formed in mid 1977 by Bowie fans Wes Graham (bass and vocals)
and his cousin Colin (Ziggy) Campbell (guitar and vocals), setting
up base in Wes’s dad’s garage in Belfast. They soon
recruited Jeff Beattie in on drums and set about forming a set
consisting mainly of punk covers and the odd original. Wes and
Graham were already regulars at the Viking and Trident clubs
in Bangor and the Pound in Belfast. The fledgling trios progress
was halted temporarily however when neighbours objected to the
noise which was emanating from their garage rehearsals, so they
were forced to relocate to a printing works in Belfast city
centre. Essentially Jam clones to begin with (right down to
the black suits, white shirts and black ties) this early line-up
of Victim was filmed in early 1978 performing ‘In the
City’ live at their second ever gig at The Pound for a
UTV punk documentary called 'It Makes You Want To Spit'. Their
performance that evening was really quite atrocious, the band
being completely out of tune.
they progressed quickly, started writing their own material,
and then became a four-piece when Ken Matthews (younger brother
of Rudi's Ronnie) was drafted in on rhythm guitar. The band
had improved dramatically and soon got picked up by Terri Hooley
who released their debut single ‘Strange Thing by Night’
on his Good Vibrations label. The single was recorded at Wizard
studios for the princely sum of £90. It was an excellent
debut single and was issued in a variety of different coloured
sleeves. Prompted by the lack of venues to play in, Wes and
Colin made a trip to a local Belfast city centre pub because
they heard it had a stage! Victim secured a gig and the legendary
Harp Bar punk venue. On April 21st 1978, Victim (supported by
The Androids) played one of the first ever punk gigs at the
venue which would soon be established as the nerve centre of
Belfast punk. Oddly, soon after this gig both Victim and The
Androids split up.
Jeff then teamed up with ex-Androids Joe Zero (guitar/vocals)
and Andrew ‘Aza’ Middleton (guitar) to form a new
band called Emergency. This band would only exist until October
1978 and their story is documented elsewhere on this web site.
split, Wes, Jeff and Joe (now using his real name Moody instead
of Zero) decided to reclaim the name Victim and recruited a
local keyboard player Davy Johnston for some gigs. This line-up
played several gigs in Belfast, including a support slot with
The Monochrome Set at The Harp bar. They were also filmed at
the same venue along with Protex and Rhesus Negative on the
23rd November 1978 by John T Davis as part of his movie Shellshock
Rock. One Victim song ‘Trademark World’ was used
in the film; however it was wrongly credited in the titles as
‘Trademark City’. Davy Johnston left soon after
and was replaced for a short spell by guitarist John McGee.
John played a few gigs with the band including a blistering
set supporting Penetration at Queen's University.
1979 John McGee left the band and Downpatrick guitarist Hugh
O’Boyle joined from local band Raine. The new four-piece
began gigging in Belfast enjoying a string of high-powered gigs
at their old stomping ground, the Harp Bar. On July 7th 1979,
Victim played a packed gig at the Harp bar before setting off
for England. They could see no recording opportunities in N.
Ireland and had been offered a modest record deal with Manchester-based
TJM Records (home to bands such as Skrewdriver and V2). They
never played in the province again.Soon after settling in Manchester,
they began rehearsals at the local communal rooms owned by TJM
Records alongside other well-known bands such as Magazine, Joy
Division and the Buzzcocks. However, within days they had all
their equipment stolen from the building. To this day Joe and
Wes still can’t believe how naïve they were in leaving
all their equipment overnight at the premises. The following
week they played their debut gig on English soil at the legendary
Deeply Vale Festival, using equipment borrowed from TJM stablemates
V2. Victim received rave reviews at the festival and more than
held their own alongside acts such as John Cooper Clarke and
The Fall. In the months that followed, Victim played several
support slots to acts such as the Rezillos and shamed glam icon
Gary Glitter! They also played at the legendary Factory club
in Manchester to accompany a screening of the Shellshock Rock
movie.They then recorded and released their second single ‘Why
Are Fire Engines Red’ which received numerous good reviews,
and a lot of radio airplay. The single sleeve was originally
scheduled to be designed by Ludus singer and Morrissey confidante
Linder, however the band rejected her design as “too arty”.
