The Drones to start the new week (or end the old one, depending on how you look at it). In their first and only session for John Peel at BBC Radio 1, recorded on December 6, 1977 and broadcast on December 13th.
Formed in Manchester in 1975, The Drones started out as a pub rock outfit called Rockslide and released a single called “Roller Coaster”. When this failed to make an impact, they reinvented themselves as a punk rock band.
In 1976, The Drones made their debut at the Houldsworth Hall, Manchester with Generation X as support.
Most bands in the thriving Manchester punk scene stayed in the city, but The Drones relocated to London. They became one of the pioneering punk bands that performed in the first few months of the now-legendary Roxy Club. They supported The Vibrators in January 1977, headlined in February, and supported X-Ray Spex and Chelsea in March. Later that year they supported The Stranglers on tour. The band appeared on two influential early punk compilation albums Streets and Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus.
The band’s debut EP, Temptations Of A White Collar Worker (1977), was described by one reviewer as “classic dole-queue punk.” In October 1977, the Drones’ second single, “Bone Idol”, was released. In December 1977, they recorded a session at Maida Vale 4 studio for John Peel at BBC Radio 1. The track listing was “Be My Baby”, “The Change”, “Clique”, and “Movement”. That same month they released their debut album, Further Temptations, which has come to be regarded as a punk classic.
Fans would have to wait until May 1999 for the follow-up album, Sorted. The band reformed and toured to promote the record; including concert dates in the United States.
In 2001 “Bone Idol” was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time.
Lead singer and guitarist M.J. Drone (aka Michael Howells) died on 10 January 2013.
In 2015, The Drones re-formed with original members Steve ‘Wispa’ Cundall, Gary ‘Gus’ Callendar and new members Martin Smith [drums] and Glenn Jones [guitar].
In 2016, the new Drones line up will be playing festival and other dates and recording a live album as well as new material.
January 2017 saw the line up change again, as Gus, Glenn & Martin are replaced by Brian Grantham (ex Slaughter & the Dogs) on drums, and Al Crosby (Ed Banger & the Nosebleeds) on lead guitar.
The new line up have released a new E.P. “Will you stand in front of bullets?” on their own Idle Records label. 5 brand new songs, and a reworking of “Hard On Me” from the very 1st “Temptations E.P. The 1st print run was available at the Rebellion Punk Festival at the beginning of August, and promptly sold out. A 2nd run was printed, and the E.P. was officially launched in Manchester on 15th September 2018.
A reminder if you remember them the first time – a refresher course if you’re a new fan and an introduction if you’ve never heard them before.
Hit the Play button and give a listen.