Chelsea is a group which have been in the punkmovement for a very long
time. All old punks and new ones also remembers their song Right to work
which is almost like a national anthem for punks around the world. They
release a new album in december 2014. Hereīs an interview done with the
group in the beginning of October 2014.
Have you been a playing band all the time since you started ?
-Yes we've been playing live since 1976, we've had a few line-up changes
over the years but always kept the band going playing live and releasing
Who are the members nowadays, please tell me about previous bands, bands
on the side and so on?
-At the moment we have one of the best line-ups Chelsea has had;
Gene October - vocals, James Stevenson - lead guitar, Nic Austin - 2nd
guitar, Mat Sargent - bass, Lee Morrell - drums.
James also plays with The Alarm, The Cult, Glen Matlock, Gene Loves
Jezebel and played for Generation X and Kim Wild. Mat also plays for
Splodge, Jennie Belle Star, Rock n Roll Gypsies and has played for Jimmy
Pursey's Sham 69, The Beat and Honest John.
Whatīs the biggest difference of playing nowadays if you compare when
you started to play?
-There's no big difference really, there are more punk festivals
nowadays so we get to play in front of bigger audiences... a bit like
the 'So What' tour in 1981 or the 'Christmas On Earth' show.
How is to play punk in England today? Is it hard to get gigs?
-It's always good to play in England, it's not difficult to get gigs but
we are an original 1976 punk band... new bands that don't have a name
for themselves find it harder to get gigs that pay.
Many of the old punk groups still play today... any favorites from then
which play nowadays ?
-We like SLF, UK Subs, 999, The Lurkers, The Damned, Members, The Boys,
Anti Nowhere League, Eddie & The Hotrods, GBH, Buzzcocks, Leatherface,
Ruts DC, Splodge, TV Smith, Die Toten Hosen, Vice Squad, Anti Pasti,
Dickies, Jimmy Pursey's Sham 69, Vibrators, Angelic Upstarts....
probably a few we missed but these bands keep the scene alive.
Why did you take a name from a football team/part of the city or how did
it became Chelsea?
-It wasn't from the football team, Chelsea is a place in London where
punk started on the Kings Road, we played our first ever gig at the
'Chelsea Potter' Rolling Stone Keith Richards was in the audience.
Are you supporting Chelsea as a football team (I support Arsenal) or
donīt you give a damn about football?
-Gene supports Chelsea football team.
Have you ever done any tribute song to a football team, animal rights,
political party or whatever? Could you imagine yourself doing it?
-We donated a track to the 'Paul Fox' (The Ruts) tribute album called
'See You On The Other Side' Paul sadly died of lung cancer a few years
Gene did a solo album once please tell me about it?
-Gene's solo album 'Suffering In The Land' was recorded in 1983 and
featured 'Menace' guitarist Steve Tannet and co-manager of The Police
Kim Turner. Gene's 2nd solo album 'Life & Struggle' was recorded in
1995, Glen Matlock played bass and James Stevenson played guitar, it was
a chance to do something slightly different to the Chelsea format.
I only collect CD's nowadays and I miss a lot of your albums on CD, can
I get them on CD like Underwraps, Rocks off, Original sinners, No
escape, Traitors gate, Live and well?
-Most are available on CD, the only ones that are not on CD are
Underwraps & Original Sinners. No Escape is the U.S version of
Alternative Hits, it was given a different cover as the U.K cover was
banned in America.
Do you still buying records?
-I get most of my records from charity shops, sometimes I get records
from bands merch stalls at gigs. The last CD I bought was last week - 'X
Ray Spex The Complete Collection'... a bargain at Ģ2 from a charity shop
What do you think about downloading and all that stuff?
-Downloads are the new way to sell music I suppose, I am still old
school and like to hold the record/CD in my hand.
Is the new album coming on CD/LP?
-The New album will be coming out on CD, we may be getting a limited
edition pressed on vinyl for the collectors who have been buying our
records since the band started.
-We haven't decided which label, we might put it out ourselves and do it
punk style independently.
Is it important to release your albums on physical media?
-Definitely, when you record with a band like Chelsea it's like playing
in a working museum and a physical copy is needed for our fans otherwise
if it gets released just as a download it will get lost in the ether!
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word, or is it a lifestyle?
-Punk is a way of life, an attitude and movement that is still as
relevant today as when it started.
Please tell me a little about the new album, how does it sound, how many
songs, what is it going to be called?
-We will record 14 new tracks, we have all written songs for it and
collaborated together. The last album was Faster, Cheaper & Better
Looking which was released in 2005 so its about time... One of the
tracks is called 'It's About Time' so maybe that's what the album will
be called. We are offering our fans a chance to pledge towards the new
album. You can pledge to get your name printed in the album, get signed
copies, sing backing vocals in the studio or even a night out with the
band. Check the website
for more info.
Have you been playing much outside England?
-Czechoslovakia, Germany, Scotland, Belgium and we did the 'Social
Chaos' tour in the U.S a few years back which was fun.
Where is best?
-The last show we did outside England was in Belgium @ Excelsior earlier
this year on our 'Bulldog Breed Tour' , it was a great night, fantastic
venue, great vibe and luxury apartments for the band !
Please tell me some thing fun which have happened during your career, on
stage or in the audience?
-In Freiburg, Germany on The Alternative tour there was a swimming pool
outside the hotel. We stacked all the tables & chairs up in the swimming
pool like a huge pyramid about 50ft high all the way up to Gene's room
on the 1st floor. Gene went mental when he saw it... that was funny !
How does your audience look, is it very mixed?
-We have a very mixed audience, guys & girls, young & old. We have
people as young as 18 writing to us telling us they have just discovered
the band which is great.
Is there any change to the audience if you compare it from when you
started except that they are older?
-Not really, the attitude is still the same, old faithfuls who come to
most of our gigs and new faces that come and see us for the first time.
It's great they all get to know each other and it's like a punk rock
Are there any type of people you miss at your concerts
-No not really, sometimes when we play certain places where we know
people and they don't turn up we miss them but other than that... maybe
some rich people to buy all our merchandise.
How is it to live in England today? Politically?
-It's cool living in England, some places are better than others as is
everywhere but it's OK. Politics stink as they always have done not only
in the U.K but everywhere.
What do you know about Sweden? Have you been here?
-I don't recall Chelsea playing in Sweden, we played in Copenhagen in
Denmark on 'The Alternative Tour 1993'.
Have you heard any good Swedish bands?
-The Backyard Babies, Noice, The Hives, Zero Zero, Abba
Are there any good bands in England today?
-Sure, lots, I think we mentioned most of them in an earlier question.
Except from the new album , what will the future bring from you?
-We plan a tour in April / May 2015 to promote the new album. We also
plan to cut some old footage of the band from The Alternative Tour 1993
& the Traitors Gate Tour 1994 and make 2 movies.
And the future for yourself as a person?
-Promoting the Sex Drugs & HIV album, a huge music project involving
over 200 musicians which supports 4 main charities.
-Keep it real! .... sorry that was 3 words
Something more to add?
Thanks to our fans for their loyalty to the band, keep an eye on our
website for up & coming shows and hope to see you soon !! http://www.chelseapunkband.com