The Professionals - THE PROFESSIONALS

The Professionals - Punk Band 1981

Formed: London, England, UK

After the Sex Pistols split in January 1978, Steve Jones and Paul Cook carried on working together under the Pistols banner, contributing to The Great Rock N Roll Swindle (LP and film), and issuing a final single as the Pistols in 1980 (Joan Jett’s ‘Black Leather’ and ‘Here We Go Again’) as part of the money-grubbing Pistols Pack set. In 1978 they had backed Pistols producer Dave Goodman on the superb Justifiable Homicide 45, contributed to Johnny Thunders’ debut LP So Alone. teamed up with members of Thin Lizzy and as the Greedies released a dire Christmas single, A Merry Jingle, and wasted a few weeks the same year trying to get the Shitty Sham Pistols off the ground.

All of this laid down the groundwork for The Professionals, which for a few years (1979-1981) continued the emphasis on multi-tracked wall-of-sound guitars, a walloping beat and football terrace-style choruses, as had been previously evidenced on Silly Thing and No One Is Innocent. Unfortunately, the band was troubled by drug woes, label uncertainty and a lack of live appearances, but although they had none of the fanatical zeal of the Pistols, they were pretty good nonetheless.

The original lineup was this:

Steve Jones - lead guitar
Paul Cook - drums
Andy Allen (ex-Lightning Raiders) - bass

Allen had actually played on 'Silly Thing' and 'Lonely Boy', making this new band almost the Sex Pistols.

Professionals - Just Another Dream LabelThey got off the ground in June 1980 with Just Another Dream, promoted by a Julien Temple-directed video, a sort of Godzilla homage with the band astride various London monuments and buildings, intercut with shots of Japanese people taking snapshots. However, despite the crude but fun video ad appearance on the kids' TV show Fun Factory, the single did not chart, presumably because it was a) rather dull and b) Andy Allen had longer hair than all the Sex Pistols put together. He also sported one of the earliest mullets.

JUST ANOTHER DREAM

I’m always hoping, waiting for the day
Something’s gonna turn up and I will be amazed
Just the other night when I crashed out in my bed
I thought I was a champion, but I found instead...

That it’s just another dream
Just like any other dream
Just another dream
Just like any other dream

When I’m walking out alone thinking to myself
What it is I got to do to get a little help?
People never want to know; I just can’t believe
I thought someone might be there, but I know again

That it’s just another dream
Just like any other dream
Just another dream
Just like any other dream

Professionals Just Another Dream Video - 1Professionals Just Another Dream Video - 2Professionals Just Another Dream Video - 3Professionals Just Another Dream Video - 4Professionals Just Another Dream Video - 5Professionals Just Another Dream Video - 6

Professionals - 1-2-3 StickerThe rather storming 1-2-3, which was released in October in a poster sleeve, did better, scraping into the charts, just missing the Top 40. It was their only hit single. Not many people knew it, but it was a complete rip-off of 'Second To None' by the Avengers. Cook and Jones had simply stolen their tune, melody and arrangement and changed the lyrics.

1-2-3

You don't know if I'm a berk
And you don't care if I go to work
As long as I keep marching up and down
Up and down your parade ground.

What's the use in saying what you mean?
Just wash yourself and keep your body clean.

I know I got a dirty face
I know I'm looking out of place
I know I got mess on my shoes
What am I supposed to do?

Professionals - 1-2-3 LabelAnd it's 1 - I'm on the run
And it's 2 - I dunno what I've done
And it's 3 - you're telling me
I'm still a baby.

What am I doing standing here
Training to be a brigadier?
You're telling me to be a man
Why can't you just understand?

What's the use in saying what you mean?
Just wash yourself and keep your body clean.

I know I got a dirty face
I know I'm looking out of place
I know I got mess on my shoes
What am I supposed to do?

And it's 1 - I'm on the run
And it's 2 - I dunno what I've done
And it's 3 - you're telling me
I'm still a baby.

And it's 1 - I'm on the run
And it's 2 - I dunno what I've done
And it's 3 - you're telling me
I'm still a baby, a baby, a baby, a baby.

 

The Professionals - Punk Band 1981

In November 1980 Virgin issued a label sampler called Cash Cows, which was intended to promote new LPs by bands on its roster. It included a song called 'Kick Down The Door', which was to be from the forthcoming eponymous LP. Then Allen left the band shortly after it was recorded and decided to sue Cook/Jones and Virgin for unpaid royalties. Therefore, with no album, and so 'Cash Cows' itself was also withdrawn, although it was subsequently re-pressed without 'Kick Down The Door'.

Late 1980 saw the arrival a new lineup.

