History of The Now (From the forthcoming 2005 "Bible" of independent releases 1976 - 1979 by Mario Panciera)
1- DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS (S. Rowles / M. McGuire)
2- WHY (S. Rowles / M. McGuire)
11/77- Ultimate Rec. ULT- 401 ps - 7"
re. 03/79- same label/Cat.No., but it comes in insert picture sleeve (artwork nearly identical to the front sleeve of the original pressing) and blue vinyl. Very few copies of the re-issue were sold ** (orig.) *** (re.)
A primitive but wonderful single from a criminally underrated D.I.Y. Punk band from Peterborough, formed in the first half of 1977 by Mike McGuire (v, ex-The Faderz), Steve Rolls (gtr, ex-The Faderz), Paul 'Faz' Farrow (b) and Joe MacColl (d). After a few local gigs, The Now joined London's Punk circuit playing at the Vortex Club on August 30 on a bill that also featured 999, Art Attacks and The Flys: their set included self-penned numbers mostly penned by Rowles and McGuire, alongside re-makes of A HARD DAY'S NIGHT and THE SHAPES OF THINGS TO COME. A self-financed single was recorded in September and was issued on November 4 on the local Ultimate label. With hints of The Sex Pistols' energy and of The Desperate Bicycles' enthusiastic amateurism, the 7" garnered positive reviews (only Danny Baker destroyed it in the pages of Zig Zag: shame on him) and sold about 2,000 copies. The A-side is an under-produced Punk nugget, a rough gem which deserves a place in any UK Punk collection. The flip deserves an honourable mention, too. A re-issue made by the band in March '79, pressed on blue vinyl and housed in an insert sleeve, sold only 200 copies out of 1,000 pressed (the remaining copies were later destroyed by band members "using the vinyl as Frisbees": shame on them!). In 2002 German label Last Year's Youth Records re-released the single (500 hand-numbered copies) with the addition of the bonus track DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS Rough Version (Cat.No. LAST-11).
"This sounds like the Desperate Bicycles, and is a very simple, but effective protest song about a subject that should be dear to your hearts. And fuzztone fizzedelic guitar! You need more?"
Jon Savage, Sounds, Nov 5
"Amateur to the point of severe embarrassment" Ian Birch, MM, Nov 5
"It sounds like the rough first cassette of two really good songs from a Peterborough punk band. Usual late '77 cynicism, plus (skeleton) Pistols-style melodic strength. I like it. Try and hear it"
Vivien Goldman, Sounds, Nov 12
"Well-intentioned identipunk. For specialists only"
Charles Shaar Murray, NME, Nov 19
"If you like Patrik Fitzgerald with a backing, you'll like this"
Alan Lewis, Sounds, Mar 31, '79
"Quality stuff apart from embarrassing lyrics" Tony, Ripped & Torn, issue 9
"Even though the sound is strictly garage production level, the songs too long, and the sleeve packaging mateurish in the most boring way, this is worth checking out. 'Why?' has an intro reminiscent of an old Velvet Underground tune (you decide which one), then bursts into one of the most anguished, bewildered cries at life's futility I've ever heard"
Chris D., Slash, Apr '78
1- INTO THE 80'S (Then)
2- NINE O'CLOCK (Then)
11/79- Raw Rec. RAW- 31 no ps - 7"
Note: the composition of both songs is credited to 'Then'. The labels indicate the copyright date of both tracks as 1977
A deal with Lee Wood's Raw Records was signed in mid-'78 and two songs recorded in late '77 were re-mixed and scheduled for March 23 release on a 7" single which was delayed due to economic problems which would soon force the Cambridge-based label to close down. When it eventually emerged on November 30, only 800 copies were pressed, with at least half of these being destroyed in a fire at Raw's werehouse. An improvement even on the excellent debut, this 7" is undoubtedly one of the very best Punk platters to have emerged out of the UK indie scene. The fragile underproduction is still there in all its charm, the guitar lines are an aural delight and
both tunes are spectacular. This is arguably the quintessential post-SPIRAL SCRATCH D.I.Y. single. It would be - unfortunately - the band's swansong, as The Now split soon after its release. In the '80s, Mike McGuire and Steve Rolls formed A Sudden Sway, a worthy post-Punk combo whose interesting output emerged on their own Chant label and later on Rough Trade and Blanco Y Negro; Joe Macoll joined The Name (along with former members of Gobblinz and The Dole), whose lone unsuccessful single appeared on the DinDisc label in 1980, and later re-surfaced with Dead Sellers; Allen Adams played with The Destructors. Between 2002 and 2003, Last Year's Youth Records released three platters credited to The Now: a straight reissue of the INTO THE 80'S 7" using a 'reproduction Raw label' (Cat.No. LAST-1), a limited three-track EP housed in an 8-page booklet cover (LAST-12) featuring the single version of INTO THE 80'S plus unreleased demos of both sides of the original 7", and an LP entitled HERE COME THE NOW, which includes five previously unreleased demos taped in 1979 alongside six other songs recorded in 2002 by the re-formed combo.