Victim was to later regret this decision when TJM Records unveiled
their “tacky” new sleeve design that would eventually
adorn the single sleeve. In the months which followed Victim
were eternally grateful to John Peel for playing the single
in the depressing evenings when they were bedding down in sleeping
bags on the floor of a derelict shop in Manchester’s Oldham
Street. They were effectively penniless but things soon picked
up when they moved into a couple of luxurious squats in Whalley
Range! Their record label TJM had wanted to release a four-track
EP but the band refused. The tracks on the unreleased EP were
‘I Need You’, ‘Junior Criminals’, ‘Based
On Bluff’ and ‘Trademark World’ which had
been recorded earlier in Belfast as a demo tape and the band
felt the quality of these recordings were not good enough for
record release. Sadly, no copies of this tape are believed to
release of ‘Why Are Fire Engines Red’ the band was
invited to join a punk package tour, which was also to feature
The Damned, Slaughter And The Dogs and the Misfits from the
USA. However, following legal wrangles and arguments, Slaughter
pulled out of the tour and the Misfits only played two gigs
before returning to America.The Damned and Victim did set off
on an extensive tour of England, Scotland and Wales in November/December
1979 taking in many prestigious venues including the Manchester
and Glasgow Apollos and the London Rainbow. Victim encored at
many of the gigs, and The Damned, not to be upstaged, were regularly
seen in the wings pelting them with eggs or putting classical
music through their stage monitors, so the band couldn’t
hear their own songs when they were playing. The tour was a
wild experience for Victim. The Damned members, a few years
older, subjected the Belfast lads to all sorts of ‘torture’
on the tour coach, including superglueing their faces to the
windows and setting their hair ablaze with lighter fuel if they
dared to doze off. The band, who usually received £50
a night, could only afford to spend one night in four in a hotel,
the other three being spent on the coach. Band members would
pile into a single hotel room and would draw lots for who would
sleep in the bath! After one gig at Hull City Hall on 15th December,
Victim and The Damned were arrested when they came off stage.
They spent the night in the cells at Hull police station and
were charged the next day with criminal damage as the result
of a hotel being damaged. Wes Graham has never forgiven Captain
Sensible, decked out in full England cricket whites and pads,
for ruining his birthday. He kept both bands awake all night
in the cells, hollering loudly that he would shit on the floor
if the police didn’t let them out. Just prior to commencement
of the tour, Victim had recorded three tracks at Cargo Studios
in Rochdale with Rat Scabies producing. Joy Division were in
the studio around the same time recording an album. A deal had
been struck for Scabies to produce the band as part of the tour
package and resulted in Victim’s third single ‘The
Teen Age’ being released in 1980 on Illuminated Records.
The B-side contained two tracks, ‘Junior Criminals’,
and a lively version of Bowie’s ‘Hang on to Yourself’.
The single very nearly failed to see the light of day due to
contractual hassles with TJM Records, who claimed to have lost
the master tape. The single was eventually cut from a dusty
old quarter inch reel-to-reel tape, which had been lying in
a corner of Radio One DJ John Peel’s studio for weeks.
Fortunately the band had sent John a copy of the tape in the
hope of some advance airplay.
1980 proved a bad year for Victim. The band’s young manager
Ian Jamison (Junior), and drummer Jeff, moved back to Belfast
and Hugh teamed up to form a new band with members of V2. This
led the song-writing duo of Wes and Joe on a quest for new members.
