Paranoid Visions talk about Rebellion festival


One of the most-talked about events at the Rebellion festival this year was the collaboration between Steve Ignorant from Crass and Dublin’s punk stalwarts, Paranoid Visions. They took to the stage in front of one of the biggest crowds of the festival. For anyone who has been following Paranoid Visions since their early days this was an unlikely triumph. They struggled to get gigs in their home-town of Dublin when punk was a dirty word and punks bands were barred from just about every Dublin venue. Paranoid Visions persevered though and gained the respect of the international punk community. In fact, the band are largely responsible for the current thriving punk community in Ireland. I asked Peter Jones (P.A. Jesu) from the band some questions about the ‘Blackpool triumph’.

How did it feel playing in front of thousands of people on Saturday?

I was very nervous to be honest. Most of those songs have lived with me for almost 40 years so I know how much they mean to people, not least myself. What made it worse was we had opened a floodgate and the buzz seemed to be quite strong about the show. Steve holds those songs so dearly to his heart that he always wants to do them justice. But hearing the roar as we came out, listening to the “bomb tape” crass used to use live and kicking into Owe us a Living and just hearing the power of the live sound and seeing the delight on people’s faces calmed me within seconds. It was a really special 50 minutes I have to say!!! Those songs are deceptively difficult, crazy structures and dynamics and a very accomplished and original rhythm section!

 

Did it feel surreal considering how ‘far away’ punk felt when you went to that first Poison Girls gig?

Not really, over the intervening years we / I have grown into it and that initial introduction to the diy, no stars, no barriers approach of true punk is in my blood I suppose. But that being said, afterwards, I was thinking about it and wondering exactly how I had reached this stage!

 

How did the connection with Steve Ignorant first come about?

Steve always gets asked this too. And the answer is that we just kind of assimilated him! I promoted the Dublin gig for his Last Supper tour and we were supporting him in Manchester. We just kind of hit it off, he liked the clear chaos that surrounds us and we weren’t tongue tied around him so we are easy to get along with. We were asked to support in New York but when their visas fell through we were left high and dry with flights booked and only local gigs to do, so he felt obliged to pay us back with the support at the final show in Shepherds Bush.

After the gig we were chatting and I said we had a song (Split Personality) that needed his delivery style and we were struggling to get it right. So he said “fuck it, I’ll do it if you want”. So we arranged for him to come over and stuck him in a studio to do it and also suggested we did another one, “rock n roll n revolution”, for a single Louder than War records wanted from us. Done and dusted in 2 hours including tea break. Later that night he explained how he really enjoyed working with us like that as it reminded him of recording Stations of the Crass… get in, get it done, get out! And said any time we want to do more he’d be up for it. So then it just steam rolled…..the proposed ep became an album, one off gig at Rebellion led to tons of offers, many of which we turned down and continue to turn down if it doesn’t suit (we turned down a lot of money for Punk Rock Bowling in LA as Steve had 2 Slice of Life gigs already booked…. !). I think the relationship is long-term even after we all retire from live duties we will nestle in studios to create music together!

 

Can you tell people who missed it what you performed?

The idea was to do songs that encompassed Steve’s 40 years singing in punk bands plus a nod towards the scene he helped create through crass, so we have songs there from Crass, Conflict, Stratford Mercenaries, Schwartzenegger and with ourselves. Plus Poison Girls, Dirt and Flux of Pink Indians songs because we all loved them so much and thought it may increase the party/celebration feel.

Owe us a living
Securicor
Join the dots
Banned from the roxy
Hiroshima
Where is love
Charity begins at home
So what
What a shame
Berkshire cunt
No more running
Braindance
Persons unknown
Big a little a
Tube disasters

 

Yikes…..

I have seen the audience for P.V. grow every year at Rebellion, what was it liked playing there this year?

It was amazing. I thought our crowd might be compromised as we were technically overlapping with DOA, the Members, the Professionals and Slaves… plus we were playing the following day with Steve. But we jammed the venue to capacity. I don’t really know, but the reaction commercially and critically to the past few records has been better than ever so maybe the new breed of punk rockers are getting into us too or maybe its an audience outside the UK and Ireland that’s finding out about us.

Is this the most stable line-up the bad has had? To me it feels like the most vibrant/powerful.

Absolutely. We’ve always been a bit of a revolving door. We have traditionally had adequate musicians who really understood what we were doing, or great musicians who didn’t, or in some cases musicians who had no concept of what we are about…. But for 5 records and 4 years we have had the perfect combination of terrific musicians who completely understand what being in this band involves and why we do it. They also embrace the musical diversity and have a style of their own which fits really well. It’s the best and most stable line up we have had. And that shows in the records and gigs we’ve done.

