G.B.H. - G.B.H.

AKA: CHARGED G.B.H

Formed: Birmingham, West Midlands, England, UK

G.B.H. - G.B.H.

Hailing from Birmingham, G.B.H. (sometimes Charged G.B.H.), were usually compared to Stoke-on-Trent's top dog punk band Discharge but were less extreme, tempering all the usual songs about war and the system with a sense of beer-stained, sexist humour (check out the corny 'Big Women', the horrendous 'Slut' etc). They were also signed to the same label, Clay. In keeping with the trends of the time, G.B.H. identified themselves by nicknames, wore leather jackets plastered in studs, sported mohicans and similar spiky hairdos, and attacked their instruments like bulls at gates. Early in their career their strength was their undisputed musical chops, a Conflict/Motorhead racket of some note, not their lyrics, which traded in misogyny, blinkered politics, and pathetic schoolboy humour.

Here are some examples, m'lud:

Here they come, walking down the street, big and bouncy look so neat.
I like them best between the sheets, big women give me a treat.
- Big Women, 1980

You think you look pretty cute.
Black and shiny diving suit.
High heels with a nine inch spike.
Something about you I know I like.
Slut, slut, slut,...dirty bitch
Slut, 1982

Their attempts as being "serious" were not very good either:

Marching into victory, marching in the mud.
Fighting for freedom, fighting in the blood.
There's dead bodies all around, you're told to carry on.
Death is not right, war cannot be won
- Generals 1981

However, as time progressed even the musical smarts was ditched in favour of speed metal played with much less finesse than, say, Megadeth or Anthrax. Alas, the lyrics did not improve.

More evidence:

The Fridge connection
The Fridge connection II
Fridge on the River Kwai
Heartbreak Fridge
A Fridge on Elm Street
Friday I, II .. III
The last little Fridge in Texas
One flew over the Fridge
- A Fridge Too Far, 1989

Anyway. The band formed in 1980 and their early recordings were big selling, great sounding, rollickin' affairs.

They debuted in September 1981 with the nine-song 12' EP Leather, Bristles, Studs & Acne. It spent three months in the Indies and was followed by two singles, the excellent No Survivors (a more 1977-sounding affair which actually reached No 63 in the "proper" charts) and the awful Sick Boy (which had a terrible production job).

City Baby Attacked By Rats includes a version of Slaughter & The Dogs' 'Boston Babies', thus presenting the album with its only identifiable tune. Everything else is absolute thrash-a-rama, a punk/metal hybrid before such a mix was commonplace. The band blast their way through thirteen killer cuts without deviating from their hectic brief. 'I Am The Hunted' and the title song are absolute classics, and it is to everyone's benefit that Colin's lyrics are mainly unintelligible: 'Slut' is pathetic sexist nonsense.

Two more fine singles - Give Me Fire (November 1982) and Catch 23 / Hellhole (May 1983) once more crept into the lower reaches of the national charts, and paved the way for their best LP, City Baby's Revenge - 101 Ways To Kill A Rat, which boasts better songs and flashier production than any of their prior releases. With the group less intent on simply playing as fast as possible, tracks like the anti-feminist rant of 'Womb With A View' (they have a knack for terrible puns), 'High Octane Fuel' and 'Diplomatic Immunity' border on being genuinely catchy. Elsewhere, they do Iggy Pop's 'I Feel Alright' much less justice than The Damned did, and have a bit of ping-pong ball fun with 'Skanga (Herby Weed)'.

In between these two LPs, Leather, Bristles, No Survivors And Sick Boys... was issued, containing (most of) their , and both sides of their first two singles (the 77-ish No Survivors and Sick Boy), all from 1981. Clay seem to have some kind of obsession with repackaging the same material endlessly, hence The Clay Years 1981 To 1984 (a singles collection), No Survivors (live), Diplomatic Immunity (a piss-poor 21 track best-of with no track details) and The Clay Recordings 1981-1984.

GBH Midnight Madness And Beyond...  PosterGBH ColinGBH Colin

Moving to Rough Justice after the collapse of Clay, G.B.H. embarked on a lengthy tour across America with the U.K. Subs and The Exploited. Indeed, GBH shared a US record label with the latter, and a growing obsession with the States permeated Midnight Madness And Beyond, which made a move towards thrash/rock.

