U.K. Subs frontman Charlie Harper looks back on four decades at punk’s frontline
With U.K. Subs, frontman Charlie Harper has spent four decades manning punk’s front line. Now 72, the one-time bluesman and hairdresser talks about a long life less ordinary.
By the time that dyed-in-the-wool bluesman Charlie Harper first witnessed punk rock in the flesh he was 32. Immediately moved to embrace the scene, he initially reinvented his R&B combo The Marauders as The Subversives before finally settling on the appropriately short and sharp epithet U.K. Subs.
Having made their vinyl debut (caught live at Covent Garden Brit-punk crucible The Roxy on New Year’s Eve 1977) the quartet enjoyed a rapid ascent. Though largely dismissed by the music press, they found an early champion in Radio 1’s John Peel, and widespread grass-roots support as they surfed punk’s second wave. A flurry of hits (Stranglehold, Tomorrow’s Girls, She’s Not There, Warhead) repeatedly took them to Top Of The Pops and mainstream infamy, before they dipped back beneath the radar to become international cult heroes. Latterly embraced (alongside Sham 69 and Cock Sparrer) as pioneers of street-punk, the U.K. Subs – in a number of incarnations, but always fronted by Charlie Harper – have never ceased gigging, racking up more than 200 shows a year for as close to four decades as doesn’t matter…
For the full interview visit: http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-08-05/a-street-punk-named-charlie-harper