1970s Punk Bands: 999 and Dodgy Policework.
Above Photo: 999 onstage at Eric’s Club, Liverpool, 1978. (Lofty Varsteiner)
In Bombed Out!, my Punk and New Wave music memoir, the antics of Merseyside Police in the 1980s get a hammering for various reasons, but mainly because I just didn’t like the methods they employed as they went about their work back then.
These included beating up people I knew, in order to obtain fake confessions, their provocative tactics late at night when I walked back from Eric’s Punk Club alone in the early hours of the morning, and how they fabricated evidence against me in a trivial court case (which I beat them on too).
I also witnessed corrupt Merseyside police taking bribes from one of the owners of Eric’s and I believe their corruption had more to do with the fake drugs raid which closed Eric’s in 1980 than anything to do with real drugs. Also in that raid they planted drugs on people and indiscriminately arrested others, including on the leader of the Psychedelic Furs.
Their heavy handed policing tactics in Liverpool 8 were also a well-documented contributing factor to the the Toxteth Riots in 1981.
So I wasn’t a big fan of the police back then. However I was a big fan of 999 and one of my standout memories of Punk bands I saw at Eric’s was when 999 played there in 1978. (The relevance of this for non-British readers, is that ‘999’ is the equivalent of ‘911’.)
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
I have added two You Tube links to my favourite 999 tracks below. The first track (Feelin’ Alright With The Crew) is still one of my favourite Punk tracks of all time, and it’s got a great bass line. ‘Homicide’ is also superb.