Growing up in the late1970s meant living under the shadow of the Cold War, with agents of the Eastern Bloc, real or imagined, lurking round every corner. For Boz Hayward, growing into teenage years and the thrill of punk rock, his espionage-themed song Russian Spy became an unlikely anthem, inspired less by political dogma than by Harry Palmer films, over-active imaginations, and muttered code-phrases on park benches.
Russian Spy would be performed by various of Boz’s teenage punk bands, gaining cult status among the local alternative cognoscenti, but it would take another couple of decades before the song made it to an officially recorded punk version, with Boz settled in Manchester and forming the band There’ll Always Be Diseases. Along for the ride were his old friend Bill Marten, the former bass player of local trash punk legends Inca Babies, with Gold Blade drummer Rob Haynes completing the trio.
Quick-reflexed punk surf guitar took the place of the balalaika, and tight, thundering bass and drums drove the song to a definitive recorded version.
Sadly the band came to a tragic end with death of Bill Marten in 2008, but their unreleased debut album was made available for download at https://tab-d.bandcamp.com
Russian Spy was also recorded during the album sessions but until now had never been released. Now, as the 21st century political landscape shifts back towards the bad old ‘us and them’ ideologies, Russian Spy is being sent out into the world as a download single, the latest stage on its long strange journey.
There’ll Always Be Diseases (TAB-D):
Boz Hayward – vocals, guitar
Bill Marten – bass
Rob Haynes – drums, backing vocals
Russian Spy is available for download from iTunes, Amazon, etc from 1.5.15 (May Day, 2015)