REVIEW: Rat Scabies at The Tea Tray, Southsea

Rat Scabies at The Tea Tray in Southsea, May 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor
Rat Scabies at The Tea Tray in Southsea, May 2018. Picture by Paul Windsor
The Torpedoes, taken at Southsea Common War Memorial, March 2018. Picture by Shaun Nightmare.

Two bands, two singles, one show for Torpedoes' and Fainites' launch night

Foxer will headline the Acapulco stage at Icebreaker 2018. Picture by Josh Holgate.

Foxer take aim with their Slingshot for Icebreaker

It's not often you see a genuine punk legend standing in a Southsea street signing autographs, having the ubiquitous selfies with dozens of fans.

But there he is, Rat Scabies, original drummer with The Damned, basking in the glory of two sold out shows at the charming Tea Tray cafe.

With tickets for the original evening show selling out in an hour, a matinee was quickly added. Hosted by Square Roots promoter Ken Brown, we were treated to an hour of  tales of general punk-rock misbehavior.

It easy to forget that Rat was there at the very beginning of punk, forming a band with Mick Jones, Tony James, and Brian James which held the roots of The Clash, Generation X and The Damned.

Perched on a stool, Rat was in fine form, a wonderful raconteur regaling us with stories about Captain Sensible and a carrot and Sid Vicious's bad foot, that left little to the imagination and left us recoiling in horror and laughter.

What I didn't know that Rat was an established songwriter within the band, and was delighted when he mentioned that he wrote Waiting For The Blackout, one of my favourite songs from the Black Album, and the lyrics for Love Song.

There was of course the thorny subject of Rat's current relationship with the band – he seemed circumspect but not regretful, and when asked if the original line up ever reform, there was an emphatic: 'No', in response.

A wonderful evening of engaging conversation, with all present feeling privileged to witness these stories at first hand.

PAUL WINDSOR