A short tour of GOODBYE VICTORY ROAD – THE ALBUM and THE BAND

A short tour of GOODBYE VICTORY ROAD – THE ALBUM and THE BAND

Firstly I’d like to say that this isn’t all about me, Pat McVicar, it’s about Victory Road, its people and then of course, the album project and those that helped bring it to life.
For those people that had the pleasure of getting hold of a copy of Goodbye Victory Road part 1….. and yes, some thought it was pretty good indeed……well those people found Victory Road to be a real place, a working class area down by the river where kids were growing up stunted and in need of something to do / something to be. Yeah, Victory Road was a dead end. No big deal though, this was the middle of the 1970’s, a different world.
Well, I knew some character in Goodbye Victory Road personally and others I knew through the local folk law that existed when the old streets still resembled a community. Now Victory Road and it’s people have long gone. Bulldozed into history.

So on winters night in Nov 2016 I parked my old motor and walked down to the Nags Head in Chatham where I found the embryo of the GVR band at a table in the corner. I ordered a beer and joined them. James Cattermole, Richard, Si Philpotts and Dave Sawicki, ex- British Litter, The Bresslaws and The Deccas (check these Medway bands out, they inspired me). At the time I was playing Drums for The Dying Breed.

Anyway, over a few beers we discussed the merits of the project that I was proposing….. and logistics involved. We read through the 14 song lyrics that at that time made up the Goodbye Victory Road story. I was chuffed when it was announced an artistic triumph and the lads pledged their allegiance to the cause.
About 2 years later, the full 23 song GVR part 1 was released on CD. I was assisted in the writing by Martin from The Loop, Paul (Superminx’70), Jay (The Dying Breed), Rob, Dave and Phil (The Concrete Gods) and James and Rich from British Litter.
Mark Sargeant (Scootering Magazine) described our first release as “a captivating project”, whilst John Hellier (Whapping Wharf) called it “a piece of genius”. We received quite a lot of cult radio play but never made the right contacts for it to break out.

The Story of Billy James (one of the first revival mods), his upbringing and his being an amateur boxer are the eternal story of youth being trapped. I tried to say a lot in GVR part one, stuff about social conditions, class apartheid and still tell a flowing story.

Here’s one of the song lyrics from part 1 that tells you a fair bit about how Billy was made.

MY EARLIEST MEMORIES


I was born in the local mothers and babies and christened William Charles James (sound of a baby crying). That’s me getting my first slap……. anyway everyone round here just knows me as Billy.”

My earliest memories. We’re sharing an old house with strangers
I’m being bathed in front of the fire. I’ve a children’s book with cloth pages
I sleep with my mum and Dad. There’s a cooker in the front room
and we share the loo out on the landing with two other families

These are thing that they’ll never see. These are my earliest memories

Then little Graham he comes along and we move to a brand new block
I can look down and see ships on the river
from the long balcony outside our front door
I share a bedroom with my brother. We’re up on the 7th floor
and we overlook the old flats where we say the poor kids live
which really is quite funny coz we ain’t exactly rich

These are thing that they’ll never see. These are my earliest memories


It’s a nice place to live and everything’s new
and we’ve got a bath and there’s central heating
I play round the flats where the big kids will trap you
in the underground garage and say “beg or we’ll give you a beating

But my Dad’s he’s a big man, say’s don’t cry, no need to worry
Teaches me to jab and cross and I stand up to the bullies
and soon it seems the boxing club is my second home
and then there’s more important things than school, so I don’t have to go

So from an early age when we learn what to believe
I gave up listening to them and these became my streets
I never listened coz I knew they could never see
These are my earliest memories

Generation – Generation – after generation
These are my earliest memories

There have been a lot of concept albums and rock operas but I’m not sure if anyone else has produced as complete a story as this?


I introduced a New Wave / mod band into the story in GVR part 1. Billy’s best mate Pip plays guitar in the band. I suppose the band is roughly based on The New Hearts as they morph into what became Secret Affair.
I won’t say anymore about GVR 1 and it’s story line. You can wait to the film comes out !
If you’re thinking that Goodbye Victory Road was a complex thing to take into the studio then you’d be right. In fact 16 people appeared on the first album. There were a lot of blank expressions but also some very inspired ad-lib.

