My original incarnation of this article was originally posted on UK Psychobilly Gig Guide. I wrote it when I set up the Stomping at the Klub Foot Tribute page back in the days of Myspace. In January 2010, I combined it with a review of one of the Klub Foot Reunion gigs for a feature in the lifestyle magazine, Milkcow.
Read on to find a brief bit of history about the Klub Foot, a calendar of gig dates with bands who played there and a little about psychobilly today.
STOMPING AT THE KLUB FOOT – 1980s PSYCHOBILLY
WHAT IS PSYCHOBILLY MUSIC?
When asked by outsiders what psychobilly music is, I usually reply “a cross between Elvis and The Sex Pistols”.
Not because this is entirely accurate, but if you start mentioning The Meteors, The Cramps, Guana Batz and King Kurt, you are met with a blank expression. You know that it’s not even worth throwing in the names of the artists who influenced the purveyors of the 80s psychobilly giants such as Johnny Burnette, Charlie Feathers, Hazil Adkins or Link Wray.
Psychobilly was born in the late 70s/early 80s. By the mid 80s it was a huge, yet still underground youth cult drawing in teenagers from rockin’, punk, garage and scootering backgrounds.
It cannot be denied that the legendary Klub Foot was the centre of the psychobilly universe for most, no matter what part of the country you came from.
STOMPING AT THE KLUB FOOT
Whether you were there or not, there can’t be a psychobilly in the land that hasn’t heard of The Klub Foot. Most will own at least one of the live albums, vhs videos or dvds from the Stomping at the Klub Foot series.
Veterans recall The Klub Foot with fond memories, and the new breed can only hope to gain some sort of feeling for the atmosphere by reading old posts on internet forums.
It was hailed as the Mecca for all things psychobilly, and would entice 100s of pilgrims to venture into West London of a Saturday night. A sea of coloured quiffs and bleached jeans would form a queue around Hammersmith Broadway, waiting for the doors to open at 7.30pm.
THE KLUB FOOT, CLARENDON HOTEL, HAMMERSMITH BROADWAY
The building itself was called The Clarendon which was originally a 3 storey disused hotel and ballroom. Truth be told it was a dive, but it had a large bar and a good sized hall with stage. What more could a drunken youth culture want?
The Klub Foot was held upstairs in what was rumoured to be a 600-800 capacity venue, although reports suggest that many more attended.
On the ground street level, there was a regular pub/bar. Downstairs was a small venue called Broadway that also hosted many iconic gigs, including lots of garage/trash and mod bands.
The Klub Foot was the brainchild of promoter John Curd which started in 1982 featuring a line-up of punk bands. By the mid 80s, it was predominantly psychobilly but often had line-ups that crossed over genres and incorporated goth, rockabilly and garage trash.
It hailed headliners such as Guana Batz, The Meteors, Frenzy, Restless and Demented are Go, supported by many bands which are still the staple diet of psychobilly today – The Coffin Nails, Long Tall Texans, The Caravans and Frantic Flintstones to name a few.
The Klub Foot provided a central place for gigs to be held on a regular basis, a chance to meet with fellow psychos from all over the UK and a few from Europe too. You could have a laugh, see some great bands, drink yourself silly, then burn off a few pounds by wrecking in one of the largest, sweatiest pits you have ever, or will ever be likely to see again. Oh, and if you had any money left you could always stock up on a new band t-shirt on the way out.
1988 THE END OF THE KLUB FOOT ERA
Unfortunately, The Klub Foot had to end in 1988 as the venue was being knocked down for the redevelopment of Hammersmith. It put a real dampener on the scene for a good few years.
The Klub Foot tried to survive at other venues in London but by then the peak of the psychobilly youth cult in the UK had passed, although it had really taken off in Europe. Other gigs and festivals took place up and down the country but nothing had quite the same draw as the Klub Foot.
The closure of The Klub Foot at The Clarendon Hotel in Hammersmith was a coffin nail in British psychobilly.
THE INTERNET RESURRECTING 80s PSYCHOBILLY
Back in the early 2000s before social media became a part of our daily life, internet forums were our main source of internet interaction. Communities were built on Wrecking Pit and Psychobilly Online (PORK) where people could discuss their past musical tastes and misadventures. These were places to make new friends, rekindle relationships with old ones and find out what was happening in the psychobilly world.
Of course, The Klub Foot was discussed on many occasions, and thankfully several people still had a handful of photographs from that era. People shared their pictures and flyers and recalled memories from their youthful past. However, the nature of forums meant that all this interesting history was getting lost in internet archives.
I was already running my own website Alcoholic Rats where I hosted my own photos and memories, but there was so much more out there.
STOMPING AT THE KLUB FOOT FAN PAGE – MYSPACE TO FACEBOOK
So in 2008, I set up a page on Myspace as a place for people to share their memories and photos – I wanted to develop a site that paid homage to the legendary Klub Foot, to be enjoyed by old and young psychobillies the world over.
