• U.K. Subs play Three Tuns, Gateshead, England


vocals & harmonica





*Jon Ayre on loan from The Izuna Drop:





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The following news story appeared on the T&M homepage:

Charlie Interview In The Plymouth Herald

Ahead of the Subs' forthcoming show at the Plymouth Junction on
5 May 2016, the Plymouth Herald has conducted and published an interview with Charlie. The article/interview is written by Clare Robinson and is headed "UK Subs in Plymouth: 'Godfather of Punk' Charlie Harper is still dancing at the age of 72."

Archived on T&M below:

UK Subs in Plymouth: 'Godfather of Punk' Charlie Harper is still dancing at the age of 72

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: April 28, 2016


Some years ago, when punk icons the UK Subs played Tramps in Bretonside Bus Station, I remember thinking I'd better be sure to go and see them as it could be my last chance.

Seventeen years later, main man Charlie Harper is still going strong. Affectionately known as the Godfather of Punk, having now reached the age of 72, he shows absolutely no sign of hanging up his microphone.

In fact he celebrates 40 years of the UK Subs this year and he and his band still play between 100 and 150 shows a year.

Ask him how he does it and he'll tell you: "I guess I'm lucky – as a school boy I used to do long-distance running and into my forties I played football.

"I've always danced around a lot on stage – the more the crowd dances, the more I do and it keeps the stamina levels up.

"And of course playing live always gives you that adrenalin rush.

"We always say to each other, we're fine when we're touring, it's when we get home we get sick, when the adrenalin level drops.

"That's why you've got to keep on doing it. If you stop work at 65 you die off – you've got to keep active.

"And of course, playing fast punk rock is absolutely the greatest thing to do!"

Charlie started his working life as a hairdresser and says he last took payment for a haircut over forty years ago.

"Becoming a professional musician was the best thing that ever happened to me and I'm eternally grateful.

"To be able to make a living out of what you enjoy doing most is the best thing..."

In the early Seventies he was playing in R&B band The Marauders and was also a busker in Soho: "Rod Stewart taught me how to play the harmonica blues style – he's a really lovely guy, very down to earth".

He recalls taking the band to Shagarama, a lesbian bar in London which overnight turned into punk club Roxy.

"I was 30 and they were still teenagers," he recalls. "I was already into punk and I took them there to see the Damned.

"They instantly saw that this was the future of rock'n'roll and we became a punk band.

"We just started to write and after a friend played me Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones we got the idea for our sound and wrote Stranglehold. That was it."

Seven consecutive Top 30 hits and two UK Top Ten albums, Brand New Age and Crash Course, established their name and the band continued to improve over the years, through various line-up changes.

The latest, which has been consistent since 2005, features Jet on guitar, Alvin Gibbs on bass and Jamie Oliver (not that one!) on drums.

They have recently released their 26th album, Ziezo, which literally means job done. It actually means they have accomplished their mission to release an album starting with every letter of the alphabet, their debut being Another Kind of Blues.

"A few albums ago we went rocky but we've gone back to punk rock with this album – back to basics. And the songs are all very anti-establishment!

"There's still plenty to write about, in fact we'll have enough material to keep on writing until the end of time!"