Chubby and the Gang


Biography Chubby and the Gang



Chubby and the Gang
are a West London punk troupe comprised of members of various bands associated with The New Wave of British Hardcore, among them Violent Reaction, Abolition, Big Cheese and more. The band – helmed by local electrician Charlie Manning – developed a cult following in the UK, largely rooted in the cross-pollinating nature of the punk scene.

At the start of 2020, before the world turned to ash, several US publications began running glowing reviews of Speed Kills, the breakneck debut album from Chubby and the Gang, a West London punk troupe comprised of members of various bands associated with The New Wave of British Hardcore, among them Violent Reaction, Abolition, Big Cheese and more. At the time, the band – helmed by local electrician Charlie Manning – had developed a cult following in the UK, largely rooted in the cross-pollinating nature of the punk scene, select shows including dates with Sheer Mag and an impending, last-minute US run with Royal Hounds. Speed Kills, produced by Jonah Falco of Fucked Up, would go on to be called “the best punk-pop LP in recent memory” by Paste Magazine, a debut that “comes alive with liberating energy” in an 8.0 review from Pitchfork and full of “massive barroom gang choruses, power chords at breakneck tempos, rock spelled R-A-W-K and visceral gratification” as Stereogum put it. Impressive going for a band at the time with no publicist, no big budget label backing and no industry clout, per se, beyond increasingly fervent underground support.

It led to Paste asking the question: “How did a fringe British hardcore punk band with no major industry backing end up with a highly-anticipated US headline tour and a widely-praised album from several major music outlets?” It’s a good question but the answer, of course, lies in the music. Speed Kills is an ebullient listen: 12 blink-and-you’ll-miss-em shots of ferocious energy that last a little over 25 minutes in total and come alive through a concoction of hardcore, Oi!, pub rock, doo wop and blues. Look beneath the unrelentingly fun surface, however, and these are songs of deep substance and political conscience with a precise sense of time and place. See: the West London anthem ‘All Along the Uxbridge Road’, the ode to Tottenham hard men ‘Bruce Grove Bullies’ or the album’s transcendent closer ‘Grenfell Forever’, which beautifully offers a tribute to the victims of the titular fire while spearing governmental incompetence in the disaster’s handling.

It’s perhaps Falco who says it best though: “Speed Kills is the debut full length from London's loudest breakout band Chubby and the Gang. Beginning as a humble pipedream of West London electrician Charlie Manning, who spent years finding his way through the London punk and hardcore scene, the album is the manifestation of a musical mind marinating in hard punk, pub rock, blues, and doo-wop. From the sneering eternity of ‘All Along the Uxbridge Road,’ to the Hammond Organ smeared ‘Bruce Grove Bullies’ - the songs will have you reaching for your London A to Z and trying your hardest not to spill your pint.”

Following the quietly blossoming success of Speed Kills earlier this year, Chubby and the Gang now find a new home on Partisan Records (IDLES, Fontaines D.C., Laura Marling) who reissue the album on November 20th, 2020, in remastered form with the unreleased cut ‘Union Dues’ included to boot and with new music on the horizon. While any joyous homecoming to the live stage on UK shores may have to wait a little longer, in the meantime there’s no better tonic to these turbulent times than Speed Kills: a record ready to rise above its scene and ensure the next time Chubby and co hit the road, we’ll all see it coming a mile off.

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