Chron Gen

Formed: Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England, UK

Chron Gen

Chron Gen formed in 1978 (from the ashes of The Condemned and Option Xtras) but were remarkably slow to get off the ground, not issuing a single for three years, thus ensuring their incorporation into the UK82 brigade. They were poppier than probably all the other punksters at the time, scoring a string of indie hits that suggested they might have been one of the few genuinely talented third generation groups. Unfortunately, they couldn't come up with the goods album-wise and, like so many others, their efforts to break away from punk formula were met with little interest from the mohican-sporting types who were formerly their fans.

The original lineup was this:

Chron Gen1980


They burst onto the national scene in 1981 with a pair of pretty good singles, July's Puppets Of War EP (self-released) and September's Reality (for Step Forward), both of which bothered the indie charts for what seemed like an eternity.

The EP was patchy, but the title track certainly seemed to capture the moment vis a vis the inanity of the arms race and the madness of war. It was originally issued on their own label, Gargoyle, but heavy public demand led to it being reissued on Fresh.


I might as well, stay unemployed
cos pretty soon, all life will be void
a mouthy leader is all it needs
but we'll be the victims, of world war 3

And we're all puppets of war,
Waiting for a call up through the door

And as the powers, prepare for war
we're given propaganda, what a bore
the Moscow Olympics, and Afghanistan
and conscription for every able man

When the bomb is dropped you'd better decide
where in this world you are gonna hide
cos when it comes they won't choose
who is to win and who is to lose


I'm a member of the Chronic Generation
it's gettin me nowhere-its full of complications
our lives are moulded like a Plasticine mutation
don't wanna be a part of the Chronic Generation

Chronic Generation (Chronic Generation)
Chronic Generation (Chronic Generation)
Chronic Generation

Chronic Generation
Boredom and frustration
for the vandalisation
of the infant school invasion

Chronic Generation
We rebel against the nation
and the system of education
the need for qualifications


The atmosphere's electric
as the band comes on
the crowd starts dancing
but then something goes wrong

There's lots of pushing
the air becomes tense
a fight breaks out
through lack of sense

Somewhere in this riot
lies a man so quiet
he has been punched to the ground
they kicked him while he was down

And with one cold flash
of an icy blade
he has been put into darkness
as his skin colour fades

The band stops playing
the fight dies down
a circle round the corpse
there's not a single sound

Good-bye tomorrow
ain't seen enough today
thanks to the mindless few
big boys - they've struck again


Eyes wide mouth dry I'm so high
never think I'm gonna die
I'm just flying like a kite
up all day and up all night, all night

Next day I'm so full of surprise
last night told so many lies
it's just reality in disguise
I've fallen for those awful lies, those lies

See me now I wanna cry
reality can't keep me high
I just can't handle a normal life
I wanna die give me a knife, a knife

Tell me what it's all about
it's all about getting out
I'm in a cage inside my brain
Give me the key, I wanna speed again

Chron Gen - Puppets Of War EP  - UK 7" 1981 (Gargoyle - GRGL 780) Cover InsideChron Gen 1982

The other single 'Reality' was a terrific tune, one of the catchiest of the period, with a brilliantly memorable soaring chorus. It also came housed in a very fetching full colour sleeve and only just missed the No. 1 spot in the Indie charts.

They played with The Exploited, Anti-Pasti, Discharge and Anti-Nowhere League on the Apocalypse Now Tour in mid-1981, immortalised on a tape-only release, Live At Leicester 28th June 1981.

Signing to Secret, a third hit single materialized in the unlikely shape of Jet Boy Jet Girl, a classic tale of gay lust and heartbreak which had been previously recorded by Captain Sensible and Elton Motello. Chron Gen's version was much faster, however.

Chron Gen - Reality Press AdvertChron Gen - Jet Boy Jet Girl  Press Advert

Glyn Barber's engagingly yobbish Cockney vocals, some articulate guitar work and strong choruses made these records entertaining, but their debut LP Chronic Generation, released in 1982, was sabotaged by so many dreadful songs that it seems to consist almost entirely of filler. One of the few highlights - amid dopey nonsense about being beaten up by rockabillies and taking drugs - is a punked-up version of the wimpy Glam "classic" 'Living Next Door To Alice', which has lyrics which certainly were not on the original. Amazingly, and presumably on the rep of their earlier efforts (and possibly also because it came with a free live EP), it nearly made it into the Top 50 of the proper charts (i.e. the one with Phil Collins in it), but time has not been its best friend.

Thurlow left soon after, and was replaced by Mark 'Floyd' Alison. The Britannia Waives The Rules compilation EP followed, with 'Clouded Eyes' - allegedly about Beki Bondage - moving them closer to punk-pop, and a short tour with the Anti-Nowhere League and a headlining US tour honed their skills further. Even better was November's extremely melodic Outlaw, which laid into punk parochialism and griped about violence at gigs. Ironically, given it was a plea for open-mindedness, it apparently did not meet with favour and failed to even scale the indie charts.

