– UK Decay in session for John Peel – April 22, 1980 – BBC Radio 1 –
UK Decay and their first session for John Peel, recorded on April 22, 1980.
UK Decay was born out of the ashes of another Luton band called the Resiztors, who had formed in 1978. The Resiztors’ line-up consisted of guitarist Steve “Abbo” Abbott, drummer Steven David Harle, bassist Martin “Segovia” Smith and vocalists Ricky Smith and Paul Wilson. After the vocalists’ departure in the spring of 1979, the remaining band members changed their name to UK Decay, with Abbott as singer (and guitarist). They soon released the Split Single 7″ EP in partnership with fellow local band Pneumania, on their own Plastic Records label. The EP featured two tracks from each band, with UK Decay contributing “UK Decay” and “Car Crash”. Split Single sold extremely well, mainly thanks to a damning review in the NME by Danny Baker and Charles Shaar Murray. At the same time, some UK Decay members produced their own monthly fanzine The Suss and ran their own punk record and clothes shop called Matrix. Guitarist Steve Spon was soon recruited from Pneumania, allowing Abbo to concentrate on frontman duties.
The next release for Plastic Records was UK Decay’s The Black 45 four-song EP, issued in early 1980. It hovered in the UK Indie Chart for 15 months. Alex Howe from Fresh Records offered to license the first two singles, and signed UK Decay to the label. The first official release for Fresh was the single “For My Country”, issued in September 1980. “For My Country” received airplay from John Peel (for whom they would record two sessions) and spent eight months in the indie chart, reaching No. 13. The single was promoted by a major UK tour with hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys. By 1981, two further singles had also been released, “Unexpected Guest” and “Sexual”. The former achieved the band’s highest indie chart placing of No. 4, and paved the way for UK Decay’s debut album, For Madmen Only, released by Fresh in December 1981. The album had taken a year to gestate, due to delays caused by a time-consuming US tour and a frustrating search for a new permanent bass player. When original bassist Smith left, Lorraine “Lol” Turvey from the Statics stood in for some UK dates and an early 1981 European tour. For the US jaunt and subsequent UK tours in spring 1981, Creetin K-OS (of US punks Social Unrest) stood in. Following that stint, K-OS returned home and Eddie “Twiggy” Branch from Northampton joined on bass, just in time to finish the album. During this period, Abbo jokingly referred to the band’s sound as “goth” in a Sounds interview, helping to immortalize the beginning of the gothic rock movement, although UK Decay considered themselves a punk band first and foremost.
Here as a reminder of those halcyon days is their first session for John Peel.
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