Steve Lamacq

DJ — London

Describe your style in three words?
Professionally Busking It.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
It always used to be My Bloody Valentine in New York at The Ritz in 1992 with Superchunk and Pavement supporting. But a little more recently, it’s BILLY BRAGG at the Dublin Castle in 2009 as part of a 6Music gig for the Camden Crawl. It only holds a couple of hundred of people, but bless him, Billy said he come down and do a turn and he was in terrific form. Lots of stories, lots of songs. I’ve got a bootleg of it at home and ‘A New England’ with the crowd singing a long at the end still sounds incredibly inspiring.

If you could put any three bands in history on a line up?
I guess you’d have to have The Ramones. I saw them twice, one at the Lyceum Ballroom in the Strand, where I started the gig standing in the middle by the sound desk and by the end of the first song I was over by the toilets. The whole crowd was a seething mass. And they were really back on form at the time with their ‘Too Tough To Die’ album which had all these Dee Dee inspired hardcore tracks like ‘Wart Hog’.

So The Ramones, a band called the Newtown Neurotics, from Harlow, where I lived for a while, who were the first band I ever followed round on tour and whose set always used to start with a song called ‘Wake Up’ which was a rallying cry for my fanzine at the time. And then Idles I think. Along with Shame they’re my current favourite live group. I first saw them Bristol in 2016 and have followed them ever since. They’re ruthless but embracing; ferocious but, in their own way, pragmatic. Well done.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Punk made the biggest difference on my life. I was a little too young for the first wave, but the thinking behind it and what it stood for, definitely helped change who I was in my teens.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
I think Marc Bolan would have been interesting. Although, oddly I’d really like to go back to the ‘60s and sit down with Richard Beeching. He concocted the famous ‘Beeching Report’ for “reshaping” ie closing large swathes of the rail network, which, as someone who loves a good train journey and the concept of public transport, was an awfully short-sighted plan I think. I mean, I don’t fancy my chances changing his mind, but I’d give it a go.

Of all the venues you’ve played, or visited, which is your favourite?
Crikey, there’s loads of them, all for different reasons. I used to love the little venues in north London, The Bull & Gate and The Falcon because I saw a lot of bands who went on to big things at those two. Currently, I think The Lexington in Islington is good, because even when its full you can usually see. The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds is excellent. And I went to Hebden Bridge Trades Club for the first time a couple of weeks ago and that’s got a lovely atmosphere about it.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
There’s a lot of people who are doing work behind the scenes for the Music Venue Trust at the moment who are standing up for the future of small British venues, that don’t get the credit they deserve. But in terms of musicians, there’s a chap called Paul Howard who really should have been bigger than he is. He’s played solo and in bands, including The Tender Trap, but never got the break. Have a listen to ‘Irish Ivan’s Spirit Song’ or ‘The Patron Saint Of Heartache.’


A champion of new music since his time at NME and XFM in the early 1990s Steve Lamacq has presented programmes on BBC Radio 1, 6 Music, Radio 2 and 5Live. Like John Peel before him, Steve Lamacq has been a consistent supporter of independent emerging British artists throughout his career, shining a spotlight on talent from all over the UK.
Steve celebrates his 30 years in the music industry, returning this spring with a UK tour of his one-man-show 'Going Deaf For A Living: The Story Of A Music Fan'.

Find out more at going-deaf-for-a-living.com

Catch up with Steve Lamacq's 6 Music Recommends new music playlist here

The first track you played on repeat?
The first single I ever bought. ‘Tiger Feet’ by Mud.

A song that defines the teenage you?
Most of The Undertones first album is like a scrapbook for anyone who was a teenager at the end of the 70s. But given that my teens were spent, mostly in state of utter confusion, then ‘Ain’t Got A Clue’ by The Lurkers.

One record you would keep forever?
Elastica’s first album. I was involved in putting it out on the label I was co-running at the time. I think it still sounds terrific now. Not just for the singles people know but tracks like ‘Smile’ and ‘Never Here’.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
“Why Don’t you ask them what they expect from you? Why don’t you tell them what you are going to do.”
From ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ by Eddie & the Hot Rods.

A song you wished you had written?
One of the best ones over the past year or so is ‘The Favourite Band Of A Dead Man’ by Man & The Echo. A good storyline, clever, with a touch of pathos.”

Best song to turn up loud?
‘Second Best’ by the American punk band The Mice, who were an early influence on Green Day or ‘Try This At Home’ by Frank Turner

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
Not sure about this, but I once did an interview with one of the daily papers about my collection of disco records, mostly accumulated when me and a friend at school were running a mobile disco for a while back in Essex. The best of them is ‘Shame’ by Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King which is one of the finest, richest sounding, soulful disco 12 inches ever released. Honest.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
I sometimes end my late night (early morning!) DJ sets with Monty Python’s ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’, but otherwise it’s Johnny Cash ‘A Thing Called Love.’

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Idles, Shame. There’s a band I came across recently from Dublin called Fontaines DC who sound very good. Edgy, but with quite mesmerising, looping riffs. Their current single ‘Chequeless Reckless’ is worth a listen.