Steve Jones - lead guitar
Paul Cook - drums
Paul Myers (ex-Subway Sect) - bass
Ray McVeigh - guitar

Cook and Jones meanwhile decided that, like McLaren, they wanted their own film too, and so they went off to America and made Ladies & Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, in which they played in a fictional band alongside Paul Simonon. It was notable chiefly for the appearance of Ray Winstone as the band's singer. He could have a career singing rock rock, that bloke. 'Join The Professionals' was heavily featured in the film, along with three other originals, 'Conned Again', 'La La La', and 'Don't Blow It All The Way'.

June 1981 saw the release of the group's third single Join The Professionals, which came in a delightful gatefold sleeve and had the band blazing away in fine form, and this was followed in November with I Didn’t See It Coming, which boasted plenty of rabble rousing anthems, including a sideswipe at Lydon (‘The Magnificent’), all sung by Jones in an outrageous Cockney accent that borders on parody.

The Professionals - Sounds magazineThe Professionals - I Didn't See It Coming Press AdvertThe Professionals - Join The Professionals AdvertThe Professionals - Just Another Dream Advert

JOIN THE PROFESSIONALS

Yeah, I wanna see the world for free
But I won’t like the things I see
Up to three-four really ain’t no style
Call up, call it once again
The commies are coming, did I hear you say?
Who cares? Who knows? Maybe I will one day...

Who knows what you're gonna see?
Who knows when your turn will be?
Join the professionals
Be a professional
Join the professionals today

A kick in the head everyday for years
Wouldn't get me going there
Shot in the heart, secretly for me
Do you really have a say
What goes on everyday?
Does your country mean that much to you?

Who knows what you're gonna see?
Who knows when your turn will be?
Join the professionals
Be a professional
Join the professionals today
Join the professionals
Be a professional
Join the professionals today
Rock on, Tommy

At the same time as the LP's release the whole band was involved in a car crash while in the States, and therefore never toured to promote it. A mix of lukewarm reviews and inactivity were its kiss of death. Once recovered the band toured the US and limped along miserably until they split in 1982. Post-Professionals, Jones embarked on a solo career as a guitar-wanking heavy rock singer (releasing two abysmal albums, Mercy (1987) and Fire And Gasoline (1989) - and contributing to the Sid & Nancy soundtrack), while Cook teamed up with Matthew Ashman (ex-Adam & The Ants) for The Chiefs of Relief, a lousy Big Audio Dynamite type group.

The unreleased debut album finally saw the light of day in 1990 on green vinyl via Limited Edition Records. Slightly rougher and not quite as lavishly produced, the songs on The Professionals are angrier and funnier, such as the hilarious ‘Little Boys In Blue’ (“We’ll take you down the bleedin’ Yard/We’ll find out if yer facking ‘ard”) and the ludicrously catchy ‘Kamikaze’, a riposte to being forced to do crap jobs like cleaning toilets. ‘Are You?’ is also pretty great, with its tales of pogoing at the Vortex and a hearty “Are you a mod? Are you a skin? Are you a punk?. Or are you just fakin’?” Some of the material overlaps the 1981 album but the recordings are all different, apart from ‘1-2-3'.

MODS, SKINS, PUNKS

I remembered when they told you that you had to leave it out
That the King’s Road fade on a Saturday; that’s what it’s all about
The 100 Club on Monday was the only place to be
Vortex on a Tuesday; what else did you need?
Everybody’s rocking to the rhythm of the reggae sound
No one wants to get left out, everyone’s around

Are you mod?
Are you a skin?
Are you punk?
Or are you just faking?
Are you mod?
Are you a skin?
Are you punk?
Or are you just faking?

Are you in it for a laugh, boy? Are you in it for the change?
Are you in it for anything? Well, I’m in it all the same
My band's a punk band, son; we’re back there again today
It’s not the same as the last one, but anything makes a change
Now everybody’s dancing to the motor city beat
You got to look real sharp, boy; you got to move your feet

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

The Professionals - Just Another Dream The Professionals - One Two Three The Professionals - The Professionals Virgin LP 1980 The Professionals - Join The Professionals The Professionals - The Magnificent
Just Another Dream
(7", 1980)
One Two Three
(7", 1980)
The Professionals
(LP, 1980)
Join The Professionals
(7", 1981)
The Magnificent
(7", 1981)
The Professionals - I Didn't See It Coming        
I Didn't See It Coming (LP, 1981)        

Extraneous Releases

The Professionals - Sounds Freebie No. 2 The Professionals - The Best Of The Professionals The Professionals - The Complete Professionals    
Sounds Freebie No. 2 (7", flexi, split with Gillan, 1981) The Best Of The Professionals
(CD, 2005)
The Complete Professionals
(3xCD, 2015)
   

Various Artists

Cash Cows UK LP 1980 (Virgin): Kick Down The Door

After The Anarchy UK CD 1993 (Connoisseur Collection): 1 2 3 / Join The Professionals

Links

KICK DOWN THE DOORS - The Cook 'n' Jones site - Very good it is too!

WIKIPEDIA

 

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

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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