Toward the end of 1979, Storbeat, a a small independant local label, run by a group of friends, offered to do a single with us, we agreed, naively thinking that, although they were a commercial venture, their independent status would at least ensure a degree of honesty, it wasn't long before we learnt better.
By coincidence, on the day that we were going into the studio to record the single, Crass rang us up to ask if we'd like to do a single on their label, by then we were commited to Storbeat, but we did make it condition of the contract that we would be free to record with Crass whenever we wanted. We went ahead and recorded 1970's knowing that we could do the single with Crass at latter date.
After the record was released we realised that Storbeat were not living up to their agreement, they hadn't paid the recording fees and weren't making the right kind of efforts to move the single. We were getting pissed off with them so we contacted Crass to arrange starting work on a new single with them. When Crass looked through the contract we had signed with Storbeat we found that the clause freeing us to record with Crass was invalid. We contacted Strobeat but they were unwilling to help, in fact they started placing all sorts of stupid conditions on Crass so, for the while, we dropped the project.
As time went by Strobeat lost interest in us and we were at last able to record Neu Smell on the Crass Label.
Around this time we decided to nick the materials for pressing 1970's from the pressing plant that did Storbeats work, we were fed up with them doing nothing with it and we wanted to get it out, if only to pay back the cost of recording it. the result of this fiasco was that we pressed 1000 before Storbeat found out and generously offered legal action for our troubles, we gave it back to them before the sheriff came round.
By now Neu Smell was topping the alternative charts and Storbeat decided to capitalise on our success by re-releasing 1970's. We contacted them, telling them that we had now started our own label, Spider Leg Records, and that we were prepared to buy the pressing rights from them. They said they wanted £300 plus 2% production fees etc, the production fees were probably to pay off the dope bill run up by the 'production team' at the original recordingsession, which probably accounts for many of the 'special effects'. We told them to piss off and they went ahead and pressed the record with no proper label and a shitty cover, to retail at £1, which by any standard is a rip-off. What they were doing is a complete contradiction of what we stand for; so we decided to record the single, with the old band, whith decent labels and cover and sell it for 75p.
When we tried to get the old band together, Richard, the drummer, didn't want to do it, so we asked our new drummer if he'd mind doing it, he agreed, so we booked the same studio, Spaceward, and at last seemed to be getting somewhere. On the morning of the recording the drummer failed to turn up, we'd noticed that this old band was playing at the Rainbow that day, so we added things together, paid off the studio, £120, and headed for London. We arrived at the Rainbow in time to find our new drummer and guitarist comming off stage - as we disagree with a great deal of what many of the bands playing that day represent, (high entrance prices, dressing-rooms, roadies, rip-offs and so called 'real punk chaos'), we wereleft with no alternative but to tell them that we couldn't work together any more. So, we'd lost half of our band, £120 and the chance to stop Storbeats little game.
Later that day we spoke to Crass about another go - we booked it at Southern Studios and recorded and mixed the new 1970's in five hours, (by then we couldn't afford any more). We think the result is worthwhile - at least it was honestly produced by people who care, which is fucking rare in the shitty world of the music business.
Punk is a way of life, a working together of people who want to reject the system. We've found that a lot of people who claim to be punk are no better than the business men who exploite us all. We've heard of 'punk' bands buying themselves into the charts, 'punk' who let other people do the shitty work while they star it up in the dressing-rooms, 'punk' who think money is more important as friendship. We stood in for one so called punk band who cancelled a gig so they could be on Top of the Pops and then read about them slagging us off in the music-press, NOW WHO'S EXPLOITING WHO?