"Clean me teeth, put on me best clobber. Tonight's the night I'm going fer't knob 'er. Vauxhall Viva's covered in rust but ye can't shag a bird on a 29 bus! (one, two, fuck cunt wank shit) Beer and Sex and Chips & Gravy, it's all a Macc Lad wants. Beer and Sex and Chips & Gravy, tasty birra clump. Gerrup off the floor. Finish yer chips, WE'RE GOIN' FER'T SUP SOME MORE!!!!"
- The Macc Lads, Beer & Sex & Chips & Gravy, on their general outlook on life.
Consisting as they did of three lads from Macclesfield, a godawful boring Northern post-industrial town, The Macc Lads were a punk rock band who were half The Ramones, half Viz comic, half questionable Northern stereotypes. With their combination of actually rather good riffing, exceptionally rude lyrics, and lyrical themes about growing up in the dull as dishwater English provinces.
They first appeared in 1983 when the three lads, originally consisting of the engagingly ugly Mutley McLad (Tristran O'Neill) on bass and vocals, The Beater (Geoffrey Conning) on guitar and Stez Styx (Steven Hatton) on drums, bagged a deal with EMI and recorded an album called "Eh Up." Which was then not released for being too rude. But which they sold anyhow and got sued.
Their second album, "Beer & Sex & Chips & Gravy," was funded by a Government grant which was then revoked because the album was too rude, and they got sued. It was about... well, what it sounds like. Going up the pub, drinking vast quantities of beer (proper beer, not that Continental piss water, yano, the stuff that isn't like making love in a canoe - only Southern puffs drink lager!), and attempting to pull women in the manner of Sid the Sexist and, alarmingly, succeeding - but then again, you've not met the standard of lass who would willingly go with such appalling specimens of humanity!!!
Their third album, "Bitter Fit Crack," was almost released without incident but for the penultimate song, "Feed Your Face." This contained a couple of racial epithets and a chorus line that went "Feed Your Face / Don't give them a second thought" to the tune of Band Aid. This resulted in Bob Geldof taking umbrage and them getting sued. He lost, incidentally.
Amazingly, they then released five further albums without being sued. Or having a local MP saying of them, "surely this must be illegal?" or being systematically banned from every venue they were aiming to tour at. This is probably because you couldn't get away with several of their tracks even in the late 1980s. In today's PCified world, well, you'd definitely not escape unscathed.
At this point you're probably wondering what exactly they sounded like. Well... contrary to what you might expect, actually rather good. Their early stuff ("Eh Up" to "Bitter Fit Crack") was almost entirely from the Ramones' playbook and indeed, a common feature at their live shows was a cover of Blitzkrieg Bop called "Eh Up, Let's Sup" which is kinda like the original but with more consumption of bitter and suchlike. Later on, albums four through eight ("From Beer to Eternity" and "The Beer Necessities," to "Alehouse Rock") seemed to have more influence from the nascent pop punk scene. Indeed, some of their later stuff does sound a tiny bit Blink 182-ish, except way, way, ruder (I'm thinking "Dance Round Us 'Andbags," "Alcohol," "That's Gay," and "Lucy Lastic" here.) Their later music often featured more in the way of instrumental virtuosity and even the odd solo or two, notably on "Pie Taster," and "Man in the Boat."
Okay, you're probably now wondering - what's their rudest, most objectionable song? Well, while "Now He's A Puff" was frowned upon even then, nowadays it would lead to being tarred and feathered. "Now 'e's a puff! He's an arse bandit! E's a puff! He does spermy shit! And 'e dunt like fer't feel girls tits!" But especially post Jimmy Savile the song they would probably be most crucified for, in my view, would no doubt be "Julie The Schooly." This is reportedly based on one of the Lads exploits where they pulled a girl at a pub who swore blind she was over eighteen, took her back home, shagged her, then drove her home the next morning and almost crashed the van when they noticed that she was directing them to a school in Alderley Edge and was putting on her uniform in the front seat. The resulting song, which explains how "she'll swap a knuckle shuffle fer a note to gerroff games" and "she leaves the upper 4th at a quarter to four, she can bind like an 'ore, she can talk to yer pork, an' she bangs like a shithouse door when the plague's in town," would give Shy Keenan a heart attack (and rightly so - the politics of the grieving mother, well, in the Lads words, "we wouldn't give 'im t'cheese of us dicks.")
