The Kronstadt Uprising
1981 - 1982 1982 - 1984 1984 - 1987
Spencer Blake - Vocals Paul Lawson - Vocals / Guitar Gary Smith - Vocals
Paul Lawson - Guitar Filf - Guitar (1983) Murray Blake - Guitar
Andy Fisher - Bass Andy Fisher - Bass Kevin de Groot - Guitar (1985 - 1987)
Steve Pegrum - Drums Steve Pegrum - Drums Stuart Emmerton - Bass
    Steve Pegrum - Drums
The Kronstadt Uprising  L-R: Spencer, Paul, Steve and Andy
The Kronstadt Uprising 1981 - 1984 L-R: Spencer Blake, Paul Lawson, Steve Pegrum & Andy Fisher
...The Story...

The Kronstadt Uprising: Spencer and PaulThe Kronstadt Uprising were the most well known Punk band from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, that existed between 1981-1987. The roots of the band lay in an outfit called 'The Bleeding Pyles', a band formed by drummer Steve Pegrum in 1980. Many local musicians passed through the band, until in early 1981 previous Bleeding Pyles Guitarist Spencer Blake switched to Vocals and he suggested his friend Paul Lawson play Guitar. A Bassist, Mick Grant, was drafted in from an ad in a local record shop, and after an electric rehearsal, a new line up was forged. The band began writing a new set of songs, including future Kronstadt anthems such as 'Receiver Deceiver' and 'Blind People'. The band then played their debut at the Thorpedean Community Centre on the 19th of August 1981, causing a certain amount of consternation in the press at the same time (the area where the venue was located was not used to being invaded by a collection of multi-coloured punk rockers). Not long after the concert, Mick left the band to pursue his religious aspirations, and luckily Spencer knew a Bassist called Andy Fisher, who although from a slightly different musical background, being more into The Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus etc, was very much into the ideas of the band, and duly joined. Being new to the Bass, Andy diligently learnt the bands songs, and debuted with them, playing an impromptu set of a couple of numbers, at the Cliffs Pavilion Maritime Room, Southend, on the 02.10.81. The band now were beginning to seriously gel, and in order to reflect their more serious approach, in late 1981, they chose a new name for themselves, The Kronstadt Uprising.

"Seas and rivers running dry so many people will have to die, London City raised to the ground, what's that ear splitting sound?, Strontium 90 in the sky, the government are hiding behind their lies, the human race is at an end, it's too late to try again." 'Blind People'.

They decided to enter a proper recording studio, and lay down the key songs from their current live set. They did this on the 29.11.81 at the Elephant Recording Studios, Wapping, London. They managed to put down nine tracks - 'Receiver Deceiver', 'Blind People', 'Dealer of Death', 'Necrology', 'Nihilistic Vices', 'Invasion', 'Dreamers of Peace', 'Violent Fear' and 'Anthem For Doomed Youth' - and adapted quite well to the confines of the studio. They then played their first concert as The Kronstadt Uprising on the 07.12.81 at the Southend Focus Centre, and set about making plans for 1982. The main thing that arose from the Kronstadt's first demo recording though, was the fact that Crass decided to include a track from it - 'Receiver Deceiver' - on their forthcoming compilation album, 'Bullshit Detector Volume 2', which was ultimately released in September 1982.

Kronstadt Uprising - Early logo design by Ian FryThe band started 1982 in earnest, regularly playing at local venues such as The Grand Hotel in Leigh and in the process establishing quite a formidable local following. However, owing to internal differences amongst various band members, a line-up change was needed, and so Spencer departed and Paul Lawson took on Vocal duties as well as Guitar, managing to keep the continuity of the band going, and simultaneously establishing a harsher edge to the sound. Paul's first concert with the band on vocals was at 'Heroes', a Punk club in Chelmsford Essex on the 26.06.82. The bands fans were divided on Paul's singing style, and although they may have lost a few fans, after a while they consolidated their fan base and gained many new ones. This was largely due to the band recording an EP at the legendary Southern Studios under the production of John Loder and Colsk and Derek from the Flux of Pink Indians for the Flux's Spiderleg label. The EP was to be called 'The Unknown Revolution', and although recorded in September 1982, it was eventually released at about the same time the following year. The EP captured well the Kronstadt's live sound, and was a high point for the band.

"Living in a Nightmare now it's outside your front door, your body and belongings are burning in the street as you crawl across the blood stained floor, now you're dieing, dieing in the rain, you're dieing in the sunrise, you'll die without your name." 'Living in a Nightmare'.

Drummer Steve was perhaps the busiest member of the band, for apart from playing in the Kronstadt Uprising, he also joined local Punk band the Sinyx for most of 1982 on Drums, and played many concerts with them, both locally, and out of town and in London. They would regularly play alongside bands such as The Mob, Rudimentary Peni, Nightmare etc. When vocalist Paul Barrett left the band late in 1982, and with increasing Kronstadt commitments, Steve decided to also leave and concentrate full time on his Kronstadt activities. Most of 1982 for the Kronstadt was spent both playing live and writing a new set of songs. With the release of 'Bullshit Detector 2' in the Autumn of that year, the band became increasingly popular amongst the new breed of fanzines, such as Final Curtain and Obituary, and would regularly appear/give interviews in them. (Steve had inaugurated his own fanzine - Necrology - that ran from 1981 - 1982). They started to play outside the region, and began concentrating on playing in London, which maintained a bastion of loyal Punk supporters. The Crass album did amazingly well, and the band were often sending out tapes etc to fans across the world, and were often pleased to be cited as an influence amongst the newer generation of bands.

