Johnny Curious & The Strangers – Back In Pissheadsville Again

23rd June 2022 · 1970s, 1978, Music, Punk

Here’s an example of what happened when a hippie group decides to jump on the punk bandwagon in the search for success.

First they changed their name – from Mask to Johnny Curious & The Strangers – and their look (to bike jackets and badges).

Then they chucked out all the old songs with the fiddly twiddly bits and replaced them with stripped-down RnB driven by amphetamine-fuelled drumming.

Next they wrote a set of angry lyrics and gave the new songs punky titles like this one – Back In Pissheadsville Again – inspired by a night at their local pub The Cherry Tree in Welwyn Garden City.

Then they saved up the money from their jobs at the MFI furniture warehouse and booked two days in Spaceward Studio in Cambridge.

But because they’d been a proper band who could play their instruments Alan Cowley (who was still at school) managed to wedge in a virtuosic guitar solo.

And that’s about it for John Phillips (vocals,guitar), Alan Cowley (guitar(, Bob Green (bass) and Ian Cowley (drums) – Welwyn Garden City’s bid for a place in the annals of punk history.

It could have been so different had they taken up the invitation to support The Sex Pistols in 1976, but Phillips was on holiday in New York.

Or if their manager had let this – their debut single – be released by Lee Wood’s Raw Records rather than holding out for a major label deal.

Wood turned instead to Welwyn’s next punk band, Acme Sewage Co, releasing their songs I Don’t Need You and I Can See You on his label’s Raw Deal compilation.

Johnny and the Strangers ended up re-recording Pissheadsville for Miles Copeland’s Illegal Records and it appeared on a 4-track EP called In Tune but the band had broken up by January 1978.

I’m still sorry they never got to release their song called I Need Someone Like You Like I Need A Hole In The Head – surely a punk classic in waiting for the title alone.