"...they threw themselves in to the eye of the storm and captured gold dust, they took chances, they went where angels often fear to tread and they captured a moment in time like nobody else did…If you want to get a real feel of the Leeds music scene from back in the 80s, there’s is no better place to look than Whippings & Apologies..."
The Dead Vaynes
In 1980, Rock n Roll was dead, Glam rock was dead, Prog rock was dead (the hippies were just too mashed to realise) and Punk rock was absolutely 100% DEAD .... the 70s were all 'rocked out'. Sloganeering on t-shirts, leather jackets and garden walls may have proclaimed otherwise (‘Punk’s Not Dead’, ‘Buddy Holly Lives’ and 'Sid Is Innocent') but these music genres were as dead as dinosaurs. Some bands plodded on regardless, some morphed into caricatures of themselves while others crashed and burned (literally). As a new decade dawned there were alternative sub cultures to get immersed in (bandwagons to jump on). Post Punk, Oi Oi, New Romantic, Electronic, Psychobilly and Goth all rose from the ashes of the previous decade. So too did Whippings and Apologies.
W&A was a D.I.Y. 'glue and scissors' rag written and produced in Leeds by Steve Trattles and Mark Johnson, who both who started going to (post) punk gigs together after escaping from the same school at the earliest opportunity in the summer of ‘79. They were inspired by what was happening in the grubby little concert venues and record shops around Leeds and decided to document it all by producing a fanzine. The first issue was called ‘Primitive’(“Because it was”) and included an interview with Soft Cell, which was not only a first for the fanzine but also for Soft Cell themselves. Marc and Dave had just released their debut EP called ‘Mutant Moments’ but a year later they would be on Top Of the Pops with a number one single.
Also included in that debut issue were gig reviews and photos of New Order, The Stray Cats, The Modettes, Adam & the Ants and The Passions. A print run of only 200 copies was gobbled up in a couple of weeks by the regular crowd of misfits at the notorious F-Club punk venue in Leeds. A second print run was not even considered because the touch paper had been lit and issue two was already on the launch pad. Enter Whippings and Apologies.
Issue "2 was released in mid ’81 and included interviews with Killing Joke, Altered Images, The Shakin Pyramids and a brand new local group called The Sisters Of Mercy. Again W&A was in the right place at the right time to witness the Sisters’ debut hometown gig and also interview them to discuss their plans for world domination ... even though they were only three gigs old at the time. (who knew?)
Over the next few years a total of eleven issues were released, covering many bands and artists from a number of music genres. Lots were local to Leeds and Yorkshire while others came from further afield. Features on The S.O.M, March Violets, Salvation, Skeletal Family, Danse Society and Xmal Deutschland tapped in to the Goth demographic while Pink Peg Slax, The Meteors, The Stray cats, Shakin’ Pyramids and The Orson Family kept the rockabilly rebels on their blue suede toes.
Some of the bands featured in W&A never made an impression outside of their home town, while others, who may once have experienced indie chart obscurity in the early days, subsequently went on to create music that now defines the 80s. Soft Cell, New Order, Adam & the Ants, the Smiths and REM.
Whippings and Apologies may only have been small fry in comparison to the national music weeklies, but we had a whale of a time making it AND we are extremely proud of the fact that sometimes WE WERE THERE FIRST. With that in mind we have decided it’s time to share the contents of those dusty old fanzines once again by releasing all eleven original issues in book form (with previously unseen photos and memoirs from some of the original artists who featured over thirty years ago ) .
WHIPPINGS AND APOLOGIES - The Book With The Extra Sting is scheduled for release in Autumn 2018. Keep checking here for further updates.