Sunday, 22 September 2013

Discharge - Grave New World (1986): A fan resource page


(Please note, this page is a work in progress and will updated as and when new materials come to light or are discovered by the author. If you know of any additional resources about this period, please get in touch.)

Let's face it: if you've even heard of this album, chances are you probably hate it. Most people do. After all, Discharge were practically the kings of the UK hardcore scene back in the day and made a slew of nihilistic punk albums people (rightly) regard as classics, like 1982's Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing. 

But in 1986 Discharge changed tack somewhat - they reinvented themselves as a Sunset Strip-style metal band (as evinced by the photo above!). And their fans were almost universally disgusted. 

Gone was vocalist Cal Morris's gruff bark, replaced by a reverb-drenched falsetto. Gone too were the band's short sharp songs, which made way for extended tunes jam-packed with guitar solos and crunchy riffage. Their lyrics changed too, from brutal minimalist social commentary to something approaching hippie rhetoric.

When Discharge toured Grave New World in 1986, they were insulted, heckled, attacked and despised at every show they played, both here in Britain and in the United States (as you can hear in recordings embedded or linked to below). And to this day, few people have a good word to say about the album.

Me though? I love it. In fact, I think it's one of the best records I've ever heard. I love Discharge's aggressive musical take on '80s hair metal and I enjoy Cal's banshee wail (well, on record at any rate - it's definitely better with a bit of reverb, as the live material below will demonstrate).

And so I wanted to create the page to bring together a selection of resources for fellow fans of Discharge, Grave New World or both, so that they could hear the truth in all the tales of hostile audience reactions, band tension and Discharge's alarming (but little-discussed) time as a metal band. You can find line-up and record label info on the album's Wikipedia page.

Audio:

To begin with, here are the three studio tracks from Grave New World which have appeared on YouTube:
Track 01: Grave New World



Track 02 - In Love Believe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy54XQQnbLY

Track 06: Sleep in Hope

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsxzFQ0TpOE

This is an audio recording of the end of one of the band's sets in Canada. It's particularly interesting because, immediately following Sleep in Hope Cal leaves the stage to a chorus of abuse. But by this point, the band had become aware of the audience's love of old material, so they jam some old songs. The crowd loves 'em and goes nuts! A most intriguing comparison.




Here is an entire live show from the GNW tour (recorded at The Farm in San Francisco). It can be streamed here alongside a great article about Discharge in this period. This show contains all the heckling and abuse the Discharge received and is the most complete live document of this period. Cal sounds a little shaky here, but then again, he was being pelted with beer tins:


Alternatively, if you'd like to download the live set, you can do so here. This is a blog run by the guy who taped the show, who provides a short account of his experience of the set in addition to the download:


Video:

Amazingly, video footage from the GNW tour exists! The following is a two-part piece that consists of an awkward interview with Discharge's guitarist and drummer, Steve Brooks and Garry Maloney, followed by footage of the band performing Sleep In Hope. Sleep In Hope kicks in around the 4 minute mark on the second video and reveals just why Cal alienated so many punks in the audience. His pseudo-Mick Jagger stage act is cringeworthy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-EePxHkgyg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI9TkESHL44

Photos:

A collection of live photos of the band from this period can be found here. GNW haters will doubtless be amused by Steve Brooks' pink guitar:


Written documents:

The letter Steve Brooks wrote to Maximum Rock'n'Roll magazine following the tour is archived here. It makes interesting reading and suggests that the band retooled their GNW material for the live circuit with Rocky Shades from Wrathchild, who took over following Cal's post-tour firing:


Clifford Dinsmore from Bl'ast recalls supporting Discharge on the GNW tour:


Another account of audience abuse from the GNW tour:


Grave New World tour details:
(NB, these are reproduced from the official Discharge website: http://thenightmarecontinues.yolasite.com/discharge-past-gigs.php)

UK leg:
01/07/1986: Mardi Gras, Nottingham
02/07/1986: Adam & Eves, Leeds
03/07/1986: Rockhouse, Derby
05/07/1986: Clarendon Hotel, Hammersmith, London (Varukers/Chaos) *aka Klubfoot
18/08/1986: Shelly's, Stoke-on-Trent
USA leg:
23/08/1986: The Ritz, New York
24/08/1986: City Gardens, Trenton, New Jersey
26/08/1986: Fallout Shelter, Raleigh, North Carolina
27/08/1986: Metroplex, Atlanta
30/08/1986: The Button South, Hallendale, Florida
02/09/1986: Tombstone, Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas
05/09/1986: Jackie Robinsons WMCA, San Diego
06/09/1986: Fenders Ballroom, Long Beach (Dr. Know/Final Conflict/Cryptic Slaughter/Attitude Adjustment)
07/09/1986: The Farm, San Francisco
08/09/1986: Club Cantell, Sacramento
09/09/1986: River Theatre, Gurnville
12/09/1986: Satyricon, Portland, Oregon
17/09/1986: Wellingtons, Winnipeg, Canada
19/09/1986: Traxx, Detroit
21/09/1986: Peabodies, Cleveland
22/09/1986: Penny Arcade, Rochester
23/09/1986: RPM, Toronto, Canada (Sudden Impact, ????)
25/09/1986: Foufounes Electriques, Montreal, Canada (DBC)
17/12/1986: Perkins Palace, Pasadena (Suicidal Tendencies/Battalion of Saints/Shattered Faith/Killroy/Tales of Terror) * this gig did not apparently take place! 

Lyrics:

All Grave New World's lyrics can be found at DarkLyrics.com:


Grave New World itself:

Given that GNW is currently out of print and not commercially available, below is a link to a site from which the album can be obtained in digital form:


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi man, great post!! I love punk and metal and I love this album. Great documents here, thank you very much for this article.
Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Utterly MONSTROUS .

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