‘The best punk rock fest in the world’

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Punk veteran Charlie Harper, front man of the UK Subs through the band’s many line-up changes, is looking forward to being back in Blackpool on Sunday as part of the Rebellion festival.

“Well, I think it’s the best punk rock festival in the world,” he said.

“There’s not one bigger, not even the Warped tour.

“Rebellion is a real party, a real gathering of the tribes.

“You name it, it’s even got an arts show, it’s got bingo done by Max Splodge.

“It’s also got the acoustic stage, which is one of my favourite places to be.”

Charlie formed the band out of his then R&B group The Marauders late in 1976.

This is the fifth decade that the UK Subs have been recording and playing live, and having been one of the most successful and consistent punk bands in the world, they have maintained a heavy touring schedule throughout their career, which they continue with today.

Speaking about fellow punk legend and Sex Pistols front man John Lydon’s first ever appearance at the festival with band Public Image Ltd, he says: “I really like Public Image, I think they’re a great band.

“We played a festival down south and they played after we got off stage and they sounded brilliant, as usual.

“They’re all great musicians. Johnny Rotten just gets better.”

The UK Subs’ first single CID became a huge indie hit back in 1976.

They carried on to have several consecutive top 30 hits between 1979 and 1981 including Stranglehold, Tomorrows Girls, Party In Paris and Warhead.

With a new triple disc album – XXX – to be released next year, Charlie says he’s still writing songs today as often as he used to.

“Almost every day I get an idea for a song or a sound.

“I like every song to have its own little atmosphere around it, a little character of its own.

“I probably play for a couple of hours a day, just mess around then write it down. Not musically just the chords.”

Charlie also claims to enjoy visiting Blackpool’s cafés, although warns that visitors should ask around before deciding where to eat.

“The thing about Blackpool is that you know all the other little shops can be so seedy and nasty,” he said.

“There are some lovely little cafés, but you have to ask around.

“We always recommend one, that’s really nice. A greasy spoon really is a greasy spoon up there.”

Talking about the developments he has seen over the years while performing in Blackpool, he said: “I think the festival and other kinds of events that are happening at the Winter Gardens, have helped put Blackpool back on the map.

“Every year we go there there’s a big, big change.

“Even in the recession they built a shopping mall there and stuff like that.

“Things for the masses.”

By Andy Hamilton