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MUSIC & THE ARTS

The legendary Leatherface

By Steve Auto of Point Blank Poznan

Posted June 25, 2015
leatherface in concert
Leatherface live: The band in action in Germany. © Leatherface

Steve Auto pays homage to Leatherface, a band you really ought to know better.


So here I am, once again sat listening to Mush as the sun comes up.

A lot of punk fans will argue this album ranks up there with the best of them, but sadly many won't even know what the front sleeve looks like1.

I'm always a bit dubious when fans of said genre tell me they've never heard of Leatherface.

After all, this is a band that started back in '88 and have had a huge influence on both the melodic and hardcore punk scenes.

But blah, blah, blah.

You didn't tune in for a holier-than-thou lecture.

So let me tone it down a bit.


LEATHERFACE LIVE
The first time I saw Leatherface play live was in Sunderland when I went up with a group of mates to see Hot Water Music back in 2000.

I'd never even heard of Frankie Stubbs or his recently-reformed group.

But fuck me if they didn't churn out a set with some of the best tunes I'd ever heard.

Perhaps it was the fact they were on home turf, perhaps it was the fact they'd been away for a few years – it didn't matter.

I quickly snapped up a few records from my local record shop and got stuck in.


ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
Leatherface's history isn't an easy one to document.

There's been side-projects, suicides and line-up changes aplenty.

But somehow they've always managed to produce records and songs which have kept them relevant.

Over the years I've built up a decent collection of Leatherface-related music.

Frankie Stubbs could put many UK songwriters to shame but ironically some of his best tunes have been released during his time away from his main outfit.

Plebs by his second band Pope has to rank up there as one of his greatest songs, while his acoustic EPs boast some top covers, such as I Can't Help Falling in Love and a tear-jerking version of Nick Cave's Ship Song.

Perhaps the band's oddest moment came in 1998 when they featured in British soap opera Emmerdale (albeit under a different name)2.

After turning up to play a church charity do, the boys get turfed out for being a bit too hardcore for the small village crowd they'd been booked to entertain.

"All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small."

Class.


Leatherface appeared on Emmerdale in 1998
Punk City Central: TV's Emmerdale Village in 2006 yesterday. (Check bottom for credit)


POLSKI PINTS
In 2012 I was lucky enough to catch Leatherface again in Gdynia in Poland with pretty much their old line up before they finally disbanded a year later.

It was a cracking concert and one for which an extra guitarist had been drafted in due to Frankie's arm being in a sling.

After the gig I stood at the bar and had a good chat with original guitarist Dickie Hammond, who didn't have enough cash to buy a beer.

Expensive Polish prices or a poor payment policy?

I'll let you decide.

After getting a round in, I was gifted a free copy of their new (and final) The Stormy Petrel album, which I stuck on repeat during my long night-train journey back to Poz.

Looking for more recommendations?

Try Horsebox.

As well as featuring an old 100 złoty note on the cover, it's got a great opening track and plenty of other decent tunes to boot.


STEVE'S TOP FRANKIE STUBBS TUNES
I Don’t Want to Be the One to Say It (Leatherface)

Plebs (Pope)

I Want the Moon (Leatherface)

God is Dead (Leatherface)

Sour Grapes (Leatherface)

Andy (Leatherface) - A touching homage to their suicidal bass player

Truly Beautiful (Frankie Stubbs - acoustic)


Chief hack's note: So there you have it. But for all you gogglebox gobbler-uppers out there, what's this about Leatherface being on Emmerdale? Hmm. Better have a watch of this, I guess, embedded here on the tune-tastic Rake & Herald from Bobby Sokk’s YouTube channel, which you can check out here.




See also Graveyard Drug Party, posted 30/5/14.


Steve Auto
is the editor of Poz-based punk and alternative music fanzine Point Blank Poznan, a publication we've very kindly been allowed to lift a fair few stories from, such as this one here for example. Cheers, Steg! I just found a load of marzipan down the sofa if you fancy it.


Picture credits

Top and thumb: Leatherface live at OHK in Ostend, Belgium in 2012 © Guy Kokken that we found on the band's FaceBook page.

Bottom: Emmerdale Village near Eccup, West Yorkshire by John Turner.

For licensing information click the above link.


Footnotes

1) It looks like this. Only bigger.

2) The band on the show is a five-piece called Shrine, of which three were then members of Leatherface, viz Stubbs, Layton Evans and Andrew Laing. Without doubt, they were far and away the best actors out of the whole cast. Mind you, the fourth best was a pint glass and the fifth a lump of plywood.




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