Filf with The Kronstadt Uprising live at 'Sid's - 28.05.83 To further add to the bands powerful sound, guitarist Nick 'Filf' Robinson (ex-Icons/Sinyx) joined the Kronstadt Uprising in January 1983 (and played until August 1983) and debuted with the band at infamous Rayleigh alternative night-club Crocs on the 24.02.83. The band rehearsed and gigged solidly, and developed a very powerful sound in the process. Many fans felt this period of the band was in many ways their strongest, adding a new edge to older songs such as 'Twilight of Your Idols', and developing great new songs such as 'Complacency Kills' and 'Soldiers of Fortune'. However, the band were becoming somewhat disillusioned with the current Punk scene, after having had many concerts canceled owing to complete inefficiency on the organisers behalf, records delayed etc. So, after playing a definitive headline concert at the main theatre of the Focus Centre Southend on 16.06.83 they decided to take a break.

When the band regrouped, the band were determined to get way from the confines of the current punk scene, and return to their roots: The mercurial punk/r'n'r of the Pistols, Clash etc, aligned with the re-emergence of the bands hero, Johnny Thunders. There were also current groups that the band respected such as The Lords of the New Church and Hanoi Rocks, both of whom were from the punk scene, but were developing their own sound - A perspective and ethos that the Kronstadt has long adhered to and would now set about putting into place. Late 1983 saw the band play just a few local concerts, as they were developing their new sound and concentrating on writing new numbers.

"The Dogs of War, The Wild Geese, glamorous war, boring peace, The Soldiers of Fortune lust for war, taking money for murder inside the law." 'Soldiers of Fortune'.

Steve Pegrum live with The Kronstadt Uprisng at The Old Queen's Head, Stockwell, London - 05.03.84Thus they began 1984 in a very optimistic frame of mind and set upon an intense period of recording, staring at the Pet sounds Studio in London where they recorded two tracks on the 14.01.84, 'The Day After' and 'The Knife', a live set at local rehearsal studio Honky Tonk on the 03.03.84, and what would be this era of the bands final recording, a three song demo at Pet Sounds again on the 10.03.84, consisting of 'I don't wanna Live your way today', old favourite 'Living in a Nightmare' and 'The White Room'. Despite the encouragement of their new direction and the favourable reaction the band found amongst their hard core followers, after three years together, the various members felt that they had progressed as far as they could as a unit, and the band played their final concert, with the Lost Cherees, on the 05.03.84 at the Old Queens Head, Stockwell London, and, after the recording and three years together, decided to call it a day.

However, in Steve's heart he knew he still really wanted to play raw burning Punk / Rock and Roll, so Steve set about putting a new line up of the Kronstadt Uprising together. With Bass playing friend Stuart Emmerton, whom Steve had met at the local college, and with Murray Blake (brother of Spencer) on Guitar, the trio set about rehearsing and finding a suitable vocalist. Spencer Blake, the original Kronstadt Vocalist, briefly stood in the vocal limelight, until Gary Smith (ex-The Get) came in on Vocals. So in late 1984, the new era of the Kronstadt Uprising was inaugurated, and the band set about putting a set together. With songs initially drawn from the later numbers of the old Kronstadt set, such as 'Live for Today' and 'The Knife', the band were also writing some very potent new material.

The Kronstadt Uprising 1985 L-R: Murray, Stuart, Steve and Gary - Photograph by Rick BuckleyThus, in April 1985 the band went into Diploma Studios, Wickford, Essex and recorded three songs - 'Part of the Game', 'The Horsemen' and 'Live for Today'. Local entrepreneur Ian Cox liked the results and a mutually financed single, of 'Part of the Game', was released on his own Dog Rock Records. To firmly launch the new band, they played their debut gig together at the Basildon Roundacre on the 03.05.85. The new line up went down well with the Kronstadt die-hards in the audience, and they managed to also draw in a new crowd, mostly made up of ex-punks now fired by the newer Rock and Roll they heard in groups ranging from the aforementioned Lords and Thunders etc. Shortly after the concert, and via a long-forgotten add for a guitarist that had been placed in a local music shop, Guitarist Kevin de Groot called Steve, came down for an audition, and after a blistering run through of Iggy and The Stooges 'Search and Destroy' (a song regularly covered by The Kronstadt), was duly recruited to the Kronstadt ranks. Kev added a new angle to the Kronstadt s raw, frontal R'N'R attack and the band went into Reel Time Studios in London and immediately recorded three of their newest songs - 'Looking for You', 'Suicide' and 'What are you gonna do'. The five piece then played at the Monico, Canvey Island, Essex on the 10/9/85, and thereafter set about writing a lot of new, strong material and playing out live as frequently as possible, often at local haunts such as The Grand Hotel and The Pink Toothbrush (ex-Crocs), and culminating in a mercurial performance at the Clarendon, Hammersmith, New Years Eve, 1985.

