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Hardcore staying power



With more bark than brains, G.B.H. broke out of Britain in 1980 and reached the upper echelons of the post-Sex Pistols punk movement that would become known as hardcore. Now, 20 years later, the band is hitting the States in support of their last album, 1997's "Punk Junkies," and to stoke the fires of anticipation for their next, nearly completed release.

"Punk Junkies" was the first G.B.H. album to find its way to America in more than six years. While this could indicate that the band has reunited for one last go-round, G.B.H. really never left. Speaking by telephone from snowy Salt Lake City, reluctant-to-talk lead singer Colin Abrahall says, "People are constantly asking us, ‘What made you decide to get back together?' In fact, we come to the States quite often."

The band first appeared on England's punk scene as Charged G.B.H. to avoid conflict with a long-forgotten British heavy-metal outfit that shared the initials. Abrahall, guitarist Jock Blyth, bassist Ross Lomus and former drummer Andrew "Wilf" Williams dropped the "Charged" in 1984, but their attitude continued to reflect the spirit of the British legal term for assault -- grievous bodily harm -- from which they took their name.

G.B.H. drew on a smorgasbord of seminal punk influences such as the Damned, Iggy and the Stooges and the New York Dolls. Several singles and an EP established them at the top of the hardcore cognoscenti, and by the time their first album, "City Baby Attacked By Rats," was unleashed in 1982 the band had gained enough momentum to push it into the U.K.'s Top 20 album charts.

G.B.H. refined their sound over the course of 10 albums and numerous singles, eventually leaning toward speed metal but never letting go of the political attitude that fed their lyrics. In the process they played musical record labels, bouncing from Clay to Combat to Relativity to Restless. "Punk Junkies," featuring current first-name-only drummer Scott, was recorded in 1995 and licensed to the small German label We Bite for distribution in Europe in '96 but was not released in America until Triple X came on board. "We are not going to work with `We Bite` again," says Abrahall, who expects the next recording to come out on Triple X. Now, as bands such as Rancid and Slayer pay homage to G.B.H. with their album covers, a whole new generation of punks could get hooked on the music of one of Britain's longest-lasting dealers in hardcore addiction.

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