They tried out numerous candidates and in March 1981 recorded
a potential double A sided single ‘Lady Lioness’
c/w ‘The Last Laugh’, with the help of a local drummer
Gary Platt. Sadly they failed to get it released. A short time
later Joe and Wes recruited a young drummer of Irish descent
from Manchester punk band The Hoax. Victim were once more a
lively three-piece with Wes on bass/vocals, Joe on guitar/vocals
and 18-year-old Mike Joyce (later to join The Smiths) on drums.
The line-up rehearsed intensely, demo-ing a lot of new material.
At one session the band recorded an eight-minute punkadelic
version of Bolan's ‘20th Century Boy’, – however,
no copies of this tape have survived. In May 1982 Victim embarked
on a short tour of England. Bizarrely the tour began with a
gig with old Belfast mates, Rudi in Liverpool, and also took
in a gig at the AdLib Club in London on May 21st, which Joe
considers to have been Victim's best ever gig musically. The
final gig of the tour was at Manchester’s Portland Bars.
In November 1982 the band again went into a studio, this time
to record a double-A sided single, scheduled for release on
Illuminated Records. However problems arose and the tracks ‘Cause
or Consequence’ and ‘The Bluff Brigade’ were
never released. Joe considers ‘Cause or Consequence’
to be the last great punk song. Soon after this recording session
Mike Joyce told Wes and Joe he was leaving Victim to join a
new band - The Smiths.
months later, Wes and Joe took a break from the music business;
Wes, a qualified journalist returned to local newspapers,
while Joe undertook a series of academic studies on subjects
including music and the history of art. Contrary to Smiths folklore,
Victim didn’t quit music and sell all their equipment
at A1 music store in Manchester the day after Mike quit the
band. They in fact continued to rehearse new material at various
rehearsal rooms in the Manchester area with a couple of local
drummers and, on one occasion, even resorted to using a drum
In the ensuing
months Wes and Joe set about recruiting a permanent replacement
for Mike and had to debate whether or not to stick with the
name Victim. Mike had been a close friend and his departure
hit hard. After toying with the name Victim A.D., they opted
to continue as Victim, occasionally going under the name Beethoven's
Kiss when they wanted to try out new material which was a departure
from traditional punk. They brought in Kev Williams who had
been drummer with The Frantic Elevators before Mick Hucknall
split that band to form Simply Red. The recorded four tracks
in 1985 for a promotional four-track cassette EP that attracted
considerable interest and almost clinched a deal with Chrysalis
Records. Next they recorded a single ‘The Strangest Stars’,
which sadly was not released. They recruited Toni Isaac on keyboards
- she was the girl leaning on the lamppost on Jilted John's
single of the same name! Victim then recorded ‘The Wonder
of You’ (not the Elvis song) and ‘Don't Break It’
in 1988 at Square One Studios in Bury, where Black were mixing
‘It's a Wonderful Life’ the same week. The songs
were pressed up as a self-financed single released soon after
on the band's own Akashic Records and went out under the name
Beethoven’s Kiss. The label on the sleeve states that
the single was released in 1989, but according to the band it
was released in 1988! The band were anxious to showcase the
new melodic acoustic songs the band was developing, combined
with the raunchiness of old Victim songs. The A side was a new
song while ‘Don't Break It’ was an old song Joe
had written in Belfast some years earlier. Some months later
the band recorded five new songs, which they felt confident
would attract record company interest. However it was not to
be and in 1990 Wes and Joe shelved the Victim/Beethoven's Kiss
project and brought the curtain down on the life of a band which
had been in existence for just over a decade. For the record,
a few other musicians who very briefly played in Victim were
John Hawthrone, Simmo and Dave Goodlad.
Below are details of all 52 gigs played by Victim.
The Victim gigs.
Tuesday 17th January 1978 supporting Stiff Little Fingers at The Pound Belfast.
Tuesday 14th February 1978, Helmsman, Bangor.
9th March 1978 at the Windsor Hotel, Belfast with Rudi and The Idiots.
