From Livingston, Scotland
- Liam, Wullie, Dickie, Chunky
- Liam, Wullie, Dickie, Bob
- Liam, Wullie, Dickie, Fid
- Liam, Stephen, Dougie, Graeme
- Liam, Stephen, Bob, John
Written by Jolly
On Parole were a punk band that came from the Scottish new town Livingston and
existed 1979-1983. They took their name from the "On Parole" summer tour
by The Clash in 1978. The original band members were Liam on vocals, Wullie on
guitar, Tod on guitar, Chunky on bass and Dickie on drums. Tod left quite
early on because he got married and didn't like playing in a live environment according to one source.
The first time that I saw the band play was in September 1980 when they
supported another local band called The Frauds at the community school where
the band also rehearsed. On Parole blew the support band away with a tight set
of covers and original songs. The cover of "Garageland" is one song that stuck
out and also the original composition "Crown Court" with its anthemic chorus.
I was with the band when they played a gig in Slateford, Edinburgh later that year with Bob replacing chunky on bass. I also saw them playing the local school another couple of times in 1981.
Around the summer of 1981 Liam was left with the responsibility of finding new members for the band as the others had moved in for various reasons. It was at this point that Stephen was recruited on drums. There were a couple of false starts with other members joining and then leaving before two brothers Dougie and Graeme joined to complete the line-up. The Patterson brothers had been playing with a band called Another Youth with their elder brother Scott and friend Billy. It was at this point that I became known as the manager.
We rehearsed once a week and a load of new songs were written to supplement
the songs from the original line up. A gig was arranged supporting a London-based rock band at the community school once again. The gig was a great success and a session in a studio was soon organised.
The first demo tape was recorded in May 1982 at the Palladium Studios in
Edinburgh. The band recorded five songs, which were "On the Run", "Crown
Court", "Condemned", "Assault" and "No Justice". I sold copies of this without
knowing that the transfer wasn't a clean copy. It was only on a visit to
London and a chat with the then Business manager Lol Pryor that this was
brought to my attention. When I returned I sent Lol a clean copy and it was
through this that he recommended the band to No Future for inclusion on their
second instalment of "A Country Fit For Heroes".
It was also during this trip that a gig was arranged with promoter Dave Long at Skunx for August of 1982. A Luton van containing thirty punks and skinheads with three bands from Livingston travelled down overnight to London. The three bands were On Parole, Skroteez and Sedation (RIP Bongo).
Upon arrival to the venue early on Saturday morning everybody split into three groups with one lot heading to Kings Road, another load went to Soho and the third stayed locally drinking. On the night The Business turned up and jumped on stage to play three songs. It was considered a great success and the van travelled back to Livi the next day.
It was shortly after this the band got offered the contract for "Condemned" by
No Future Records and went back into Palladium to re-record the song. The band
recorded the following songs in the session; "Grass", "Crown Court",
"Condemned", "Assault", and "Imagine".
After this recording a third and final gig with the Patterson brothers in the band was promoted at the Lanthorn with The Skroteez and Drop Outs supporting. Dougie and Graeme were replaced by the two Strachan bothers. Bob had previously played in the band early on and John was an accomplished player. This line up never got passed the rehearsal stage and the band folded in Easter of 1983.
It's been interesting in recent years to see the band receive some critical
acclaim for the "Condemned" song. I've only ever received one statement from
No Future Records and nothing at all from the company that hold the master
rights, even though I've worked with the label over the years on other projects.
The song has recently been covered by a Mexican band called Himnos and has
been released on vinyl. In recent years I've been following Crown Court
because I found out that they took their name from the On Parole song. That's
a great honour because I like what Trevor and the boys do. For various reasons
the band won't reform and play.
There was a lot of great moments and everybody involved is honoured with the interest.