The Proles

The history of the Proles.

In 1976, in a small mining village in County Durham, four school friends came together to play cover versions of their favourite Bowie, Velvets and Stooges songs.

With great enthusiasm for success, they soon picked up on the fact that some NME journalists were becoming disinterested in the status quo (quite literally) and were starting to champion what would become Punk Rock.

In January 1977 they named themselves The Valves, unfortunately on a road trip to London that spring to visit the Vortex they became aware of a Scottish band of the same name. So in a tiny tent somewhere in a field in Oxfordshire, with a specially bought copy of 1984 for company, singer/ bass player John Black suggested that they should become The Proles, as that seemed to best describe the powerless, working class position of all members of the band: Kevin Willis and Peter Short on Guitar and Kevin Wilson playing drums.

An early dalliance with Newcastle Rock Against Racism, led to a number of gigs on their behalf and eventually the Tyneside RAR E.P featuring their songs Stereo Love and Thoughtcrime.

Only 1000 copies of the E.P. were pressed and despite a slightly surreal phone call from Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis to John’s mother (‘he’s at work’) pleas for more pressings were fruitless as the band just had no money at all.

Gigging continued in the northeast and eventually, a demo found its way into the hands of Small Wonder’s Pete Stennet, who invited the band to Walthamstow for an afternoon of Crass played very loudly while Pete got slowly stoned.

The resulting single, Softground /SMK received significant airplay from John Peel on Radio One as had the Stereo Love/Thought-crime RAR E.P. and made the Sounds New Wave chart,

The Proles only sang about what they knew, rejection and disappointment, living in hope and isolation from wherever ‘it’ was all happening.

The Proles have a website

  • Fall In Love
  • Thought Crime
  • Hard To Take
  • For You
  • Got No Love
  • ’73
  • Soft Ground
  • I Hate You
  • Just The Same
  • Happened To Me
  • The Truth Is Ours
  • Short Time
  • S.M.K
  • Do You Wonder Why?
  • Stereo Love
  • Underground