Could you give a brief history of The Defects?
In 1978 myself and a friend (Dukie) watched The Clash in the Ulster hall Belfast and decided to start a band, I bought bits of a drum kit for £5 and he borrowed his big bros guitar and we started writing songs. We met Buck one night through my sister and got on great, plus he looked good and had a practise place so we asked him if he would be interested in singing in a band, well the rest is history. We have had our fair share of Bass men starting with Greg Fenton (Manchester DJ) then big Jeff Gilmore and then replaced by Gary Smith. We played our first gig in 1979, built up a good following and played all around N.Ireland, also lots of gigs with Rudi and The Outcasts in the Harp bar and The Pound club. We released our debut single (Dance until you drop) and sold all of the 2000 copies and were able to cover all production costs and even make a few quid. A chance meeting with Melody Maker Journalist (Carol Clerk R.I.P.) in a Belfast pub helped open the door for the band and introduced us to London and WXYZ records who we signed to in 1981, we released our 2nd single (Survival/Brutality) and then our debut album (Defective Breakdown) in 1982 to coincide with the SO WHAT tour. The band decided to call it a day in 1984 due to musical differences and ironically played our last gig as guests to The Clash in the Ulster Hall Belfast. The reincarnation began in 2010 lol.
How would you describe your sound?
The Defects sound today is a much heavier sound than it was in the early days with the introduction of the new guitarist and bass player. Even though the band split in 84 we continued playing in other bands so have kept tight and on the ball. Bands that would influence the Defects would be Killing Joke,clash, NMA, Sham 69, RATM, Deadboys etc etc.
Being a punk in Belfast in the late 70’s/early 80’s must have been an entirely different experience to that of a punk in England, what were your experiences of that time?
To be honest we didn’t know any different, bombs and shootings were the norm, we were always searched going into the city centre and it could be very dangerous coming home at night, if you missed the last bus at 11pm you were fucked. I remember our first time in London being stopped by the police, we all raised our hands in the air, yeah you can imagine the look on the cops faces. lol
How was it when you moved to London, did it take a long time to adjust or was it easy?
We loved London, played some great gigs there and met some smashing people. Very easy to adjust.
What do you remember about your first London show at the 100 Club supporting Chelsea?
I always thought our first London gig was in Skunx, ha ha but I think you are correct, don’t remember too much about it mate everything was happening so fast. Ask Buck, he has a better memory than me, he doesn’t drink. Lol.
How did you find recording your first album ‘Defective Breakdown’?
Recording Defective Breakdown was a blast; it was recorded in a studio in Surrey which had tennis courts and a swimming Pool but most of all free wine which belonged to boring hippie (Rik Wakeman) who was also there recording some shite for the Olympics or something. We recorded mixed and mastered the album in about 13 days. I love the songs on the album but I’m not 100% with the production and don’t think it was a true reflection of the band live.
How do you view your cover of ‘Suspicious Minds’ all these years later?
We played Suspicious minds in our live set around the end of 83 and it was a lively wee number which is more than I can say for the single, Too polished, no passion captured, in a word… rubbish, I can honestly say it was part of the reason the band split. But hey things happen for a reason.
What made you reform in 2009 and how was the response?
Buck phoned me and asked me if I would be interested in putting the fex back together again, he had been offered gigs at Rebellion festival and other venues, I was playing guitar and singing in bands from 85 and hadn’t played the drums since, so it took me a while to get the stamina back. We asked the original guitarist and bass player but they couldn’t commit due to work so Roy McAllister and Aidy Dunlop were introduced. The response has been quite incredible.
How do you think your latest album ‘Politcophoba’ compares to ‘Defective Breakdown’?
I prefer Politicophobia to Defective Breakdown only because i think the production is closer to the real sound of the band live.
What have you got lined up? Any new releases and what gigs have you got planned?
I’ve spent the last 6 months writing new material so the band are at present learning those new songs, things are coming on well and we hope to have a new studio album ready for September 2014. On the gig front all being well, we will be in Germany and France in the summer, we have just been confirmed for Rebellion 2014, there are also gigs around Ireland and we will be in England, Scotland and hopefully Wales in 2014.
Describe your perfect gig?
Perfect gig(s)… World tour with Killing Joke.
How would you say punk has changed since you first got into it?
Hard question to answer there mate. What is punk ? everyone has their own idea of what it is. For me it has never had anything to do with fashion. Just the music and searching for the truth.
How strong would you say the scene is at present?
Out of 10. 8/10
What bands should we keep out eye out for?
The Defects. lol The Lee Harveys are the best new band I’ve heard in quite a while. There is plenty of new talent out there.
Any final Comments?
Turn off your TV set and LIVE..