History of The Now
The Now, Peterborough's first punk rock band, formed late in 1976. Founded by Mike McGuire and Steve Rolls. Mike and Steve were at the time performing with The Faderz, who had only existed for a few months, before they had hooked into the London Punk scene in 1976. Joe MacColl and Paul Wicks (aka The Dangerous Dip or occasionally The Mysterious Dip) were recruited immediately to form The Now. Early gigs were self organised affairs, notably at the Peterborough Marcus Garvey Club. A community club, mainly catering for the city's West Indian community. Such gigs were usually with local reggae artists such as The Legions, any punk band who would dare come out of London (or other major cities), such as 999, The Killjoys and Eater, as well as new local punk bands such as Heavy Manners. This was a great challenge for The Now since putting Punk Rock into an East Anglian provincial environment (where there already existed a time warp sensibility), caused a lot of friction at that time. During this time The Dangerous Dip was replaced on the bass guitar by Faz Farrow. The Now were managed by Allen Adams who later went on to form the band The Destructors.
The Now were far removed from what is traditionally known as 123 ‘Punk’ thrash. With intelligent songs, political lyrics and a real sense of small town frustration and anger The Now were unique. This was real urban punk rock, devoid of big city trends, tolerance and fashion. The Now played many gigs, and could often be found playing those early, then famous, London venues such as Roxy Club and The Vortex clubs in London.
The Now released two singles ‘Development Corporations’ / 'Why' on Ultimate Records in November 1977 (they were harder to make back then) and a deal with Lee Wood's Raw Records signed in mid-'78 produced two songs, 'Into The 80's' and 9 'O' Clock (actually recorded for Raw in late '77) which were re-mixed and scheduled for March 23rd release. This 7" single 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 warehouse. Both singles were, in the main, well received. The first single, Development Corporations, reached number 4 in the Sounds alternative chart and number 2 in the Time Out chart in 1977.
Around this time, The Now, went their own ways through mutual consent. In 2002 there was a great deal of interest around the original singles, particularly in Europe. As a result, a German record company, Last Years Youth, duly re-released both singles, containing a couple of previously unreleased versions of the original songs. It was a logical progression (albeit unusual) to use this exposure as an opportunity to record and release a definitive version of all of the early songs written by The Now. Fuzztone Fizzadelic was recorded during 2004 by the four original members of The Now, representing their original set list, as performed in 1977. In true punk rock style The Now rehearsed for 3 hours and had just 2 (short) days in the studio for recording and mixing. 27 years between writing and recording must be some sort of record. Fuzztone Fizzadelic was released in 2005 on the Damaged Goods record label.
The Now by The Now
The Now are....
Incept Date 1976
Destruct Date 1977
Resurrection in 2003
1st Generation UK Punk Rock Anyone???
.............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? Theres Sniffin Glue with coffee isn't there? And it's a monthly railpass up to London. Right time. Right place. Just in time. Right - lets 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) -Peterboroughs firrrrrrst reggae band!!! We better get a bass player. Cut to Joes 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 Dips 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 Mikes mums 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 gettin 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….. theres 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 Debbies 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 "producers" gone and put Steves 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.
The Roxy Club
This is where it all began. Picked up on the scene in 76 and went to early gigs at the start of January 77 and formed a band of course. We were working in London for Thomas Cook and they gave us free rail passes. Often used to be come home from London. Get changed (why we didn't get changed there I have no idea). Back to London early evening. Tanked and Cranked and down The Roxy. Great bands. Last mail train home. Back about 2 - 3 am (I think). Up for work 6ish. Back to work. Sleep at work (try that one now kids). Repeat cycle night in night out.
Special mention to the bands who ventured out into provincial Peterborough at the time. In particular, 999 and Eater who ventured out to The Grenadiers Club at March with The Now supporting. Punk was dangerous enough in London outside The Roxy confines and it was lethal in peterborough.
So here is some info about The Roxy. Read the excellent, The Roxy London WC2: A Punk History [Illustrated] by Paul Marko, Features contributions from Steve Rolls (The Now), Allen Adams(The Now Manager), Steve Diggle (Buzzcocks), Captain Sensible (The Damned), Poly Styrene (X Ray Spex), Siouxie Sue (Banshees), John Lydon (Sex Pistols), Ari Up (The Slits) and tons more.
"The Punk nostalgia industry has sold us a view dominated by the Sex Pistols, Clash, Sid Vicious and the usual suspects. Here's another!
Welcome to the Roxy London WC2. A club central to the rise and spread of Punk Rock in 1977. A club that featured an array of major and minor punk acts of the time as well as key faces on the scene.
This is Punk Rock at the Roxy Club with struggling bands, bad drugs and sometimes even badder music. This is home made fashion, self mutilation, fast sex and random violence. This is magical nights of being young and having fun against a backdrop of a subterranean London club, gangsters and Punk.
Featuring candid interviews with bands, club owners and club goers, and using unseen photos and flyers, this is the truth behind the Punk Rock legend that was the Roxy Club."