But then again, if as I did, you grew up in a godawful provincial town like, say, Macclesfield or (in my case) High Wycombe, where beer and sex and chips and gravy is all there is to do, where going out is a choice between a Vertical Drinking Establishment and the sort of nightclub that's like walking into an issue of Viz, and is populated by more Fat Slags and Sid the Sexists than thought possible, then it will hit very close to home indeed. Indeed, following being banned from every venue they attempted to play at in 1987, they were interviewed by ITN over it, upon where Muttley, the singer, said that firstly, "well, we didn't invent any swearwords," and that everything they sing, "it's all true songs." This I can believe. Their website contains some of the tales which inspired them, all of which are just as gruesome and unpleasant as the songs they inspired and all of which I can believe. I can eminently believe one of the Lads attempting to pull with the line, "Sit on me face, I'll guess yer weight." I can eminently believe the Julie the Schooly story - I wish I couldn't, but I can. I can certainly believe that one of them conceived a passion for who in (relatively) polite society would be called a BBW, and that "she's like a lump o' lard, but Sweaty Betty meks me willy 'ard." And as for "More Tea Vicar," well, many people I know claim to have been caught round their girl friend's for a crafty shag by her parents, and I'm sure that they then tried to cover up the evidence of same, even when their nut butter is dribbling everywhere.
That's not to say they were straight up about it. They also skated the line a lot between taking the piss out themselves. Several of their songs are written by one member or another sneering at other members. "Al O'Peesha," which is about their rhythm guitarist whose hair was very thin for someone in his twenties, and hypothesises that this hair loss was due to excessive masturbation. "That's Gay" is about replacement drummer Chorley the Hord and broaches the idea that he may be, erm, good with colours, because he's slightly less unhealthy in his habits than the rest of the Lads. And on "Failure With Girls," the narrator's transformation from way below average frustrated chump to all round player thanks to a regular intake of Boddingtons is pricked slightly by his closing wish not to have VD. And they still shagged Sweaty Betty, Miss Macclesfield, Lady Muck, Lucy Lastic, and similar unpleasant specimens of womanhood because, it's implied, they couldn't do any better. Indeed, there's a few of their songs where they get their female equivalents, The Macc Lasses if you will, to sing and all these songs are about disappointment at their menfolk. "Me boyfriend's a twat, he's gerrin on me tits. Not shagged us fer a week cuz e's allus too pissed." And, of course, "Two Stroke Eddie," who "had a problem wi' is timing." And I can't say I can blame them, really.
And that's about it really. Come 1995, the Lads agreed that with increasing age they'd best call it a day. Where are they now? Well, Muttley McLad (singer, bassist, face of the band, real name Tristran O'Neill) still lives in Macclesfield and in 2004 discovered a rare film called So Well Remembered that had been lost since 1949. He's still fat and still has the same rubbery face that appears on all the live tapes grimacing into the camera. The Beater (guitars, real name Geoffrey Conning, although everything in their stuff refers to him as being Asian for some reason), seems to have vanished in to the aether. Stez Styz (drums and convictions for assault, real name Steven Hatton) apparently lives in Liverpool. Al O'Peesha (rhythm guitar, real name Peter Bossley) took a job as a local journalist in Stoke-on-Trent and died in 2005. As for the various other folks who appeared when one of them walked out or got nicked or whatever, Chorley The Hord, Phil Macavity, Cheeky Monkey, Johnny Mard, and Winston Dread, well, I have no idea. The same applies to the various roadies that they had, all of whom were very fat for some reason.
And that's about it really.
Incidentally, in 2004, Macclesfield was voted the most uncultured town in Britain according to The Times.