In summer 1976 Gene October put an ad to Melody Maker searching for guys who liked
Television and Ramones. And he did find
three and that was the beginning of the first Chelsea: Gene October (vocals), John Towe (drums),
Tony James (bass) and Billy Idol (guitar). John and Tony had played in the legendary pro-punk
band London SS. Billy (aka William Broad) was know as one of the Bromley Contingent -
Sex Pistols supporters. The first gig was in London ICA 18 October 1976
with Throbbing Gristle, Chelsea name was at that gig L.S.D. (" We did use that name because we didn't want that
anybody from the Clash or Sex Pistols would
show up", Gene). L.S.D. did play 11 songs and eight (8!!!) of them where covers from the first Rolling
After three gigs Towe, Idol and James formed Generation X. But it didn't took long before Gene had a new Chelsea on the run. The line-up in January 1977 was: Gene (vocals), Carey Fortune (drums), Martin Stacey (guitar) and Bob Jessie (bass). Jess and Stacey didn't play for long and in came James Stevenson (guitar) and Henry Daze (bass). At this time Miles Copeland (manager and boss of I.R.S. label) did try to get a deal for Chelsea to Polydor. First single was recorded and Miles paid the bills. Something went wrong and Polydor did drop the band, so the band drifted to Step Forward which was financed by Copeland and run by Mark P (Sniffin' Glue 'zine and Alternative TV).
After Step Forward summer tour '77 Fortune and Daze left the band. Line-up after that was: Gene, Steve J. Jones (drums), James Stevenson (guitar), Dave Martin (guitar) and Geoff Myles (bass). Urban Kids single was a big critic success, and after that more changes: Steve J. Jones was replaced by Chris Bashford. In 1979 Chelsea was twice in the TV: In Concert and Old Grey Whistle Test.
USA-tour which was planed to begin in May 1980 was cancelled only few before and this was enough for Myles and Martin. Stephenson left after a month and that was the end of the longest line-up - it last two years. Gene did give up and his new sidekicks were: Mick Howard (guitar), Barry Smith (guitar), Steve Lewins (bass) - Bashford continued in drums. Band made a three gig mini USA tour and broke up in 1981. And once again a new line-up: Gene (vocals), Nic Austin (guitar), Steve Corfield (guitar), Tim Griffin (bass). With this line-up Chelsea performed in URGH! The Music War movie. In end of the year both guitarist did leave and in came Paul Lincoln (guitar); this line-up did record great Evacuate LP. Just before LP did come out Mintz left and was replaced by Geoff Sewell.
In the beginning of 1983 Gene October made his first solo-single (Suffering in the Land), and ... Chelsea broke up. After three months Gene was once again in the mood to form Chelsea and this time the line-up was: Gene (vocals), Geoff Sewell (drums), Pete Dimmock (bass), John Thurlow (guitar) and Willie (guitar). Next year was time for second Gene solo-single Burning Sounds / Don't Quit, A-side is a Rich Kids song which was written by ex- Sex Pistols, Glen Matlock.
Men did come and go and it was autumn 1986 before next permanent line-up, which was: Gene, Pheonix (guitar), Peter Dimmock (bass), Johnnie Dee (guitar) and Mark Rathbone (drums); and ... You are right this only last some months and ... and so on until Chelsea wither up.
In 1995 Gene October made a soolo CD Life & Struggle (Receiver CD 196) -95.
In summer 1999 Chelsea toured USA wth the classic first LP line up: October, Stevenson, Myles, Martin and Bashford.
Right to Work / The Loner (Step Forward SF-2) -77
High Rise Living / No Admission (Step Forward SF-5) -77
** LP ** Chelsea (Step Forward SFLP-2) -79
I'm on Fire / Decide (IRS IR-9004; (USA)) -79
Urban Kids / No Flowers (Step Forward SF-8) -79
No Ones's Coming Outside / What Would You Do (Step Forward SF-14) -80
** LP ** No Escape (IRS SP-70010; (USA)) -80
Look at the Outside / Don't Get Me Wrong (Step Forward SF-15) -80
No Escape / Decide (Step Forward SF-16) -80
Rockin' Horse / Years Away (Step Forward SF-17) -81
Freemans // I.D. Parade / How Do You Know (Step Forward SF-18) -81
** LP ** Alternative Hits (single-compilation Step Forward SFLP-5) -81
Evacuate / New Era (Step Forward SF-20) -81
War Across the Nation / High Rise Living (New Version)(Step Forward SF-21) -82
** LP ** Evacuate (Step Forward SFLP-7) -82
Stand Out / Last Drink (kuvalevy; Step Forward SF-22) -82
** LP ** Live at Marquee & Norwich (MC; Chaos Tapes??)
** LP ** Live and Well (Picasso PIK-003) -84
Valium Mother / Monica, Monica (also as 12" with bonus track 'Break This Town'; Communique LITTLE-1) -85
** LP ** Orginal Sinners (Communique LARGE-1) -85
Shine the Light / Believe Me (Communique) -86
Give Me More / Sympahty for Devil -86
** CD ** Unreleased Stuff (Clay) -89
** CD ** The Alternative (Alter Ego ALT GO CD 002) -93
** CD ** Traitors Gate (Weser Label WL 2480-2) -94
We Dare / ??? (Weser WL 23827) -95
** CD ** Live at the Music Machine 1978 (Released Emotions REM 016 CD)
** CD ** Fools and soldiers (Receiver 242) -97
Most important tracks on compilations:
Jubilee, Cert X (soundtrack): Urban Kids (Polydor 2302079) -77
I.R.S. Greatest Hits Vol 1: No Escape (IRS SP-70950) -80
Foreplay No. 36 A&M Pre-Release Sampler: No Escape and Urban Kids (promo-sampler A&M SP-17124) -80
I.R.S. Greatest Hits Vol 2&3: Urban Kids (2LP IRS SP/CS-70800) -81
Punk 2: Right to work (live) (Music Club MCCD 027) -91
Chelsea - by Phil
Chelsea - Perfect Sound Forever
Chelsea - Trouser Press
Chelsea - All-Music Guide
Created by JJu: April 1, 1996
Gene: "Right to play at Chelsea"Last Updated: November 2, 1999