The Wolverhampton punk scene in the early eighties was thriving. Venues such as Queens Hotel, Wolves Poly and The Arches were regularly putting on punk gigs. Out of this hive of activity, Contempt were formed in February 1984. The band came together out of the ashes of three Wolverhampton based Punk bands: Vendetta, Seventh Plague and Pulex Irritans. Seventh Plague’s claim to fame was a track on one of Crass’s Bullshit Detector and Vendetta supported the Lurkers at the Poly in March 1983. The three bands released the Aristocrap EP in 1983 and split up not long after. The original line up of Contempt consisted of Martin and Rick from Vendetta, Nick from Pulex Irritans and Borstal from Seventh Plague. The band played their first gig at the Queens Hotel in Wolverhampton on 23rd June that year. Rehearsals took place in the cellar at the house shared by Martin and Borstal, amongst others known locally as ‘The Squat’.
The band gigged constantly, mainly around the Midlands throughout the mid eighties, playing with the likes of Conflict, Subhumans and the UK Subs, as well as many gigs in their own right, including a trip to Belfast. Members were also active in a number of political campaigns at the time, supporting various animal rights groups and going on the Stop the City and other demos.
Members of Contempt were heavily involved in local Wolverhampton and Telford Hunt Sabs, who gained a certain amount of infamy because of its ‘non-pacifist’ approach to sabbing. Their motivation was as much about wanting to give some chinless wonders a good kicking as it was about saving the foxes.
The band had also shifted its base of operations to Telford after ‘the squat’ got attacked by a load of boneheads and Martin ended with an iron bar smashed across his head. In 1985, lead singer Borstal decided to move on and lead vocal duties passed on to Mark 'Hozer' Maher who later switched to rhythm guitar on Borstal‘s return in 1986. It was this line up that recorded Contempt’s first single ‘Familiarity Breeds EP’ in 1986 and also had a track on ‘Words Worth Shouting’, a compilation put together by the Disrupters' label, Radical Change. The band was also due a track on a Mortarhate Compilation ‘We Wont Be Your Fucking Poor’, but the master tape was lost and only the artwork for the song appeared on the album.
In 1987, Borstal decided to pull another disappearing act and lead vocal duties were taken over by Martin and Phil the Hippy joined on bass. The original line up got back together in 1988, after a chance meeting between Martin and Borstal, as an excuse to celebrate Wolves victory in the Sherpa Van trophy final. The previous line up had just split due the fact that Phil had gone off with the drummer Rick’s wife!
After a great gig celebrating Wolves last cup victory, the original line up decided to carry on and started doing gigs further a field in places such as London, Norwich and Brighton as well pounding away in the local circuit. Drummer Rick found himself another woman and decided to leave the band to be replaced by Craig from Telford.
Round about this time bassist Nick ended up being arrested for allegedly being a football hooligan. Nick who followed Wolves home and away, was dawn raided, handcuffed and carted away as part of Operation GROWTH (Getting Rid Of Wolverhampton’s Troublesome Hooligans). As a result Contempt started covering Sham classic ‘Cockney Kids are Innocent’, changing it to the ‘66 are Innocent’ after the 66 Wolves fans who were nicked.
Nick had been fitted up by an unscrupulous piece of filth called PC Pickersgill, but fortunately the court found him not guilty. This put a lot of strain on him at the time and eventually he decided to keep a low profile and call it day band wise. Nick was replaced by Teeny from Shrewsbury on Bass previously of the legendary Soap Dodgers.
Most Contempt gigs have been relatively peaceful events, but one exception to this was a gig we played in Stafford at the Pitchers Tavern in 1990. It was an all dayer with Drongos For Europe headlining. Our set had gone OK and the Drongos came on and played a few numbers, when suddenly all hell broke loose. A local biker group the Stafford Eagles, had decided to attack the event and it ended up like a bar room brawl from a Western. Windows smashed, broken chairs, glass and blood everywhere. The Old Bill turned up late as usual and arrested all the wrong people.
Borstal decided to call it a day again in 1991 after Contempt supported Conflict in Birmingham, at the Moseley Dance Centre. He was replaced by Stu Pid and eventually a new line up was put together with Duggie on Drums, Rob on Rhythm and Jimmy 'Boyle' on bass. Martin had worked with Jim previously in Anorexia.
In 1992, Contempt went on their first of a number of trips to Europe and the following year they released two singles ‘12 Years On’ on their own Insurrection Records and ACAB on a German label. The singles were well received and the band recorded their first studio album in 1994, with Trogg taking over on bass duties. The album was called ‘Still Fighting On’ and was a mixture of some the bands old classics such as Frank Sinatra and Six Seconds and newer stuff such as See Me Bleed. The band recorded also recorded a live album in Hagen in Germany later that year.
Stu left the band in early 1995 to join the English Dogs and was replaced by Borstal yet again. Also Rob (Rhythm Guitarist) got religion, burnt all his Crass records and left the band and became the inspiration for the song ‘Born Again’. Rob’s replacement was noise merchant Iggy (ex Genital Deformities). Iggy’s claim to fame was that on one of the regular trips to Germany, he got arrested.
