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In your own words.

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The Boys Punk rock opened a lot of creative avenues and showed that with a little belief anything was possible.

As John o'Neill wrote in 2000; "Inevitably after a certain time the idea of releasing a record and having some sort of tangible evidence that Derry had at least one punk band became a priority for The Undertones and luckily, through a friend, they were able to go to Belfast and record the Teenage Kicks EP for the Good Vibrations label. When the record was released in September 1978 at least a couple of other bands with a similar attitude had started writing their own songs and playing live, and a small scene was slowly growing based mainly around the Casbah, however no one was really prepared for the reaction that Teenage Kicks would receive once released."

And what a change it made. The night after performing Teenage Kicks on Top of the Pops the Undertones returned to Derry to headline at the Rocking Chair pub in Waterloo Street. We know what happened to the Undertones but whatever happened to the Binmen?

The fact that the Casbah was the epicenter of Derry's punk explosion caused untold problems for fans who wanted to go there. X Ray SpexEugene Martin describes his first impressions:

"I thought the Casbah was a pit, a hell hole, a right kip, a den of iniquity. It smelt worse than a sewer and looked worse than a slaughterhouse. Its clientele were ageing hippies, poofs and prostitutes. I was appalled and shocked at its low life. If my ma had caught me there she would have murdered me. It made the decadence of Berlin seem almost cathedral like. I liked it..."

Once in the door however it was sheer bliss for a few hours. As one fan was overheard to say:

" Five pints of Smithwicks, ten Embassey Regal, The Undertones at the Casbah and no girlfriend - heaven".

For others the experience was just too much.

"I took my girlfriend to the Casbah hoping to impress her. After a few drinks she asked me where the toilets were so I pointed her in the general direction. That was that; I never saw her again".

No matter what we thought of the Casbah it was Derry's most important music venue in that it allowed new bands to play. Damian O'Neill remembers it like this;

Casbah Sept 78It's absolutely imperative to emphasize the crucial role played by The Casbah in The Undertones story. This was, after all, the very place where we learnt our chops of how to be a live band, kinda like The Beatles did in The Bierkeller in Hamburg in the early '60's only The Casbah rather more resembled The Ratkeller from The Rutles spoof film.

Normally your average Casbah audience would consist of long haired hippies, drunks, stoners and maverick types The Undertonesor what my Dad would call 'ne'er-do-wells' with a few prostitutes thrown in for good measure but this didn't faze us at all.....we were simply grateful to have a twice a week residency in a pub in Derry and the apparent seediness of the place adapted well to the kind of punk music we were trying to learn to play. Actually, most the Casbah locals grew to like us, perhaps we reminded them of an early version of Them or an uglier version of The Rolling Stones. The fact that we were doing Sex Pistols/ Ramones/ Johnny Moped /Slaughter and The Dogs/Stooges covers alongside 'Gloria' and songs from Lenny Kaye's Nuggets didn't seem to matter to them. Basically I think even they could appreciate the ENERGY!

Rock Club Oct 78Gradually word spread around town that there was this mad punk rock band worth checking out and happily within a few months we were starting to see and build lasting friendships with like minded people who normally would steer a wide berth from places like the Casbah but who turned up because the atmosphere was great, the beer was cheap and you could watch a band that wasn't playing 'Smoke On The Water'.

And boy was there some attitude around. In an interview with The Corner Boys for the Positive Reaction fanzine in January 1980 an unnamed band member lets rip, and I quote:
"We hate Alternative Ulster,Positive Reaction, and Belfast bands. They're all crap. We especially hate The Tearjerkers, The Idiots, they are all poseurs. We also hate Idle Threats, Oscars and lastly but not least we hate Mr O Hara."


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