What can I tell you that you don’t already know?
They’ve spent a fortune in pubs. They scrub up nicely. They’re not as bright as they think they are. And, even as I write, one of those rascals is probably chatting up your girlfriend. But you knew – or at least suspected – all of that already, right?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the origins of Soho Dukes can be traced back to a pub. It was way back in ’82 – when all of this was just fields – that Johnny Barracuda (vocals) and Bomber (bass guitar) ambled into the back room of a boozer to make their stage debuts in a band that would become Empyre and then, eventually, Monterrez. The pair of chancers chased their rock’n’roll dreams all the way to London’s Marquee Club, where Monterrez twice appeared as support act for Guns N’ Roses. That was in 1987. When there were only four channels on the telly.
Bomber eventually quit Monterrez to join London-based Waterbratz and then Drugdealer Cheerleader with whom he recorded an album and toured the nation. A rock ‘n’ roller to the core, Bomber has no recollection of either of these events.
Meanwhile, after a subtle – and ultimately pointless – change of name, Barracuda-fronted Monterrey continued to bother the London public with a short run of Marquee Club headline gigs as well as support slots with Faith No More & Skid Row. A few weeks later and Barracuda was out on his ear. For not being David Lee Roth. He still isn’t.
Ready to move on? We’ll take a cab. Just a few miles south. And several years north.
This is where we find Col ‘The Duke’ Foster (rhythm guitar and inspirational songwriter) and ‘Appy ‘Ammer’ Blackwell (drums). These are the South London-based Dukes who, in the early 1990s – along with Johnny Barracuda and Bomber – formed most of the criminally short-lived Sawbones, a band celebrated for some riotous shows at Kingston’s Grey Horse. Another pub. See? Told you. They’re relentless.
We head on. A lengthier drive this time. To 2017. Park up where you like, mate. Anywhere along here will do.
As the newest Duke, Si Leach, (lead guitar), might have been expected to need time to adjust to the lifestyle; the hard drinking, the sharp clothes, the fast women, the slow horses. But you’d be wrong, my friend. What was intended as an audition quickly became a rehearsal. Si was born to be a Duke. Not only has he regularly shouldered a guitar with Bad Boy Boogie, a well-respected and reliably noisy and boisterous (noisterous?) AC/DC tribute band, but he’s known Stateside too, having starred in an impromptu gig in Key West by virtue of winning a drinking competition. These are admirable credentials and precisely why he was snapped up. Proper lively. Like.
So, there we are. Now you know. These are your protagonists – your bovver boys, fops and dandies. Your elegantly wasted weekend millionaires. SOHO DUKES are among you, my friends. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Vocals, Harmonica, Betting Slip
A return to the Cavern. A birthday event. If you know, you know!
with ‘The DIRTY STRANGERS’. Event presented by TIME MACHINE RECORDS of Chichester
with THE DIRTY STRANGERS