Self Abuse form at the height of the second wave punk. Schoolmates Andy Nazer and Dave Brown (both aged 15 at the time) team up with Roger Smale and Steve Ridgeway (both having just left school). Both pairs have been looking to form a punk band for some time and hit it off straight away when they meet through a local recording studio. The next few months are spent learning to play and writing their first songs along the way.
First demo ‘State Of Mind’ recorded, first gig played.
The bands first demo tape ‘State of Mind’ (recorded @ Studio 95) sees the first versions of not only the title track but also other soon to be live favourites such as Beirut, Soldier & Pills. This month also sees the band play their first gig. The Sloop pub in Poole is booked by Steve, cheekily telling them “We’re a rock band”. Crap equipment, half written songs, loads of dodgy punk covers and an unappreciative audience (apart from four punks and a band called Barbed Wire) of housewives and old bikers (one of whom offers to put Steve’s bass drum over his head!) makes for an interesting, but pretty shit, first outing.
Second demo ‘Teenage’ recorded.
This time recorded at the famous Poole studio ‘Arny’s Shack’, the ‘Teenage’ demo is a much stronger outing than their previous tape and gains the band many more fans (this writer included). Made up of new and better versions of some of the ‘State Of Mind’ material plus a load of brand new tunes. This tape is the sound of a punk band to be reckoned with. To prove it a huge local following emerges in the next few months after its release.
Second gig – St Andrews Hall, Bournemouth
After a planned January gig @ the infamous Pinecliff Bars is prevented from happening by the local plod, we have to wait another five months for the band to get together another live outing. This time they play in a Bournemouth church hall for the first of many multi-band D.I.Y gigs. The next few months sees the band playing a variety of mostly D.I.Y gigs, plus support slots with the likes of The Subhumans, Devon nutters The Cult Maniax, The Screaming Dead, fellow locals Butcher & many more. Local newspapers & other magazines begin to write about the band. Even more so after a couple of bad choices of venue sees the band in trouble, when punks, prevented from dancing by heavy handed security decide to tear out the seats.
First E.P recorded.
The ‘Teenage’ demo has attracted the interest of Radical Change Records of Norwich and this month sees the band back at Arny’s Shack recording their first single for the label. By this time every localish punk seems to have ‘Self Abuse’ scrawled somewhere on their jacket & the band are attracting a traveling contingent of fans.
Almost a tour.
The band plays Illminster, Plymouth & Ilfracombe again supporting the Subhumans and The Cult Maniax. The band has organized cheap coaches to get the local following to the gigs. These coach journeys become the stuff of legends & mirth for many a moon.
Soldier’ E.P finally gets released.
After all the usual record company delays the three song ‘(I didn’t wanna be a) Soldier’ E.P finally gets released. John Peel (R.I.P) plays it on his show; it gets to No 1 & No 3 in the ‘Sounds’ & ‘Melody Maker’ Indie chart. It also goes straight to No 1 in the local indie charts where it stays for 20 weeks. Andy and Steve are interviewed on the local Radio Station.
Third demo recorded.
By now, local heroes/idiots (delete where applicable!), the four band members seem to spend most of their time in a state of drunken, stoned disorder. By the time of the ‘Third Demo’ the rot has already set in. Radical Change Records don’t take up the option on putting out another record and by the time Xcentric Noise Records (of Hull) have included two of the third demo’s tracks (‘Another Nightmare’ & ‘Strange Life’) on their ‘Party Pooping Punk Provocations’ compilation LP, the band have found themselves without a record label to release a follow-up single.
I’m not a hippy, I’m Not A hippy. But you are dressed as one!!
In trying to slightly change musical direction, a keyboard player (Andy Rodgers) has been added to the line-up, this does not go down well with the still largely punk following. Andy R. leaves or was sacked after only two gigs (Andy goes on to become a longtime member of Here & Now).
Self Abuse split.
Despite a mostly triumphant year, there is now considerable unrest in the camp with conflicts in opinions about almost everything. Self Abuse play their final gig to a packed ‘Pembroke Arms’ in Bournemouth on 29th December 1984. By the time 1985 has reared its ugly head two days later, Self Abuse have split.
And that was the end of the story until….
I think we need to talk.
The ‘Soldier’ E.P by now regularly sells on E-bay for silly money. Then, almost twenty years to the day since their original formation, one of the band is contacted by American Label ‘Grand Theft Audio’. The label has somehow got to hear a cdr compilation of the bands demo’s and is interested in releasing a ‘best of Self Abuse’ CD. This together with the last few years of steadily increasing worldwide interest in the band is the final straw! Band members who haven’t spoken for years are suddenly in contact again and somehow despite geographic problems, Self Abuse decide to get together again to see if a reunion could work.
Self Abuse reform !!
Occasional secret rehearsals begin for a planned one off gig at Xmas 2004 but after only one rehearsal the band start writing new material and are soon itching to get back into the studio.
Old punx active @ active
At Poole’s Active studio’s (formerly ‘Arny’s Shack’ where the ‘Teenage’ demo and the ‘Soldier E.P’ were recorded), the band record & mix six tracks in just over eight hours. From these six, the band plan to put together a limited edition seven inch single to be given away at the Xmas gig (they’re still insisting that the gig will be a one off). Tracks recorded include ripping versions of four old favourites as well as two newly written tunes.
No Change E.P eagerly awaited
The band press up four of the newly recorded tracks onto seven-inch vinyl. The two remaining tracks are held back for a future release. The No Change E.P will be the bands second single in 20 years & will be launched at the Xmas gig.
17th December-The first gig in almost twenty years.
With its original line-up intact, Self Abuse stagger onto a stage that geographically sits only a matter of feet away from their last stand of ’84. This will be their first gig in almost 20 years. Expecting only a few old faces, the band are totally blown away by the rammed out venue. Surprisingly the crowd is not only made up of old friends & fans but is also well attended by a whole new enthusiastic (& younger) audience. Self Abuse play a blistering set of old faves plus the two new tracks from the new ‘No Change E.P’. Most of the crowd knows the words to every song & the younger contingent ensure that all the old mayhem of a Self Abuse gig isn’t missing from the night. Smiles fill the room.
So that’s it then, end of the story…. Well not quite!!
Off to Morecambe & finally back to Poole
With feedback still ringing in their ears, Self Abuse decide keep it together for as long as it’s still fun. 2005 has so far seen the band invited to Morecambe for the annual ‘Holidays In The Sun’ punk festival, record a secret demo of another new song together with a couple of dodgy punk covers & finally pluck up the courage to do their first gig in Poole since that fateful nite in January ’82. This time the housewives in attendance were strictly of the punk-mother variety & any bikers that were in attendance, were only trying to put their own heads in the bass drum.
Supporting Subhumans 20 years on.
TO BE CONTINUED>>>>>>>