Decay get arty

As gigs go this wasn’t really the usual UK Decay experience. When Franko asked if we could step in at the last minute to replace the mysterious Revelator, we asked what sort of night he was planning.

‘Art!’ He shot back, ‘lot’s of art. And loud music too.’

Simples we think, and load up Jon’s Volvo for the fairly short trip from the blessed holy lands of Lutonia to South East London. Ed was making his own way down and Abbo was hightailing it in from Chester. Jon was in his usual mad driver mode, and so Spon and me spent the majority of the trip with our eyes shut and praying we’d make it in one piece.

The venue was an old pub in Camberwell that’s been converted into a swish bar. The landlord is well in with the art crew and hosts lots of leftfield events there, including regular fetish nights apparently. We bowl in and find Chairman Che and Marsha already there and doing the business. Today Che’s smoking small, thin cigars, rather than the Zeppelins he usually prefers.  We set up and sound check. Things are sounding good. We’re just playing through the backline and a vocal PA, today but there’s a lovely crisp urgency to the sound.

Franko and his crew are already in attendance – as are a selection of London’s finest performance artists. To be fair, some of it went over our heads. In fact, most of what was going on went over our heads – a great deal of which seemed to involve nakedness and gaffer tape. But everyone there was engaged and respectful; the ideas well executed.

As well as being a great artist Franko was singing in the first band due on that evening: At Night We Cry.  While they sound checked we cleared off to a nearby café to drink beer, eat food and talk about next moves – possibly another record. Che reported back on gigs booked or being planned: which at the moment include a big London show later this year, then jaunts into Spain, Poland, Germany and more. We’re adding shows by the day and once everything is signed off will be putting up the dates. The sun was hot and the beer was cold and it was the first time in ages we’d been able to just sit around and hang out – which was great.

So back to the venue in time to see Franko do his thing. At Night We Cry are a three piece: drums, bass and Franko on vocals and FX. Considering there are just three of them they make a great racket, lots of heavy, monstrous grooving between the rhythm section and Franko doing his nut through effects laden vocals. Hopefully we’ll be playing with them again in Italy later this year.

And then to us. We only had to play for 30 minutes so did the same set as we had outside Rough Trade West a few weeks ago:

  • Shake ‘em up
  • Heavy Metal Jews
  • Killer
  • City is a Cage
  • UK Decay
  • For My Country
  • I Feel Good

It’s probably the first time the band has played in front of an audience who has never heard them before. Although Steve and Lee did manage to get down to see the show. It was a good show: tight, energetic and powerful – the usual Decay ingredients minus the swinging belts. Before we knew it, the night was done. A few beers and then a face from the past: Phil Keefe from Luton who made the short journey from his new home in SE London, but arrived 30 minutes after we’d played.

Time to head back. Spon and me looked at the Volvo with trepidation. As I was navigating from the map on my phone, I drew the short straw and had to sit in the front.  I shut my eyes and prayed!

UK DECAY – FRANKO B COLLABORATION

It has been a month now since the album release, and thank you to everyone for their support and feedback; the band are humbled and appreciative and we do try to respond to all who tap the boards onto the various social network sites and forums. Keep spreading the Hot Sauce please!!

Franko-BAnd now perhaps timely to introduce Franko B, whose stunning artwork adorns the album.

 

 

Franko-B.com

 

On the eve of the band’s new release New Hope For The Dead, Uk Decay are privileged and humbled to announce the collaboration with artist Franko B, whose stunning artwork adorns the album sleeve and the Killer/Heavy Metal Jews single.

killerNe Hope For The Dead

Several themes run through the songs of the album and the band’s efforts to find artwork which would encapsulate these themes and be worthy of the new material and sound, the Decay legacy, the support of the Pledgers, justice to the UK Decay communities old and new was proving very, very difficult, until contact was made with Franko that is!

Che knew Franko through a mutual friend, art dealer Guy Hilton, and had actually missed out on purchasing Franko’s Black Stars and Stripes at the British Art Fair a few years back; and they say life has no regrets! Anyway, Che did a deal on one of Luton artist Clive Barker’s “Heart” sculptors from Franko around the same time.

When Che showed the band Franko’s art, it resonated with them immediately and here’s what the guys had to say.

Raymondo: ” There’s a horrible reality in those black flags; an end of the road feel to them. If you’re strapped to a chair in Bagram airforce base they’ll make a lot of sense.”

Spon: ” Is the ideology represented behind those flags, deserving of colour, given the acquisition of oil at the cost of truth?”
Eduardo: ” When I saw both the white and black Union Jacks and Stars and Stripes it left me speechless with such powerful imagery.”

Back to the story.  Che writes Franko a short note, leaving a number for Franko to contact him on. Within a short space of time, Franko responds and listens to what Che has to say. Franko was familiar with the band back in the day, having moved to London from Italy in 1979.  Abbo sends Franko a copy of the TDL mix of the album to listen to on his return from taking care of art matters in the North East.  A meeting is arranged at the steps of St Johns Church in Waterloo.  It is a bright, clear January.  The espresso is ordered and the collaboration begins.

As Franko explains, “I always love the opportunity to work with other artists. I don’t separate art forms and I am not precious about my own work. This collaboration is a good thing that allows each other’s work – Decay’s and mine – to reach out to each other’s audience.  I still believe in the spirit of punk and there is a common thread of our core ideals, but most importantly I love the new songs – Killer and Woman With The Black Heart especially, and the new material has made me listen to the old Decay too. I love it!”

The band are indebted to Franko for his love and generosity. Yes, its UK Decay as art critics!, and we leave you all with the continuing eloquence from Abbo,

“Franko B had made a statement so simple yet so profound and most importantly the most singular representation in my mind of the acknowledgement that the concept of the symbol of a nation now rests sadly in mourning in Britain and in the USA today, caused by the irresponsible, corrupt and immoral actions of those elected and empowered to represent it.”

One day we may claim it back!