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From: Belfast

Active: 1977-80; 1983-87




This famous Belfast punk band began life in 1977 as Roofwrecks with original vocalist Ivan Kelly. Ruefrex were one of the most politically motivated of the Belfast punk bands and were known for playing anywhere in the north, ignoring sectarian divides.

Ivan Kelly left to replace Ian Lowery in UK punk band The Wall in September 1979. He stayed with them for just under a year, appearing on their debut "Personal Troubles And Public Issues" LP. His replacement in the re-christened Ruefrex was Allan Clarke.

Ruefrex released their excellent debut single on Good Vibrations in 1979. In February 1980 they were filmed for a BBC TV documentary called "Cross The Line" about the peaceline walls in Belfast. Apparently this features footage of the band performing and/or rehearsing several tracks. Does anyone out there have a copy of this? In March they recorded a 4-song Downtown Radio session and appeared at the Sense of Ireland festival in London the same month. They split later the same year.

Ruefrex reformed in 1983, persuaded by Gareth Ryan of Kabuki Records to record again. The first fruits of this reformation was "Capital Letters", a fantastic single which is well worth tracking down. They performed this live at the Kings Hall Belfast on 3rd October 1983 on BBC TV's "Channel One" (along with "Paid In Kind"). They recorded a Dave Fanning show session (RTE Radio) in July 1983 and a second Downtown Radio session the following year.

Jackie Forgie left in 1984 for Colenso Parade. He was replaced by Gerry Ferris who debuted on the "Paid In Kind" single. Forgie returned in 1985 before the next single. The band continued as a quintet until it's demise in 1987.

Ruefrex's profile was even higher in 1985. They released their best known -- or at any rate best publicised -- single in "Wild Colonial Boy", an attack on Noraid's fundraising in North America for the IRA. They performed this track (and "The Ruah") live on The Tube on Channel 4 TV. The "Flowers For All Occasions" LP was released world-wide through Stiff Records. They did a Janice Long Show live session (September '85) with Cathal Coughlan guesting on keyboards and apparently were the subjects of a CNN news report titled "War Kids Make Music For Peace" (anyone know any more details)? Tom Coulter had left at this stage, replaced by Gordy Blair (ex Outcasts, Big Self, etc).

"Wild Colonial Boy" was reissued in 1986 followed by a further single. A second LP was released on the slightly ropey Flicknife label in 1987 before the band called it a day. Check out the official Ruefrex website for a complete band history.

Tom Coulter recorded a 2-song demo as The 15th with Allan Clarke on vocals ("Like Love", "Friends Always"). Gerry Ferris emigrated to Australia, as did Gordy Blair. Paul Burgess got a scholarship to Oxford University and has followed an academic career ever since. He currently holds a post at UCC.

In June 2003, members of the band performed live on radio amid talk of a reunion. In August a limited edition CD re-issue of "Flowers For All Occasions" was sold through mail order to help raise funds for new recordings. For the latest developments, check the news section of the official Ruefrex site.


• One By One EP
7" - Good Vibrations Records - GOT 8 - 1979

• Downtown Radio Session March 1980
The Perfect Crime was released on the B-side of Paid In Kind in 1984.

• Cross The Line BBC TV documentary

• Capital Letters / April Fool
7" - Kabuki Records - KAR 7 - April 1983
Entered the UK indie singles chart on 11 June 1983 for a 6 week run peaking at #31

• Dave Fanning Show Session 12 July 1983

• Downtown Radio Session 1984

• Paid In Kind / Perfect Crime
7" - One to One Records - 1X1 - August 1984 - PS
B-side taken from from Downtown Radio session, March 1980
A Mayking test pressing offered on ebay was dated 28 June 1984.

• Wild Colonial Boy (Parts 1 and 2)
7" - Kasper Records - KAT 1 - August 1985 - Armalite PS
Entered the UK indie singles chart on 5 October 85 for a 1 week run peaking at #46

Notes: Note: Produced by Hugh Matier and Ruefrex. The single has two recordings of the same song, labelled parts 1 and 2. Part 1 is just under 5 minutes long; Part 2 is a shorter, quite different recording of the same song. Both tracks have a rough, more punk rock sound compared to the 1986 reissue through Stiff Records.

• Wild Colonial Boy / Even In The Dark Hours
7" - Kasper Records - KAS 2 - 1986 - drummer boy PS
• Wild Colonial Boy (extended) / Even In The Dark Hours
12" - Kasper Records - 12 KAS 2 - 1986 - drummer boy PS
Reissue in new cover artwork and with new B-side

Notes: Note: Reissue produced by Mick Glossop. The A-side is possibly a remix of the 1985 single but more likely its a brand new recording. The A-side is approx 4 minutes long, the extended remix of the 12" is 5:10.

• Flowers For All Occasions
LP - Kasper Records - KATLP 1 - 1985 - inner sleeve
LP - MCA Records - 5733 - USA - 1985 - stickered cover; promo copies exist; also on cassette
LP - Stiff Records - 6.26 338 - Germany - 1985
LP - Stiff/Victor Records - VIL-28027 - Japan 1985 - with obi+insert
CD - self-released - 2003 - 100 copies

Notes: Recorded at Music Works studios, London, 16-29 October 1985. Mixed in November. Produced by Mick Glossop. Recorded by the Clarke-Ferris-Blair-Burgess lineup. Hepburn Forgie is also credited with guitar and Cathal Coughlan played keyboards on "Even in the Dark Hours".

• Janice Long Show, BBC Radio 15 September 1985
Recorded at The Hippodrome, London

In The Traps / Lenders of the Last Resort
7" - Kasper Records - KAS 3 - 1986 - PS
12" - Kasper Records - 12 KAS 3 - 1986 - PS

• A Cut Above The Rest
K7 - Helden Records - H.NO 1 - 1987? - with Helden fanzine
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• Political Wings
LP - Flicknife Records - BLUNT 041 - 1987
Live at The Chocolate Factory, South London

There are four more tracks recorded at the same session, three of which turned up on Cherry Red's Best Of CD: "The Fightin' 36th", "April Fool", "Between Having and Wanting" and "Middle Ground".

• Capital Letters - The Best Of
CD - Cherry Red - CDMRED290 - 2005?
Near complete discography including 4 previously unreleased tracks

Other Compilation Appearances

• v/a - Good Vibrations: The Punk Singles Collection
CD - Anagram Records - CDPUNK36 - 1994
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• v/a - Bloodstains Across Northern Ireland
LP - bootleg - UK - 1998
See Compilations section for full track listing.

• v/a - Shellshock Rock: Punk in Northern Ireland
CDR - bootleg - 200?
See Compilations section for full track listing.


We need your help to correct and/or complete this entry. If you can provide more information about this band, have scans, photos or any other memorabilia we can use, or spare copies of any releases, then please get in touch.

See Also:

External Links: http://www.thomaspaulburgess.co.uk/

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