The Prats

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The Prats
Origin Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Genres Punk rock, post-punk
Years active 1977 – 1981
Labels Fast Product
Rough Trade
One Little Indian
Website Official web site
Past members Paul McLaughlin
David Maguire
Greg Maguire
Tom Robinson
Jeff Maguire
Elspeth McLeod

The Prats were an Edinburgh-based punk rock group, active from 1977 to 1981. More recently, their track "General Davis" was featured in the opening credits of Jonathan Demme's 2004 film, The Manchurian Candidate.


The group was founded in 1977 at St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Comprehensive by Paul McLaughlin, David Maguire, Greg Maguire, and Tom Robinson, whose ages at the time ranged from 12 to 15.[1] While their instruments were basic - including a cardboard drum kit - they were able to quickly produce a demo tape which they sent to a local indie label Fast Product, who also produced the Human League. Inspired by The Slits and Mekons, the Prats debuted with three tracks on the Fast EP Earcom 1.[1][2]

In 1979, the band recorded a session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show.[3] Peel also offered his fee from a DJing appearance in Edinburgh to finance a single release by the band.[1] A series of singles then followed, including "General Davis" and "Die Todten Reyten Schnell," which was released on a German indie label.

A number of line-up changes saw Elspeth McLeod joining to provide additional guitar (including on the single "General Davis") and Jeff Maguire taking over bass duties from Tom Robinson.

In 1980, the EP "The 1990s Pop" was released on Rough Trade Music. This record contained four tracks: "Disco Pope", "Nothing", "TV Set", and "Noboty Noticed". "Disco Pope" received significant airplay under John Peel and was re-released in 2003 on Rough Trade Shops' compilation CD Post Punk Volume 1.

The end of school in 1981 meant the end of the Prats. Paul McLaughlin was quoted as saying “Bands are like marriages between four people. You just stop getting on with each other.”[citation needed]

McLaughlin, now living in Chelmsford, has released one solo single, "Party Girl". He has since then given up on music and is currently an employment law executive with Acas; Dave, Jeff, Greg, Tom and Elspeth all live in the Edinburgh area.

The Manchurian Candidate soundtrack[edit]

With the appearance of the song "General Davis" on the soundtrack of Jonathan Demme's 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate, starring Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Prats, resulting in the release of a compilation CD, Now That's What I Call Prats music released by One Little Indian in 2005.[4]


Singles, EPs[edit]

  • 1990s Pop EP (1980), Rough Trade - UK Indie No. 31[5]
  • "Die Todten Reyten Schnell" (1980), DADA
  • "General Davis" (1981), Rough Trade


Compilation appearances[edit]

  • Earcom 1 (1979), Fast Product: "Bored", "Prats 2", "Inverness"


  1. ^ a b c 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. 430-1
  2. ^ The Prats - Scottish Punk Rock
  3. ^ Keeping it Peel
  4. ^ One Little Indian website
  5. ^ Lazell, Barry (1998) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 177

External links[edit]