This famous Belfast punk band began life in 1977 as Roofwrecks with original vocalist Ivan Kelly. Ruefrex were one of the most politically motivated of the Belfast punk bands and were known for playing anywhere in the north, ignoring sectarian divides.
Ivan Kelly left to replace Ian Lowery in UK punk band The Wall in September 1979. He stayed with them for just under a year, appearing on their debut "Personal Troubles And Public Issues" LP. His replacement in the re-christened Ruefrex was Allan Clarke.
Ruefrex released their excellent debut single on Good Vibrations in 1979.
In February 1980 they were filmed for a BBC TV documentary called "Cross The Line"
about the peaceline walls in Belfast. Apparently this features footage of the band performing
and/or rehearsing several tracks. Does anyone out there have a copy of this?
In March they recorded a 4-song Downtown Radio session and appeared at the Sense of
Ireland festival in London the same month. They split later the same year.
Ruefrex reformed in 1983, persuaded by Gareth Ryan of Kabuki Records to record again. The first fruits of this reformation was "Capital Letters", a fantastic single which is well worth tracking down. They performed this live at the Kings Hall Belfast on 3rd October 1983 on BBC TV's "Channel One" (along with "Paid In Kind"). They recorded a Dave Fanning show session (RTE Radio) in July 1983 and a second Downtown Radio session the following year.
Jackie Forgie left in 1984 for Colenso Parade. He was replaced by Gerry Ferris who debuted on the "Paid In Kind" single. Forgie returned in 1985 before the next single. The band continued as a quintet until it's demise in 1987.
Ruefrex's profile was even higher in 1985. They released their best known -- or at any rate best publicised -- single in "Wild Colonial Boy", an attack on Noraid's fundraising in North America for the IRA. They performed this track (and "The Ruah") live on The Tube on Channel 4 TV. The "Flowers For All Occasions" LP was released world-wide through Stiff Records. They did a Janice Long Show live session (September '85) with Cathal Coughlan guesting on keyboards and apparently were the subjects of a CNN news report titled "War Kids Make Music For Peace" (anyone know any more details)? Tom Coulter had left at this stage, replaced by Gordy Blair (ex Outcasts, Big Self, etc).
"Wild Colonial Boy" was reissued in 1986 followed by a further single. A second LP was
released on the slightly ropey Flicknife label in 1987 before the band called it a day.
Check out the official Ruefrex website for a complete band history.
Tom Coulter recorded a 2-song demo as The 15th with Allan Clarke on vocals ("Like Love", "Friends Always"). Gerry Ferris emigrated to Australia, as did Gordy Blair. Paul Burgess got a scholarship to Oxford University and has followed an academic career ever since. He currently holds a post at UCC.
In June 2003, members of the band performed live on radio amid talk of a reunion. In August a limited edition CD re-issue of "Flowers For All Occasions" was sold through mail order to help raise funds for new recordings. For the latest developments, check the news section of the official Ruefrex site.
Notes: Note: Produced by Hugh Matier and Ruefrex. The single has two recordings of the same song, labelled parts 1 and 2. Part 1 is just under 5 minutes long; Part 2 is a shorter, quite different recording of the same song. Both tracks have a rough, more punk rock sound compared to the 1986 reissue through Stiff Records.
Notes: Note: Reissue produced by Mick Glossop. The A-side is possibly a remix of the 1985 single but more likely its a brand new recording. The A-side is approx 4 minutes long, the extended remix of the 12" is 5:10.
Notes: Recorded at Music Works studios, London, 16-29 October 1985. Mixed in November. Produced by Mick Glossop. Recorded by the Clarke-Ferris-Blair-Burgess lineup. Hepburn Forgie is also credited with guitar and Cathal Coughlan played keyboards on "Even in the Dark Hours".
There are four more tracks recorded at the same session, three of which turned up on Cherry Red's Best Of CD: "The Fightin' 36th", "April Fool", "Between Having and Wanting" and "Middle Ground".
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