Eagle Spits is probably not his birth name but does seem to suit a character who nearly 40 years after his initial involvement in punk is still going strong- still angry, hopeful, humourous, militating for change. After meeting in the summer and then going along to a ‘Punk 4 The Homeless’ gig I asked Eagle if he would mind answering a few questions…
Q, When did you start to self identify as a punk? What was it that attracted you, what did punk mean to you then-and what does it mean now?
It all began when I was 14 which was 38 years ago. I had heard about punk rock, the mass hysteria it had caused in the media. How it was rebellious, anti authoritarian, disgusting and something to be stayed away from. I was intrigued. At the same time I was searching for an identity. I was a troublesome kid and although I didn’t realize it back then I had blanked the whole of my childhood out due to being sexually abused (all that stuff came flooding back when I was 27. I had started my mental health nurse training, was in a classroom learning about sexual abuse issues..zap, there it was) so I was really lost with no sense of self and no roots. Then one day I walked into the living room and The Stranglers were on TOTP. They blew me away, the energy, power, freshness. I had never heard anything like it. I went out and bought the ‘No More Heroes’ single (much to my parents disgust) then a couple more singles and The Clash first album. First band I got to see were Sham 69 (at Cambridge Corn Exchange) which turned out to be a blood bath with the National Front kicking the crap out of everybody. Then me and my mates got nicked back at the railway station because some skinheads came in and smashed the waiting room up. We spent the night in the cells and the cops gave us a lift home the next morning because they realized we were innocent (sitting in a cell for something I hadn’t done) and we were just kids. I had loads of great times at punk gigs but there was always violence due to the Far Right. One of those great experiences was when my school thought it would be funny to send this young punk to a posh hotel in Peterborough, The Bull, but it back fired because The Clash (my all time fave band) booked in, befriended me and my friends and took us to the sound check where we spent lots of quality time partying with them and The Slits. Obviously the punk scene helped me to form a political awareness (although the Left in the form of the WRP and Far Right in the form of the NF tried to hijack things). When I was sixteen Crass brought out ‘The Feeding of the 5000′, which I thought was the funniest thing I had ever heard until I realized they were being serious, and the anarcho punk thing started. I had considered my self to be an anarchist for about 3 years but that scene helped me on my way. So I was involved in the punk scene early on but have often found it a bit naff and hypocritical over the years. Loads of the bands were signing to major labels, obviously The Clash and The Pistols but even those who should have known better; Chumbawamba, New Model Army and Blaggers ITA signing to EMI (probably the biggest arms dealers in the world still, for fuck’s sake). So yes I am still involved in the punk scene but one which has a DIY, fuck corporate bollocks attitude. The punk scene can be very narrow minded with people struggling with stuff which doesn’t fit the genre, which most of the stuff I tend to be involved with doesn’t. So yes I am a punk if punk is an attitude but no if its someone who just consumes generic, unchallenging crap. I still comfortably sport a bright coloured mowhawk but I am not interested in bands who just want to be rock stars. I am still naive enough to want to change the world and despite it’s problems believe the punk scene can be a major part of that.