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Interview

Distortion
17/06/1999


Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

Distortion originally formed in late 1980. At the time they were called Barbed Wire, but changed their name on the night of their first gig, which was in Aspatria on 24th May 1981. The line up was Nigel Barton - Vocals, Gordon Mattinson - Guitar, Mark Ridley Drums and Mesh - Bass. Over the next few months they played regularly and built up a good local following. Their first decent support slot was September 1981, when they supported the Notsensibles in Keswick with a new bass player, Paul Charters.

They recorded one of their practices and sent the tape off to No Future who, to Distortions amazement, rang them up and asked them to record a track for a compilation EP they were planning. The studio was booked for 20th October 1981, but on the morning they were due to go in, Gordon announced he was leaving the band. The 3 remaining members were left to record the session themselves - with a bass player on guitar and a singer on bass! Despite the problems, No Future went ahead and included 'Action Man' on 'A Country Fit For Heroes'. But by Th tie the record came out, Distortion had fallen apart. In February 1982 Nigel and Gordon decided to try again. With a different line up now, they got a support slot at Preston Warehouse with Infa Riot and One Way System. This in turn lead to a management deal, which the band soon realised was a mistake.... After a few more line up changes, their gigs included support to the Outcasts and One Ways System again, before calling it a day. Their last gig was in Blackpool with Anti Social and Genocide in September 1982. After a few pints in the pub on a Saturday night, Nigel and Gordon would often talk about getting Distortion back together again for a one-off gig - but never did anything about - until 1993!

Nigel and Gordon started practising again and got together with Eddie Brown to record 16 tracks released 'Relentless'. They couldn't have guessed how well the tape would be received by everyone! By the middle of 1994 all of the tracks had been released on various compilations. 4 more tracks were released on Helen of Oi! - the 'Bully Boy' EP. With the addition of Brian Rogerson and another trip into the studio, Distortion had 27 track released in just one year! Since the, there have been numerous line-up changes and releases - two LPs, several singles and of course the never ending procession of compilations.

The current line-up is:
Nigel Barton - guitar & vocals
Pod - bass
Cathy - drums

This line-up (stable by Distortion standards!) has played both the UK and Europe, supporting the likes of Sham 69 and Peter the Test Tube Babies, they were also included on the 1997 'Holidays in the Sun' bill. They have recorded two studio sessions. The first from August '97 was released May '98 as 'The Demon Inside' MCD on Relentless Records (9 track CD including 2 live tracks from HITS '97). The second album from April '98 is the 'Gotcha!' LP release December '98 on Oi The Boys Records in Europe and a CD release is planned on FCS Records in America. More gigs are in the pipeline, and another small tour in Europe should follow later in the year.
Watch this space.....!

Discography.

Relentless, 17 track cassette album (Relentless)
Bully Boy EP, 4 track 7" (Helen of Oi)
Whatever Happened To ? 14 track CD (Moloko Records)
Whatever Happened To ? 14 track Vinyl Album (Oi The Boys)
Rampage EP, 4 track 7" (Aggravation Records)
Fun Time EP, 4 track 7" (Knock Out Records)
Live 1995, 19 track Video (Barn End Videos)
Brothers Under The Skin, 16 track CD (Retch Records)
Brothers Under The Skin, 16 track Vinyl Album (Oi The Boys)
Street Hero, 4 track 7" (Walzwerk Records)
The Demon Inside, 10 track MCD single (Rekenteless Records)
Gotcha!, 15 track LP (Oi The Boys)

A Country Fit For Heroes, 1 track Vinyl compilation (No Future)
A Country Fit For Heroes, 1 track CD compilation (Captain Oi)
29 Commandments of Oi, 10 tracks CD compilation (Bronco Bullfrog)
Oi It's a World Invasion, 4 tracks CD compilation (Bronco Bullfrog)
Oi The New Breed, 3 tracks CD compilation (Step 1)
The United Kingdom Of Punk & Oi, 3 tracks CD compilation (Step 1)
Oi It's Streetpunk, 1 track CD compilation (Helen of Oi)
Knockout In The First Round, 1 track CD compilation (Knockout Records)
For A Few Crash Helmets More, 1 track CD compilation (Retch Records)
Caught In The Cyclone, 1 track CD compilation (Cyclone Records)
Sounds Of The Street, 1 track split 7" (Scandal Records)
Oi The Demos, 2 track CD compilation (Captain Oi)
SHARP Punk & Oi, 1 track compilation
Total Panne Teil 3, 1 track LP compilation (Zietgen Kopf)
We Are The People, 1 track CD/LP compilation (Knockout Records)

What is your favourite compilation album Distortion have appeared on?

