Sunday, August 13, 2006
The Air In Here...(Frankie Stubbs & Jesse)
Frankie Stubbs is best known as the main man behind the UK punk institution that is Leatherface. It’s in his work outside of that band though that for me at least, his reputation as one of the best song writers to come out of the UK punk scene can be best heard.
Through the early 90’s Leatherface were one of a small group of home grown bands that the UK music press deemed fit to cover alongside the grunge bands flooding in from the States. This was in no small part down to the bands second album ‘Mush’ from 1991, which is regarded by many as a classic and the benchmark that all subsequent melodic/abrasive UK punk bands (someone please make up a genre name for this strand of UK punk rock!) releases should be judged against.
After Leatherface split, Frankie moved on to two new bands, Jesse and Pope and it’s Jesse’s material that really highlights how good a song writer Frankie is for me. The songs are more measured and melancholic than Leatherface; emotive is the description I would use if it didn’t conjure up the dreaded ‘emo’ word. During Jesse’s lifespan the band released three singles and one self titled album between 1995 and ‘98, all of which are currently out of print and ridiculously under rated.
At some point Frankie also began performing solo and in that guise has released one single in 1995 and a 10’’ EP in 2001. Again, both of these releases are out of print and much sought after amongst Leatherface fans. I love acoustic and folk music and I’ve heard a lot of performers attempt to strip their sound back to basics thinking that just bashing out a song on an acoustic guitar is enough. It’s not. Performing like this highlights everything about a song both good and bad, thankfully, Frankie’s songs are easily strong enough to stand up to such intimate treatment and he also has a knack of choosing a good tune to cover.
As far as I’m concerned, both Jesse and Frankie’s solo material rate as some of the best music to come out of the UK punk scene. Until someone has the good sense to reissue it, the Jesse and solo singles can be found under MP3s at the unofficial Leatherface site:
Jesse and Frankie Stubbs singles and more
In the late 90’s Leatherface reformed. Their website is here. Leatherface releases can be found via BYO Records.
(Thanks to John at x1984x for posting the MP3s to his site)