Whether you were there or not, there can’t be a psychobilly in the land that hasn’t heard of the legendary Klub Foot. Veterans recall it with fond memories, and the new breed can only hope to gain some sort of feeling for the atmosphere by reading old posts on internet forums.
It has been hailed as the Mecca for all things psychobilly, and would entice 100s of pilgrims to venture into West London of a Saturday night. A sea of coloured quiffs and bleached jeans would form a queue around Hammersmith Broadway, waiting for the doors to open at 7.30pm.
The building itself was called The Clarendon, a disused hotel or ballroom I believe. Truth be told it was a dive but what more could a drunken youth culture want? It had a large bar and a good sized hall with stage – sorted! The Klub Foot was held upstairs in what was rumoured to be a 600-800 capacity venue, although reports suggest many more attended. On the ground level there was a bar, and downstairs was a small venue called Broadway that also hosted many a gig, including lots of Garage Trash and Mod bands.
The Klub Foot was the brainchild of promoter John Curd which started in 1982 featuring a line-up of punk bands. By the mid 80s it was predominantly psychobilly but often had line-ups which crossed over the scenes and incorporated goth, rockabilly and garage trash. It hailed headliners such as Guana Batz, The Meteors, Frenzy, Restless and Demented are Go, supported by many bands which are still the staple diet of psychobilly today – The Coffin Nails, Long Tall Texans, The Caravans and Frantic Flintstones to name a few.
It provided a central place for gigs to be held on a regular basis, a chance to meet with fellow psychos from all over the UK and a few from Europe too. You could have a laugh, see some great bands, drink yourself silly, then burn off a few pounds by wrecking in one of the largest, sweatiest pits you have ever, or will ever be likely to see again. Oh and if you had any money left you could always stock up on a new band t-shirt on the way out.
Unfortunately The Klub Foot had to end in 1988 as the venue was being knocked down for the redevelopment of Hammersmith. It put a real dampener on the scene for a good few years. Although there were still gigs happening up and down the country, and by now it had really taken off in Europe too, The Klub Foot was the main stay in British psychobilly.
There have been many threads on internet forums in the past which all end up lost in internet archives. In 2008 I set up a page on Myspace as a place for people to share their memories and photos – to develop a site that paid homage to the legendary Klub Foot to be enjoyed by old and young psychobillies the world over. As the internet progressed and everyone abandoned Myspace in favour of Facebook, I moved as much of it as I could over to the new page. There’s lots of photos of bands and punters so check them out. I do not own rights to any of the photos and where possible have tried to credit them back to their original sender. The page has nothing to do with the original promoter.
Check out the other blog posts for the dated Klub Foot Gig List and people’s memories and comments