As the internet progressed and everyone abandoned Myspace in favour of Facebook, I moved as much of it as I could over to the new page. There are lots of photos of bands and punters so do check them out if you fancy a trip down memory lane.
I do not own rights to any of the photos and where possible I have tried to credit them back to their original sender. But if you spot one of yours that isn’t named please message and tag me.
Please note: the page has no connection to the original promoter. It is purely a place to celebrate the youth culture of 80s psychobilly.
KLUB FOOT REUNIONS
Occasional Klub Foot Reunions have been put on by the original promoter in London during the millennium years and they certainly brought a few old faces back out of the woodwork.
There are lots of promoters still putting on psychobilly gigs and festivals in the UK. Regular events such as Bedlam Breakout, The Klub/Klubtastic and Pompey Rumble have been a longstanding driving force. Annual events such as Psychobilly Kicks Back and Psycho Santa give back to charity, as well as putting on great lineups.
It’s wonderful to see so many of these old Klub Foot bands still going strong and playing all over the world. They are now playing alongside a whole new breed of bands who are putting their own slant on psychobilly and rockabilly – some remaining true to old school sounds and some heading in a whole new direction. It’s keeping it fresh!
The live scene has ebbed and flowed over the decades. Bands and promoters have come and gone, and sadly so have many more venues. However, it’s still fairly strong at the moment with plenty of gigs to choose from so please show your support to those who are keeping it alive.
5 Aug – GBH, The Insane, Soldiers of Destruction
12 Aug – UK Subs, Actifed, Chaos
26 Aug – The Addicts, Defects, Brutal Attack, Soldiers of Destruction
23 Sept – Chelsea, The Addicts, Satellites
8 Nov – UK Subs, The Vibrators, Soldiers of Destruction
Sat 22 September Guana Batz, The Stingrays, The Milkshakes, Restless
Sat Dec 8 The Meteors, Sunglasses After Dark, The Trifids, Badlands
Sat 6 Apr – Restless, The Sting-Rays, Frenzy, Demented are Go
Sat 20 Apr – Guana Batz, The Prisoners, X Men, The Creepshow
Sat 6 Jul – The Sting-Rays, The Prisoners, DAG, The Pharaohs
Sat 3 Aug – Guana Batz, Frenzy, Surfadelics, Turnpike Cruisers
Sat 10 Aug – The Meteors, The Outer Limits, Long Tall Texans, Temple Slang
Sat 24 Aug – Tall Boys, Frenzy, The Rapids, The Sting-Rites, The Pharaohs, Primevils, DAG
Sat 7 Sept – Boothill Foot Tappers, Bluberry Hell Bellies, The Rapids, The Outer Limits
Sat 12 Oct – Restless, Colbert Hamilton and the Hellrazors, The Pharaohs, The Outer Limits
Sat 26 Oct – Guana Batz, DAG, Rochee and the Sarnos
Sat 9 Nov – The Sting-Rays, DAG, The Rapiers, The Pharaohs
Sat 16 Nov – Frenzy, DAG, Rochee and the Sarnos, Louie Stars, Nearer the Far
Sat 7 Dec – Hank Wangford Band, Terry & Gerry, Redbeards from Texas
Sat 14 Dec – Restless, DAG, The Lone Stars
Sat 21 Dec – Guana Batz, Rochee and the Sarnos, The Outer Limits, The Skiff Skatts
Sat 18 Jan – Ray Campi and the Rockabilly Rebels, DAG, The Deltas, Wigsville Spliffs
Fri 7 Mar – Guana Batz, DAG, The Golden Horde, The Pharaohs
Sat 29 Mar – The Meteors, DAG, X Men, The Coffin Nails
Sat 12 Mar – Restless, The Deltas, Wigsville Spliffs, The Caravans
Sat 10 May – Frenzy, DAG, Batmobile, Torment
Sat 21 Jun – Guana Batz, Batmobile, Wigsville Spliffs, Coffin Nails
Sat 12 Jul – Ray Campi, DAG, The Caravans, Coffin Nails
Sat 19 Jul – The Meteors, Levi Dexter and the Daggers, Torment, The Krewmen
Sat 2 Aug – The Sting-Rays, The Deltas, Surfadelics, The Highliners
Sat 16 Aug – Frenzy, DAG, Wigsville Spliffs, Red Hot n Blue
Sat 23 Aug – Restless, The Rapiers, The Highliners, ?
