Mike Herbage

  • Department S

About Mike Herbage

By mid-1978, the punk scene in London was all but dead in the water. The initial burst of energy and creativity was a spent force. Although great bands such as Buzzcocks and Generation X had only just released their debut albums, these were made up largely of material that was 18 months old. It had just taken the A&R men time to cotton onto something that had come from the streets.

Punk had served its purpose. The Pistols had exploded into a freak show circus. Like all the best youth culture phenomenon, they burned bright, outshone all around them, and called it a day. Sadly, a section of the scene couldn't move on and the door was left open for groups such as Discharge, Anti-Pasti, and Crass who were regurgitating the same old themes and sounds of the previous two years, only without the style of The Clash or creativity of a Lydon or Weller. No fun.

Once punk had become a cliché of King's Road poseurs acting out the part for tourists, other scenes started to spring up in various corners of the city. These included a club called Billy's on Dean Street in Soho This was a club run by Rusty Egan and Steve Harrington, who later went onto fame with the band Visage. The theme was Bowie, Lou Reed, Roxy, Kraftwerk, and Euro disco. The look was to dress up.