Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)

Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)

Band Bio / Lineups / Discography

Formed: Darlington, England, UK

Darlington's Major Accident adopted the clothes of A Clockwork Orange but never exuded the same popcorn appeal as Ipswich's The Adicts, nor did they seem as threatening as The Violators, two other bands who were also prone to dressing up as droogs and penning anthemic, tuneful songs. Nevertheless, Major Accident attracted a large-ish following and released some fine records, some of which sold in pretty sizeable quantities during 1983 and 1984.

Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)

Formed in Christmas 1977 as a covers band, Major Accident made its debut at Skerne Park Youth Club ploughing through the usual Sham, Clash and Ramones ditties, but it wasn't until the early 80s that they made their mark, by which time they'd been playing their own material, including some very strong numbers, such as 'Terrorist Gang' and 'Middle Class Entertainment' (which was originally known as 'Black And White').

Con Larkin, bass: The atmosphere at those early shows was fantastic and we soaked up everything we could read about punk and squeezed it for all it was worth. We believed all the art school rubbish and took it to the council estate. We ripped-off anyone who made a record, whether it was dripping paint on our clothes, sticking zips on our T-shirt...even down to our first drummer Craig Newnham (whose brother Shaun was briefly the first singer in the band) having a rat in his bass drum. It wasn't that punk tho', 'cos he told his mum it was a giant African mouse or she would have thrown him and it out of the house! (as told in Ian Glasper's Burning Britain: The History Of UK Punk 1980-1984)

After Paul 'Porky' Stephenson joined on drums in 1980 their profile rose, with support slots to name bands, among them Rudi and Inner City Unit, and that July they made a journey to the studio to record their first demo, which contained three songs ('Sidelines', 'Terrorist Gang' and 'Self-Appointed Hero') which were supposed to be released as a single, but this never happened. A second single, 1982's Warboots, was also unreleased, but it finally saw the light of day in 1994 when it came out on a French label. The making of their debut album seemed to continuing this disastrous trend, with the results being so poor that the band decided to bin it and start all over again. The end result was Massacred Melodies, which came out in late 1982 on Step-Forward.

Earlier that year, in March, the group made it into the Northern Echo (a local newspaper) after a charity gig ended in a riot, as factions in Darlington and the nearby Newton Aycliffe decided to start fighting each other. According to the Echo, "One young girl was taken to hospital, tables and chairs were thrown around the concert room as the punk fans fought it out. Eventually, after police reinforcements were called in to quell the fighting, the concert in aid of Darlington's ailing Quakers Football Club had to be abandoned".

Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)

After having been briefly considered by A&M for a record deal - producer John Howlett allegedly went to see them live (according to an article in Punk Lives magazine) - they signed with Frenchy Gloder's Flicknife label instead, and in Summer 1983 released two excellent singles, Fight To Win and Leaders Of Tomorrow, which were by far their best recordings to date, being particularly catchy and each boasting clean production values. As with their debut LP, each was also housed in Paul Dillon's distinctive black-and-white artwork, which made for a pleasing audio/visual combination.

More attention followed when they became television stars after being heavily featured in a BBC documentary ('Off The Peg') about punk in the Northeast. Unfortunately, this was marred by an article in the Northern Echo (again) where subsequent (and false) allegations were made by the concert organiser that the group were "advocating racism, the National Front and glue-sniffing". The article went on to report: "She said that the band's Clockwork Orange image implied they supported violent racist organisations, they damaged students' union property and she condemned the BBC for "grave lack of judgement" in choosing to film the band. Miss Hunter also claimed several cans of glue were confiscated on the night and that the audience were behaving in 'a highly intimidatory fashion' towards coloured security staff".

Con Larkin: ...the next thing we know Paul is on the front page of the Northern Echo in (and I quote) his "Clockwork Orange suit"! And we were being slagged off by the Polytechnic. Luckily, the people from the BBC stood by us, as they had got to know us quite well, and after a couple of solicitor's letters we got a full apology. (as told in Ian Glasper's Burning Britain: The History Of UK Punk 1980-1984)

Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)

The group changed its name to Accident in 1984. Unlike the usual case when a band suddenly changes it name, a change of style was not adopted for their second album, and A Clockwork Legion continued in the same vein, although the songs were a bit slower and, in the case of 7:25 minutes of 'Affliction', considerably longer. Probably too long. 'Leader Of Tomorrow' was re-recorded as well, losing some of its bite in the process. Later that year, Tortured Tunes (Live-The Official Bootleg) was released, but it's hard to figure out why it was felt that a live effort made with a different lineup, atrociously recorded and 18-months after the fact, was a good idea.

Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)

In 1985 the band embarked on a short US tour, the highpoint of which was (presumably) a show at the 3,000 people capacity Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, where they played alongside The Adicts (billed as ADX) and Bad Brains. They also did a French tour which ended in mass arrests when the band, crew and some fans were nicked for trespassing on the railway lines.

Their final studio album ...Crazy! was issued in the US by Massacred Melodies/Toxic Shock, a year prior to its UK release. Dropping the distinctive "droog" cover art in favour of something much less appealing, it actually turned out to be their best LP, a bit of a mixed bag comprising of an aborted 12" single ('Crazy', 'Get Ready', 'Valerie', 'Camouflage', 'Band Played On') and seven songs from A Clockwork Legion re-recorded to better effect. Two extras, a dub version of 'Get Ready' and 'Sherwood Rangers' (dating from the band's final recording session) were appended to the Link reissue. And yes, 'Get Ready' is that old soul classic, and recording with saxophones and female backing vocals the effect sounds like Angelic Upstarts circa 1983.

Major Accident (Darlington, England, UK)

The band split in 1986 when Con left to get a) a job and b) married. Diminishing audiences was also a factor in his decision. The band reformed in the 1996 for festival appearances and have inevitably stepped back into the studio for two new albums. Come 2003, however, they split for good.

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DISCOGRAPHY

Subsequent albums: The Ultimate High (1996), Cry Of The Legion (split with Foreign Legion, 2001).

Singles & Albums / Extraneous Releases / Various Artists

Major Accident ‎– Massacred MelodiesMassacred Melodies (LP, 1982)

Major Accident ‎– Mr. NobodyMr. Nobody (7", 1983)

Major Accident ‎– Fight To WinFight To Win (7", 1983)

Major Accident - Leaders Of TomorrowLeaders Of Tomorrow (7", 1983)

Accident ‎– A Clockwork LegionA Clockwork Legion (LP, as Accident, 1984)

Major Accident ‎– RespectableRespectable (7", 1984)

Major Accident ‎– Tortured Tunes (Live-The Official Bootleg)Tortured Tunes (Live-The Official Bootleg) (LP, 1984)

Accident ‎– ...Crazy!...Crazy! (LP, as Accident, 1985)

Extraneous Releases

Major Accident ‎– Pneumatic PneurosisPneumatic Pneurosis (LP, 1985)

Major Accident ‎– WarbootsWarboots (7", 1994)

Major Accident ‎– Clockwork HeroesClockwork Heroes (CD, 1994)

Major Accident ‎– Massacred Melodies / A Clockwork LegionMassacred Melodies / A Clockwork Legion (CD, twofer, 1994)

Major Accident ‎– Crazy / Tortured TunesCrazy / Tortured Tunes (CD, twofer, 1996)

Major Accident ‎– The Clockwork DemosThe Clockwork Demos (CD, 1996)

Various Artists

The Defiant Pose UK LP 1983 (Illegal): Mr Nobody

Viva La Revolution! UK 2xLP 1985 (Cambra): Fight To Win

Oi! - The Resurrection UK LP 1986 (Link): Crazy

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 2 UK LP 1987 (Link): Borstal Breakout

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 3 UK LP 1988 (Link): Blitzkrieg Bop

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 4 UK LP 1988 (Link): Garageland

Flicknife Records Punk Collection UK CD 1995 (Anagram): Fight To Win / Leaders Of Tomorrow / Respectable

Oi! The Singles Collection Vol 1 UK CD 1996 (Captain Oi!): Mr. Nobody / That's You

Lords Of Oi! UK 3xCD Box Set 1997 (Dressed To Kill): Borstal Breakout / Blitzkrieg Bop / Garageland

Burning Britain - A Story Of Independent UK Punk 1980-1983 UK 4xCD 2018 (Cherry Red): Mr. Nobody

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