was 4th June 1976 when the Sex Pistols played the lesser Free
Trade Hall, Manchester. The gig was the first major gig outside
of the capital and it was down to two idealists, Peter McNeish
and Howard Trafford. After experiencing the Sex Pistols at
High Wycombe, they decided to get together and form a group.
First they change their names to Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto.
They call themselves The Buzzcocks from the tag line of a
‘Time Out’ review of Howard Schuman’s classic
pop serial, ‘Rock Follies’ and they play their
gig was the second coming of the Pistols to the Free Trade
Hall in late July with the Buzzcocks including Steve Diggle
(and John Maher) acting as support. Their seminal self-financed
EP Spiral Scratch was to follow and The Buzzcocks instantly
forged a unique relationship with their public.
band went on to break away from the Pistol's anarchy and the
Clash's overt politicism, signing to United Artists on the
day Elvis died and producing a string of hit singles that
welded high-octane guitar, bass and drum power with heartrending
personal statements of love won and lost or dismay at the
modern world. Pete Shelley couldn’t have a warmer more
camp stage persona and next to the psychotic presence of Johnny
Rotten, Shelley was a pure punk pussycat, while still retaining
the gritty angst of a teenage rebellion.
of the finest examples of Shelley’s vocal talent can
be found on their first major label release, “Orgasm
Addict” in October 1977. It was however Devoto who was
to be the original lead singer but he abandoned The Buzzcocks
in February 1977 to form Magazine with Barry Adamson.March
of 1978 saw the release their debut album ‘Another Music
In a Different Kitchen’ and they released 5 singles
in this year including the massive ‘Ever Fallen in Love
(With Someone You Shouldn’t Have)?’ September
Their second album ‘Love Bites’ is released and
12 months later came ‘A Different Kind of Tension’
followed by ‘Going Steady’ compillation.
1981 the Buzz had gone and the band split up as the Bow Wow
Wow and Adam Ants come along to take over the scene. It was
the end of the road for the four piece as they existed, but
as Shelley went on to solo projects, and Diggle formed ‘Flag
of Convenience’ with Maher. 1989 saw The Buzzcocks come
together to tour America with ‘The Smiths’ drummer
Mike Joyce and Steve Garvey the bass player. In 1992 The band
recruit two likely lads from the South, drummer Phil Barker
and bass player Tony Barber to write new material and the
first new album from the new generation was ‘Trade Test
Transmissions’ in 1993.
Then in 1996
they release ‘All set’ and after a Shelley/Devoto
collaboration, as well as a sixth album, the band return on
a world tour, which would see them, come back to Manchester
in April 2003. Well they return to the city for a second gig
on 19th December and they carry the flickery flame of a past
Madchester era, which started a revolution. To quote 2 songs
noise annoys I don't mind!