VERBAL WARNING - A POTTED (PICKLED) HISTORY
Still rocking crowds everywhere, Verbal Warning continue to present a thrilling live show to audiences all over the country.
Their latest line-up change was the departure of guitarist Tone Deff Warning, who joined with Ant Warning on drums in 2015, moving on in 2019 - the first change for four years.
Tone's final gig as a full-time member was on the main stage at the Great British Alternative Festival at Skegness in October 2019.
The previous line-up of VW had lasted 10 years, but giving the band a full year's notice, guitarist Lee Warning and drummer Ian Warning decided to quit.
Paul and John then recruited the new duo of Tone and Ant and put them through their paces for several months of sweaty rehearsals at The Loft Studio in Long Eaton.
That line-up's first outing was a gig at the Olympic in Draycott on Friday, 5th June 2015 followed by a much bigger affair, playing in the big marquee on West Park at Long Eaton Carnival on Saturday, 20th June two weeks later.
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Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the early eighties band, the revived Verbal Warning spluttered into life in 2005.
Paul, switching to bass, decided to resurrect the band, and, after using the modern technology of the Internet to find Ian on drums and Lee on guitar, finally turned the years back to bring in John on vocals
Trying to keep the spirit of old school punk rock alive, the band retained some of the old songs as well as writing some new ones, as the new line-up took the band, having actually learnt how to play with their instruments, off into a slightly more melodic direction, making sure to retain the energy of Punk Rock - the comment at practices often being “Are we sure that’s fast enough?”
The nerve racking first gig for the new line-up was supporting Smother and the Peer Pressure Puppets at Mansfield’s Town Mill on Friday, 27th May 2005.
Gigs in Nottingham and Bishop’s Stortford followed before the band took to their first outdoor festival stage, courtesy of Blyth Power, at the Tallington Ashes in July of that year.
A mix of politics and humour rub shoulders, and the band always try to make live shows as entertaining as possible, often doing two hour sets with new songs mixing with the old plus a selection of crowd-pleasing covers.
By October 2005 VW had ticked one of their boxes by doing a gig at the Victoria Inn, Derby, supporting punk rock pioneers The Vibrators and were beginning to build themselves a loyal following in the Nottingham, Derby and Mansfield areas.
The debut album A Kick in the Verbals was released in 2006 and regular live shows continued.
Since then they have supported a host of punk rock legends including the UK Subs, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Penetration, Sham 69, Patrik Fitzgerald, Attila the Stockbroker, TV Smith, Vice Squad and the Lurkers.
They have also played a string of top festivals including Rebellion in Blackpool, the world’s biggest punk fest, Bearded Theory, Strummercamp, Glastonwick and Concrete Jungle along with many CAMRA beer festival appearances, another cause dear to the band’s hearts!
Finally, after a four-year wait (you can’t rush quality as they say) Verbal Warning released their second album, the stunning Red Star Radio in summer 2010, which was very well received, getting the thumbs up from Big Cheese magazine (review below).
RED STAR RADIO
Notts/Derbyshire old school punks kickin’ it ’77 style.
Originally formed back in the early ‘80s and rising from the ashes with a new line-up in 2005, these punk veterans unleash their first new album in four years in the form of the John Peel saluting ‘Red Star Radio’. Mixing humour and politics into their melodic old school punk sound, fans of the Ramones and the Dead Kennedys are sure to enjoy this, even if the Proclaimers cover is a little unnecessary. Still sounding fresh and invigorated with ‘Is It Too Soon’, ‘A Ploy Named Sue’ (on the covermount CD) and the ripping ‘Z List Celebrity’, you’ll be having as much fun as the band clearly are.
Having recruited the two new members in 2015, VW went from strength to strength with gigs going up to over 60 a year.
They also recorded a new album NO HALF MEASURES, which unlike the previous two did not contain a cover.
Vive Le Rock magazine gave it 7/10, while Left Lion said: "Verbal Warning’s new album No Half Measures is an anthem of rebellion against the tedium of the everyday. After originally forming way back in the early 80s, the group's comeback pays a not-so-subtle homage to the punk style of the time, as well as a clear nod to the golden age of rock. The classic mix of drums, guitar, bass and vocals form a timeless feel, joining together both slow strumming and heavier, more chaotic sounds. The collection is angsty, with a focus on seemingly dull and relatable themes like saving cash, quitting your job and watching TV, alongside random segments like “chips are part of my five-a-day.” Because of this, the tracks end up as a weird combination of old-school style and current pop culture. Listen out for the track dedicated solely to the hate of Piers Morgan." Elizabeth O'Riordan
The Great British Alternative Festival in Skegness in 2018 saw them win the Introducing Stage vote by a country mile against some top class opposition.
That gave the band their moment in the sun as they drew a good crowd to see them on the festival's main Centre Stage in 2019 followed by an appearance at the Minehead version of the festival just before Covid enforced long periods of no gigs.
Steve Harding, of 2 Guitars Clash and Sam Hadfield have been sharing guitar duties in recent months while Pam from Spam has been seen jumping up for a Rezillos cover or two.
With the latest Lockdown ease, gigs are starting to flow in again and let's hope we can get back to normal! See you at the front!
Verbal Warning’s early eighties incarnation built themselves an uncompromising reputation in the Nottingham area and played with some of the big bands of the day.
Chumbawumba,, Conflict Napalm Death, and The Subhumans all shared bills with the original Warning.
The first gig as the tastefully named Dead Presleys was at Nottingham’s legendary Ad Lib Club on 7th December 1980.
After it was discovered the local Teddy Boy community didn’t share the bands sense of humour, the name was changed to Verbal Warning.
A gig at the-then Trent Polytechnic on 14th May 1981, ended in a hasty exit after Singer Dave Smith was thought to have suggested he was glad IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands was dead, infuriating a large Irish contingent in the audience.
The “classic” line-up of Paul on guitar, Adolf on drums, Colin on bass and Dave on vocals then evolved.
A gig at Beeston Community Centre on 11th July 1981 saw them on a bill with one Potential Difference whose vocalist John is now the front man for the modern-day VW.
On 22nd January 1983, Warning appeared with Conflict and Omega Tribe at Nottingham’s Union Club but were forced to leave the venue quickly after plugs were pulled on them during their set and threats made when the band suggested to a hostile audience that Conflict and Crass were ‘only rock and roll bands’.
But it wasn’t to last much longer and after a handful of gigs, and more personnel changes a show with Lost Cherries at Nottingham’s long demolished Narrowboat proved to be the catalyst for a prolonged sabbatical.