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Too Punk? The Mystery of Slaughter & The Dogs Explained.

Too Punk? The Mystery of Slaughter & The Dogs Explained.

Above Photo: Headlining for the Sex Pistols – How Slaughter and The Dogs Saw it…

As I’ve recounted in other posts on this website, I was (and still am) a huge fan of Manchester Punk band Slaughter & the Dogs, from when I first got into Punk in 1977.

They receive a few honorable mentions in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, as they played a huge role in my musical development, including jamming along to their 1978 album, Do It Dog Style, as I learnt how to play the bass in my bedroom, before getting into Liverpool bands and embarking on my own unusual Punk and New Wave journey recounted in the book.

The cover to the Slaughter & the Dogs album.

The cover to the Slaughter & the Dogs album.

But one thing has always been a mystery to me, especially now that so much is being written about the Punk scene. I have always wondered why Slaughter & the Dogs have been so effectively airbrushed and ignored in accounts detailing the history of Manchester’s early Punk and New Wave scene.

And now I think I have found an answer, oddly enough in Tony Fletcher’s outstanding book on The Smiths, called A Light That Never Goes Out.

Pete Shelley from the Buzzcocks tells it as it is...

Pete Shelley from the Buzzcocks tells it as it is..

In the book, Fletcher covers the Punk and New Wave scene in Manchester and its influence on The Smiths (See also my article linked to below).

Fletcher frequently mentions Slaughter & the Dogs and recounts that for the second Sex Pistols gig in Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall in July 1976, The Buzzcocks were on the bill, as were the Sex Pistols, although “Headlining, according to the posters that went up around town, were Wythenshawe’s Slaughter & the Dogs.” (See poster above this article).

Slaughter & the Dogs in a promotional photo.

Slaughter & the Dogs in a promotional photo.

However, at the gig, the Buzzcocks opened, Slaughter & the Dogs came on next, and it was indeed the Sex Pistols who were headlining.

“It turned out that the posters declaring Slaughter & the Dogs top of the bill had been their own hopeful handiwork. Still, they generated no small amount of teenage testosterone, and at some point after the Sex Pistols came on, it exploded, as the Wythenshawe Man United Crew [meaning Slaughter & the Dogs’ fans] got into a pitched battle with the Pistols fans who had come up from London.”

Banned From Punk History: The Usual Suspects.

Banned From Punk History: The Usual Suspects.

Fletcher goes on to say:

“Partially as a result of this incident, but also because of their musical, visual and intellectual simplicity, Slaughter & the Dogs were to be largely ostracized by the artsy side of a Manchester punk scene that was otherwise promulgated into existence that night.”

I had thought as much. They were just too Punk for Manchester’s more sophisticated Punk and New Wave scene, although I saw them play at least twice at Eric’s club in Liverpool, where they had a massive following, and where they energized the audience when they played. The band  loved playing live and they gave it everything.

The Buzzcocks play at the July 1976 Lesser Free Trade Hall gig.

The Buzzcocks play at the July 1976 Lesser Free Trade Hall gig. (Kevin Cummins).

It’s a shame they aren’t accorded more credit for their role in the development of Punk, not just in Manchester, but across the UK, but maybe that will come.

Another often-ignored, excellent, early and influential Manchester Punk band is the Drones, although in their case, maybe it was because they moved to London and not because of a pitched battle at a Sex Pistols gig.

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

I also wrote about the Drones recently (see link below)

For Slaughter & The Dogs, see:




For The Drones, see:


And to finish – why not a couple of great Slaughter & the Dogs tracks:


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or signed paperback copies from:
News From Nowhere, Bold Street Liverpool; Waterstones, Liverpool 1 or Pritchards, Moor Lane, Crosby.

 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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  1. George Simm

    I think Slaughter & The Dogs were airbrushed out, because they were genuine, whereas the art school types were are fakes, like a lot of celebrities. Rich kids pretending to be poor. See http://www.mileswmathias.com/game.html and http://www.mileswmathias.com/dylan.html

  2. Daniel O'Sullivan

    I suspect this argument about working class boys not fitting in with the arty crowd is a bit of a red herring,after all many other bands like The Drones,The Panik, The Worst could hardly be described as arty. Their credibility was tarnished from the start because they were essentially a seventies glam rock act more aligned with bands like The Sweet and Alvin Stardust than punk. They made the switch recognising the opportunity and i loved them but many were never quite as forgiving


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