Describe your style in three words?
Professionally Busking It.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
It always used to be My Bloody Valentine in New York at The Ritz in 1992 with Superchunk and Pavement supporting. But a little more recently, it’s BILLY BRAGG at the Dublin Castle in 2009 as part of a 6Music gig for the Camden Crawl. It only holds a couple of hundred of people, but bless him, Billy said he come down and do a turn and he was in terrific form. Lots of stories, lots of songs. I’ve got a bootleg of it at home and ‘A New England’ with the crowd singing a long at the end still sounds incredibly inspiring.

If you could put any three bands in history on a line up?
I guess you’d have to have The Ramones. I saw them twice, one at the Lyceum Ballroom in the Strand, where I started the gig standing in the middle by the sound desk and by the end of the first song I was over by the toilets. The whole crowd was a seething mass. And they were really back on form at the time with their ‘Too Tough To Die’ album which had all these Dee Dee inspired hardcore tracks like ‘Wart Hog’.

So The Ramones, a band called the Newtown Neurotics, from Harlow, where I lived for a while, who were the first band I ever followed round on tour and whose set always used to start with a song called ‘Wake Up’ which was a rallying cry for my fanzine at the time. And then Idles I think. Along with Shame they’re my current favourite live group. I first saw them Bristol in 2016 and have followed them ever since. They’re ruthless but embracing; ferocious but, in their own way, pragmatic. Well done.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Punk made the biggest difference on my life. I was a little too young for the first wave, but the thinking behind it and what it stood for, definitely helped change who I was in my teens.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
I think Marc Bolan would have been interesting. Although, oddly I’d really like to go back to the ‘60s and sit down with Richard Beeching. He concocted the famous ‘Beeching Report’ for “reshaping” ie closing large swathes of the rail network, which, as someone who loves a good train journey and the concept of public transport, was an awfully short-sighted plan I think. I mean, I don’t fancy my chances changing his mind, but I’d give it a go.

Of all the venues you’ve played, or visited, which is your favourite?
Crikey, there’s loads of them, all for different reasons. I used to love the little venues in north London, The Bull & Gate and The Falcon because I saw a lot of bands who went on to big things at those two. Currently, I think The Lexington in Islington is good, because even when its full you can usually see. The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds is excellent. And I went to Hebden Bridge Trades Club for the first time a couple of weeks ago and that’s got a lovely atmosphere about it.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
There’s a lot of people who are doing work behind the scenes for the Music Venue Trust at the moment who are standing up for the future of small British venues, that don’t get the credit they deserve. But in terms of musicians, there’s a chap called Paul Howard who really should have been bigger than he is. He’s played solo and in bands, including The Tender Trap, but never got the break. Have a listen to ‘Irish Ivan’s Spirit Song’ or ‘The Patron Saint Of Heartache.’


A champion of new music since his time at NME and XFM in the early 1990s Steve Lamacq has presented programmes on BBC Radio 1, 6 Music, Radio 2 and 5Live. Like John Peel before him, Steve Lamacq has been a consistent supporter of independent emerging British artists throughout his career, shining a spotlight on talent from all over the UK.
Steve celebrates his 30 years in the music industry, returning this spring with a UK tour of his one-man-show 'Going Deaf For A Living: The Story Of A Music Fan'.

Find out more at going-deaf-for-a-living.com

Catch up with Steve Lamacq's 6 Music Recommends new music playlist here

The first track you played on repeat?
The first single I ever bought. ‘Tiger Feet’ by Mud.

A song that defines the teenage you?
Most of The Undertones first album is like a scrapbook for anyone who was a teenager at the end of the 70s. But given that my teens were spent, mostly in state of utter confusion, then ‘Ain’t Got A Clue’ by The Lurkers.

One record you would keep forever?
Elastica’s first album. I was involved in putting it out on the label I was co-running at the time. I think it still sounds terrific now. Not just for the singles people know but tracks like ‘Smile’ and ‘Never Here’.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
“Why Don’t you ask them what they expect from you? Why don’t you tell them what you are going to do.”
From ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ by Eddie & the Hot Rods.

A song you wished you had written?
One of the best ones over the past year or so is ‘The Favourite Band Of A Dead Man’ by Man & The Echo. A good storyline, clever, with a touch of pathos.”

Best song to turn up loud?
‘Second Best’ by the American punk band The Mice, who were an early influence on Green Day or ‘Try This At Home’ by Frank Turner

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
Not sure about this, but I once did an interview with one of the daily papers about my collection of disco records, mostly accumulated when me and a friend at school were running a mobile disco for a while back in Essex. The best of them is ‘Shame’ by Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King which is one of the finest, richest sounding, soulful disco 12 inches ever released. Honest.

Best song to end an all-nighter?
I sometimes end my late night (early morning!) DJ sets with Monty Python’s ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’, but otherwise it’s Johnny Cash ‘A Thing Called Love.’

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Idles, Shame. There’s a band I came across recently from Dublin called Fontaines DC who sound very good. Edgy, but with quite mesmerising, looping riffs. Their current single ‘Chequeless Reckless’ is worth a listen.

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