BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Monday, December 25, 2006


There are a lot of big stars out there, but not many artists around that REALLY deserve to be known as legends. Today there is one less, the Legendary JAMES BROWN shuffled off his mortal coil this morning.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

FIRE IN THE HOLE!: Top ten new musical discoveries of 2006

This list contains the top ten acts that have flown into Iguana Airspace for the first time in 2006. Some of them have been around a while but not crossed our paths; some of them only sprung to life in 2006. The list deliberately excludes the stuff I have found since setting up a my space account two weeks ago, some of which has been awesome, and sticks to outfits that have helped shape 2007 for us.

Sick Note's single 'Phone in sick', due to make a big splash in 2007
  1. SICK NOTE: Number one with a bullet, no competition here, these guys have almost created a whole new genre (if that is possible these days). Chunky funky back rhythms with infectious groves laid over the top and manic vocals thrown into the mix to create something as original as you can get in these days when everything has been done before. Extra points for some earth shattering live shows.
  2. LE COD AFRIQUE: Seemlessly mixing French, Celtic and Arabic grooves with urban beats to show that just when you think world fusion has been everywhere it can go, someone will find something new.
  3. MARTIN HARLEY BAND: Old fashioned blues/folk mix that sounds as familiar as an old Ry Cooder record one minute, but then takes you places never charted the next.
  4. FAT FREDDY’S DROP: Laid back soulful dub from New Zealand. File under below freezing cool.
  5. MOLARA: Major points dropped for being an old friend and therefore not really new to us, in fact we are not sure she even qualifies for this list, but her new solo work with a backing band made up mainly of old Dubmerge dudes means she forces her way in through the back door.
  6. PAUL MURPHY: DJ/Producer that crates some of the finest jazz/funk/soul we have come across for a long time. His Afro Beat mix was on the car stereo for so long passengers were starting to think it was stuck in the machine.
  7. PLASTIC EATERS: Hardly new, but been hiding away in New York, featuring Stan Stammers of Theatre of Hate/Spear of Destiny and the coolest band ever Crazy pink Revolvers.
  8. CHICKEN SHED ZEPPELIN: Our old mate Ade from the Tofu Love frogs fronts a fiddletastic break neck bluegrass barn punk outfit that will have you up off your bail of hay and jigging about in ya wellies every time
  9. ELECTRIC WIZARD: Heavy Heavy Heavy, stoner rock. The Picture of Satan toting on a bong on the front cover of ‘Dopethrone’ says it all
  10. DIGITAL MYSTICS: Just when you think bass has gone as far as it can go, these guys take it to another level

SPECIAL HONOURS: Two bands that split up years ago but we have only just discovered them

  1. PINK FAIRIES: Been around since the late 60’s, but this year was the first time we got around to listening to them. How could we have lived all these years without them?
  2. LEAF HOUND: Again, old heads, but their one and only album has been ultra rare, mainly due to them splitting before it was released in 1972. Finally released on CD recently.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

LIVE IN A DIVE: Citizen Fish headline anarcho punk chritmas knees up

Went down to the legendary TJs lastnight/this morning for a an evening of no frills punk rock mayhem with Citizen Fish, The Bus Station Loonies, This System Kills, The Rejected and lots of drunken punks.

Local boys The Rejected get angry

First up were the Rejected, local boys who have not been around long but are already making a name for themselves. No holds barred angry shouty punk noise that shows plenty of potential. A few more gigs under their belt and they could become a force to be reckoned with.

This System Kills "did you spill my pint?"

Things starting to hot up now, with our old mates This System Kills. These boys have been around the block a few times in one form or another and the years of experience show. The intense full on angry brigade thang is kept warm by some chunky rhythms and the valley boy banter of the Pigmeister between songs. Like a pitbull named Chomsky with his testicles on fire and a squeaky toy from a pound shop trapped in between his sharp teeth. Quote of the night has to be “30 years ago the Sex Pistols played Caerphilly and the local church turned up to sing carols outside as a protest. What have we got tonight? Two drunks and a dog pissing in a doorway, no body is scared by punk anymore, it is time to change that.”

"Vodka laced cider sir?"

Tonight TSK treat us to a King Kurt style Christmas toast, scooping a cocktail of White Lighting 8% cider and vodka out of a bucket and pouring it into the necks of already tanked up moshers using a plastic cup taped to a broom handle. No wonder the toilet floor ended up covered in puke.

Then Plymouth's Bus Station Loonies take to the stage. Not sure where they get the bus station bit of their name from.

Last up we have Citizen Fish taking conscious lyrics and the energy of angry punk and injecting skanking ska vibes to create bouncing beats for fun loving crusties. They have been rousing rebels at festivals gigs and parties since 1989 and are by now something of an institution. For some bands their past can be a mill-stone around their neck, but the fact that they will always be known as the band that used to be the Subhumans and Culture Shock, is no hindrance whatsoever; past present and future getting along nicely, which is how it should be.