The band went to Europe a couple of times in 1995 and the second time were joined by old drummer Craig as Duggie had got a job on the oil rigs. Craig was replaced by ‘Cockney’ Keith and the band went to Europe in 1996 and 1997 and recorded their next single, the ‘War on the Poor EP’, which was released on a German label. Loyd replaced Iggy who went to live in London and the band went in the studio to record their second Album ‘Shouting the Odds’, which was released in 1998 to rave reviews.
The band replaced Borstal (a.k.a. Stan) in 1999, due to him continually disappearing when the band had gigs (women problems!). The band went back down to a four piece with Ivor ‘the Diver’ on drums and Griff took over on lead vocals. The band went into the studio again to record their fifth 7’’ Justice for who EP which was released on Data Records in 2000.
In 2001 bassist Trogg took a year out and Rocky (ex Dog Shit Sandwich) took over until Trogg returned. The band were also joined temporarily by Brum based guitar hero and part-time ompah lumpah, Ian a.k.a. ‘Goggles’. Ian didn’t last long, largely due to his continual bickering with Ivor, and was last seen smoking a joint sat on a mushroom with a fishing rod in his hand in a back garden in Selly Park.
The band have been across to Europe a couple of times in the new millennium and have gigged as much as possible, whilst writing new material. Late 2004 saw the introduction of new drummer Paul (RAM-MAN)and early 2005 saw the departure of Griff. He didn't want to sing our animal rights songs anymore because he'd stopped being veggie, plus his commitment to the band was not satisfactory, so we all agreed that it was best that we moved on without him and find another singer. Contempt planned to go on as a 3-piece until another singer materialised, that was until original singer Borstal (a.k.a. Stan) jumped at the chance to return. Since then, we've gone on to do loads of gigs and a couple of European tours with the Drongos for Europe, which were amazing!
2005 has included 3 trips to Europe and a load of UK gigs. August 2005 saw the arrival of rhythm guitarist Gaz (ex Road Rage) and October saw the departure of Borstal again! He had struggled to be available for the amount of gigs we had and also the tours abroad, so he decided to step down and make way for someone who can tour and give 100% to the band. Up stepped Pat for 3 gigs, be it turned out that he couldn't tour in the end either, so he made way for Steve, who toured Europe with us in May and recorded the Fanatic EP with us. Gaz couldn't make the 2006 Euro tour at the last minute. This combined with frequent absences from rehearsals since joining Contempt and never really committing 100% effort to the band, lead us to decide to go on without him.
We completed the recording of THE new album WHO NEEDS DIPLOMACY? in march 2007 and It WAS RELEASED BY THE GOOD PEOPLE AT Active Distribution IN JULY 2007. WE WENT ON TO DO ANOTHER EURO TOUR IN DECEMBER 2007, WHICH WAS A GREAT SUCCESS.
2007 ALSO SAW TROGG'S CANCER GET MUCH WORSE AND HE FREQUENTLY STAYED IN HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT. WHILE HE WAS ILL SAM (CUPID STUNT, ALCOHOL LICKS) FILLED IN ON BASS FOR THE EURO TOUR UNTIL HIS RETURN.
trogg was very in 2008 and contempt only played 2 gigs between january and july, as we were spending as much time with him as we could. unfortunately trogg was never well enough to return and he sadly passed away in july 2008. it was the worst day in contempt history. not only had we lost a truly wonderful band member, but we had lost one of our best friends.
before he died, he made us promise to carry on as a band, which we agreed to do when the time felt right. trogg's funeral was attended by about 130 people and £839 was donated to st mary's hospice by everyone on the day. with other donations before and after, it means that the hospice have (so far) received well over £1000 in trogg's name, something he'd be very proud of.
we honoured our booked shows in latvia and estonia after his death, but we're easing back into it all slowly and only have a couple of shows booked for the remainder of 2008.
contempt will fight on, but we'll never forget trogg and everything he gave to the band.
the 12" version of 'who needs diplomacy' is out now distributed by active distribution, havoc records and ruin nation.
2009 SAW CONTEMPT GIGGING A LOT MORE AGAIN, INCLUDING DOING A 10-DATE EUROPEAN TOUR WITH OUR FRIENDS R.A.M-M.A.N.
2010 SAW ANOTHER EUROPEAN TOUR, WITH 11 DATES. ALL THE GIGS WERE WITH R.A.M-M.A.N AGAIN AND THE NEW ALBUM WAS A SPLIT BETWEEN THE 2 BANDS AND IS AVAILABLE ON 12" VINYL WITH A FREE CD.
AFTER THE TOUR, PAUL DECIDED THAT IT WAS TIME FOR HIM TO STEP DOWN AS DRUMMER. HE HADN'T BEEN ENJOYING THE BAND AS MUCH AS IN PREVIOUS YEARS AND FELT HE WAS NOT ABLE TO GIVE 100% ANYMORE, SO HE WANTED TO ALLOW SOMEONE ELSE THE CHANCE TO COME IN AND HELP THE BAND GO FURTHER. WE'RE ALL STILL FRIENDS AND THERE WERE NO HARD FEELINGS AT ALL.
THE SEARCH FOR A NEW DRUMMER BEGINS, BUT Expect contempt to play near you soon!
Current line up:
Martin - Guitar,
??? - Drums,
Steve - Vocals,
SAM - bass.