Formed in London, in 1977, The Ruts were one of the key bands to operate in the reggae influenced Punk genre, with tracks such as "In A Rut", "Staring At The Rude Boys" and, of course "Babylon's Burning" remaining some of the most iconic tracks of the era. Making just one album, "The Crack" (1979), Their time as The Ruts was sadly cut short by the death of singer, Malcolm Owen in 1980, but 1981 saw remaining members Dave Ruffy, John 'Segs' Jennings and Paul Fox form Ruts DC, going on to record albums "Animal Now" (1981) and "Rhythm Collision Vol. 1" (1982), the latter drawing heavily on their reggae and dub influences.
In 2007 the band reformed briefly to play a benefit gig for guitarist Paul Fox, following his diagnosis with lung cancer. Henry Rollins took over vocal duties and The Damned, Misty In Roots, UK Subs, Tom Robinson, John Otway and more supported them at the gig, described as ‘the best punk gig of all time’ by the Times.
Now, over thirty years after the first volume was released, 2013 sees remaining members, Ruffy and Segs, release "Rhythm Collision Volume 2" (official release 13th May).
“The last thing on our minds was to reactivate Ruts DC. It just sort of happened.” recalls Segs. “We went to see Neil Fraser AKA Mad Professor who we’d worked with on ‘R.C Vol 1’. We hadn’t seen him for a while, but when we started talking about the original record, Neil said, ‘Yeah, we should do another session sometime – how about next Tuesday?’ It was as simple as that. We had some lyrics and a couple of ideas, so we agreed to do it and basically plugged in and played.”
“We adopted very much the same approach as we had at the ‘Rhythm Collision Vol. 1’ sessions,” continues Ruffy. “By the end of it we had the basics of fourteen tracks; very vibey, groovy stuff.”
“The album really came together by a series of fortunate events, before we knew it we were back in the studio for ‘The Great day of Vocals - Segs, Ngoni (AKA Delbert McKay, Misty’s guitarist/vocalist), gifted lyricist Aynzli Jones, Brixton lyrics man Tenor Fly and Rob Love, front man with Alabama 3 all turned up, tuned in and came up with the goods. Nothing was pre-conceived or planned.”
The recordings were finalised with Brighton producer, Prince Fatty, and the completed album retains the organic ethos, Ruts DC and friends seem to have employed. An essential listen for those who enjoy the fusion of countercultures where punk meets reggae and dub.
There must be mixed emotions for Ruts DC's remaining members, but Dave Ruffy says “Ruts DC now, it’s quite a cool handle. I wouldn’t want to go out as the Ruts, but I’m happy to play some new material and mix it up with some older Ruts stuff. It certainly seems to be working. Integrity intact.”
See Ruts DC live this Spring/Summer:
25th Southampton, The Brook
26th Butlin's, Minehead (Great British Alternative Festival Weekender)
10th London, The Underworld
17th Cardiff, The Globe
18th Derbyshire, Bearded Theory Festival
25th Penzance, 3 Chord Festival
6th Preston, 53 Degrees
7th Newcastle, North East Calling Festival
Watch The Ruts' perform "In A Rut" in 1980 below:
For more info go to www.theruts.co.uk