 

What other bands were highlights for you this year?

Interrobang continue to prove they are the best band in the UK. Slaves blew me away. TV Smith, UK Subs and Ruts DC were as astonishing as ever. Bad Religion are amazing and I was so pleased to see them for the first time.

 

What’s next for Paranoid Visions?

We are writing the next album “Dog Eat God” for 2018 release. Pushing the ante even further with this one. One track, Alphabetti Spaghetti will have 26 guest vocalists. We cut down on gigs this year and will continue this practice next year so everything we do feels like an event. We are also working on plans for a short tour with Steve and are entertaining offers from several territories before deciding which to do!

 

What’s happening with the new punk bands in Ireland?

Lots of great local bands as always. The Lee Harveys, the Black Pitts and I Am A Carcrash continue momentum and will all likely have releases over the next year. We are also starting a series of singles called “No Romance” (continuation of the Advance Records and Dando Sessions themes). This will consist of a 4 band 4 track split ep to serve as an intro to the individual 3 track ep releases by each band to follow in the wake. Volume 1 will have Audible Joes, the Turn, the Gakk and the Nilz on it. We are talking about a UK bands one afterwards. There will be a common theme throughout for artwork and presentation so they become collectable.

Michael

Rebellion 2017 Slice of Life

Slice of life

Here we have Steve Ignorant of Crass with an interesting piece of theatre. And by interesting I don’t mean crap/self indulgent. This is raw emotion with a lush background of keyboard, acoustic guitar and bass from a cracking backing band including beautiful male female harmonies.

It’s a reminder that Crass’s gift was to inject punk with a healthy [over]dose of sixties subversive theatre.
Instead of Crass black this is a white workingman’s shirt with boots and braces show, it reminds me of Yoko Ono’s primal screaming. A good reminder that the counter culture of the sixties didn’t end in a full stop.

There’s no middle ground here, take is love-it-or-hate-it no prisoners raw theatre. Ignorant performs as a deranged 1930s [hard]workman. And Ireland’s own hardest working man in punk, P.A. Jesu from Paranoid Visions formed a spontaneous choir in the audience during tonight’s performance, proving there is no barrier between artist and audience.

Ignorant was a true anti-star and tonight he spoke of Las Vegas but this was Blackpool vaudeville with the ghosts of the men and women who were never given their own show, their slice of the spotlight.

My Favourite Gig – The Shend

This is the ninth in a series all taken from the Fanzine Hope *.2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world.  All asked the same question What is Your Favourite Gig. The zine is €5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos   Pay by paypal, here

This week it is the shend from the cravats

Last Supper
London 2011

The Cravats have existed since 1977 but playing live was not a favourite pastime of mine in the early days due to finding it near im-possible to sing and play bass at the same time. Since Svor Naan (Cravats sax behemoth) and I recruited new members and reformed for the Rebellion Punk Festival in 2009, I have loved doing the darned things and playing the final, ‘Last Supper’ Steve Ignorant Crass gig at Shepherds Bush O2 on 19th November 2011 was a particular highlight in the Cravats journey.

When we were asked to appear as special guests I was somewhat surprised. The Cravats, had never really slotted with ease into the Crass roster of bands. We were silly, jazzy, and peculiar but Penny Rimbaud had always been a huge supporter of the band and had, almost, single-handedly mauled our sound into what it had become.

Although well rehearsed, I think it was on the drive up to London from Brighton that the ‘fear’ set in. What if the sold out crowd decided we weren’t suitable entertainment for this final Last Supper show and hurled abuse from our opening chord to the final feed-back racket of ‘I Hate The Universe’? Or worse still, stayed in the bar.

After Andy T and Paranoid Visions had shown how it should be done, we walked out onto the lovely old theatre stage of the O2. It was ruddy packed to the gills and I could see from the smiles that it was unlikely we were going to be machine gunned by indignant punks that night. Never had I witnessed a reaction so glorious to our noise but it was a special night and there was a lot of ‘Crass love’ in the air. Folk were happy and felt a part of the unique channel that Crass had created all those years ago.

Our actual performance passed in a fuzzy, joyous cartoon blast that left us all shattered and chuffed. We went down a storm and still had the pleasure of seeing Penny and Eve do their stuff followed by Steve Ignorant and friends show why those Crass songs had meant so much, to so many, for so long. Top night.

