THE term “living legends” is bandied around too loosely in music circles these days. But when it comes to melodic punk innovators the Buzzcocks, it’s a description that is wholly justified.
Formed in Manchester in 1975, the Buzzcocks were one of the most important bands to emerge from the first wave of punk rock, along with The Clash and the Sex Pistols (Buzzcocks’ name was combined with the title of the Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks to create the title of the long-running comedy TV panel game show Never Mind the Buzzcocks).
Over the years, their spiky pop-punk songs like Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)?, What Do I Get? and Orgasm Addict have influenced bands such as Nirvana, Green Day, The Libertines, The Strokes and The Offspring.
Having survived almost four decades of fads, fashions and changes in music, the band still comprises of original members Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, with new additions Chris Remington and Danny Farrant.
Guitarist and vocalist Diggle, who was first introduced to Shelly by Malcolm McLaren at a Sex Pistols gig, reckons the reason the band has stood the test of time is simply because they wrote quality tunes.
“It’s our songs that have seen us through,” he explains. “They sound like they were written yesterday.
“We wrote about the human condition and used themes that everyone around the world could identify with – that’s why we have fans in every corner of the world.
“The tunes have a sensitivity to them, too. They’re not just love songs, but socio-political messages. Every gig, we get people coming up after the show saying that particular song means that to me... et cetera. That doesn’t happen to a band who use a drum machine and sing something as banal as ‘I’ve Got The Power’.
“Even people who don’t necessarily like punk say they like The Buzzcocks. We have a definitive sound. You won’t mistake us with anybody else. For instance, on our last American tour someone made me listen to two Radiohead albums back to back. I could have written all their lyrics on the back of a cigarette packet. Awful.”
As they prepare to return to the Capital for tomorrow’s gig at Liquid Room, Diggle says they have no plans to hang up their guitars any time soon.
“I don’t know if it will ever really stop,” he says. “Two-thirds of our audience are of the younger generation these days,
“X Factor and all that rubbish is bad for people’s minds. Kids won’t see bands like us on that, so they have to come and see us live. But we don’t need television or the media to get ourselves out there, we deal with the most powerful PR company in the world – word of mouth.
“We’re not selling soap powder or this and that,” he adds. “We’re out there playing live, with the same intensity and passion as we did in the beginning.”
• Buzzcocks, Liquid Room, Victoria Street, tomorrow, 7pm, £15, 0131-225 2564