The Ruts DC are back with ‘Music Must Destroy’ – their first LP release since ‘Animal Now’ in 1981.
Despite the wait The Ruts DC have been persistent influence in punk and rock through the years and here they are aided and abetted by some of their musical admirers: Boz Boorer (Morrissey) Captain Sensible (The Damned) Jake Burns (SLF) Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny) and last but by no means least Henry Rollins.
Bass player John “Segs” Jennings explains why it took so long…
“For a long time I didn’t want to re-form – it felt a bit cheap. It had to have integrity, but then I thought let’s do some of the songs we all love, the music that changed all our lives, and how poignant they were. He goes on, “I see it more of a continuation rather than a reformation and there’s some great tunes on Music Must Destroy.”
This new album is as excellently eclectic as you would hope from a band born out of the multi-culturalism of the late 70s anti-racist punk scene and the collaborations help the record feel fresh and relevant.
The tragic passing of lead singer Malcom Owen during the crest of their success in 1981 and the passing in 2007 of drummer Paul Fox has meant that singer/bass player Segs and drummer Dave Ruffy have carried the flag of The Ruts DC through live shows, with Leigh Heggarty on guitar
“They are not with us anymore but they are still so intertwined with The Ruts history. Many times I’ve thought this is just too difficult, to carry on without them, because I miss them both dearly. But we are still flying the flag for them and there’s a ballad about Malcolm and Paul on the new record.”
Now, with renewed vigour The Ruts DC are producing original material as good as anything they’ve created in the past.
Possibly most well known for their commercial hit ‘Staring at The Rude Boys’ in 1980 The Ruts have that rare talent of veering from punk to ska, to reggae, to rock to ballad and always sound authentic and powerful- simultaneously melodic and fist-clenchingly angry. This is evident in ‘Psychic Attack’, the first single that was released in May. It’s a thundering track that seems to be about pressure and persecution.
“Look at this government who have such a disregard for people, closing libraries and destroying public services based on the whim of an accountant’s spread sheet. It sickens me and the song is a reflection of how we feel at the moment.”
Eggs continues’ “I’m 60 now but I’m just as angry about the injustices in the world as I did when I was a kid in The Ruts. It’s important to know that you are not alone in your struggle. Our message is still the same – people unite.”
Another stand-out track is the John Lennon-esque ‘Peace Bomb’ – a slower tempo swaying ballad of peace that is stirring and heartfelt. Then there is ‘Tears Catch Fire’ which has a groovy seven count, jangling guitars and hypnotic bass groove- it’s a pop rock song but doesn’t feel out of place here.
The album ends with the quite glorious ‘Golden Boy’, a real tear jerker proving The Ruts DC can deliver a punch to your solar plexus one minute and a tender caress the next.
I recently saw Henry Rollins at The Edinburgh Fringe (the same week he actually recorded his part for Music Must Destroy) and hearing him talk about peace, socialism and music and being so passionate about how art and kindness can elevate us somehow; I can’t help but wish there were more old punks around to give us a bit of a slap around the head and inspire us.
I'm a reader, teacher, listener, musician and now writer living and sometimes working in Newcastle.
I've taught English Language and Literature in High Schools for 10 years and hold a PGCE, B.A and MA in English, English Teaching and Media.
I'm a musician and write songs and perform for So What Robot.
My aim with this blog is to become a better writer and communicate my own opinions whilst developing and discovering a writing style of my own.