My first exposure to Buzzcocks – the English punk band that rose to prominence in the late-’70s before disbanding in 1981, only to reunite eight years later – was in 2003 when they opened for Pearl Jam on the Seattleites’ Riot Act tour.1 They were playing about 45 minutes outside of Boston in Mansfield, Massachusetts at a soulless open-air shed (sorry, amphitheater) once known as Great Woods, at the time the Tweeter Center, and now the Xfinity Center (hooray, corporate branding!), and I’m not going to mince words: there is no worse place in the world to see a punk band than at a soulless open-air shed.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued and dug into their discography soon thereafter, spending countless hours spinning the three major label-backed records from their original run (Another Music in a Different Kitchen, Love Bites, and A Different Kind of Tension) before delving into some deeper cuts from the band’s second coming. And while only two members from their classic lineup (Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle) remain, Buzzcocks have forged on for nearly 40 years, the last 25 of which has included six albums released on independent labels in both the UK and the States, dropping pop punk masterpieces and influencing bands far and wide.
The band originally released The Way, their ninth studio album and first since 2006’s Flat-Pack Philosophy, on May 1 of this year via PledgeMusic, an online direct-to-fan music platform, but are now going a more traditional route – the album got a proper release State-side on Oakland’s 1-2-3-4 Go! Records on October 10.
Now, Buzzcocks have a video for the album’s lead single “It’s Not You”, featuring black and white footage of the band playing projected against a brick wall, as well as a bearded Shelley leading the charge. Watch below, and then get your copy of The Way on white vinyl, blue vinyl, CD, or cassette.
1Say what you will about Vedder and company’s own sound, but they clearly have great taste in music, always hand-selecting opening acts that have included the likes of Buzzcocks, Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, X, Bad Religion, The Black Keys, Death Cab For Cutie, My Morning Jacket, and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists.