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Victim was 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.

However, 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.

Wes and 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.

After Emergency 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.

In spring 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 exist.

After the 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.

Several 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 machine!

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.
---------  ---------  ---------  --------  -------  --------------
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!






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