Flying flag for punk

Chichester band Forward Edge are flying the flag for punk more than 30 years after they first formed.

The band, who got back together again a couple of years ago, has secured a prestigious date The Dublin Castle in Camden Town on Sunday, June 12 - a chance to follow in the footsteps of some illustrious names.

As vocalist Mike Clark explains: “The Dublin Castle was the place where Madness started out and Suggs still regularly attends gigs there.

“However Madness was just the start. Many other bands cut there teeth at the Castle on their way to stardom. From the punk era The Vibrators and Sham 69 brought anarchy to Camden.”

Before the London date, Forward Edge have got a date at the Chichester Inn in Chichester on April 16 in a support slot for Icca’s Belle.

Mike, who lives at Bracklesham, said: “We originally formed as The Passengers in 1979 here in Chichester. We were only 16 or 17 then, and we played a bunch of gigs.”

When another band by the name of The Passengers released a single, Chichester’s version was forced into a name change, becoming Forward Edge.

“We were very popular here. but we had two members that were real punk rockers and the other two were more into main-stream music. As we got more proficient, the difference became more and more apparent so we split up.”

The last gig was New Year’s Eve 1980. But after Mike returned from the States a few years ago, the band got back together for their 30th anniversary: “Everyone else was having anniversaries, so we thought we should!

“While we were rehearsing, we started doing some new material, which was actually much better because we are much more accomplished musicians now, and so we just carried on.”

They brought out a self-titled album last summer; since when, Mike says, their new material has got even better.

And yes, they’re still punk - though Mike points out that punk is more a question of attitudes than Mohicans: “It’s about an anti-establishment attitude. Whether it was The Sex Pistols or Blondie, it was still that punk attitude. Punk is a broad church.”

The band is completed by Mark Blythman - guitar; Pete Passingham - bass; and John “The Mechanic” Doe - drums.