THE NIGHT PUNK CHANGED MY LIFE

6 June 1977

Roger Tichborne shares his memory of being bitten by the punk rock bug. His life hasn’t been the same since.

On the 6th June 1977 my life changed. That was the day I saw the Ramones, The Talking Heads and the Saints at the Roundhouse. That was the day I was bitten by the punk rock bug.

I was fourteen years old and had never even considered playing a guitar. I only went because my sister had a spare ticket and I was at a loose end. That weekend there was a bank holiday for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

I wasn’t at that point, too aware of the music scene. We didn’t have wall to wall TV and music, downloads or Ipods. It was all vinyl. The only two music shows were Top of the Pops and the Old Grey Whistle Test, which both ignored punk rock. I had seen the Sex Pistols on the Bill Grundy show. I thought it was hilarious, but they seemed like aliens from another planet. Unlike today, there was no flood of twittering. I’d never even seen a computer, let alone used one then. My musical tastes at that point were T Rex, Bowie and the Rolling Stones. I knew every bar of every verse of every song on “Sticky Fingers” backwards. I had even spotted the misedit in “Bitch”. I tried to explain this to my sisters but they hadn’t a clue what I was on about.

I have very strong recollections of that night. The Saints strolled on and were just a kind of cool wall of noise. I knew they were Australians. I can remember Chris Bailey was wearing a mac and the music was frantic and the band looked completely out of it. Next up were Talking Heads. I found Tina Weymouth intriguing. As a fourteen year old boy, the highlight of the show was Psycho Killer. Not because I particularly liked the song, but because of the way Tina’s breasts moved in time with the bass on the Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum der Dum bit. I didn’t know any song by any band, so it was all a bit odd. I thought Talking Heads were a country and western band.

Then the Ramones strode on. Joey shouted 1-2-3-4 and 33 minutes later they finished. I was drenched in sweat and had found meaning in life. I went out the next week and bought their first two albums.

By Roger Tichborne (Memory sharer)

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