Buzzcocks' Early Work Celebrated with Reissue Series
Published Jan 09, 2017Further cementing their position as punk rock royalty, Buzzcocks will be looking back at their very beginnings via a series of new reissues. Coming by way of Domino Records, the Manchester legends' 1977 debut EP, Spiral Scratch, will be treated to a 40th anniversary reissue, with Time's Up — an official studio bootleg documenting the band's first-ever recording session — getting reissued as well.
Spiral Scratch will first arrive on January 27 as a newly pressed 7-inch, limited to 300 copies, while Time's Up will come on CD, vinyl and digitally on March 10. Both releases will also arrive in a box set called Buzzcocks (mk.1) Box, which arrives on March 10 as well.
For the unfamiliar, Spiral Scratch is the thing of legends, with a press release telling its fabled punk rock tale like this:
The band recorded the four-track Spiral Scratch EP with a minimum of fuss in 'downtime' at Indigo Studios, with Martin Hannett (then going under the pseudonym of Martin Zero) producing. The band inexplicably took it upon themselves to self-release the EP, somehow finding the monies necessary to press 1,000 copies on 7-inch vinyl, on their own New Hormones label. The EP sold for £1 a copy.
Within days of the initial release, with typical punk chaos and sweet disregard for any cohesive business strategy, Howard Devoto revealed that he was quitting the band. The Spiral Scratch EP quickly sold out of its initial 1,000 pressing, went on to sell 16,000 copies over the next six months and is now recognized as one of, if not the, most important records of the punk explosion. It was the first self-released record of its time, with the band responsible for everything, from sleeve design to distribution.
As for Time's Up, the release was recorded before Spiral Scratch at Revolution Studios in Stockport, England, on October 18, 1976, by founder and soon-to-be ex-member Howard Devoto. It captured Buzzcocks' then-live set and was recorded for a measly £45.
For those fans keen on both releases, Buzzcocks (mk.1) Box will contain the Spiral Scratch 7-inch and CD and the Time's Up vinyl and CD, as well as both digitally. On top of this, it includes "reprinted ephemera of the time, including assorted 10" x 8" photographs, 1976 gig flyers and posters, pin badges, the Spiral Scratch story and a new re-imagined edition of Manchester fanzine, Shy Talk, with original contributions from those who were there at the time."
You can check out the various pre-order options here and get an idea what the box set looks like in the photo above.