Saturday, 9 December 2017

Interview With Steve Higgins (Kill The Colossi/Crash Landings/Decatonics, ex-Gonads)

  An interview today with South Coast Steve..... Steve Higgins.

  Steve's been in a number of bands over the years and is currently drummer for 3 very decent Uk acts. We recently chatted about those bands, his thoughts on influential oi legend Gary Bushell and his thoughts on political infighting and the state of the current scene.

Just Some Punk Songs :  How old were you when you discovered punk and who were the first bands you loved?

Steve Higgins : I was probably 14 or 15 and remember having Never Mind The Bollocks on cassette by the Sex Pistols and Black and White on cassette by Stranglers. I liked the anti establishment stance most of the bands took towards what was happening in the mainstream
I also got into the Clash, Siouxsie And The Banshees and the John Foxx era of Ultravox!

JSPS : Was there much of a local punk scene or any good local bands?

SH : Not at first as I grew up in Bury st Edmunds, Suffolk.
A few local bands I remember were the Wynd-ups, they became 13th Chime and supported Theatre of Hate in Cambridge. As I remember Criminal Tendencies who later became Condemned 84 had a couple of guys I knew from Bury St Edmunds too. I know that those latter bands have issues.

JSPS : From what I can make out, your first band was Cries Of Tammuz in 1992. Following this was a bunch of bands I'm not familiar with such as The Heroines, Ordeal X, Monument, The Outcast Band and The Unit. What led you to join your first band, were they a punk band and are any of those early bands ones people should track down?

SH : Ok so Cries Of Tammuz was the first band I recorded with in 1993 they were a Gothic alternative Rock band likened to Fields Of The Nephilim
Some people may like some of it, it’s dark and atmospheric In truth I gravitated more towards the Goth Dark Wave side of music in the early ‘80s into the mid ‘00s so the likes of Killing Joke, Banshees, The Cure & Joy Division I had more in common with.
(Steve has a Facebook group called The Church Of Killing Joke :

I guess I reestablished my true punk roots when I moved to the south coast in 2010 when I saw an ad to join The Gonads and the inspiration for the church of Oi came out of that to help me re-connect and find out about the newer bands in the scene we know today.

The Heroines were like Throwing Muses, Pixies, PJ Harvey. Ordeal X had more in common with Killing Joke and the Ruts. Monument was a splinter band of Faces Of Sarah. The Outcast Band are likened to The Waterboys, New Model Army & The Levellers. The Unit are 3 piece punk band which is/was Harv Harks solo project who now plays in Menace and is also in Missile.

The Gonads - Warriors

JSPS : Did joining The Gonads feel like a step up? Where they still drawing in decent crowds this many years on from their heyday and Gary Bushell seems to be a bit of a devisive figure amongst some people. What's he really like?

SH :  Joining The Gonads was a bit of both if I’m honest on the one hand it got me back into playing and listening to punk old and new including Oi and Streetpunk.
My second gig was at the Garage in London supporting the Cockney Rejects in front of 500. On the other hand the Gonads are more of a joke band and I don’t really like that side although he has written a few socio political songs too.

Gonad’s headline gigs were generally only people that heard the early stuff. People recognised Garry more for his tv and journalistic work.

Before I’d met him I knew about his past and my thought was Garry Bushell that wanker. But then as I got to know him a bit better I realised that he was one those people that was constantly kicking against the pricks, although I would say that he could have said more to unite the scene rather than divide.
But in the end I guess when you're young you tend to be blinkered in your opinions then as you get older and wiser your mind expands and opens up more to what’s going on.
I’ve met people through the years at gigs whose opinions and ideologies that they had when young have since changed to be less ignorant and more tolerant.

Like you hinted at earlier people either love or hate Garry Bushell.

The Decatonics - Standards

JSPS : You left The Gonads in 2013 and are now drummer with The Decatonics, Kill The Colossi and most recently The Crash Landings (all great bands that have previously featured on here). Is it hard finding the time to commit to all 3 bands? What does the future hold for them (I think Kill The Colossi in particular have a sound that should see them appeal to young punk fans and with the right material could be one of the biggest home grown punk bands around)

SH :  It’s a case of prioritising which band has gigs etc that specific week so you focus on that.
As regards KtC we have our debut album all recorded, it just needs mixing. Also on Wednesday this week we did a rehearsal as a 3 piece which seemed to go better than expected.

JSPS : Crash Landings' All Guts No Glory was one of my favourite albums of 2016 but they were pretty quiet this year. Anything on the horizon for them?

SH : TCL have a lot of new songs that are being worked on as we speak hopefully there will be an album or ep mid 2018.

JSPS : The oi scene has always been pretty splintered but it seems to me that where it was once left wing against right, nowadays more and more bands that aren't political are getting dragged in and targeted by the more extreme elements just because they refuse to get involved in the political side of things. Have you experienced any of this in the bands you've been in? I'm sure you know of plenty of non political bands that have. Do you think it's something that's getting worse?

SH : That’s a toughie!
I think the bands want people to like them and be entertained by them whilst trying to stand in the middle. I haven’t experienced this in the bands I’ve played in yet.

Kill The Colossi - For Honour

JSPS :  You started Facebook group The Church Of Oi. Their description is "Oi/Streetpunk is a Religion open to one and All Regardless of Race Colour Creed or Subculture. Music Unites All" It's a group that promotes oi music but won't tolerate extremism or politics. To me it seems a safe haven away from scene bullshit where fans can get together and just enjoy the music. There's also an increasing number of great oi bands getting invited to play the Rebellion Festival. Would you agree the oi scene is as healthy now as it's been since the mid 80's? And which new bands do you recommend to anyone who might be looking to explore the scene?

SH :  Yes I believe that punk Oi Streetpunk alternative music has no colour or creed, as you can see what has happened with particularly the Skinhead culture worldwide like the Far East etc and South America.
The scene is in a good place right now but there will always be someone somewhere that wants to stir up negativity.
Regarding the 80s I was someone who was more on the anarcho punk side of things with the likes of Crass, Exploited, Discharge etc.
New bands I like are the more melodic progressive ones like
Arch Rivals
Booze n Glory
Boots n All
Out of Order
City Saints

The Mistakes
Grade 2
Dare I say Crash Landings
Resistance 77
I could mention KtC 😜

Make sure you check out Never Be Quiet Records too.

Being in a covers band can be fun but at the same time it can make you complacent I always have a need to be playing, recording and writing new otherwise I’d get bored.
As Drummer musician and yourself as a DJ you may be seen as liking one specific style of music but because we are enthusiastic about music it doesn’t make any difference as to what style it conforms too as long as you like it.


JSPS :  Thanks Steve, it sounds as though you'll be having a busy and productive 2018 and I look forward to hearing the new stuff...

Kill The Colossi - Fuck The Taxman

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