Eric's Club Liverpool August 22nd 1977
above; Wire, Pink Flag Original Sticker from Johna Collection
Wire Formed in London in late 1976, this un-revolutionary punk group was distinctly Art School variety. The band featured Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), Colin Newman (vocals, guitar) and Robert Gotobed (drums),
Early in 1977 two energetic punk tracks from Wire appeared on the classic "Live at the Roxy" LP. By late 1977 Wire had fragmented from their bass grunge sound and were now experimenting with some Brian Eno-inspired ambient pop songs. But Wire would go on to prove that they could take risks and reinvent themselves over and over, producing some of the most sophisticated post punk music from the era. But, the band was missing something, a strong statement, a cause, much like XTC they had much talent and all the ingredients to be a great band, but the message was weak. The following 1977 Bombsite Fanzine clips reference the Wire Live at Eric's club in Liverpool gig.
Above; WIRE at Eric's Club Liverpool 1977
Above; Bombsite Fanzine Wire at Eric's 1977
Bombsite caught up with 77 Bradford punk Johna for the following commentary.
I saw Wire a few times in 1977/78 around West Yorks. Although Wire played in the style that many punk bands did. There was an element to their music that was very distinctive to them.
They chose the name Wire because it didn't mean anything which stopped people from reading too much into it.
After the initial nosebleed of the 3 chord avenue that most punk bands chose in 77 and 78, punk started evolving into loads of different diverse sounds. Many bands liked the expressive aspect of what punk was about "I just wanna be me" rather than subscribe to being categorized in a box under a punk banner.
Although Wire were from an arty background, I still think they entered into the spirit of punk like most people, so on that basis I would still call them a punk band.
The thing I remember the most about Wire was when they played the F Club in Leeds during Oct 78, my mate Jon who is a massive Wire fan took some great pics of them. After the gig, me Jon and a couple of ladies sat around talking to the band for ages. Then the cleaner came in & told us to move out of the gig area, so we all went up to the dressing room for a couple of beers & to chat further, god knows what time we left. I thought the 1st album was a classic punk album the fastest ever I think 21 songs in about 23 minutes. Like a lot of bands from the period, their sound evolved into a more musical with more restrained energy, it was still punk but less emphasis on speed".
77 rocker Jock from The Straps comments on WIRE for Bombsite
I only got to see Wire twice in London, because unfortunately they rarely gigged. However, I do own everything they ever recorded. I fell in love with their sound the minute I heard 12xu on the Roxy album. I am the Fly is another classic which I have recorded myself recently in my studio, so I suppose these old classics never leave you.
Pink Flag is my all time favorite punk album, and I find that many punks from way back never got that. It was usually the Clash or the Pistols 1st albums that they played continuously, but not me, Pink Flag was fast furious and very unusually melodic. The production by Mike Thorn was second to none and I wish he had produced some of my work with the Straps. I saw Wire at the Notredame hall 78'ish which was excellent they played many old favs from Chairs Missing. I saw them again at the Elecric Ballroom 80 where they were awful, I was very disappointed with that show, It was around the time when they were becoming a bit strange and over experimental too quickly for the audience to grasp what they were doing I guess. It worked well on vinyl but for me not live.
I actually met Lewis and Gotabed in the pub near the venue, and they seemed like good blokes, though nothing like I expected after first hearing them on the Roxy album, I assumed they would be working class punks, not so. I actually hate categorising classes etc but they were more like middle class university lads. I have always admired their work and find myself still buying anything they do. I also have been getting into Colin and his wife Malka s new outfit Githead who have an excellent new cd called Art pop.
Above; Wire Late 70's footage
WIRE Myspace www.myspace.com/wirehq
WIRE Web Spot www.pinkflag.com
WIRE zine www.wireviews.com
WIRE Wikipedia www.wiki.com