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One of punk rock's longest running bands, the Vibrators emerged from the UK punk scene in 1976 and quickly found themselves sharing the stage with such notable acts as the Sex Pistols. Their initial releases were minor hits in England, and the band was able to weather frequent lineup changes, which started with bassist Pat Collier's exit in 1977, until 1980 when the band called it quits. But, as with most UK punk acts, reformation was in the cards. The original lineup came back together in 1982 and released the LPs Guilty and Alaska 127.
The original lineup of Ian Conochan, Pat Collier, John Ellis, and Eddie the Drummer was hit again with more turnover during the 1980s and 1990s. By the time of the band's 20th anniversary, Mikcie Owen (guitar), Mark Duncan (bass), Nigel Bennet (guitar), Darrell Bath (guitar), and Nick Peckham (bass) had all been associated with the Vibrators. In 1999, the more stable three-piece lineup of the band made their way across America with fellow punk veterans the Misfits, the Exploited, and the U.K. Subs.
While most of their albums in the 1980s and 1990s were overlooked, the early catalog was enough to keep them fueled for more than 20 years. The Vibrators released a live collection and a rarities disc in 1999 on Gig records.
The Vibrators are a British punk rock band that formed in 1976.
The Vibrators were founded by Ian 'Knox' Carnochan, bassist Pat Collier, guitarist John Ellis, and drummer John 'Eddie' Edwards. They first came to public notice at the 100 Club when they backed Chris Spedding in 1976. On Spedding's recommendation, Mickie Most signed them to his label RAK Records. Most produced their first single, "We Vibrate". The band also backed Spedding on his single, "Pogo Dancing".
The Vibrators recorded sessions for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 in October 1976, June 1977, and February 1978. They were one of the pioneering punk bands that played at London's Roxy Club. They headlined in January 1977, supported by The Drones, and in February they played twice at the venue. In March 1977 the band supported Iggy Pop on his British tour. Later that year they backed ex-Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter."BBC - Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - The Vibrators:". Retrieved 2007-12-03. Thompson, Dave (2000). 20th Century Rock & Roll-PUNK. Collector’s Guide Publication, Ontario, Canada. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-1-896522-27-2.
The band signed to Epic Records in early 1977. Their debut album, Pure Mania was co-produced with Robin Mayhew, the sound engineer for David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust live shows, and reached the Top 50 of the UK Albums Chart. The album is well regarded by some music critics and, 17 years after its release The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music named Pure Mania one of the 50 best punk albums of all time.
Their follow-up album, V2, narrowly missed the UK Top 30. The only single to be taken from that album, "Automatic Lover", was the only Vibrators’ single to reach the UK Top 40 where it reached No. 35. It earned the band a TV appearance on the prime-time TV show Top of the Pops. The Vibrators’ final single on Epic, "Judy Says (Knock You In The Head)", was released in June 1978. It reached No. 70 in the UK singles chart. Years later it was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time.Thompson, Dave (2000). Alternative Rock. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books. p. 710. ISBN 0-87930-607-6. "Flashes of sheer brilliance (‘Whips & Furs’), weirdness (the many Ramones go down the pub songs), and endearing gaucheness (the perfect pop of ‘Baby Baby’ pummelled by the Stones-whipped lead guitar)." Deming, Mark. "Review of ‘Pure Mania’ on Allmusic". "Both Knox and Pat Collier had a genius for writing short, punchy songs with sneering melody lines and gutsy guitar breaks. If the Vibrators were into punk as a musical rather than a sociopolitical movement, it's obvious that they liked the music very much, and on that level their debut album stands the test of time quite well." Larkin, Colin. All Time Top 1000 Albums. Guinness Publishing, Enfield. Chapter 9. ISBN 978-0-7535-0258-7. Rice, Tim; David Roberts (2001). British Hit Singles. Guinness World Records. p. 462. ISBN 0-85112-156-X. "100 Punk Scorchers". Mojo. October 2001. pp. Issue 95.
A lack of further chart activity, and with only one UK Top 40 single to their credit, sees the Vibrators join the list of one-hit wonders; a list that includes other UK punk and new wave acts such as The Banned, John Cooper Clarke, The Flying Lizards, Jilted John, 999, the Radio Stars, and the Rich Kids.
During the 1980s, John Ellis recorded with Peter Gabriel, as well as recording and touring frequently with Peter Hammill, then subsequently The Stranglers, eventually joining the latter full-time in the 1990s. Pat Collier went on to work closely with The Soft Boys, producing their seminal album, Underwater Moonlight, and Robyn Hitchcock, producing and mixing some of his solo albums (to which Knox also sometimes contributed). Despite numerous line-up changes, The Vibrators are still touring to this date as a three-piece, "Eddie" being the only original member.
In April 2011, it was announced that Knox would be leaving the band to pursue a solo career. Knox was replaced by Nigel Bennett, formerly of The Members. On November 10, 2012 Bennett announced on his Facebook page that he would be leaving the band at the end of the year.
The band Stiff Little Fingers took its name from the Vibrators' song of the same title. The song was penned by John Ellis, and appeared on the Vibrators' debut album, Pure Mania. Second wave punk band The Exploited covered the Vibrators' song "Troops of Tomorrow" and used it as the title track for their 1982 album. A cover of "Troops of Tomorrow" was also recorded by the Polish death metal band Vader, and released as a bonus track on the band's 2011 album, Welcome to the Morbid Reich. The Vibrators was the main influence on some Brazilian punk rock bands like the Pupilas Dilatadas.