History of The Now (in Nowspeak)
There it was: Early '76. "The Faderz" (available for weddings discos and parties) live at the Wirrina There's Steve and Mike bashing away at Blitzkrieg Bop watching the skaters go round and round. They don't stop skating... Exit "The Faderz" (not available for weddings discos and parties) Then it was late '76. The 7.20 Kings Cross train - Mike, Steve, Joe, Dip - Faz too, all there somewhere. Straight outa school and here they come now office workers at Thomas Cook. S'only temporary isn't it? There’s Sniffin Glue with coffee isn't there? And it's a monthly rail-pass up to London. Right time. Right place. Just in time. Right - let’s get really started. And so it was the first month of 1977 and its all down to the Marcus Garvey Club. It's the only place in Peterborough that's going to let us rehearse, lets face it. Steve's got lots more fuzz in his fender, Mikes got a little bin in his binliners (sew 'em together - they look like trousers for about half an hour) Joes on his way, says he's off the knitting needles now got some real drums from the small ads of the ET. Meanwhile out there, the Development Corporation gotta little plan. But we gotta little plan too. So while they get busy turning Cathedrals into cul-de-sacs we're getting busy in that hall with the West Indian geezers out back playing cards all night, never batting an eyelid whatever they hear playing out front. Jamaican lagers all round? Tonite at the Garvey - Live with the Legions (the leg irons as Steve called ‘em) -Peterborough’s firrrrrrst reggae band!!! We better get a bass player. Cut to Joe’s garage where DIP the dangerous one comes a calling. Biggest pisshead you ever met. Even Wayne (no it was definitely Jayne by then) County wet her knickers when she beheld the bulk of his might. Our big Vortex debut. The Dip’s pissed as a fart again shouting F - U - C - K , DIP Go! Go! as ‘9 O'Clock’ kicks off. Only he's forgot to plug in. Plays the whole set at zero volume. Nobody noticed but maybe, we thought, maybe we should think again….So there's Pete Terrible learning bass notes in Mike’s mum’s dining room. A month later he's doing a perfect swallow-dive off the Garvey stage into the sea of seig-heiling NF boys who'd paid us a courtesy call. And you couldn't help thinking "what a fuckin’ hero" as he disappeared under the boots and fists. But there was no choice after that. Those dodgy sideboards had to go o' course but he could play bass faster than fast so Faz was in. And there it was. Here come the Now. Then it gets faster still. Lots of faces, lots of early daze speeding into history. There's that Aggro Griffin getting’ up on stage and whacking the bloke from the Killjoys in the face. (Come on Eileen!) There's the enemy. Robert hippy Plant hiding behind his bodyguard in the Roxy bar. Theres that niiiiice cheeky cockney chappy in the painted up pissed over changing room - - ‘cept he's really trying to nick Faz's amp with his ‘orrible fascist skinhead mate lurching around threateningly in the background. Ta Suggsy. Oh no….. there’s Faz going and getting us into shite with the two birds leaning on the Roxy stage. Didn't take 'em long to spot those horrible stitched round toes shoes with the mini stack heels feature. The birds was right sure but honour was at stake so Mike and Steve kept leaping while Joe kept bashing and all the 20 people down there kept pogo-ing till the birds got bored and started spitting into each others faces. There's the Kid (21) manager of the Now doing something unspeakable as only he can. Here come the hotspots of the Fens. But you gotta watch those fen-boys so it's a quick exit from March when they spot the straight trousers. And Christ no - there they are again at that barn-dance of a birthday-party gig out in Ponders End. Fists flying, Joe steaming in there (again!) - even tho’ it was Debbie’s fault in the first place. Never bite a fenboys finger when its waggin at you. Theres the squaddies waitin’ outside the Corn Exchange. Chasin’ us thru the back streets. Curling up in a shop window. Waiting to die. Then we're finally there - in the studio. Well, some mixing desk in our "producers" floral front room. No wonder the neighbours just called the police. And now the "producer’s" gone and put Steve’s guitar on that extra quiet "fizzadelic" TM setting which Steve ain't too happy about. Joes screwin' his face up at the stretched T-shirts over his drums, getting pretty edgy. "Don't worry boys" says our "producer". "You're two places higher than the Pistols in the Sounds chart and the Development Corporations refusing to comment so ain't you just really on the way now"? We're on our way. All thru the East Midlands. Corby - some unemployed steel workers studying our strides with dubious interest. Kettering with XTC. Northampton… Northampton?. And then on our way up to Raw. 1978 an all that, getting ready to head into the 80's. ‘Cept before we get there, Raw records has burnt down and we’re getting chased thru the back streets of Cambridge (again) by some West Ham boys. “Your problem” the coppers said. “Your problem” our sleeve designer said, jumping in the only available cab… Then its suddenly 1979. Some kinda pink trousers with button downs? Some kinda newish, oldish waving? Definitely some kinda newish guitarist/drummer. So we must be on our way. Here come the Now? Nah. Now had come, and it had certainly gone by then. Till now.
That's All Folks.........
There really wasn't much collected back then. The photos were courtesy of Allen Adams in the main (Allen was the manager of The Now at that time). Not many had cameras and no one had videos so what you see on this site is what you get.
Below are just odds and sods that have survived (It even shows The Now hitting Number 4 in the London Time Out magazine soumetime mid 1977):