7th April 1978 at the Glenmachen with Protex, The Idiots and The Batteries.
Friday 21st April 1978 at the Harp Bar with the Androids as support.
Late April early May 1978 at the Harp Bar.
Victim then split and played five gigs as Emergency before reforming. See Emergency bio for further details.
Thursday 23rd November 1978 at the Harp Bar with Protex and Rhesus Negative. (Sections of this gig were filmed for the film Shellshock Rock).
24th November 1978 at the Harp Bar supporting The Monochrome Set.
Wednesday 14th February 1979 at McMordie Hall, Queens University supporting Penetration with local band Six - Tele also on the bill.
23rd February 1979 at the Harp Bar.
17th March 1979 at the Harp Bar with The Basics, Stage B, Shock Treatment and Rhesus Negative.
15th June 1979 at the Harp Bar with mixed band - assorted Outcasts, a Rudi member and an Android!
Friday 29th June 1979 at Moyraverty Hall, Craigavon with The Tearjerkers and Intensive Care..
Saturday 30th June 1979 at the Harp Bar with Six- Tele.
Saturday 7th July 1979 at the Harp Bar with Varicose Veins. (This was to be Victims last ever gig in Northern Ireland). .
Sunday 5th August 1979 at the Deeply Vale Free Festival, Lancashire, England.
Friday 10th August 1979 at the Mayflower Club, Manchester with Security Risk and Private Sector.
11th August 1979 at the Factory –Russell Club, Manchester supporting Slaughter and the Dogs.
8th September 1979 at the Factory –Russell Club, Manchester with Exodus and a showing of the film Shellshock Rock.
30th September at the Royal Standard, Bradford.
( The Damned / Victim U.K. Tour 1979)
22nd November 1979 at Demontford Hall, Leicester.
23rd November 1979 at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge.
24th November at Wirrina Stadium, Peterborough.
25th November 1979 at the Top Rank, Cardiff.
26th November 1979 at the Top Rank, Sheffield.
28th November 1979 at the Top Rank, Brighton.
30th November 1979 at the Rainbow, London.
1st December 1979 at Frairs, Alesbury.
4th December 1979 at the Apollo, Glasgow.
6th December 1979 at ST.George’s Hall, Bradford.
7th December 1979 at the New Theatre, Coventry.
9th December 1979 at the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton.
10th December 1979 at the Apollo, Manchester.
11th December 1979 at the Colston Hall, Bristol.
13th December 1979 at the University of Aberystwyth.
14th December 1979 at the Porterhouse, Retford.
15th December 1979 at the City hall, Hull.
16th December 1979 at the Rock garden, Middleborough.
17th December 1979 at Eric’s, Liverpool.
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15th May 1980 at the Midlands, Manchester.
Thursday 22nd May 1980 at the Midlands, Manchester.
Thursday 29th May at the Factory – Russell Club, Manchester supporting Gary Glitter.
Saturday 29th November 1980 at the Sports Centre, Bolton, supporting the Revillos.
Saturday 10th January 1981 at the Masonic Arms, Bollington, Lancashire.
Thursday 11th June 1981 at Smugglers, Stockport with Cri De Couer.
(Short English tour)
Tuesday 11th May 1982 at the Pyramid Club, Liverpool with Rudi.
Thursday 13th May 1982 at the ''1-IN-12'' Club, Bradford with 3 local bands.
Tuesday 18th May 1982 at the Gaiety Bar, Bolton with Xtracts.
Thursday 20th May 1982 at Woodenbridge, Guildford with Boston Babies.
Friday 21st May 1982 at the Ad Lib Club, London with The Helicoptors.
Thursday 27th May 1982 at Portland Bars, Manchester.
Thursday 18th November 1982 at Smugglers, Stockport. (Victim’s final gig).
A big thanks and well done to Joe Zero who recorded all the bands gigs in a notebook!