Rebellion 2014 Day 1

rebellion20141

Rebellion 2014 – Day 1

Living in ireland means there has to be an annual journey to Blackpool for rebellion. There are many ways to get there including a direct flight but finances directed me to fly to Manchester from Dublin and then get the train north west.

bitchin bajas
I Started the day listening to bitchin bajas, most definitely punk rock. I don’t think they will ever get to play rebellion but their take on Eastern instruments  belongs more in a punks mind than the Indian pop charts of which it will never reach. Drone music is a descriptor often used for repetitive sound and this is most definitely repetitive.  It’s not for the dance floor but can embrace you with a trance like sound. I never heard them before this self title release but wish this was the sound in Indian restaurants when sitting down to my authentic experience.

It flows for 76 minutes taking  you aurally on a dreamscape, I’m walking through manchesters bustling strets and am lost in the soundscape of bitchin bajas. I can think of few better ways of avoiding the crowds. It reminds me of a raw food diet. It is something I have no intention of participating in but the idea of it makes perfect sense.

Speaking of raw food, v revolution is not raw but it is 100% vegan like its relatives in Birmingham and London. Vegan junk food that’s not really junk but is processed. I love it here, veg burgers and hot dogs to beat the doom hardcore band. They sell zines and records too. What more do you want.

My soundtrack whilst in here was amistad. Had I had roughneck riot to hand they would have been given a blast as their next album is out on manchesters tns records.  Kept under by a generation of ghosts is amistads wordy album title. passionate hardcore is their sound, not quite up there with bear trade and dauntless elite but that’s a pretty hard standard to meet. I love the tunes and it helped my train journey too.

And so rebellion starts. Blackpools annual homage to punk rock  and all it’s glory. Earlier this year i put out a fanzine and asked 20 people one  question, what does punk rock mean to you?  The answers are as broad as the music on offer at rebellion. Punk rock covers such a diverse range of people and sounds. We have a common bond of a small number of bands from different eras and for many that is the clash, sham 69 or crass. Of course there’s tons more but crass politicised  punk in a way that joe strummer may have wished for but wasnt in a position to implement. They were fully independent with no reliance on a music business that had more than music in its heart. Penny and eve from Crass  opened up the largest venue in the winter gardens as part if this eclectic festival. The empress wasnt at its maximum 3000 people but there was a great crowd for 4 pm on a Thursday afternoon. For penny and eve this was not a chance to appease the crowd looking for their crass classics they grew up on but was a performance, a challenging one that would have been better suited to a smaller venue but the respect the crowd have for this band is immense. They could have done 45 Minutes of silence and we would have been happy.

After Yes Sir I will the manic explosion of noise continued as I raced around trying to soak as much of it in as I could.

4130s have no stylists as their invisible band member. Musically the style is more us than uk hardcore and they graced the new band stage with aplomb.

Billy liar was rocking the acoustic stage with singalong and all. Full of energy, slightly erratic and edgy which keeps you hanging on

Jona Lewie was an interesting addition this year. He made three different appearances. I got the end of his spoken word / interview where he spoke of Levi’s. this was a world away from the Yes Sir i will performance I had just witnessed. I the saw some of his acoustic set. In a word, awful. Not even quirky just bland.

Artur Kitchener. Blues based foot tapping acoustic.  Nothing objectionable.

Back to the empress so, where Infa riot had 1000 people singing along. I have the in for a riot album since its releases nearly 30 years ago and those basic three chord songs haven’t dated as well as I’d hoped. Still that 1000 seemed to enjoy themselves.

Goldblade had us singing along screaming we re gonna riot tonight. Great energy from brother john who hasn’t lost any of the enthusiasm that endeared him to me in 1997 when our paths first crossed. Great singalong songs with a stage show to boot these days!!’

Cyanide pills played garage speed fuelled songs. Tunes with an attitude. Damaged goods always seem to unearth gems and they’ve done so here. 35 mins on and off. Brilliant

I only got a glimpse of the duel due to scheduling but enough to see two tracks of rock and roll punk with a synth

Speaking of synths which are in short supply here i had a quick ging at autopsy boys, 4 men clad in white t-shirts playing horror hardcore that suddenly bounced into electro pop. Synth and hardcore, a new mix

I know this isn’t gonna be too accurate but sometimes you’ve got to say things as you see them. Street dogs remind me of 7 seconds but an oi version. It’s got something to do with the tuneful vocals and crowd interaction of lead singer mike McColgan. Where infa riot seemed to leave their songs on stage despite the best efforts of the band street dogs sound fills the empress. Street punk, heartfelt and meaningful.

