AUNTIE PUS

Formed: London, England, UK

A one-man novelty punk act, Auntie Pus was in reality Julian Isaacs, a former (expelled) public schoolboy and a friend of Rat Scabies before Rat Scabies was in The Damned. Following a completely inappropriate slot on the Melody Maker Folk Rock Contest in spring 1977, where he yelled abuse at the folkies, Auntie Pus was invited to support The Damned at the Hastings Pier in July, where he appeared on stage wearing his old public school blazer and cap, which then became his image: "the Public School Punk Rock Balladeer". Songs performed included sadly lost gems 'Hot Spurs' and 'Neat Meat'. Also playing that night was Skrewdriver.

In early 1978, with assistance from Scabies on drums and with Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor producing, Auntie Pus recorded two songs, 'Half-Way To Venezuela' and 'Marmalade Freak' ("Paint my brain with toast because I'm a marmalade freak") at Pathway Studios, and then embarked on a momentous bout of touring supporting the Damned (during the brief period when they were calling themselves The Doomed).

In May 1979, The Doomed - once again calling themselves The Damned - began touring their Machine Gun Etiquette album all over the UK, with Ruts and Auntie Pus appearing as supporting acts on every date of the four month sojourn.

Paul Lewis, April 2019, taken from Wycombegigs.co.uk: Warming-up the audience up prior to The Damned was Auntie Pus (real name Julian Isaacs). He had been on the punk scene since 1977, playing a one-man old style rock ‘n’ roll guitar act. Essentially between each 'song' he would lead the chant of "off the stage with Auntie Pus" – if the crowd didn't join-in he would continue. This carried on until Ron Watts took the stage and asked the audience, "OK, let’s get rid of this c**t". (See full review here)

In October 1979, roughly a year after the single was recorded, Auntie Pus went on tour with the Ruts, although his presence on the tour was never actually official. The difference between the mentality of the two headlining acts was not lost on Auntie.

Auntie Pus: On The Damned tour Rat, Captain and Algy would start drinking large Scotch and Cokes and taking enormous lines of speed at about 11 in the morning, so when we got in the van at two in the afternoon they'd be drunk and wired to fuck and give me all kinds of grief. The Ruts never drank 'til the evening. When we got in their van they'd skin up - because they always had plenty to smoke - tell a few jokes; read a newspaper or a book. I could read a book in the Ruts' van! I would never have even tried to do that with The Damned. They'd have have thrown it out of the window, ripped the last few pages out, set light to it. It would have been pointless even getting a book out. With the Ruts it was civilised and it was like being a part of it all. (Taken from Love In Vain: The Story Of The Ruts and Ruts D.C., by Roland Link)

In summer 1980, Auntie's 1978 recordings were finally released as the Half-Way To Venezuela single, on the specially created Septic label, the release having been arranged by the Ruts' manager Andy Dayman. Typical of the self deprecating nature of these people, the back cover of the single bore the legend, "What a lousy year - first Ian Curtis and now this!". It was, in fact, a terrific punk single.

After that, it was another Damned/Ruts/Auntie Pus tour, a short one this time that lasted a few days in late July, and included an appearance at the Deeply Vale Free Festival. Following this, Pus played a few more shows, one of them in support of Splodgenessabounds, where they were billed as Auntie Pus & The Men From Uncle (featuring Arturo Bassick, Robin Bibi and Dick Taylor).

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Lineup on Single:

Auntie Pus (real name Julian Isaacs) - rhythm guitar, vocals
Robin Bibi - lead guitar
Jim Payne (The Stukas) - bass
Chris Millar (aka Rat Scabies) - drums

Bibi's post-Auntie Pus career included playing with folkie Catherine Andrews and piano-playing Oi!ster Frankie Flame, as well as bluesy solo efforts. Although Jim Payne was a member of The Stukas, this single turned out to be his sole credit: he died in a haggling accident aged 25.

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DISCOGRAPHY

Singles & Albums

Auntie Pus - Half-Way To Venezuela Half-Way To Venezuela (7", 1980)

Various Artists

Messthetics #5 UK '77-81 "D.I.Y" & DIY-Punk: "A" US CDR (Hyped To Death): Marmalade Freak

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Links

Fear And Loathing - Article/interview with photos

Punk 77 - Article with photos

22 PInts Of Lager & Fuck The Crisps - Interview

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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