Twenty years after Ian Lowery‘s death, David Lowery has gotten justice for his brother’s efforts in Sunderland Punk group, The Wall. The full catalogue of songs written and sung by Ian during his time with The Wall has been released on a compilation album, The New Way to Peroxide.
The Wall was Ian Lowery’s second band and the result of scraping together a line up during his art school days at Sunderland Polytechnique. Fellow students Andy Griffiths (bass), Joe Hammond (guitar) and Bruce Archibald (drums) along with Ian Lowery (Vocals) comprised the original line up who recorded four songs at Impulse Studios in Newcastle in 1978. At the same time, a demo tape was sent to Pete Stennent at indie label Small Wonder (responsible for kicking-off the careers of Crass, Bauhaus, The Cravats, and Patrik Fitzgerald to name a few), who loved it and agreed to release The Wall’s first two singles.
The New Way EP is released under Small Wonder in 1979 with three tracks, ‘New Way’, ‘Uniforms’, and ‘Suckers’. The EP had significant radio play and quickly sold ten thousand copies worldwide. After the explosive success of the New Way EP, The Wall moved to London, the cultural home of the Punk Rock movement in England. This resulted in the replacement of two members who didn’t make the move; Bruce Archibald was replaced with Rab Fae Beith on drums and Joe Hammond with Nick Ward on guitar.
The Wall were making their mark on the scene and Small Wonder manages to secure former Sex Pistol Steve Jones to produce their next single, “Kiss The Mirror/Exchange”, released in the Summer of ’79. On the back of this success the band sign to a new label, Fresh Records / Polydor, in September 1979 and immediately started recording Demos for their first full length Album, ‘Personal Troubles and Public Issues’.
This is where the wheels fell off for Ian Lowery. After recording vocals for four songs on the album, he was ousted from his own band after heated disagreements over artistic direction. Polydor then brought in new vocalist, Ivan Kelly, to cover the entire album, thusly re-recording Lowery’s tracks and leaving them lost to history…. until now.
Although Ian Lowery went on to have a full and rich musical career after The Wall, the release of these previously unheard tracks will delight the discerning collector or music historian. I’ll bet Ian himself is pretty chuffed with it and smiling down from the big recording studio in the sky.