Nigel: My favourite? I think I've liked them all for different reasons. The new one on Walzwerk is a good one, and the 10 tracks on the 29 Commandments of Oi, on Bronco Bullfrog, I enjoyed having so many tracks on a compilation. Knock Out in the 1st Round. Oh fuck, I love them all, ha, ha!

Pod: Since I joined the band we've been on a couple of compilations. My favourite one is We Are The People, the Angelic Upstarts tribute, as the Upstarts are one of my favourite bands and it was a chance to pay tribute to them.

Cathy: I think probably 'Caught In The Cyclone' as it was the first one I was on, and there are some really good bands on there with us.


What is the funniest thing that has happened to you whilst touring?

Nigel: The funniest thing is unprintable! Touring with Red Alert was an eye-opener, Jimmy Pursey being a "ghost" in Belgium (what a strange bloke!). It was quite funny getting parted from the band in Germany last year, waking up in a strange room the next morning, phoning Cathy up to ask where I was only to be told 'How the hell do I know you stupid git?!!'

Pod: Duisburg '97 - seeing Nigel in action - what a star. I f you want to know more, better ask him.

Cathy: We were on tour with Red Alert and Skint in Germany last year - that was a really good laugh. All I can say is Nigel and Mia didn't invite Red Alert to their wedding as they were worried about what might happen to the buffet... Nigel is usually good for a laugh - especially if he's been drinking - I think the funniest thing he's done was when we went to video the Crack in Solingen and he fell off the back of the stage!


If you could see any band play live, either of the past or present who would it be?

Nigel: I've seen all the bands I've wanted to except the original line-up of the 4-Skins (past) and The Troopers (present).

Pod: The Ruts

Cathy: I usually say either The Outcasts (who I've been to see 3 times and they've never turned up!), The Boys or Generation X. And it now looks like I'll get to see the first 2 at this year's Punk Aid - YIPPEE!! - I don't suppose I'll ever get my 3rd wish...although a bloke I work with saw them and reckons they were crap anyway! I also need to see Social Distortion...


What is the favourite song (and what band is it by) of each member of the band?

Nigel: Spanish Bombs, The Clash, but it changes every week.

Pod: No More Heroes, The Stranglers.

Cathy: I listen to so much stuff it's difficult to pick a favourite. Today I'd maybe say White Man In Hammersmith Palais, The Clash - tomorrow I'd probably say something else!


Do you think street music will rise again?

Nigel: In the rest of Europe it's getting bigger all the time, I hope the same will happen over here, but I'm not sure it will. We need to get more people going to gigs.

Pod: I hope so. We definitely need it to.

Cathy: It does seem a lot more healthy than it was a few years ago, but I don't think it'll ever be as good here as it was in the early '80s. In Europe it seems to have already risen!


What is the Punk/Oi scene like in your area?

Nigel: Absolutely dead.

Pod: In my area the scene is non-existant really, apart from a couple of bands and a few old punks/skins knocking about - it's a sad state of affairs...

Cathy: Unlike these two Cumbrians, we've always travelled to Newcastle for our punk rock, and there are a few more gigs these days (mainly thanks to Rob from Rampage). A lot of the punks are still there from the '80s, but the gigs dried up, so they stopped going out! Judging from how many came to see Oxymoron last weekend, it's looking quite healthy! We do need to get a younger audience going though - they'll all go to see the US bands that come over, but don't want to know about the UK bands that influenced them...


Plans, gigs and releases planned for 99.

Nigel: We'll be recording some new stuff, hopefully sometime very soon. We're always looking for more gigs...

Cathy: A friend has given us some contacts in the Czech Republic, so we're hoping to go over there sometime this year or next (via a few gigs in Germany maybe). We've been offered a few gigs in the UK, but no definite dates as yet.


Any final comments?

Nigel: Cheers for the interview and I hope we'll see you all somewhere this year.

Pod: Punks Not Dead.

Cathy: Anyone wanting to get in touch can e-mail us at Stortion@aol.com or contact us via

Barn End Video, Barn End, Slaggyford, Carlisle, Cumbria CA6 7NH

. Thanks.


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