Rory McLeod finished off the acoustic stage with a bit of calypso beat to his acoustic along with harmonica. Upbeat way to finish off

I just didn’t have the stamina for more so have to apologise to selector, the dickies, demented are go and tragedy. I missed you, but it’s gonna be a long 4 days

Rebellion 2013 day 2

Rebellion 2013 -day 2

As i said yesterday theres 8 venues in the one building here at rebellion. one of the venues is used as a literary / poet forum. the literary events are always fascinating. John robb documents our movement by asking people who were involved some searching questions. We the hear first hand events of life at the start of punk rock. today steve ignorant spoke of the Crass days, peter jones spoke of paranoid visions and the dublin scene and hazel o connor spoke of the movie breaking glass and her subsequent work. We also had Greg Cowan from the outcasts letting us know about belfast. Belfast is getting a resurgence if interest thankfully, due mainly to good vibrations the movie. Petesy burns was there to say it didn’t start and end with good vibes in belfast though. Many other good people were fling the punk flag in the north while all other flags were being burned.

image

This is an area where DIY is still blooming. A huge number of people are bringing out their own books and if I wasn’t subject to weight restrictions on baggage coming home I’d be laden down with titles, that and the fact you’d have to pay for them!!

I stayed at this venue for longer than expected as it was compelling listening to people’s stories. I ventured downstairs for a little while to see Splodgenesabounds. Splodge are a bit of a parody, still going strong though.

I also caught a bit of the bizarrely named Smokey bastard. They had a pogues twinge but rocked the pavilion and they were an introduction to me, a good one.

The skints added to the diversity of playing by being on stage with their reggae beat. Maybe it’s the punk in me but when a singer tells me to make some noise my reaction is to close my mouth. Skint wanted us to make noise and keep moving.
I moved out to listen to the poets.

Joolz Denby gripped us with some stories and Steve Potinger was the discovery of the day. Some great hard hitting poetry from the angry poet. Spot on sentiments and clever structures. “It’s what u do with your time here that matters”. Exactly Steve.

I have been looking forward to the flatliners. Seeing them on the bill was one if the highlights in my pre planning for the festival. After technical difficulties they got going with their acoustic set and then the smoke started. We were shouting in the crowd and pointing to the speaker on the vocal pa. band and sound engineer were oblivious to the smoke emanating. Eventually it was unplugged and this gave true meaning to unplugged. Unfortunately the room was too big and we couldn’t hear them

Steve ignorant and paranoid visions it was to be so. If new model army were a soundtrack to a few months of my teenage years, crass were the foundation. Don’t get me wrong i love the clash but the world of music for a young Dublin boy like me was completely opened up and blown apart by crass and subsequently flux of pink Indians. They were the starting point. So to see Steve on stage is a pretty big thing. To see him not doing those crass songs is even better as they were of their time. This time round he is doing paranoid visions songs, written by the visions for the purpose of this project. The Olympia venue is a huge warehouse, very hard to get a good sound in it. The chaotic noise of paranoid visions was a bit lost in it as it seemed at times the 9 of them were each battling to be heard. Looking forward to the new album coming out in November.

Also with 9 members on stage were the beatlessoms. A wider selxtion of instruments than the visions. These Germans ( mainly) were playing ukulele, banjo, accordion as well as the more conventional guitar bass drums. I walked in with the most bizarre version of motorheads ace of spades since that samba band who covered cass songs (what were they called again?, oh yeah, Bloco Vomit) Fun for sure. Another example of the diversity Of this magic festival

Subhumans played in the youth expression centre in Dublin in 1984. It was 4 nights spread over 2 weeks if memory serves me right. Other bands over the fortnight included shrapnel , from Wales, the Golden Horde and paranoid visions were also there and vicarious living (my band at the time) also played 1 night at least. I have a memory of cactus world news being on the bill but many have contradicted me. I do remember the feeling of excitement at those gigs. The venue was upstairs in a run down building in temple bar and it seemed like the stairs weren’t going to last the gig. The energy on stage from subhumans and all the bands (maybe not including vicarious living) was powerful. If only you could bottle that energy up, it would have fuelled many protests over the years. Well the subhumans still have that energy and could well be playing be same set. Brilliant

The flatliners have got a fair bit of airing on my radio show. And for good reason. Whenever I listen to them I wanna scream loud, top of my voice. But in celebration. Thankfully this set wasnt dogged with technical difficulties and burning speakers. Last time I saw a band this good in this room was 7 seconds, flatliners topped it tonight. Fantastic.

One of the problems of the festival is the cross billing. Inevitably with 8 stages there will be conflicts if interest. This was the case tonight on more than one occasion but noticeably for me when the flatliners were due on at the same time as Justin Sullivan. Thankfully the acoustic stage was running late as the new model army front man celebrated punk as an attitude and enthralled the 300 people hanging on his every word.

I don’t have the stamina of the punks and decided as we’re only half way through I would retire for the night. Because of that I missed out on the damned, buzzcocks, vibrators, defects, neck, the exploited and the addicts. Impressive list to know are playing as you sleep dreaming of punk rock!!!