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Dave Gregg guitarist extraordinaire dies aged 54

Posted on April 2, 2014
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When music fans talk about how wild Vancouver punk legends DOA were in their prime, they are talking about guitarist Dave Gregg.

Tall and thin and always wearing jeans with no knees, Gregg would leap about like a man possessed, whipping the audience into a frenzy with his antics and fiery guitar playing. In tandem with cohorts Joe Keithley, Randy Rampage and Chuck Biscuits, Gregg pretty much defined hardcore punk rock in the early 1980s.

“He was an attention-getter,” said Keithley. “You’ve got to say that was the golden era of DOA, 1980-82. (He played on) the Hardcore ’81 tour, which now everyone remembers as the template for this stuff. I constantly hear about how (people call us) the godfathers of hardcore.”

Gregg died Sunday night at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock following a heart attack. He was 55.

As wild as he was on stage, Gregg was easygoing and personable off it.

“He was a wonderful guy, and really creative,” said Keithley, who choked up discussing Gregg. “He was always in good humour.”

A good example of that came one night in 1981, when Gregg fronted a one-off band called 1984 at the Smilin’ Buddha, the legendary punk club on Skid Row.

“Somebody yelled out: ‘Why do you call yourselves 1984?’” recounts Gregg’s friend Dale Wiese.

“And Dave said, ‘Well, we all thought by then we’d be good enough to play these songs’.”

Gregg’s contribution to Vancouver’s musical underground can’t be overestimated. Gregg was the lead guitarist in DOA from 1980 to 1988, playing on seminal punk albums like Somethin’ Better Change, Hardcore ’81, and War on 45.

He also played in Private School, the Grooveaholics, and the Real MacKenzies. He even rented Fort Gore, a legendary punk dive at the eastern foot of the Georgia Viaduct.

Fort Gore was the middle of three decrepit cottages at Prior and Gore. Gregg lived in one, and turned the abandoned cottage next door into a venue that had some wild shows.

“There was one show with the three D’s — DOA, the Dils, and the Dishrags,” recalls Keithley. “There was so many people (there that) people couldn’t see, so they smashed a hole through the hallway to look into the main room so they could see the bands.

“Dave took the middle house closer to Prior and fixed it up, made it reasonable, and we practised there for eight years. It was like a boys club — (bassist) Wimpy and Dave and I would practice our slapshots in the kitchen off the linoleum floor and see if we could get the puck to stick in the door at the other end.”

Gregg was born in La Ronge, Sask., where his father made maps of remote rivers and lakes for the province. In his childhood, the family moved to Quadra Island.

He moved to Vancouver at the beginning of the local punk movement, playing with Private School at the landmark “Anti-Canada Day” celebration staged by anarchists on July 1, 1978, in Stanley Park.

Keithley said Gregg was recruited for DOA after the band’s original drummer Biscuits noted Gregg had three key attributes: “His guitar playing’s fine, he’s got a house to practice in, and a P.A.”

After he left DOA, he moved to New York with his longtime companion Cathy Cleghorn, where their companies Anthill and Easy Partners sold merchandise for A-list rock acts like the Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Pink Floyd.

Gregg often went on the road: The Easy Partners website said “Dave has toured from Moscow to Osaka, Anchorage to Capetown with The Bee Gees, Pearl Jam and Patti Smith, to name a few.”

Gregg and Cleghorn were in town to visit family when he suffered a massive heart attack late Saturday afternoon. He was taken to Peace Arch Hospital, where he passed away Sunday night.

Rubella Ballet ‘Planet Punk’ new album

Posted on March 30, 2014
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Rubella Ballet

‘Planet Punk’

Overground Records

OVER135CD & OVER134LP (Green vinyl w/CD)

Release date: 31st March 2014

“They were the band who bridged the gaps between The Sex Pistols, X Ray Spex, and Crass.” TylerVile Punk Globe Dec 2014.

Rubella Ballet formed in 1979, with the nucleus of the band coming from a gig where Crass invited the audience to use their equipment and finish the gig. The band toured with Crass and the Poison Girls before touring with many other punk and goth bands. Rubella Ballet hail from the Anarcho punk scene but are equally at home playing the Goth scene as they were a part of its early conception.

The band became infamous for creating the Day-glo Death Rock punk scene with their different and innovative style of music and the shock value of wearing ultraviolet day-glo clothes.  Louise Gray, our hottest British designer, has credited Zillah Minx as an influence on her designs."Zillah Minx of Rubella Ballet - she was one of the originators of punk in London. She wore colours and used UV paint to make her clothes and sets for gigs so everything was illuminated! I LOVE HER” - Louise Gray, Elle Magazine May 2013.

Rubella Ballet released their first single ‘Ballet Dance’ in 1982 and also in the same year released their debut album, ‘Ballet Bag’, a creatively packaged cassette only album. They released a further two studio albums and four singles as well as various compilations. This will be their first album of new material since 1986’s ‘If’.

Sid and Zillah were inspired to start writing this album containing highly motivated and political songs about a variety of subjects such as: government brainwashing, the creation of new strains of flu virus to reduce human population, the police cover up of Hillsborough stadium disaster as well as a chance meeting with two whistle-blowing MI5/6 agents who had been monitoring their political activities in the 80s and were now working with William Rodriguez, a caretaker at the twin towers who had dedicated his life to telling the world what he believed really happened during 9/11.

Sid explains “The overriding message of the album is to not to believe every thing you hear on the news or read in the newspapers, as the very same people we are protesting against are those compiling the news.

“Thank Christ for Rubella Ballet! Punk went from being this fun colourful place to be, to all these miserable bastards wearing black! I knew what I’d see there (Crass Gigs) I knew what I’d hear played there…. and bands like Rubella Ballet where a breath of fresh air“ - Steve Ignorant, Crass. The Day The Country Died

Track listing:

Planet Punk/ All Potential Terrorists/ Run Run/ Killuminati/ Pandora’s Box/ Anonymous/ Hellbilly Heroin/ Bio Hazard/ Silver Or Lead/ Wonderful Life/ You’ll Be Sorry/ Sedition/ Victory For The Victims/ Vampire Wedding/ Starship Transporter

Overground Records – www.overgroundrecords.co.uk

Forthcoming Rock Garden Revisited gigs on Teeside

Posted on March 26, 2014
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Good Friday 18th April - Gallon Drunk + Ruby & The Pussycats  + Claire Louise @ The Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough 7.30pm - £9 Adv £11 OTD

Frid 30th May - The Rezillos + Duncan Reid & The Big Heads + Zeitgeist 77 @ Georgian Theatre, Stockton 7.30pm -£16.50 Adv £20- OTD

Frid 4th July - Eddie & The Hot Rods + Arcane 39 @ Georgian Theatre, Stockton 8pm - £10 Adv - £12 OTD

Sat 5th July - TV Smith + Support @ The Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough 7.30pm £5 Adv - £7.50 OTD


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