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“It all started as a bit of fun and something to do really.” GBH guitarist Jock Blyth is talking about the band he formed with three friends 45 years ago in Birmingham, England. Like many other British youth at the time, GBH formed after seeing The Clash live. The enthusiastic teens set about their craft with a determination typical of their working-class upbringings. “We were writing songs at a furious pace then and would throw them in the set straight away”, says Blyth. Their energy paid off as the band was quickly signed to Clay Records, an independent label run by Mike Stone. “He came to see us supporting Discharge on one of our early tours and came up to the dressing room afterwards to say how much he’d enjoyed our set. He asked us to join Clay records shortly after and we jumped at the chance.”
The signing paid off as the band exploded onto the charts upon the release of their first full length LP, City Baby Attacked by Rats, in 1982. Jock realized his world was forever changed. “I remember listening to the album chart countdown on the radio. It was a Sunday afternoon and straight after a Jimi Hendrix track from a compilation album they played the title track. I couldn’t believe it and ran to my father’s room to let him hear it. He’d been of the opinion of ‘you’ll never get anywhere’ and ‘you should get a proper job’ up till then, and in his own way I could tell he was impressed even though he was reluctant to show it.” Attacked reached number 17 in the UK charts and the band embarked on a whirlwind year of touring and recording, culminating in the release of their second album City Babys Revenge in 1983. Revenge defied the sophomore slump of many bands, resenting a tighter, even more ferocious sound, tempered with GBH’s trademark sense of humor. It spawned two UK Top 10 singles, “Give Me Fire” and “Do What You Do” and brought the band to international audiences. “Shortly after its release we did our first American tour” says Blyth. “It lasted 3 months. We met so many interesting people, many of who are friends of ours up until today”. “The songs had been pretty well rehearsed,” Blyth observes, “they kept the energy from the live shows in the recordings.” Combined, the albums form a 1-2 punch that has influenced countless bands since and maintained relevance in both the punk and metal canon.
GBH stayed on the road and having been touring the globe almost continuously since then, often playing 100 or more shows a year. The band has released 9 more studio albums, along with numerous EPs, live albums and bootlegs. 2023 sees GBH return to the US, on a 26-city tour, where the band will be celebrating these two iconic early albums. “We love playing these songs live. It transports us back to those times and places and never gets old to us. 40 years later we never dreamed we’d still be doing this… It’s turned into life itself.”
Colin Abrahall – vocals
Colin “Jock” Blyth – guitars
Ross Lomas – bass
Scott Preece – drums.