Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When Punk Invaded Coventry

Pete Clemons turns his pen to the Punk scene in Coventry - for his latest article for the Coventry Telegraph.

Below - the Sex Pistols at the Lanch Poly (Coventry University) Arts festival 1976.

Trev Teasdel recalls - 
"Coventry lad - Scon (Steve Connelly) - better known now as Ratty Roadent joined The Clash as their roadie and later joined the Sex Pistols. He introduced the Specials to Bernie Rhodes (and unwittingly caused Gangsters to be written when it all went wrong!).  Scon (as Roadent he was known in his Coventry days) was involved with Coventry Cathedral as a young man and was a regular at the Lanch, working in the cloak room during the Lanch gig nights. I met Scon in 1972 and we used to hang out in the Wimpy bar near Trinity Street, writing poetry and lyrics, chatting up the waitresses and discussing the world. Scon recalls those bohemian days set him up for life on the road with the two bands.

Kevin Harrison of Coventry band Urge alerted me and  in 2007 I got e mail from Roadent confirming the story of his joining Clash - Roadent wrote -

"It is true I did work for the Clash, used to live in the rehearsal room with Joe & Paul '76/'77, until musical differences between me and Mick left to my departure just after "White Man..." was released. Then I moved from one rehearsal room to another — The Sex Pistols. What times we had.
After the Pistols demise, I fled to Germany and had a couple of years acting
for German tv — high point..."

The Passions song "I'm in Love with a German Film Star"was written about me, you might remember it. £ 5,000 a month was too much for my liver (that was quite a lot in the early eighties), so I drifted back to "RocknRoll" as a mercenary, journeyman, technician doing onstage sound for: Pretenders, Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, UB40, PIL, Elkie Brooks, Earth Wind & Fire, Bob Marley, ABC, Bob Dylan, Barbara Dickson (Zal Clemonson of SAHB was in her band!) amongst others. So you see that early grounding in an unconventional lifestyle, living in the Wimpy, stood me in good stead "

Roadent (Scon)

Roadent's sketch of Trev Teasdel by the Lady Godiva statue, Broadgate Coventry 1972

Songs Roadent influenced - I'm in Love with a German Film star by The Passions.

Roadent continues
"Whilst working for the Clash I had been interviewed for a German documentary "Punk in London" After the demise of the Sex Pistols. The director of that documentary contacted me and asked if I would like to be in a tv show for German TV " Brennende Langeweile" (Burning Boredom) featuring The Adverts. It was shite but as I had no means of supporting myself so I took the part. After I stayed in Germany, moving to Munich, where I got more work acting for German TV, I always thought I was a crap actor, but they were willing to pay me up to 20,000 marks (around £5,000) a month — who was I to refuse.) The biggest film was Das Ding (The Heist) in which me and four mates from the German army stole 250,000,000 marks, but all in 5 Mark pieces. The film was directed by Uli Edel who later went on to direct an equally bad actor — Madonna. I have always been touched by the idea of a song written about me, but not so sure about the Foo Fighters doing the same."

Roadent went out with Barbara Grogan of the Passions, who wrote the song about him. There has been a lot of speculation about who the the 'German film star' was, bnut it was our downhome Scon or Roadent -

"Contrary to popular belief, the German Film Star referred to in the song is not Klaus Kinski, Curd Jürgens, Jürgen Prochnow or even Marlene Dietrich. In fact he was neither German nor a star but a certain Steve Connelly, aka Roadent, one time roadie for the Clash and the Sex Pistols. However, he did appear in several minor German films" http://www.thepassions.co.uk/german_film_star.html

Pete Chambers with Roadent in Coventry c 2009 for the erection of the Two Tone Plaque for Mr Georges nightclub in Coventry, where the Specials met Bernie Rhodes.

Scon (Roadent) with Christine Street in the Coventry Evening Telgraph July 1973. They both worked at Michael Rixom's Hair Salon about the time Bowie had his hair dyed. They were the first in Coventry to follow Bowie's style.

Roadent signing an autograph

Roadent with the Clash

Scon in his early days c1972 on the left.

The Wimpy bar hang out in 1972.


Pete Clemon's mentions Alternative Sounds, another Coventry music magazine which was created by Martin Bowes in 1979 as Two Tone broke through in Coventry. Martin championed a lot of the new Punk 9or punk inspired bands of the late 70's in Coventry and initiated the Sent from Coventry album on Cherry Red.

Martin Bowes of Alternative Sounds 

Below - A selection of Coventry punk bands from the late 70's / 1980. Roddy Radiation's early band The Wild Boys, V Babies / Criminal Class / Stu Knapper's Riot Act  and Terry Hall's Squad.

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