Tonight they hit the stage late and manage to get the club rockin’ which is no mean feat given the state on some of the faces that have been drinking and throwing themselves around the dance floor for a good five hours. Dick, the man with the plan, tears around the stage like a stick insect on speed never keeping still long enough for us to get a decent photo without us resorting to flash.

Having been around in one form or another since 1982 they have built up a massive reputation but this is where they belong, bargain basement rough and ready toilets; this is how music should be, grass roots, high energy, back to basics rock ‘n roll with no pretensions; putting out their own records, manning the CD stall themselves, then tearing up venues where the stage and dance floor merge into one. Long may they continue to keep it real.

Young Tom shows maturity well beyond his years, looking like a wino that has been drinking for 40 years. Don't worry, we carried him to the car, opened his front door for him and put him in the recovery position (which was a good move 'cos he threw up in his sleep!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Punk was never intended to last more than a few months, purists would argue that it didn’t, yet here we are 30 years on and The Damned, the band that released the first official punk single in October 1976, are still treading the boards. The boards they are treading tonight are in the converted church in Cardiff Bay known as The Point.

On the whole, that first wave of punk bands burned furiously with intense light and heat, then disappeared. Some burned out in a blaze of glory, some kept going and faded away after becoming a shadow of their former selves. One or two have reformed recently and can put on a half decent show, some have reformed and are frankly embarrassing. The Damned however have kept on going (apart from a brief split in ’78 then reforming before many of the bands now considered ‘classic’ had even formed) and have matured with age, like a fine wine. After a few dodgy periods when the Captain was not with the band, they are now on fire, as good now as they ever were.

They are not quite what you would call a punk band anymore, there is nothing rough and ready about them, they are a lean mean rock machine. Sensible and Vanian strut the stage like the old pros they are. Vanian working the audience, lifting them up and down as and when required. Sensible is still the riffmeister, but at the same time he demonstrates guitar work of the sort that would have been displayed by the bands that punk was supposed to destroy, throwing in solos to extend classics like ‘I feel Alright’ and ‘Neat Neat Neat’ into psychedelic masterpieces, but without losing the hungry edge of the originals.

The banter between Sensible and the crowd is not quite as full on as it was all those years ago when the whole crowd would be chanting ‘Sensible’s a wanker’ and he would be having ago at people for being ugly, but there is enough to keep a smile on the face and Tony Blair is now the victim of the venom that was once directed at Thatcher and Diana. The crowd itself is on the whole fairly ‘mature’, with a mix of ex-punks that are still on the scene but have moved with the time; ex-punks that married, had kids, settled down and now only go out to se reformed bands from their youth; and punks who have not moved on at all since their youth and just look fatter and balder.

‘New Rose’, that famous first punk single, is knocked out as the second number to keep people from asking for it all night. We are then treated to a host of classics such as ‘Smash It Up’, ‘Love Song’, ‘Anti-Pope’, ‘Wait For The Blackout’, together with newer tracks such as ‘Little Miss Disaster’ and covers such as Love’s ‘Alone Again Or’ and the MC5’s ‘Jet Boy Jet Girl’. They even do ‘When I Fall’ on request, even though stand in bass player Stu has never played it before.

How is that they have survived and kept their credibility? Well, they have all the energy and fire they had all those years ago but they have had the sensibility to experiment and progress, dabbling with psychedelia and some how managing to launch the Goth genre without ever being a Goth band themselves. Of all the old guard of that first wave of punk, the Damned are the only band that have survived in tact. Many are still at it, but are only worth catching for nostalgia purposes, the Damned however are as relevant now as any contemporary band. Long may they continue.


AS IF I DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH DISTRACTIONS: Peppermint Iguana gets deeper into the net

The Redskins, 'Kick Over the Statues'
Here i am, slaving away at getting the Peppermint Iguana website on line, trying to avoid distractions, and i have found myself setting up a MySpace account and even a You Tube account.

I have no idea what i am going to do with You Tube (although I have sussed how to paste videos into this blog which may liven things up) and I am not really sure what i am supposed to be using Myspace for, but I have been in touch with a long lost mate John through MySpace so if nothing else comes of it, it has been worth it!

As I say, I could do without all this though... I am determined to get the website on line in the new year!

CRAZY PINK REVOLVERS TO REFORM?: Another Iguana favourite comes back to life

Been getting some work done on the Peppermint Iguana website lately. While surfing the net to find some links, I did a search for the Crazy Pink Revolvers. They were only around for a few years 1986 to 1989 but in that short burst they knocked our socks off enough to earn a place in The Peppermint Iguana all time top ten favourite bands.