Chron Gen - Punk Lives magazine 1982 - Part 1Chron Gen - Punk Lives magazine 1982 - Part 2


I feel like I'm not wanted here
and I wonder what I'm living for
discerning eyes are burning me
they make me feel like an outlaw

Do you need a uniform
to see the band tonight
are the people here for fun
or maybe looking for a fight

You can't come in if you don't look right
Doesn't the music make it right
It seems fashion keeps the youth confined
We have missed the whole idea
I thought we listened with our ears
But we keep them closed with fear

Brutality and snobbery
will keep the cults at war
it's just music why such hate
there's nothing to be solved at all

Lineup problems delayed any new releases, until the band (with a new bassist) recorded a mini-album in 1984, the even more melodic Nowhere To Run (1984), and an LP in 1986 which went unreleased (until issued as part of Puppets Of War: The Collection in 2004).

They have reformed on and off since a reunion at the Blackpool HITS fest in 1996.


LINEUP #1 (1978-1982):

Chron Gen 1981

Glynn Barber - vocals & guitar
John Johnson - drums
Jon Thurlow - rhythm guitar
Pete Dimmock - bass (R.I.P. August 2011)

Glynn and John were ex-The Condemned. Recorded Puppets Of War EP, Reality (both 1981) and Chronic Generation (1982).

There was actually a bassist called Adam before Dimmock joined.Thurlow's next band was Chelsea.

LINEUP #2 (1982):

Glynn Barber - vocals, guitar
Mark 'Floyd' Allison - guitar (R.I.P. October 1999)
Pete Dimmock - bass
John Johnson - drums

Recorded 'Clouded Eyes' and Outlaw (both 1982). Floyd later joined The Occasional Tables, while Dimmock joined Thurlow in Chelsea.

LINEUP #3 (1983-1984):

Glynn Barber - vocals, guitar
B.B. Floyd [Mark 'Floyd' Alison] - guitar
Roy Horner - bass
John Johnson - drums

Recorded Nowhere To Run (1984)


Simon "Si-X" Harvey - lead guitar


Singles / Albums

Chron Gen - Puppets Of War EP Chron Gen - Reality Chron Gen - Jet Boy Jet Girl Chron Gen - Chronic Generation Chron Gen - Outlaw
Puppets Of War EP
(7", 1981)
Reality (7", 1981) Jet Boy Jet Girl
(7", 1982)
Chronic Generation (LP+7", 1982) Outlaw (7", 1982)
Chron Gen - Nowhere To Run Chron Gen - Live At The Old Waldorf - San Fransisco      
Nowhere To Run
(MLP, 1984)
Live At The Old Waldorf - San Francisco (LP, 1985)      

Extraneous Releases

Chron Gen - Live At Leicester 28th June 1981 Chrin Gen - Live On The "Apocalypse Now Tour" June 1981 Chron Gen - The Best Of Chron Gen - The Best Of Puppets of War: Chron Gen - Puppets of War: The Collection
Live At Leicester 28th June 1981
(Tape, 1981
Live On The "Apocalypse Now Tour" June 1981 (LP, 1983) The Best Of
(LP, 1994)

The Best Of
(CD, 1994)

Puppets Of War: The Collection
(2xCD, 2004)

Various Artists

Britannia Waives The Rules UK 12" 1982 (Secret): Clouded Eyes

The Secret Life Of Punks UK LP 1982 (Secret): Jet Boy Jet Girl

Wave News 2 - Independent Smash Hits Germany LP 1982 (Intercord): Jet Boy Jet Girl

The Defiant Pose UK LP 1983 (Illegal): Reality

Eastern Front US LP 1983 (Enigma): Clouded Eyes / Reality / Breaking Down

Punk And Disorderly III - The Final Solution UK LP 1983 (Anagram): Outlaw

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 3 UK LP 1988 (Link): Living Next Door To Alice

Apocalypse Punk Tour 1981 UK CD 1992 (Dojo): Chronic Generation / Change Me / Living Next Door To Alice

Off Limits Germany CD 1992 (Weird System): Jet Boy Jet Girl

Fresh Records - The Punk Singles Collection UK CD 1994 (Anagram): Puppets Of War

Secret Records: The Punk Singles Collection UK CD 1993 (Anagram): Jet Boy Jet Girl / Clouded Eyes / Outlaw

The Bright Side Of Oi Italy LP 1994 (Street Kids): unknown

Secret Records: The Punk Singles Collection Volume 2 UK CD 1995 (Anagram): Subway Sadist (Live) / Behind Closed Doors / Discotheque




CHRON GEN - Wikipedia entry




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