to see these rare photographs of Captain Strange - so, how did you and
The Captain (aka John Bunclark) get to know each other?
I never called John 'The Captain', though I know a lot of people did.
We were classmates at school. He said he was going to form a band (always
had plenty of front, and ended up as the front man of course), so I bought
a guitar and even paid for lessons, just so that I could make sure I got
in it. We were in the same year, but he was a little older, and looked
it. I was 15 - and looked it. The year we did those few gigs was 1979!
Who took those great photographs from Scamps / Shrimpers, and what
caused the band to split?
I loved every minute of it, but in August of that year, as I just turned
16, my parents moved to bleedin' Cornwall (nice place for a holiday, but
what a difference from Southend! They were at least a year behind the
trends), so that was the end of Captain Strange. Got myself back to Essex
seven years later. The pics are originals from my scrapbook of the time.
I think these were from John's camera, or his dad's? Taken by whoever
he gave it to before the gigs?
The Scamps gig was our last – and we were supposed to be the headline
act! – incredibly John had persuaded them to give us this gig, and we
even had the Vicars in support! I have no idea how John managed to organise
this, and god knows what the Vicars thought when they saw us perform!
gig at St Saviours Hall in Chalkwell looks like a great bill - did that
full line up all actually appear?
The gig with Speedball and the Purple Hearts did take place, but we didn't
perform. Typical John, we had virtually only conceived the band, never
mind practiced (or even got a full line up), and he had arranged a gig
for us. The Purple Hearts were there - before they got a bit of fame obviously.
I can't remember if all members of the band were there, I think maybe
not, but pretty sure they did not perform either, for whatever reason.
Speedball did - I remember them doing Ging Gang Gooley in the old Church
/ Scout hut! They may well have been the only band to play that night
- not sure if it was even ended early by the vicar (or whatever the title)
who might have been shocked to see what was going on in the hall (I think
maybe another John Bunclark enterprise that had been "sold" to someone!).
Was Sue Paget from The Vandals in Captain Strange for long?
She practiced with us, but never gigged.
Did you make any recordings?
I seem to remember a tape, and think I had a copy, but long since gone
back at the band now, what are your thoughts?
I Kept a couple of cuttings from the time - (mainly from Strange Stories
of course!) - that sum things up well: "bands that played in Heat 4 were;
Capt. Strange a loud noisy band from Westcliff who didn't have a lot to
offer apart from volume and youth." We finished 5th out of the 6 that
night. I think we managed to avoid being bottom, as Paul Shuttleworth
was one of the judges, and my older brother was with him in Surly Bird
pre-Kursaals (think he may have given us a better score out of sympathy).
We only had three songs, played them, and then it was pointed out that
we had only used around half of our allotted time. So we played them again!
As Andi said in his profile - it was a wall of sound, and I’m not sure
that all of the judges actually knew they were listening to the same three
Also, "following them was Capt. Strange who drove me to find even more
liquid solace which impaired my faculties to such an extent that I missed
The Electric Shocks (sorry lads)..." This was our gig at the Esplanade,
where we had no drummer, so John Dee offered to help out. He played with
one drum stick and an empty beer bottle!
Great site, brings back so many memories of my youth in Southend
- Interview by Southend Punk.com, April 2011