Ruts DC Tour Diary: Part 5

Part Five of our exclusive Ruts DC tour diary.

Ever onwards! It’s another day, another car-park for your fearless punk diarist Dave Ruffy… 

Day 7

Chesterfield Winding Wheel, Derbyshire.

Wake up in the market town of Chesterfield. I recall playing a benefit for the miners at the Derbyshire Miners Holiday camp at Skegness in or around ’78 with Ruts and Misty in Roots. Seems like a lifetime ago.

I leave the bus. We are parked behind the gig which tonight is the “Winding Wheel”; an ex-theatre, now ballroom. It has a seated balcony, it’s beautifully maintained and has a sprung wooded floor throughout the main room. Class.

I go and search out breakfast with John, Nick and Leigh. We find it at the cheap and cheerful Yates wine lodge and realise I should be feeling hungover after the drink mix fest of last night, but no, I feel absolutely fine! It must be the ‘ol Ruffy genes!

Afterwards, we take a walk around the town and spot The Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints, the Crooked Spire of Chesterfield. For a moment I think that maybe last night’s festivities have taken their toll! But no, it’s definitely crooked and quite extraordinary.

We have proper promoters tonight and they look after us, supplying our dressing room with towels, sandwiches, fruit, crisps and drinks (thanks Mark).

Segs and I have an interview to do with Tim Peacock from Record Collector. We find an empty dressing room and call him in Eire, he calls us back and I switch the mobile to speaker. Two hours later we conclude. Segs and I can talk for England! But it’s a reflective piece and it’s important to get the facts right… it still gets quite emotional talking about the demise of Malcolm (Owen, see pic right). It’s his birthday this coming Saturday, the 7th December. He would have been 60! Of course as he died when he was 26, he will always remain 26. To paraphrase Ian Dury, “What a Waste”.

Moving on…

I remember that Marco Pirroni is coming tonight. I like Marco, he is a true eccentric. I’ve had the privilege of working with him a few times over the years, notably with singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor in ’89-90 and Adam Ant in ’93-’95. He wrote the music for all the post leather Adam and the Ants and is a brilliant guitar arranger. I first came across Marco in 1976. He had a band called “The Beastly Cads” (who later became “The Models”), and they used to rehearse in the upstairs of a warehouse in Rotherhithe in south London. At the time I was in a band called “Hit and Run” with Paul Fox and we rehearsed downstairs in the same warehouse. We were a couple of years older than them and interestingly another member of “The Cads” was Mick Allen who Segs would work with years later in “Wolfgang Press”. Marco, of course, had already been in the first incarnation of Souxsie and the Banshees by then!

Blimey, this is getting lengthy!

Anyway I remember Paul Fox talking to The Cads about tuning their guitars and Marco looking incredulous at the very suggestion!

Soundcheck…. goes OK. I love my group!

The Bomb soundcheck after us, I drop by their dressing room to say hello. They are most cordial and Jeff the singer tells me he saw Ruts DC in Chicago in ’81 and talks about us going back there for Riotfest! I notice they have no rider so I give them a six pack of Becks and some water. They are travelling in a van with no windows or heating… oh, the glamour of the leisure industry. They are on at 7:15. It’s loud as f*ck! They are a four piece, guitar, bass, drums and vocals. They sound like they are from Detroit and the band play hard and fast and like some Midwest American bands, they swing in a way that most British bands don’t! Jeff has a very artistic punk rock singing style with a deliberate slightly off key vocal that falls both early and late around the tempo of the band (who are also tight as f*ck). I like them and they are right up my street!

We meet Pinch near the square who directs us to a shoe shop with a window chock full of fine leather brogues…. not for me today though. The town has a great energy about it and is bustling. I can see no boarded up shops and and the locals seem friendly. Later I chat to Captain about the place and we discuss that unusually, the planners had done a good job of keeping the integrity of the old town and market square and managed to pedestrianise parts of it whilst allowing the traffic to move freely around it. There no getting around getting around ! It’s funny the things you talk about with punk pop-star chums.

This evening we have “The Bomb” (see pic right) opening up the show. Formed by Jeff Pezzati from Naked Raygun, they hail from Chicago. More of them later.

We are on at 8:10 pm and the place is busy. The bars are doing good business (punk shows always sell the most beer).

We have a good show, as do the Damned. Chat with the Bomb afterwards and get a few numbers. Marco drops by the dressing room (see pic with Dave Ruffy right).

He’s looking good and wearing a terrific Ralph Lauren vintage jacket, a pair of big E Levi’s and some rather nice boots. He is his usual dry self. He gets on well with Segs, Captain drops by and we take pics (see one below of Captain, Marco Pirroni and Ruts DC below for instance). We have a few drinks and organise a visit to see him and his new girlfriend.

It’s after midnight. The hall is clear and load out is nearly done. I’m hungry- I haven’t eaten since breakfast. I break my “no fast food” rule and visit the “best kebab house”, settle on chicken and roast potatoes before bed and much needed zzzzzz’s.

Be sure to check out all the previous parts to this tour diary, starting with part one here.

All words by members of Ruts DC. This feature was sourced by Phillip Thompson. More writing by Phil on Louder Than War can be found here and you can follow Phil on Twitter and check out his band Bug at their website.

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