Staring At The Rude Boys

This is the third post this week by a band or artist which I can’t quite believe I’ve never featured here before (Junior Murvin and Meat Puppets being the other two). The Ruts were a key punk band, bringing reggae influences into their music in a way which didn’t seem cackhanded or overcooked. Singer Malcolm Owen and guitarist Paul Fox lived on a commune in Anglesey in the early 70s, gravitating into the punk world via record shops, a Ramones t-shirt and the Pistols on the telly. They pinned their colours to the mast politically, playing several Rock Against Racism gigs and being involved in Misty In Roots’ Southall anti-racist collective. They made several belting singles and one album. Staring At The Rude Boys, from 1980, was a comment on the newly arrived 2 Tone bands. And if you’re going to stare, it may as well be at rude boys- they’re often the best dressed people in the room.

Staring At The Rude Boys

Malcolm Owen died of a heroin overdose in July 1980 at the age of twenty six, despite recording and singing on several anti-heroin songs with the band. Heroin really was the scourge of the London punk scene wasn’t it? According to many of those involved we can thank Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers for that.

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