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Gizz Butt: My Punk Top Ten

Janus Stark credit to Andrea Orosz-Hook

Gizz Butt, British metal/punk guitarist, known for playing in The Prodigy and being the lead singer and guitar player for Janus Stark (amongst others), spins his Top 10 Punk Tracks for Punktuation!

If you remember the Kenny Everett Video Show, then you’ll remember the punk character, Gizzard Puke. He inspired Janus Stark lead singer and guitarist Graham Butt to drop the formal moniker and become Gizz Butt.

Gizz has played live with The Prodigy, The UK Subs and Steve Ignorant from Crass.

Janus Stark will play the Rebellion Festival, Blackpool on Thursday 4 August in the Empress Ballroom (12.45-1.20 pm). They warm up for the festival and launch their new album at the legendary 100 Club in Oxford Street, London, on Friday (22 July).

While you’re here, why don’t you check out ‘Clusterfuck’, the band’s new single?

Their fifth album, Face Your Biggest Fear, is available on vinyl, CD and download.

Anyway… it’s now time to find out what Gizz Butt’s top ten punk records of all time are. Over to you, Gizz…


10: GBH – Knife Edge (Leather, Bristles, Studs and Acne)

This is a punk rock punch in the guts from Birmingham. The first GBH release off the Leather, Bristles, Studs and Acne album is reassuringly tough like The Dead Boys and the Stooges but vocalist Colin sings a bit like Lemmy’s younger brother.

GBH have a beat dead similar to Discharge but with more rock and less metal. We (Janus Stark) love them; they’re one of us. The first time I saw them was at the “Xmas On Earth” festival in 1981. I became a fan, and then the craziest thing happened, they came to my home town of Peterborough to get new passports for touring Europe, and I bumped into them, and we hung out for two days. A 15-year-old’s dream!

Before long, the Destructors were on tour with them, and we became very close friends. It carried on when I joined the English Dogs – in fact, GBH fixed us up with a record deal with Impact Records when we reformed in 1993.

GBH fixed us up with a record deal with Impact Records when we reformed in 1993.” Gizz Butt.


9. The Night Marchers – All Hits (B-side to Thar She Blows )

More Proto Punk and Garage rock and not so much hardcore punk but, nonetheless, just as spirited and amphetamine-fuelled.

The Night Marchers are the brainchild of John Reis, aka Swami, aka Speedo of Rocket From The Crypt. Every song they have recorded is a winner with riffs and chord patterns that sound like a fusion of The Beatles with Refused!!!! I’ve had them in my car on repeat for the last three years. Every musical outlet of John’s is brimming with brilliance. Hot Snakes, The Sultans, Plosivs, Swami John Reis and of course, Rocket From The Crypt. I’m friends with John, and we stay in touch. He’s been playing with Pinch lately (drummer of English Dogs) in Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

If I were going to get anyone’s band tattooed on me, it would be the Night Marchers. They’re the greatest.

If I was going to get anyone’s band tattooed on me, it would be the Night Marchers. They’re the greatest.” Gizz Butt.


8. Dag Nasty – Circles (Can I Say)

The first two Dag Nasty albums have different singers, different production, guitar sounds but both as urgent as each other. Both tug at the same heartstrings. Both are epic.

When other bands were trying to play as fast as possible, Dag Nasty found this melodic path right through the middle and stuck to it. It reminds me of 1986 when I was in the English Dogs and The Desecrators and trying to fuse metal and punk in what I HOPED COULD BE THE PERFECT WAY.

Dag Nasty had the Melodic hardcore approach. I was trying to shoehorn some of this into the English Dogs. Check out the Janus Stark song “Commodity Awakening.” The singer on the first Dag Nasty album, Dave Smalley, played at a small pub in Peterborough called The Ostrich, and virtually everyone in the place had a tear in their eye because they were rolling right back to these great times.

When other bands were trying to play as fast as possible, Dag Nasty found this melodic path right through the middle and stuck to it.” Gizz Butt.


7: The Ruts – Something That I Said (The Crack)

It was a dream come true when the Ruts DC reformed to play “The Crack” all the way through. I missed the original lineup live, but my band, The System, covered ‘Babylon’s Burning’ in 1979. They were the greatest of all punk bands musically—such a texture.

I became friends with Ruts DC and went to Suggs’s house, and we jammed out those amazing riffs after dinner. When they played in Cambridge on that tour, I was 13 again, on my mate’s shoulders going mad. It was one of the best nights of my life.

The riffs are some of the finest ever written. It can’t be denied. The guitar sound and playing are what we all aspired to.

“When they (Ruts DC) played in Cambridge on that tour, I was 13 again, on my mate’s shoulders going mad. It was one of the best nights of my life.” Gizz Butt.


6:  Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster (Inflammable Material.)

As young teenage punks, we’d seen these play in Peterborough twice. Jake Burns’ voice was perfect. He had the voice I wanted. I learned every word, every chord and every bit of lead to every song.

