The COWARDS
Croydon

 

Philip Burns - Vocals & Bass Mark Lemming  - Guitar & Vocals
Dave Batchelor  - Drums
 
 
 

Formed by Phil Burns, brother of Ray "Captain Sensible" Burns, The Cowards came to light in the Croydon area in late 78, early 79.

Apart from a few rumoured pub gigs their main time in the spotlight was cracking performances supporting both The Doomed and The Damned at the Croydon Greyhound in October 1978 and April 1979 respectively.

A very powerful live act, more rock than punk, the standout track was "What's My Name-666", and a track later nailed by The Damned ,"Anti-Pope".

Phil had in fact received a writers credit for "Anti-Pope", first recorded by Captain Sensibles "King" for a John Peel session in July '78 before The Damned recorded their version (with Captain taking the lead vocal) for the 1979 "Machine Gun Etiquette" album.

The name alone, The Cowards, was a call to arms to another local act The Heroes (led by ex-Banshee Pete Fenton), a graffiti war broke out with each band continually crossing out each others logos.

The band did get as far as recording a demo tape, but unfortunately never made it to vinyl.

Phil was a long term face on the Croydon scene going way back to 1970 when he played piano in Johnny Mopeds first group the "Black Witch Climax Blues Band". He continued working with Johnny (and brother Ray) between 1971 and 1974 in various line ups of "Genetic Breakdown", before jumping ship from the Moped collective in the summer of '74, his last band being "Johnny Moped and the Five Arrogant Superstars".

He is also co-credited with writing "3D-Time" on Mopeds "Cycledelic" album.

Very little is known about The Cowards, another blink and you'll miss 'em punk era outfit, but an important part of The Damned's family tree.

 

 Since this page was done, Two tapes have surfaced by 'The Cowards'.

 

1)COWARDS LIVE AT CROYDON GREYHOUND 29/10/78 

 Other side is SNIVELLING SHITS, perhaps headline band was The Doomed???

 TRACK LIST:

 Introduced by DJ ('Previous regulars at The Dog & Bull'-or something)

 

FLURUS (sp?) / JOY CLINIC / FANTASY / LOVE SONG (not the Dammed one) / HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN / 666 / AMERICA / ANTI-POPE (Damned) /A BIG THANK YOU TO THE BOYS IN BLUE

 

Due to the fact it's a mixing desk tape, bit laboured. Often punk-flavoured Hard-Rock, with strong & confident vocals. More 'Punk' by track 4, 'America' the strongest song. Audience member asks at one point, "Is it a fast one?".

Audience seem into them, would have been a lot better to hear same set but recorded from the audience! 

 

2)STUDIO DEMO

 Possibly recorded by Captain Sensible in one of his home studio settings??

 

 AMERICA (Sounds excellent here w/backing vox and faster pace to live version. Stretched out at the end and a sax comes in, Stooges-style. Great)

HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (lacklustre, pointless cover)

FANTASY (Weak, decidedly NWOBHM vocals!)

? Title? (Meandering, extensive psych jam with lots of oscillator and reverb'd spacey vocals)

JOY CLINIC (Seemingly a paean to an S&M dominatrix, good punker, reminds me of a tighter Panik in a way)

ANTI-POPE

666

FLURUS (sp?) (Good metal-tinged Punk, lyrics have snatches about 'The Demon Lord', 'Incense', 'The power of the fallen one' etc)

AMERICA (2nd version, rougher / looser / grungier and better, but misses the saxophone ending)

 

The above "Captain Sensible" interview appeared in "Live Wire" #9 from 1977.

 

 

If anybody can put more meat on the bones, please get in touch.

 

 

JOE PUBLIC
February 2007

 

 

Thanks to Joe Public, Mike Clarke & Kay

 

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