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(SOUNDS May 21, 1983)

'CLA SKINHEADS, always in the right
Drinking through the day and shagging through the night
Don't give a shit what the higher class think...
'CLA' by Crux

The record-buying public's first introduction to the Camphill Liberation Army and their apparently blissful existence came at the fag-end of '81 courtesy of No Future's seminal 'Country Fit For Heroes' compilation EP.

A gem of bootboy basics built on a wobbly but well rowdy terrace rivvum, Crux's raucous ode to their beer^ swilling buddies would hardly have endeared them to Paul 'I hate cavemen who drink in pubs' Weller and similar grim gurus but it did bring a ginsoaked tear to the eyes of less tight-lipped listeners.

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The next vinyl outing from these Nuneaton nutters, 'Liddle Towers' on last year's distinctly average 'Oi Oi That's Yer Lot', saw their stadium-soaked sentiments take on a more serious side.

Basically a rough-house rewrite of 'De Camptown Races' it saw the street corner quartet taunting the constabulary with lines like -You got Liddle Towers, but you won't get me, doo-dah- '

Further defiant pleasures were available a little later on No Future's 'Keep On Running' 12" which Crux shared with the nicely speed-crazed Crash.

Here they proffered four spunky sing-songs in classic OiOi style, the best being the sprightly title track. Though not exactly Ted Templeman production jobs, they were spirited yobbo anthems which were delivered just as fine live, as London billies discovered at the band's knuckle-dustered fistful of Skunx gigs last year (before that sweaty dive got polluted by blockheads).

Now Crux are back in the studios knocking together another noisy No Future EP which should find them well placed when, as looks likely, another wave of harmless hooligan bands takes off this summer.

Now comprised of the three McGrath brothers (Mick on guitar, Brendan on bass and dumpling vocalist Andy) and drummer Andy Garner, Crux's original line-up (which saw Brendan replaced by Mick Rowe) actually formed as far back as 1978 bashing out dodgy renditions of classic Pistols, Clash and Sham gear in a local youth club.

By the time brothers Mick and Andy had started scribing their own embryonic streetpunk arsenal and had begun to build up their own local following (the CLA), Rowe had been replaced by the equally short-lived Higgy.

Before long the Camphill Commandos had teamed up with neighbouring Coventry band, Criminal Class, the Upstarts-influenced combo noted throughout 1979 and 1980 for their pioneering benefits for RAR and the Troops Out Movement.

Crux themselves shy away from such overtly political activities.

"We're not a big political band really" Andy McGrath explains.

"When we first started we used to do songs attacking Thatcher and that. But we don't really know much about politics. We don't like this government at all but we try to keep away from that side of life. There's too many bands writing about the same thing anyway, it's started to get boring, but we are against anything that makes the rich people richer and poor people poorer."--

Pro the people and pro Britain, Crux fly the flag without flirting with fascism and hate privilege without subscribing to the diehard dogma of cropped Trots 5 la Redskins. This is the nearest to the true original Oi spirit you could probably get.

They've notched up ten gigs since Brenclan joined last Xmas, and cite listening habits ranging from the expected early Blitz and 4-Skins to GBH, Motorhead, and oddest of the lot, Alice Cooper. They're even planning to do a cover of 'Dead Babies'!

Crux are also adamant that street-punk needn't be a dying concern.

Andy:---Loadsof good bands came out of the eighties like Blitz (oh dear), GBH and the Test-Tubes who are big bands and get a decent sound. Punk owes a lot to the Oi albums and record companies like No Future because they've helped keep the sound alive. The Oi albums have brought a lot of great bands into the open, and given unknown bands a chance to make a name for themselves.

"People on the street need punk and Oi because they're sick of listening to disco shit. There's nothing to disco music, it gives you a headache and doesn't tell the truth about what is really going on and that's where punk takes over. It's a way of getting your views across, not just posing.

"Mick's the only one who likes the music of bands like Sex Gang Children and even he doesn't think they're really punk. They're more like a failed futurist band.

'We'd like to get together with about ten of the bands off the Oi albums and do a free open air gig somewhere to prove that punk isn't dead and that genuine punk can't die.

"There should be a programme on Radio One dedicated to Punk and Oi. The nearest we've got is the John Peel show. It's not too bad but he's not as good as he used to be. They oughta do one on Channel 4 as well, there's plenty of room on that and they're not afraid of being offensive.

"There was a programme the other week full of shagging, very good it was, but mams and dads would probably rather let their kids watch a punk band.

"The only reason we're in a punk band'is we like the music and enjoy doing gigs - gigs are the best part of being in a group. We'd like to end up being a lot bigger tou rngdround the country having a go time.

"We'd never like to rip people off charging high prices on the door, we like to keep entrance fees down so as many people as possible can afford to come. The average price we charge when we put on our own gigs is 50p. . .-“

Penny Rimbaud, eat ya heart out.