Sat 30 Aug – Batmobile (live recording), Rochee and the Sarnos, Coffin Nails, The Caravans, Torment, Wigsville Spliffs
Sat 6 Sept – Guana Batz (Still Sweatin video recording), Bluberry Hell Bellies, The Pharaohs, The Valients
Sat 20 Sept – Buddy Curtis and the Grasshoppers, The Rapiers, Howling Wilf and The Vee Jays
Sat 27 Sept – The Meteors, Rochee and the Sarnos, The Highliners, Get Smart
Sat 4 Oct – DAG, The Deltas, Torment, Coffin Nails, The Krewmen
Sat 11 Oct – Dr Feelgood, Howling Wilf and the Vee-Jays, Finger Tips
Sat 18 Oct – Frenzy, Rochee and the Sarnos, Wigsville Spliffs, Get Smart
Sat 15 Nov – Batmobile, Torment, The Caravans, Frantic Flintstones
Sat 6 Dec – Restless, Rochee and the Sarnos, Coffin Nails, Cat Burglars
Sat Dec 13 The Meteors, Torment, Wigsville Spliffs, Skitzo
Sat 27 Dec – Guana Batz, The Highliners, The Turnpike Cruisers, Har Har Hermann
Sat 17 Jan – DAG, The Deltas, The Pharaohs, Skitzo
Sat 24 Jan – The Jets, Rochee and the Sarnos, Torment, The Coffin Nails, Fractured
Sat 14 Feb – Frenzy
Sat 7 Mar – Restless
Fri 13 Mar – Guana Batz, DAG, Coffin Nails (Live over London Recording)
Sat 14 Mar – Guana Batz, Restless, Skitzo (Live over London Recording)
Sat 28 Mar – The Highliners
Sat 4 Apr – The Meteors, Long Tall Texans, Frantic Flintstones, Emptifish
Sat 9 May – DAG, Torment, Long Tall Texans, Frantic Flintstones
Sat 23 May – Frenzy, Rochee and the Sarnos, Coffin Nails, Fractured
Sat 20 Jun – Restless
Sat 4 Jul – The Highliners, Torment, The Caravans, Sgt Bilkos Krazy Combo
Sat 11 Jul – The Meteors, Long Tall Texans
Sat 25 Jul – Batmobile, Torment, Coffin Nails, Fractured, The Nitros
Sat 5 Sept – The Meteors, Torment, Frantic Flintstones, ?
Fri 11 Sept – Guana Batz, Long Tall Texans, Fractured, Shark Bait
Sat 12 Sept – Guana Batz, Long Tall Texans, Fractured, Shark Bait
Sat 24 Oct – DAG, Bluberry Hell Bellies, Coffin Nails, Vulture Squadron
Date unreadable – The Highliners, Long Tall Texans, Get Smart, Sgt Bilkos Krazy Combo
Sat 19 Dec – The Meteors, Turnpike Cruisers, Vulture Squadron, Shakin Bones
Sat 2 Jan – Torment, Long Tall Texans, The Pharaohs, Coffin Nails
Sat 16 Jan – The Highliners, Long Tall Texans, Fractured, Get Smart, Sgt Bilkos Krazy Combo
Sat 13 Mar – DAG, Coffin Nails
Sat 4 Jun – DAG, Coffin Nails, Frantic Flintstones, The Quakes
There were 8 gigs in succession daily to mark the closing of The Klub Foot in the Summer of 1988, headlined by:
Guana Batz (support by DAG, Torment)
The Lime Spiders
DOWNSTAIRS AT THE CLARENDON GIG LIST
10/02/84 – The Stingrays, The Vibes
24/02/84 – Guana Batz, The Vibes
02/03/84 – Tall Boys, Circle of Sin
03/03/84 – Restless, The Frantix
16/03/84 – The X-Men, The Cannibals
30/03/84 – Guana Batz, Restless
13/04/84 – Surfin Lungs & Surfadelics
20/04/84 – The Prisoners
11/05/84 – The Stingrays, Rib Joints
25/05/84 – The X-Men, Cat Talk
19/08/84 – Restless, The Rapids
22/09/84? – Guana Batz, Creepshow
09/11/84 – The X-Men, Zombie Rockers
30/11/84 – The Vibes, Zombie Rockers
02/12/84 – The Deltas, Fireball XL5
? /12/84 – Restless, The Rapids
31/12/84 – Guana Batz, ?
04/01/85 – The Vibes, Stars on Sunday
01/02/85 – The X-Men, The Golden Hord
10/02/85 – The Rapids, Roughcuts
22/02/85 – The Vibes, Creepshow
08/03/85 – The Stingrays, The Huns
09/03/85 – King Kurt, Sober as a Judge
15/03/85 – The X-Men, The Moonsters
26/04/85 – The Vibes, Surfin Lungs
14/06/85 – The X-Men, Fixed Up
13/07/85 – Frenzy, ?
17/08/85 – The Rapids, Fungus
I will be writing more about the Klub Foot in the future, and I will be rewriting and republishing my memoirs Tales of An Alcoholic Rat at some point too, so do sign up for email notifications and follow on social media.
You may also like to read some of my other interviews and musical features including many people who attended the Klub Foot back in the 1980s.