1. Let’s go right back to the start. What was it like growing up in Exeter and what’s your earliest recollection of punk rock?

Growing up in Exeter was pretty uneventful until around 1977, but that had nothing to do with punk rock. I was 15 years old and teenage angst combined with complications on the home front and at school would land me in jail within 2 years. My earliest recollection of (so called) punk rock was probably watching the Boomtown Rats on Top of the Pops ( bang goes any “punk” kudos I might have had). I didn’t really have much time for punk as I was a skinhead and preferred reggae/ska music at that time. In fact, I have never classed myself in any way as a punk rocker, and still believe that it is a very ambiguous beast.

2. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the Last Offensive single. What is your memory of the recording and writing of that track? Can you remember how well it sold?

My main memory is that we went into the rehearsal studio and I had the lyrics, but no idea of how they should be delivered. Our drummer Joe started firing off some rim shots and lead guitarist, Gary started strumming some kinda odd chords. I sang along and after a few tweaks and added dynamics the deed was done. We only had 500 records pressed and had to stick the photo sleeves together ourselves ahead of getting our hands on the finished product. They all sold out pretty quickly, mainly be our selling them at gigs, although they were also available in local record shops.

3. In 1984 you appeared on the compilation ‘The Oi Of Sex’ alongside the likes of Cock Sparrer and The Gonads. How did this come about and did it raise the profile of the band?

It was sorted via our manager, Pip via John Bain (aka Attila The Stockbroker) as far as I can recall. We didn’t get any obvious recognition from it, but then again of course we were a long way away from the places that mattered in terms of exposure/gigs etc.

4. I would love to hear about the Exeter punk scene in the late seventies and early eighties. Could you please share with us your memories of that time and talk about some of the bands that passed through the city?

The late ’70s punk scene I can’t comment on as I wasn’t involved, although I do know that they were dominated by some excellent and dubious characters such as Kenny Marshall, Richard (Scrich) Hardy, Steve (Paddy) Goodwin, who went on to punk semi-stardom with the band CUD. There was also Nick Lawrence who was ex-army, an outrageous gay fella called Chris Frowd who drove a pink cadillac.

The 1980’s is a very different matter and there is way too much to tell here. The full story will form a part of my autobiography which is currently being written with the working title ‘Whatever Happened To White Dog Shit’.

Main memories of this time would have been based around the Timepiece nightclub in Exeter, which was the hub of all things classed as ‘alternative’. Bands were mainly playing at either The Pit (now called the Lemon Grove), The Great Hall or at Routes nightclub which saw proper punk bands such as The Ruts and Angelic Upstarts take to the stage until it sadly closed it’s doors for good.

5. Nowadays, bands seem less interested in image but from the photos that I’ve seen of you guys you always had a unified look. Was that an important aspect of what you were doing?

Take a look at any Ed Sheeran or other of today’s bland offerings and then watch the video of The Clash doing I Fought The Law at The Lyceum in London (it’s in the Rude Boy film). Joe and I wore the same clobber offstage as on. If you are in a band then fucking well look like it.

6. You ventured outside of Exeter in 1983 and played six dates in London. These gigs were arranged by Attila The Stockbroker and I was wondering how you got involved with him and how did Rat Patrol go down in the capital?

We got involved as usual via our excellent manager, the late great Pip Hulme, and I’m pleased to report that we went down a storm, especially when my guitar strap broke on a very expensive guitar I had borrowed and it ended up in the audience at our Brixton gig.

7. When you look back on things now, do you ever regret not having the opportunity to record an album with the band?

No, our material wasn’t strong enough and due to the tensions (musical differences I believe they call them) between me and Joe, it would have been doomed from the start.

8. I’ve just had a look at your website and discovered that the band split up and reformed many times under different names. What was the reason behind this and how was the experience of supporting New Model Army and the Angelic Upstarts?

Joe and I fought like brothers, as we pretty much were for a good few years, hence the different names when he was off on one of his tantrums. NMA were great and I have so much respect for them. They beat us at table football, but we nicked their rider when they were on stage, so all’s well that ends well. The Upstarts were a blast. Mensi offered Joe a job as their new drummer, but Joe was very parochial and declined. You know, he had no dress sense that Thomas Mensforth character – purple corduroy jeans – I ask you!

9. From what people have told me, Rat Patrol built up a large local following resulting in strong support and substantial numbers whilst playing Exeter venues. So many punk bands in the early days were subjected to crowd violence so I would like to know if you ever experienced any trouble at your gigs?

Barton Hill Youth Club in Bristol was a bit of a brown trouser moment. We were supporting Attila who is widely known for his left wing views (as I hope were we), and the local boneheads decided to try and dismember us.

We didn’t get too much hassle locally except for when the local BNP faction turned up after the football at one of our gigs in Garbo’s in Exeter. Our mate got his jaw broken but that was probably the worst that happened. The rest was just the odd fisticuffs here and there.

10. So how did the band finally split up? Was it an amicable decision between all of the members to call it a day? What was the general vibe like at that point?

We just naturally expired really. The rave scene was in full flow and our services were, quite frankly no longer required. Also, I had been in a relationship with my long suffering girlfriend since 1988, so this was our John and Yoko moment!

11. What are you up to nowadays? Are you still involved in music at all?

I’ve been designing websites since 1997 and although there isn’t any great call for it these days, I still seem to make ends meet through my own sites, one way or another.

12. To finish off please give us a top ten list of your favourite albums. Thanks for taking part and feel free to add any final comments.











Thanks for inviting me to write for Positive Creed. I’d like to have expanded on many of the answers here, but my tendency is to ramble so I’ve tried to keep it short and to the point.

Watch out for the White Dog Shit epistle which may or may not make it out in the next year or so, as that will contain some very amusing meanderings down the rocky road of Exeter and beyond.

Readers, feel free to contact me via alf@alf.rip with any questions, even though I’m still alive at the time of writing………..