Right Now we are nearing the release of Goodbye Victory Road act 2 which is the continuation of Billy’s life.
Recording “act 2” in the lockdown was frustrating as the The Fort Studio in Chatham was forced to shut on and off. I won’t go into the whole covid argument. That’s a can of worms that history will judge.
The GVR band that recorded the second album had mixed opinions about the lockdown, some worry but not too much and also the thought that we were being stitched up. We were of one mind though when it came to wanting to carry on being creative. So due to Boris and his motley crew the album will be out a bit later than expected but we definitely think it was worth pushing for.


Going back to Goodbye Victory Road part 1 and The New Wave, our 79 band, here’s a lyric about the transition when some kids decided that punk rock had gone wrong and it was time for a new revolution.

START AGAIN (KUNG-FU FIGHTS)


Get the train up town where the streets gone quiet
Office workers back where they all come from
Under street lights the freaks come out to play and the bored and the brave
China town deserted ‘cept for skinheads looking for kung fu fights tonight

Kids looking for revolution thought this was the time
Please don’t give up or teenage dreams will die

These are the days of punk rock but it’s failing, yeah it’s failing
Bands selling out down dirty stairs
Behind street railings. Another basement club
Acting tough. Kids looking for a revolution Tonight

Don’t care much for DJ but you can’t knock it when he plays
Bowie, Mott, The Who, Dr Feelgood and Slade
We better make the most of it and make our plans tonight

So the bands are selling out and slogans replace truth
Kids looking for revolution so what we gonna do
Kids looking for revolution thought this was the time
Please don’t give up or teenage dreams – teenage dream will die tonight

For the recording of Goodbye Victory Road act 2 we were joined by 4 new band members. Ash, Tamara, Andy and Nick. Andy fronted for The Bresslaws. Nick, Billy Wears Dresses and Skadekat…… so now the Goodbye Victory Road band are getting close to becoming exclusively from Medway, England.

GVR’s part one and act 2 take Billy’s through his formative years until he’s fully formed. Well, to tell the truth, I’m not sure if Billy will ever be fully formed. It seems unlikely that he’ll ever become who he needs to be.
Goodbye Victory Road is also about social climbing. One-up-manship in a small town (in a big city). This theme runs right though the story with Billy’s brother being the antagonist. If it’s thieving, bullying or politics, he’s always a pain in the arse as far as Billy is concerned. I don’t wanna give away the act 2 story line so I’ll stop right there.

Goodbye Victory Road is scheduled for release on the 28th of February 2022. It’ll be a gatefold CD and will be distributed by Detour Record. Billy’s Story won’t end there. The writing of part 3 is getting there. I just need the other contributors to get creative with some extra tunes. I suppose we’re talking a couple of years before release.
In the meantime we’ve been working on the missing album by The New Wave. As you know “The New Wave had a couple of minor hits, then it was their turn to die”. Luckily their 1979 album will now see a release. A band just too late for….. and let down by punk, who turned their energy into mod’s second coming. It’s gonna be good.
I’ll leave you with a lyric from GOODBYE VICTORY ROAD part 2. Tomorrow’s World, a 7” single by The New Wave.


TOMORROWS WORLD


We are kids hanging on the corner
Bloody teachers never gonna fool us
Outta school and straight to the factory

Now life it starts today – Now we’ve gone and earned a wage

This is tomorrows world for you and me my girl
This is tomorrows world and nothing’s gonna stop us

And there stood Johnny with his rum and coke
In desert boots – and his war time coat
And a vision of his worn out dad
Said, “I’m gonna have the life you never had”

Met a bird asked her for her number
Down the pub took her to the pictures
….Stand for the queen, it’s the national anthem

Now life it starts today – We’ve got so much to say

This is tomorrows world for you and me my girl
This is tomorrows world and nothing’s gonna stop us

Nowadays we’re all f-ing and blinding
Coz our type have give up trying
and Britain is dead” say’s every one
and the Glory Boys are all gone.


For GVR updates please follow us at….. https://www.facebook.com/goodbyevictoryroad/

And you’ll find a bit more depth at….. https://britishnewwave.wixsite.com/goodbyevictoryroad

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