Early 1986 saw the band regularly playing in and around London, as well as semi-residencies at such Southend venues as Reids. The band also played and headlined at a local celebration of Punk/Trash culture at a night named after one of their key songs - The Knife club - on the 08.02.86. Things were looking promising, and after more intense writing and rehearsing of new material, the band went into Spectrum Studios in Southend to record two new songs - 'Stay Free' and 'Hold me Back' - on the 14.05.86. To follow the recording the band played a triumphant concert at the Southend College of Technology on the 16.05.86 in front of a large crowd and this should have marked the start of the bands climb onto further heights. However, it proved to be the reverse, and was the last concert the Kronstadt Uprising ever played.

The Kronstadt Uprising 1986 L-R: Kevin, Steve, Gary, Murray and Stuart - Photograph by Giacomino ParkinsonDespite one of the Kronstadt Uprisings main strengths as a unit lying in the diversity of the members tastes, and consequently producing a somewhat raw and original sound, these strengths inevitably turned into weaknesses and formed the basis upon which firstly Murray, then Gary decided to quit the band. Steve, Stuart and Kev decided to continue for a while, even auditioning potential new members, until they eventually decided that with the members ever diverging musical interests, in November 1987, that the Kronstadt banner would be lowered and after six years existence, the band was no more.

Some of the final songs written by Steve in this latter period of the bands existence, such as 'Vietnam Blues' and 'London City' would form the basis of his new band,The Ghosts of Lovers, that he would go on to form with Bassist Stuart Emmertion in 1989. They released a flexi of their song 'Iona', that was given away with Submerge Fanzine in 1991 and were a great band in the tradition of the New York Dolls and Ziggy. After The Ghosts, Steve went to to play in The Hearts of Darkness before writing a lot of solo songs and teaming up again in the early 2000's with KU guitarist Kevin de Groot. From the earlier days, Andy Fisher went on to play with Anorexic Dread for a while, before traveling the word roadying for The Cure. Spencer helped Auntie in the early days of Sonic Violence, and Filf is rumoured to be in Australia, whilst Paul Lawson is currently MIA. Gary Smith has subsequently raised a family, Murray Blake went on to play in Sonic Violence, who achieved a lot of success on the late '80s/early '90's Industrial scene, Stuart Emmerton formed The Ghosts of Lovers with Steve, and Kevin de Groot initially concentrated on a being a solo acoustic performer under the name of The Misanthrope in the early '90s', before re-emerging in 2000 with Colchester bands Dead Men Dream and Leopardskin Nuclear Bomber. He and Steve played together for the first time in years when he helped Steve with the recording of some of his newer songs.

The CD 'Insurrection' was released in 2000 on the UK based 'Overground Records', and for the first time collated a lot of the key recordings by the Kronstadt Uprising. With 23 tracks, it included the bands Bullshit Detector appearance, The Unknown Revolution ep and The Part of The Game single, and numerous unreleased demo recordings. As such, it is the definitive document of this special band, whose early output especially is still highly regarded.

The Kronstadt Uprising - 'Insurrection' - CD Details
The Kronstadt Uprising - 'Videos'
The Kronstadt Uprising - Live at The Railway - 07.05.83


'Bullshit Detector Volume #2' - Features The Kronstadt Uprising song 'Receiver Deceiver' - LP2 (Crass Records 221984/3 - 1982)

'Bullshit Detector Volume #2' - Features The Kronstadt Uprising song 'Receiver Deceiver' - LP2 (Crass Records 221984/3 - 1982)

'The Unknown Revolution EP' - 'Blind People' / 'Dreamers of Peace' / 'End of Part One' / 'Xenophobia' - 7" EP (Spiderleg SDL 12 - 1983)

'The Unknown Revolution EP' - 'Blind People' / 'Dreamers of Peace' / 'End of Part One' / 'Xenophobia' - 7" EP (Spiderleg SDL 12 - 1983)

'Part of The Game' c/w 'The Horsemen'' - 7" Single (Dog Rock SDL 108 - 1985)

'Part of The Game' c/w 'The Horsemen'' - 7" Single (Dog Rock SD 108 - 1985)

'Insurrection' - Twenty Three Track Kronstadt Uprising Compilation - CD (Overground - OVER 85VP CD - 2000)

'Insurrection' - Twenty Three Track Kronstadt Uprising Compilation - CD (Overground - OVER 85VP CD - 2000)

'Anti-War' (Anarcho Punk Comp Vol #1) - Features The Kronstadt Uprising song 'Blind People' - CD (Overground - OVER 103VP CD - 2005)

'Anti-War' (Anarcho Punk Comp Vol #1) - Features The Kronstadt Uprising song 'Blind People' - CD (Overground - OVER 103VP CD - 2005)


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