Incredibly, 2010 marked the fifth decade in which the U.K.Subs had continually graced the Punk Rock scene. Inspired by the Damned at the birth of British Punk, the now equally legendary Charlie Harper formed the Subs out of his then R&B outfit The Marauders, late in 1976.
Starting out as The Subversives, the name was shortened to The Subs and then changed to U.K.Subs, with the prefix taken from the first Sex Pistols single Anarchy In The U.K.
October 1977 saw Charlie joined by Nicky Garratt on guitar, and it was the Harper/Garratt song writing partnership that would go on to collaborate on what is recognised as the band’s most revered work. Through 1977 and 1978 the band played shows all over London including the infamous Roxy punk club, building up a fiercely loyal and sizeable following. Their first ‘recorded’ output was on the Farewell To The Roxy LP.
This bought them to the attention of John Peel who was obviously impressed enough to offer to finance their first single. However, City Records ended up releasing their first brilliant single, C.I.D, in September 1978. It became a huge indie number 1 hit. In 1979, they signed to Gem Records via RCA and surprised everyone by becoming one of the most consistently and visibly successful punk bands, with seven consecutive UK Top 30 hits between 1979-81 (Stranglehold, Tomorrows Girls, She’s Not There, Warhead, Teenage, Party In Paris and Keep On Running). They also scored two UK top ten albums (Brand New Age and Crash Course), establishing themselves throughout the world with a heavy touring schedule that still continues to this day.
Led by the indefatigable Charlie Harper (now venerated as the godfather of UK punk) the band has continued and thrived, through various line-ups and record companies. 2010 saw the band record their stunning ‘Work In Progress’ album, as they neared their quest to be the first band to release their official albums alphabetically A to Z!
Touring worldwide for 35 plus years, they maintain and pioneer the true spirit of punk rock, without the compromise and watering-down that has affected so many of their contemporaries. There has never been any division of fan and band with the Subs, and Charlie’s unrelenting love of his audience and music shines through. This is something that galvanized listeners of Steve Lamacq’s BBC 6music show to hoist the band high as the most respected of Punk ‘icons’, to win the 2010 Punk World Cup.
2013 saw the eagerly anticipated new double album XXIV released on Captain Oi! Records to a crescendo of critical acclaim. The touring regime has continued apace this year with dates worldwide as the band continues to entertain and amaze with their powerful live shows.
Like a vintage wine – the U.K.Subs just get better and better.
Bio by Mark Chadderton