Remembering P-Rock TV: Where Are They Now?

We honour a TV channel that lasted a year but and shaped music tastes for decades to come, featuring King Prawn, [Spunge], Jesse James, Whitmore, Farse and Violent Delight!

Article by Alan Corcoran.

Hi, my name is Alan and I’ve been listening to some variety of punk rock for 20 years. My first punk(ish) song, and the hilarious lengths I had to go to in order to hear it, will have to wait for another day. Today I want to talk about the short lived P-Rock TV.

For some this will be like fondly remembering an old friend that you used to be real close to but now only see when you’re blackout drunk in your local pub back home. For others, this will be like meeting someone in your late 20’s and asking, “Where have YOU been all my life?!”

For me, it is a continuation of my life’s work; to honour a TV channel that lasted a year (2002-2003) and shaped my music taste for decades to come. I didn’t even have access to the channel in my house; my friends lucky enough to have P-Rock would hit record in the evening and the next day I’d have 3 hours of (only slightly repetitive) punk rock goodness. That’s right, I’m talking VHS mixtapes here.

Slight (and only slight) facetiousness aside, P-Rock was a god-send for punk and ska-inclined types across the UK and Ireland. Here was a channel that played non-stop bangers from established bands like NOFX and Bad Religion, bands from slightly smaller labels like Tsunami Bomb and Less Than Jake and, maybe most importantly of all, a whole beer cooler full of tasty local British bands.

Choosing where to start is like trying to pick a beverage from a well stocked fridge on a sunny Friday. I’ll stop with the drinking analogies now. Here’s a load of cool bands from the P-Rock days.

Farse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dare you to listen to this and not have it stuck in your head. I dare you. The lyrics may be unintelligible for the most part, but that’s a melody as pure as a church bell on an Austrian winter morning. Without realising it, you’re dancing around your kitchen with your dog and scrambling for the repeat button as the last chords ring out.

As for those lyrics…

The Hopskotch page on pylircs.com – and it is Hopskotch, not Hopscotch as P-Rock spells it  – features a quote that’s apparently from a long since defunct band website, stating that there aren’t really any lyrics.

I personally prefer the lyrics as documented by some genius on Metro Lyrics:

Screenshot_20180616-105148.png

Where are they now?

Despite initially breaking up in 2004, Farse reunited in 2009 and played two shows, including a set at Slam Dunk Fest, which I am sicker than a dog on a skateboard about missing. Our sources says that while they don’t appear active at the moment, there’s always a chance that could change in the future.

King Prawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of songs to get you dancing, here’s genre-bludgeoning King Prawn! The opening brass section is like a call to arms for those who know it. For the uninitiated, it’s a deceivingly calm intro compared to the face melting vocal gymnastics that follow.

While a lot of the bands on P-Rock seemed relatable on a musical skill level, King Prawn had a whole spice bag full of the X factor. I didn’t know anyone who could rap that fast. None of my friends had cool, colourful beards. And I sure as hell didn’t know any bass-playing little people.

Where are they now?

After a long time away, King Prawn reformed in 2012, releasing new music on their Bandcamp in 2014. Yours truly even saw them at Boomtown 2015 and definitely remembers the whole set and wasn’t in the slightest bit tipsy. They continue to tour and I’m told their set was hotter than a ghost pepper at Slam Dunk this year. Da Prawn, as they may or may not prefer to be called, are finishing a new album and will be touring the UK once it’s released.

Violent Delight

I don’t think any band match the rise and fall of P-Rock quite like Violent Delight. Within three years the group, which consisted of literal teenagers, had signed to a major label, been the darlings of Kerrang! for a while and then dropped off the face of the planet. Best of all, they had two songs including I Wish I Was A Girl produced by the drummer of Ill Nino. A sentence so beautifully 2002 I might actually just die right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back, the production values on this video are surprisingly good, even with label backing. The video and song kind of hold up. And as a former artsy, awkward teenager from the middle of nowhere (and current artsy, awkward adult) I could definitely relate to lyrics about people thinking you’re gay when you’re not actually gay.

Was this song a Trans Anthem? Is it problematic? Was it just a dumb joke song written by a group of teenagers from Hertfordshire? The answer could be a mix of all three, but I’ll let you decide on the social context of the content. For now, let’s bask in the glory of that chorus.

Where are they now?

I’m not sure where it went wrong for Violent Delight, but I can and will speculate that their young age, mixed with a fickle music industry that dropped nu metal and punk pretty quickly, meant they weren’t sustainable. They performed a farewell show in 2006 and moved on to other things. Is it time for a reunion show that will never actually come? In this reporters opinion, the answer, sadly, is ‘yes’.

[spunge]

 

 

No P-Rock band seemed like a bunch of mates who decided to make some music the way that [spunge] did. Maybe it’s because they literally had a song about not forgetting your friends, maybe it’s the DIY aesthetic of their garage videos, but you always felt you were one step away from accidentally being in their band. Maybe as additional percussion player or something.

But to simply call them a ‘big bunch of lads’ is doing the big bunch of lads a disservice. [spunge] were as catchy as a fish hook made of velcro and had BANGERS. Plural. They also managed to get the word ‘jump’ into their bouncy chorus while also making it work within the lyrics. A skill that Fred Durst would have given several oversized baggy shorts for.

Where are they now?

Still touring, we are happy to report! Your intrepid reporter will be jumping on demand up the front at Boomtown 2018.

Whitmore

 

The band with three music videos to the same song. The band that provided the literal theme music to P-Rock. The band that supported Avril Lavigne back in the early 2000s. Whitmore took their name from a footballer you’ve never heard of, were not shy about their marijuana use and in many ways seem like unlikely heroes even within a collection of misfits.

For three dudes that seemingly smoked a whole pile of Mary Jane (do I sound like a narc?) Whitmore were known for their 3 minute slabs of pure punk rock goodness. But, if you dig into their albums, there’s plenty of up strum, reggae influenced action.

Did they sing about weed a hell of a lot? Sure. Are their videos bad? Kinda. Do they have some great punk rock songs all the same? Absolutely.

Where are they now?

They seem to have vanished without a trace in 2005. Anyone know? [Ed: They’re still playing sporadic shows!]

Jesse James

That’s right, the band that sang about only being attracted to people who wore a certain type of footwear! And on closer inspection, they seem to say the shoes themselves are a turn on but hey, it takes all sorts.

Jesse James had the added bonus of an actual brass section. If any of you have been in even the most DIY punk outfit you know how hard it can be to wrangle a group of emotional, somewhat musical, adult-sized children into a functioning band. I’m eternally fascinated by ska bands with half a football team on stage.

Being honest, I completely related to this song and kind of still do. At least the judging people by their shoes thing. Jesse James have the distinction of seeming ‘most American’ to me back in the day, which is actually a compliment even though I’m sure they might not see it that way.

Where are they now?

Jesse James seem to have been somewhat active of late, but reports are unclear as to the future of the band. Another one to keep an eye on. If you can find them amongst the dozens of other acts called Jesse James.

 

Did you watch P-Rock? Do you want to yell at me for missing an obvious UK band? Were you in one of those bands and just wish you could do your office job in peace without constantly having dorks on the internet bring up your past? If so, hit me up in the comment section!

If you want to indulge in some nostalgia, or hear more gems from the P-Rock days, one Spotify user named Ross has made what I am going on record as calling the ultimate P-Rock Playlist.

You could also check out the song about P-Rock that my friend and I wrote. It’s basically this article in audio form.

What’s that? Another alcohol reference for the road? Okay, let’s raise a glass and pour one out for P-Rock TV. Gone, but not forgotten.

Article by Alan Corcoran.

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