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Photography by Paul Campbell
Charlie Harper - Ironworks, Inverness

Hi Charlie and first of all thank you for taking the time out as I know this must be an arduous repetitive scenario. I guess that comes with the territory of being one of punk rocks founding fathers and indestructible icons! I remember first seeing the UK Subs circa 78/79 at The Music Machine in Camden and the elation at my 'Subs' coloured vinyls. 

LORRAINE - However, I want to start with 'elvers'. Yes, eels! I recently overheard a conversation involving your passion for fishing. How long has this been a passion and how often to get to get out there in the open to enjoy it?

CHARLIE - I love fishing, so does my wife Yuko, she loves sea fishing, but she doesn’t see the point in throwing them back. I love touring more now as we get to fish in every exotic place. I didn't know anything about elvers before Andy demob told me that they were a local delicacy, fishing does get you out there and we almost always get a chance or two to fish on a tour, that's the only time I get to relax.

LORRAINE - On the 'loose' topic of escapism, I found a quote from you in August of 1978. "We've dropped the political stance now because when we get on the stage we wanna just forget reality and create our own escapism". How has that held true for you throughout the years, as I certainly saw you and the crowd come to life and enjoy themselves with no real other intent than to do just that? 

CHARLIE - That political stance seemed to have come back as we grew into grumpy old men, but fun and a great night out is our objective.

LORRAINE - Many band members have come and gone and come again and so on, but Charlie Harper has remained the constant. Many bands could survive the changing of a lead singer, albeit with difficulty, but I do not for a minute believe that this would be the case for the UK Subs. What do you think it is about you, all modesty aside, the true 'subversive', that takes to people’s hearts and doesn't budge?

CHARLIE - Nicky Garratt and I have always done all the work to keep the band alive, but then he left.

 LORRAINE - In over 30 years of punk rock, what has been the most memorable high and low for you?

CHARLIE - The low was when the band split in 83',the high was when we played to 5000 mental kids at the Olympic auditorium in LA, all because a local DJ played a little known song called `Another typical city' and this was only 6 month after the split...never say die.The line up was ...Steve Jones(drums),Steve Slack(bass),Captain Scarlett(guitar),Charlie Harper(vox)

LORRAINE - A little bird told me that you are an art lover, may I ask what period is your favourite and do you buy paintings and if so, what style?

CHARLIE - I only buy painting of musicians, like Knox.

LORRIANE - Due to a ridiculous MySpace rumour, I understand that you, not so long ago, had a day of answering phone calls enquiring as to your condition, as in alive or dead!!  Are you health conscious these days or is a pint of Black Rat just too irresistible?? 

I have to be health conscious now, but a black rat first.

LORRAINE - Finally, what music does Charlie Harper listen to when relaxing??

Gosh, anything from wire to Judy Garland and X-ray Spex to Charlie parker

Many thanks Charlie. I tried not to do the usual boring stuff, not sure if I went a bit off-key :-/. Love to Yuko and hope to see you both soon. Lorraine XXX

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Find out more about Charlie on Wikipedia

 Many thanks to Paul Campbell for allowing the use of the  Charlie Harper photos !