Years: 1976 – 1982; 2002 - present
Styles: Alternative rock, Experimental Rock, Jazz Rock, Post Punk, Punk Rock
Vic Godard - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1976 - 1982)
Paul Packham - Drums (in band: 1976)
Mark Laff - Drums (in band: 1976 - 1977)
Rob Symmons - Guitar (in band: 1976 - 1978)
Paul Myers - Bass Guitar (in band: 1976 - 1979)
Bob Ward - Drums (in band: 1977 - 1979)
Colin Scot - Bass Guitar (in band: 1978 - 1979)
Johny Britten - Guitar (in band: 1978 - 1979)
Stephen "Spartman" Atkinson - Keyboards (in band: 1978 - 1979)
Sean Mcluskey - Drums (in band: 1980 - 1982)
Rob Marche - Guitar (in band: 1980 - 1982)
Dave Collard - Piano (in band: 1980 - 1982)
Chris Bostock - Bass Guitar (in band: 1980 - 1982)
The core of the band was singer and songwriter, Vic Godard, plus assorted soul fans, who congregated around early gigs by the Sex Pistols until Malcolm McLaren suggested they formed their own band. Subway Sect were among the performers at the 100 Club Punk Festival on Monday, 21 September 1976 - sharing the bill with Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash and the Sex Pistols.
The first line-up of Godard on vocals, Paul Packham on drums, Paul Myers on bass and Rob Symmons on guitar lasted for 4 gigs before Mark Laff replaced Packham. Laff himself would leave for fellow punk group Generation X after the White Riot tour. A third drummer, Bob Ward, was recruited, and it is this line-up that can be heard on the band's first John Peel session and also on the single "Nobody's Scared".
This was the first and only release on Braik Records, a label owned by Bernie Rhodes, who managed both Subway Sect and The Clash. Rhodes subsequently supervised the recording of their debut album at Gooseberry Studios in London, with Clash sound man and producer Mickey Foote at the production helm. At that time the band toured intensively with The Clash and others.
However, just as their first album was ready for release, for reasons that remain obscure, Rhodes sacked all the band (except Godard) and Subway Sect mark 1 ceased to exist. The album was never released, although a single from the sessions "Ambition" was remixed and released on Rough Trade Records, with the B-side "Different Story (Rock and Roll Even)" also taken from the same sessions. "Ambition" was ranked at No. 15 among the top "Tracks of the Year" for 1978 by NME. A further track "Parallel Lines" was released as a track on the C81 cassette produced by NME magazine.
As a result of 1977 appearances at The Roxy club in London, live recordings were made of Subway Sect performances by Don Letts, the club's disc jockey. Subway Sect appears in Letts' "Punk Rock Movie" (1978).
Godard reformed the band and as 'Vic Godard and Subway Sect' finally released their debut album "What's the Matter, Boy?" in 1980, following a period of shifting group personnel. The album features many songs written during the previous incarnation of the band, but performed with radically altered arrangements.
By this time, Godard had become increasingly influenced by early rockabilly, and the "first wave" of rock and roll (Sun Records session era Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran etc.). This was just before the rockabilly revival, and the album was ignored as being 'retro'. Ignoring this, Godard then went further back in time, and subsequent releases (inc. "Songs for Sale" - still credited to Vic Godard and the Subway Sect) showed the influence of the "rat pack" (Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra), and 1940s swing, many years before these sounds became fashionable again. Faced by dwindling sales and following a solo album ("T.R.O.U.B.L.E.") backed by Working Week, Godard left the music business and became a postman.
However, in the 1990s a slow Godard revival began. Backed by the re-release of his work on CD and numerous compilation albums, Godard returned to recording, initially under his own name. In 2002 a CD was issued credited purely to Subway Sect, thus reviving the name, if not the original band. Named "Sansend", it was a sample and beats heavy collection of new songs, and it was followed three years later by Motion's "Singles Anthology", which collected single A & B sides.
Original Subway Sect guitarist and bass player, Rob Symmons and Paul Myers resurfaced as The Fallen Leaves in 2004, although Myers has since quit the band. Rob Symmons still performs and records with the band.
In 2007 a new Subway Sect (featuring on some recordings original members Mark Laff and Paul Myers, released "1978 Now", a re-make of the original 1978 album as, Godard indicated, it had originally sounded. In 2011, Myers rejoined Vic Godard and Subway Sect permanently; his first official gig back was at Nambucca in London on 28 October 2011. Further vintage material was recorded in 2012 - with Paul Cook on drums - and released in 2014 as "1979 Now".
© Boar 2011 - 2018