Recorded with new drummer Kai Reder, No Need To Panic! (1988) and A Fridge Too Far (1989) continued their dive into metal waters, whoch is where they contined to go from here on. Whereas their earlier music was by-the-numbers punk, these LPs offer by-the-numbers (but sloppy and unlovable) hard rock/thrash and titles like 'Gunning For The President' and 'I Shot The Marshall' (a song about shooting an amplifier). Blech.

Members of G.B.H. and English Dogs have also collaborated as The Wernt.

 

LINEUP #1 (1980-1986):


Colin Abrahall - vocals
Colin 'Jock' Blyth - guitar
Ross Lomas - bass
Andrew 'Wilf' Williams - drums

There was actually a bloke called Sean McCarthy on bass before Ross joined, but he lasted only two gigs. The name GBH the name was inspired by Sean McCarthy's trial for grievous bodily harm.

LINEUP #2 (1986-1990):

Colin Abrahall - vocals
Colin 'Jock' Blyth - guitar
Ross Lomas - bass
Kai Reder - drums (ex-Napalm)

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

G.B.H. - Leather, Bristles, Studs And Acne G.B.H. - No Survivor G.B.H. - Sick Boy G.B.H. - City Baby Attacked By Rats G.B.H. - Give Me Fire
Leather, Bristles, Studs And Acne (12", as Charged G.B.H., 1981) No Survivors
(7", as Charged G.B.H., 1982)
Sick Boy
(7", as Charged G.B.H., 1982)
City Baby Attacked By Rats (LP, as Charged G.B.H., 1982) Give Me Fire
(7", as Charged G.B.H., 1982)
G.B.H. - Catch 23 / Hellhole G.B.H. - City Baby's Revenge - 101 Ways To Kill A Rat G.B.H. - Do What You Do G.B.H. - Midnight Madness And Beyond G.B.H. - Oh No, It's GBH Again
Catch 23 / Hellhole
(7", as Charged G.B.H., 1983)
City Baby's Revenge - 101 Ways To Kill A Rat (LP, as Charged G.B.H., 1983) Do What You Do
(7"/12", as Charged G.B.H., 1984)
Midnight Madness And Beyond...
(LP, 1986)
Oh No It's G.B.H. Again! (12", 1986)

Extraneous Releases

G.B.H. - Live At The 100 Club 24th November 1981 G.B.H. - Leather, Bristles, No Survivors And Sick Boys... G.B.H. - The Clay Years - 1981 To 84 G.B.H. - Attack And Revenge By City Baby's - Definite G.B.H. Collection) G.B.H. - No Survivors
Live At The 100 Club 24th November 1981 (Tape, 1982) Leather, Bristles, No Survivors And Sick Boys... (LP, as Charged G.B.H., 1982) The Clay Years - 1981 To 84 (LP/CD, as Charged G.B.H., 1986) Attack And Revenge By City Baby's - Definite G.B.H. Collection)
(CD, as Charged G.B.H., 1986)
No Survivors
(LP/CD, 1989)
G.B.H. - Diplomatic Immunity G.B.H. - The Clay Punk Singles Collection G.B.H. - The Punk Rock Hits G.B.H. - The Punk Singles 1981-84 G.B.H. - Race Against Time - The Complete Clay Recordings
Diplomatic Immunity (LP/CD, as Charged G.B.H., 1990) The Clay Punk Singles Collection (CD, as Charged G.B.H., 1995) The Punk Rock Hits
(CD, as Charged G.B.H., 1999)
The Punk Singles 1981-84 (CD, as Charged G.B.H., 2002) Race Against Time - The Complete Clay Recordings
(3xCD, 2007)
GBH  - Nottingham Boat Club 11/19/83    
Nottingham Boat Club 11/19/83 (Tape)        

 

Various Artists

Punk And Disorderly UK LP 1982 (Abstract Sounds): Race Against Time

Punk And Disorderly - Further Charges UK LP 1982 (Anagram): Sick Boy

Burning Ambitions (A History Of Punk) UK 2xLP 1982 (Cherry Red): City Baby Attacked By Rats

Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Volume 1 US LP 1984 (Gasatanka): Give Me Fire

Driven To Death UK LP 1990 (Clay): Sick Boy / No Survivors / Give Me Fire / Necrophilia

The Best Of Flipside Vinyl Fanzines US 2xCD 1992 (Flipside): Give Me Fire

Links

 

 

 

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

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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