Racing” (1977 Demo) and “You Better Hear” (1977 Demo) appear on ‘Bored Teenagers Volume Four’ (Bin Liner Records RubbishCD005 – 2006)
- “Weekend” appears on the Various Artists CD ‘'Still Dying in The 21st Century – Volume 1'’ (October 2009)
- “Weekend” appears on the CD that accompanies Issue 28 of UK Fanzine ‘Bubblegum Slut’ – (November 2007)
- “Chain Gang” appears on the CD that accompanies Issue 9 of UK Fanzine ‘Noisy!’ – (November 2009)
- “Weekend” appears on the CD that accompanies Issue 6 of UK Magazine ‘Vive Le Rock’ – (February 2012)
- The Machines – Punk ’77 Site Article
- The Machines – Southend Punk History Site Article
- The Machines – Bin Liner Records Article
- The Machines – Interview with Street Voice E-Zine
- The Machines – Nick Paul Interview with Mystery Island Article
- The Machines – Nick Paul Interview with Brighton Fringe Article
- The Machines – Steve Machine Interview
- The Machines – Angels in Exile Records Profile