The Early History of
with quotes from Ian Glaspers 'Burning Britain'
"When imagination rules the head
Evoking instincts undead
The animal will rise to cry wolf"
"From your heaven - the worlds our stage Romance lived by repetition
Freedom - in our prison of passion Stage-struck-struck-stage
Stage born stage bred Soul torn stage dead"
UK Decay formed
out of the ashes of an earlier Luton punk
band called The Resistors.
The line-up included Steven Abbot (Abbo) guitar,
Steve Harle on drums, Paul Wilson vocals,
and Martin (Segovia) Smith bass. After Paul.Wilson
left during the spring of 1979, they changed
their name to UK Decay and released the ‘Split
Single’ 7” with local band Pneumania, on their
own Plastic records label. There were two
tracks from each band, UK Decay contributing
‘UK Decay’ and ‘Car Crash’, and Pneumania
contributed ‘Exhibition’ and ‘Coming Attack’.
The 'Split Single' sold extremely well, mainly
thanks to a damning review in the NME who's
Danny Baker and Charles Shar Murray described
them as one of the worse punk bands of all
At the same time the band produced
their own monthly fanzine, ‘The Suss’ And
ran their own Punk record and clothes shop,
Abbo now on vocals as well as
guitar, soon found this new role difficult,
so staying on vocals he poached guitarist
Steve Spon from Pneumania . It was an inspired
move as the new line-up clicked instantly
and the chemistry within the band came dramatically
"With the new line up and name,
it wasn't long - a matter of weeks, before
we played our first live show,"; remembers
“It was at Luton Town Hall. By the end of the show in the midst there stood Abbo, in this 35-degree sweatbox, fully dressed in a long heavy Macintosh coat shouting necrophilia!
There was definitely a vibrant rapport between us…even though the show ended in a massive riot, which was quite common for us in those days!”
The next release for Plastic Records was the band's Black Cat EP, which came out in early 1980 and made the Indie chart for three weeks,getting to no 42. Alex Howe from Fresh Records, offered to license the first two singles off them and signed UK Decay to the label for several new 7"s and an album
It was around this time that UK Decay played their first out of
town gig, with Bauhaus at the Northampton
Racecourse Pavilion. "The first official release
for Fresh was the September 1980's 'For My
Country' single, which became a huge Indie
hit, spending eight months in the chart and
reaching (Appropriately enough for such a
superstitious band!) No. 13.
The single was promoted by a
UK tour with raging political US punk band,
the Dead Kennedy's
“By the end of the tour - we
did twenty or thirty shows over about six
weeks - we had both the Black Cat EP and For
My Country riding high in the Indie charts
and even entering the bottom end of the national
charts. There were also endless interviews
with the national music press and scores of
“Nothing mattered more to
us than our audience; whatever the critics
would say, negative or positive, didn’t have
any affect on our relationship with our fans,
apart from the fact that the numbers kept
growing. And yes, I think at the time we felt
we were being innovative, but what was more
important for us was to create our music the
way we wanted to and not to be compromised.”
By 1981 two further singles, 'Unexpected Guest' and 'Sexual',
were unleashed, "both effervescent waltzes
of dark intent", the former actually achieving
the band’s highest Indie chart placing of
No. 4, and paving the way for UK Decay’s splendid
debut album,'For Madmen Only', released by
Fresh in December of that year.
After Martin 'Segovia' Smith
left in early 1981 the band were minus a bass
player. Despite this, they commenced work
on their For Madmen Only album. The recording
was delayed in order to tour the US with the
Dead Kennedy's and to play in Europe. Finding
a a permanent bass player proved frustrating
for the band.
For a time Lorraine 'Lol' Turvey
from The Static's stood in for the odd UK
date and a European tour in early 1981.
during the visit to the US, Creeton (AKA Jason)
K-os from west coast surf punk band; Social
Unrest, stood in on bass guitar. The band
got on so well with Creeton that they brought
him back to the UK for UK Decay's first headlining
tour in May/June 1981 with The Dark and Play
Following that stint Creeton
returned home and Eddie 'Dutch' Branch (AKA
'Twiggy') from Northampton joined on bass,
just in time to play on the album.
In early 82,Fresh Records collapsed
soon after the album's release, and the band
were caught up in the ensuing management buy-out
by what would become Jungle Records.
With the help of John Loder
and Southern Studios though, they managed
to buy up the rights to their back catalogue
and set up their own UK Decay Records. John
Loder also introduced them to Penny Rimbaud
from Crass, which resulted in the 'Rising
From The Dead' 12" coming out on Crass's Corpus
Christi label in August 1982.
However, despite encouraging sales, an 'extremely
fatigued' UK Decay split up in late 1982,
and a posthumous live album, 'A Night For
Celebration', was released during the summer
"I will never in my whole life
forget that last gig of UK Decay, it was pure
emotional! We played a pair of shows at Klub
Foot, and Abbo announced at the first of the
two shows that the following gig was to be
the last, so that set the stage for the end
So the gig was like some kind of celebratory
wake with tears from nearly everyone that
was there! It really was the ultimate night
of celebration, with Abbo screaming, "it's
not the end, it's a new beginning!" Steve
'FOR MADMEN ONLY'
Released October 1981 in gatefold sleeve.
Later re-issued on UK Decay Records DKLP1
In three and a half years between
1979 and 1983, UK Decay had played over 450
gigs, covering most of the UK. With tours
of Germany, Holland, Belgium and France as
well as the West coast of the US and Canada.
They also released six singles
and one studio album, one live album cassette
and recorded two shows for the BBC’s
John Peel Show.
UK Decay were a major influence
on the early emerging Goth scene but in late
1982, the band split in dramatic style.
From the ashes were born Furyo
and In Excelsis.
'A Night for Celebration'
UK Decay Records DK6:
Recorded at Hammersmith Klub Foot on 30 December 1982, the final UK Decay gig.
Twenty First Century UK Decay!
In January 2007 at a UK Decay
Communities Class Reunion, UK Decay made a
brief appearance. Although they only performed
one song (For My Country) twice, it laid down
the seeds for a future reunion. Eighteen months
later in June 2008 and at the next Class Reunion,
UK Decay played their first full performance
for twenty-six years. With the addition of
new drummer Ray Phillpott, in October the
band went on to headline the Drop Dead Festival
VI at Lisbon in Portugal.
In April 2009, UK Decay played
a mini-tour of Italy, with three shows in
Rome, Bologna and Milan. The following month
they headlined the Parkbuhne stage at the
WGT festival at Leipzig in Germany. Later
in August, UK Decay played the Rebellion Punk
Festival in Blackpool 2009.
The long awaited release on
CD of most of the back catolouge finally came
about in June 2009, called appropriately enough;
'For Madmen Only' 2009.
“Rising from the Dread” 12” EP:Corpus Christi Records Christ ITS 1. Released August 1982.
thanks to Ian G. Quotes Stevespon
Britain: The History Of UK Punk, 1980 - 1984',
available through Cherry Red Books in August