The English Dogs released a cover of ‘Wasted Life’. Back in 1979 to 1981, SLF were the soundtrack to our early fumblings with the opposite sex! Girls and boys liked them equally. The first two albums were it, the b sides as well. The guitars rocked, and Jake could play a mean solo. His voice was the key, though. That is the vocal I aspire to even now.

Jake could play a mean solo. His voice was the key, though. That is the vocal I aspire to even now.” Gizz Butt.


5: Crass – Bloody Revolutions (Single)

I was 13 years old and listening religiously to the John Peel radio show. It used to help me (hinder me!) with my homework. One evening Crass came on the radio and hit me hard with something that seemed life-threatening. It was machine gun-like and confrontational. I was amazed by this band.

The symbol of the band logo, the black shirts, that first album with each track joining seamlessly. We painted that two-headed serpent on the backs of our jackets. This band was intelligent; no one had lyrics like this.

The military grind of the guitars and the siren-like wailing of Eve Libertine perfectly complimented the hyperactive drumming and urgent force of Steve Ignorant. Every song was fascinating, but ‘Bloody Revolutions’ was genius. I saw them in Northampton in 1981, which was a tough evening having to deal with some violent bastards in the crowd. In 2007 I had a phone call from none other than Steve Ignorant, he asked me to join him, and from 2007 to 2011, I played those songs all over the world. Imagine that!

Crass came on the radio and hit me hard with something that seemed life-threatening. It was machine gun-like and confrontational. I was amazed by this band.” Gizz Butt.


4: UK Subs – Tomorrow’s Girls (Single Only)

That muted three-chord guitar riff is followed by the Rebel Rebel-like bass line, and then our Charlie comes in and sings the most catchy punk song that has ever been written.

Me and my friends used to gatecrash all the local gigs, hijack the instruments and bang out Tomorrow’s Girls. They played in Peterborough in 1979, and I sneaked in a tape recorder and bootlegged the gig. I learned all those songs and covered them in my pre-Destructors band, The System. Years later, I would play with the Subs when English Dogs supported them, and Alan Campbell wouldn’t show up.

I’d jump up and jam a dozen songs from their early back catalogue with no rehearsal. Charlie played on the Janus Stark song ‘It Can Be Tough Up There‘ and sang backing vocals on ‘Commodity Awakening‘. Charlie Harper is the Godfather. Alvin Gibbs is the Goduncle. Both these guys are the absolute grandmasters of punk. The finest gentlemen to walk the planet.

Charlie Harper is the Godfather. Alvin Gibbs is the Goduncle. Both these guys are the absolute grandmasters of punk. The finest gentlemen to walk the planet.” Gizz Butt.


3: The Clash – Safe European Home (Give ‘Em Enough Rope)

I was lucky that, as a 12-year-old boy, I went with my older friends to watch The Clash play the Wirrina Stadium in Peterborough on the ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope Tour.‘ That night regularly plays in my mind, what I saw, what I experienced.

Safe European Home opens up another perfect album with such style and amazing sound. The song is right up there in the list of perfect album openers. I played in a Clash tribute band for a while and eventually managed to meet Joe Strummer at V festival 2000.

“Safe European Home opens up another perfect album with such style and amazing sound. The song is right up there in the list of perfect album openers.” Gizz Butt.


2: The Damned – Love Song (Machine Gun Etiquette)

Of course, I loved The Damned before, but when I heard this, I wanted a piece of the action! This song, along with ‘Bomber‘ by Motorhead, gave me the inspiration to fuse together these two styles to try something new. A kind of crossover between punk rock and heavy metal. “Love Song” has everything.

Amazing guitar playing that places the guitar at the very front where it ought to be. The guitar solo is to die for. I learned the licks in this song, and they served me well as a whipper snapping 13-year-old guitarist!

The bass at the beginning as well! Compressed to hell, followed by that bloody insane drum roll. The best drum roll ever. Dave Vanian is excellent on Love Song. He’s in another class. Definitely, definitely, the finest musicians in punk.

Dave Vanian is excellent on Love Song. He’s in another class. Definitely, definitely, the finest musicians in punk.” Janus Stark, Gizz Butt.


1: The Sex Pistols – Holidays In The Sun (Never Mind The Bollocks)

What is there not to love about ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’? It’s still as incredible today as it was in 1977. Steve Jones’s guitar style and sound was my biggest influence, along with Thin Lizzy. That massive sustaining D chord, the slide down the neck into riff one, then the G ringing beautifully into the palm muted second riff. 

Turn it up and enjoy it. ‘Holidays In The Sun’ the greatest punk song EVER!!!!! Paul Cook plays solid and tough drumming, and John’s urgent, sharp and spitting vocal delivery. It’s fucking perfect.

Holidays In The Sun’ the greatest punk song EVER!!!!! Paul Cook plays solid and tough drumming, and John’s urgent, sharp and spitting vocal delivery. It’s fucking perfect.” Gizz Butt.

Janus Stark launch their new album at the legendary 100 Club in Oxford Street, London, tomorrow – Friday (22 July)

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