Punk rock band The Drones formed in Manchester in 1976, making their debut at the Houldsworth Hall, Manchester with Generation X as support. They relocated to London and supported bands including The Vibrators, X-Ray Spex and The Stranglers. They released their debut album Further Temptations in 1977 and the follow-up Album Sorted in 1999. Sadly the original lead singer M.J. Droned (Michael Howells) died in 2013. Original members Steve ‘Wispa’ Cundall and Gary ‘Gus’ Callendar reformed the band as a four piece in 2015. In January 2017 they relaunched as a 3 piece, now located back in Manchester, with the current line-up of Wispa on vocals and bass guitar, Brian ‘ Mad Muffett’ Grantham on drums, and the man with no nickname (as yet) Al Crosby on lead guitar. More information about the band’s history can be found here.
The Drones have released a new E.P. ‘Will you stand in front of bullets?’ which was produced by the band and Kevin Foy and recorded at Crack Studio in Manchester and is released on their own Idle Records label. The six track E.P. contains five new songs, and a reworking of ‘Hard On Me‘ from their first E.P. Temptations Of A White Collar Worker. The first print run which was available at the Rebellion Punk Festival at the beginning of August, sold out. The E.P. will be officially launched at Gullivers in Manchester on Saturday 15th September 2018.
Whilst Wispa was new to me, I know the other band members as Mad Muffett was an original member of Slaughter and the Dogs, and both he and Al Crosby are also in Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds. Some fine credentials there so I had high expectations for Will you stand in front of bullets? Does it live up to them? Read on and find out the opening track Cannon Fodder hurtles straight out of the speakers and blasts your ears with an aggressive slab of punk rock drone! The Human Race has a strangely entertaining start, as the opening riffs had me thinking Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams before it blended seamlessly into something more similar to System of Hates’ The Dogs of War.
White Noise Napper has a great marching beat and if you listen carefully you’ll hear Party People and The Hacienda mentioned, will it help you sleep? With it’s Anti-Nowhere League vibe I would say probably not! Again keep listening carefully and you’ll pick up that Al Crosby starts off singing on Rats before Wispa joins in and although it’s about the nightmare situation of Rats everywhere think James Herbert’s Novel The Rats it’s a catchy song with a fifties rock n roll vibe and some screaming riffs. Penultimate song Friction with a punishing beat is packed with aggressive vocals then we come to the final song the reworked Hard on Me which had an undercurrent of Slaughter and the Dogs’ The Bitch running through it.
Will you stand in front of bullets? Why not? There are different definitions of the word drone, one being a male bee (see here). The bee is, of course, the symbol of Manchester and The Drones symbolise Manchester Punk at it’s finest.
The Human Race
White Noise Napper
Hard On Me
Steve (Wispa) Cundall – Vocals/Bass Guitar
Al Crosby – Guitar
Brian (Mad Muffet) Grantham – Drums