They released two albums on vinyl, but I have never been able to track down any CDs. When I did a search this weekend I came across the Stan Stammers website. Stan was with Theatre of Hate, then Spear of Destiny with Kirk Brandon and eventually formed Crazy Pink Revolvers.

Since 1997 Stan has been living in New York and performing with Plastic Eaters. I had not come across them before, after downloading some tracks off the website I was quite impressed, reminded me a bit of a cross between 25th of May and EMF; techno punk type stuff.

But, as excited as I was to hear Stan’s new band, what got me really worked up was the fact that it looks as if CPR maybe getting together to do a few gigs in 2007. It also looks like they will finally be releasing their stuff on CD, digitally remastered and all that stuff.

RDF, Omnia Opera, AOS3 and Police Bastard reforming and now Crazy Pink Revolvers …. 2007 is looking hot already!

PS: Looks like Theatre Of Hate will be rerorming for a 25th anniversary gig next year as well!!!!!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

OLD WINOS IN NEW BOTTLES: AOS3 and Police Bastard reform

News has reached Iguana HQ that our old mate John from P.A.I.N. (Propaganda And Information Network) has a new band. Well, we call him John from PAIN cos that is when we had most of our dealings with him, but prior to PAIN he was in the legendary AOS3 and since leaving PAIN he has been working on a dark techno metal project under the title LESS and Legion Of Dynamic Discord. His new outfit is called Eris. They can be sampled on John’s MySpace.

When you visit his MySpace, if you read through you will find that there is a possibility that AOS3 may be gigging again in 2007. It is not clear if this is the band reforming, or if it is just a ‘reunion’, but it seems that new songs have been penned, so who knows? Which ever… the Iguana Posse will be there!

John performing 'Grow More Weed' with P.A.I.N. and Howard Marks

Police Bastard, what a lovely bunch!

We have also come across yet another old band reforming, Police Bastard, who, as the name indicates, were pretty hardcore anti-authoritarian punk types. Formed in 1995 they spent 5 years touring with the likes of toured constantly with Oi Polloi , Maggot Slayer Overdrive ,Varukers ,UK Subs and Chaos OK and released two albums before eventually spliting (or 'took a sabatical') in 2000 until very recently. They will be scaring the living daylights out of gig goers in 2007.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH: Iguana fun blog back on course

After much neglect throughout the summer, I am back in the habbit of updating the Iguana Fun Blog every day

Saturday, December 09, 2006

PURSE ON THE MONEY: Cardiff City 2 Ipswich 2

Darren purse hits the back of the net for the second time

A shrewd bit of marketing, guaranteeing a ticket for the home tie against Spurs in the FA Cup to anyone who turned up today, meant a bumper 16,000 crowd for today’s game against Ipswich.

A goal for City in the opening minutes sent the crowd wild, and some good open play by city had everyone in fine spirits, but despite creating numerous chances city’s finishing left a lot to be desired. A penalty for both sides added some excitement to the game, but excitement is not enough to guarantee promotion and city definitely appear to be going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment. Still, third in the league aint bad by any stretch of the imagination.

The lack of finishing on the pitch has not dulled the spirits on the terraces and in the bars though. I am going to miss this ramshackle old ground when we have the new sanitised stadium.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

C@NDID CAMERA: Anarchist film night in Cardiff

Cardiff Anarchist Network held a film showing this evening, featuring videos on Colombia and Mexico.

EMPIRE IN THE ANDES is Documentary about “PLAN COLOMBIA” which claims to be a war on drugs but in reality has been a systematic stripping of Colombia of its natural resources to create profit for multi-national corporations. This is being achieved by state funded paramilitary groups used to intimidate and murder opposition. Forty per-cent of the population now live in poverty. Human rights organisations estimate thousands of Colombians have been “disappeared” this is part of how a dictatorial government maintains its grip on power.

Following the film we had a bit of a chat about it, which was helped by the fact that one of the gang had just come back from Colombia.

ROMPER EL CERCO (BREAKING THE SIEGE), on the other hand was about events on May 3rd 2006, in San Salvador Atenco Mexico.

Two months before presidential elections. Federal and state police blocked markets and streets to break up a demonstration. This led to days of violent clashes between townspeople and police. The results of this oppression led to death, abuse of those in custody and many recorded human rights violations including rape of female prisoners who had not even been part of the demonstration. The film highlighted the corruption in the government and the bias of the state run media.

As this film finished there was no chat this time, the room was stunned into silence, the atrocities and brutality demonstrated by the police were so appalling no-one could find words to comment.

These films contained footage that should be seen by everyone, but the fact that stuff like this never makes it onto mainstream TV demonstrates the bias of the media and how important independent radical film making really is.

Both films are well worth tracking down if you can.