A Howlin’ Wind: Pub Rock and the birth of New Wave

Press Release

Let’s all go down the pub – 1970s style


A Howlin' Wind

Take a trip to a lost world.  A world permeated by the odour of stale tobacco and overflowing toilets; a world where your feet stick to the carpet and the walls are covered in peeling flock wallpaper. The Watneys Red Barrel is warm, but the band on stage is hot.  Welcome to the world of 1970s pub rock.

Author John Blaney traces the history of pub rock from its Mod roots through to its reinvention as British new wave. He covers all the essential bands such as Eggs Over Easy (who started it all), Brinsley Schwarz, Kilburn &The High Roads, Dr Feelgood, Elvis Costello and more, in a fascinating study that has been painstakingly researched and is well argued.

Crucial to the movement were Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera, both of whom managed Pub Rock bands before setting up Stiff Records. With little money, or inclination, to sign big acts they turned to the Pub Rock caterpillars they knew and turned them in new wave butterflies. Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Elvis Costello were all on roads to nowhere, but made it big as a result of Stiff’s involvement.

The book ends with the Be Stiff tour of 1979, when a ‘new’ new wave was breaking with Wreckless Eric, Lene Lovich and Rachel Sweet.

With eye-witness accounts from those involved, including a lengthy interview with Dave Robinson, John Blaney explains perfectly how pub rock started, flourished and reinvented itself as the new wave:  ‘A Howlin’ Wind’ that blew away the cobwebs from a moribund music scene.

This book is different from Will Birch’s excellent No Sleep Till Canvey Island, and is complementary to it as Will looks at the When and Where, whereas John covers the Why and How. Will has been very supportive of our book.

In addition to an 8 page plates section there are black and white images of people and memorabilia scattered throughout the book, making this a lovely memento of an era when the music mattered.

A Howlin’ Wind: Pub Rock and the birth of New Wave is published as a 352 page paperback on 21st October, price £14.99, ISBN: 978-0-9566420-4-2

For more information or to interview John Blaney, contact Phil Godsell, on 07880 792 259 or e-mail him: phil@soundcheckbooks.co.uk