The Boss is not the first musician to be cut off mid set…
photo of the Stretchheads by Martin Hewson

“My Heart Just Bled for the Boss”

The injustice of it all, eh? I know how it feels when my creative juices are flowing, the crowd are moshing to your set but suddenly everything is thwarted by ‘the man’. But rest assured; life’s too short for solos, indulgence or overstaying your welcome.

Picture Coventry Polytechnic on March 1st 1989, St. David’s Day. The three pronged sensual assault of Fflapps, Dandielion Adventure and Stretchheads on UK tour staggers into a modern students union. 100 rabid, intoxicated Welsh boyos frenzy at the bar waving giant leeks and daffodils in honor of the Patron Saint. The scene for confrontation is set.

First on, we Stretchies are 5 and a half minutes into our typical 20 minute set of around 15 numbers. I dig deep for gutwrenching howls for the end of ‘Rex Perplexed’ and suddenly I’m bellowing solo over a blistering drum roll. My scream echoes out across the room but I’m not amplified! I feel exposed, castrated and confused. The drumbeat stalls while I stare down the sound engineer, standing with a massive ‘Ant Music’ sized plug in his hand, smug look on his face.

No protest, no rebellion…just a dignified retreat, then further humiliated by the blood chilling cry from the bar…”Oggy Oggy Oggy!!!!”. We’ve experienced our first and only ‘plug pull’.

In a perverse way, it felt like victory. We had interrupted rugby-jocks in full national song with our vile, frantic hardcore, but so much for Celtic solidarity. Dandelion Adventure fared better, the soundman perhaps confused by their psychedelic hypno-core. Fflaps of course went down WAY better as headline act, singing their churning Welsh-language punk anthems, but it was bitter-sweet. Not one of the swaying rugger-morons understood them.

I still beam with pride however, Stretchheads got several songs down those lager-lubed throats and we still got paid.

(For a sample of Stretchheads genius discordant death to trad rock live action, listen to this 10 songs in 16 minutes





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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Our group was privileged to see Ray Davies at Glastonbury 2010. He was on such great form. It was a very emotional gig, as he dedicated ‘Days’ to Kinks bassist Pete Quaife who had died only that week. The rest of his set was anthemic and uplifting with a London Community Gospel Choir adding reverence to his classic songs. Oh, and it was fucking boiling hot.

    And then the stage manager intervened with slicing movements across his neck asking Davies to end his set. Alright, its a big festival, with extensive TV coverage and everyone has to run to time, but to replace one of the greatest ever British songwriters with Jack fucking Johnson felt like a piss take. It felt like the entire crowd at the Pyramid groaned and went for a pint of cider.

  2. Oh how i used to love the stretcheads and i remember Fflapps when they played in London …..Dandelion adventure….hi aj ..xx .anyway back in about ’90-’91 not only did my own beat combo headbutt get the plug pulled half way during our set, we had the lights go out and a visit from the landlord who was busy upstairs trying to watch the telly….mind you, we were a bit shit and things got thrown …. httpss://

    k xx

  3. There’s a certain Glasgow Tory who is proud to say he pulled the plug on The Stranglers.

    Made his feckin’ life when somebody mentioned it in a biog about 20 years ago and he never tired of telling.

    Which says something but I’ve no idea what.


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