Bad boys of the Ulster punk scene THE OUTCASTS were formed in Belfast in June 1977 by the Cowan brothers: Greg(bass/vocals), Colin(drums) and Martin(guitar). They were joined by Colin Getgood(better known as Getty) on guitar. They played their debut gig in August of that year at Paddy Lambs pub on Belfasts' Upper Newtownards Road. The gig ended in a mini riot when the local 'Spides' took exception to a number of "strange looking punks" who turned up to watch the band. Their 2nd gig at The Pound Club in Belfast was a lot quieter as they played to a mainly punk audience.
The band were quickly daubed "The band you love to hat" by the local press due to their bad boy image and loutish behaviour. However they soon came the attention of the recently formed Portadown based label IT RECORDS (just after they had cut their 1st demo tape in Wizzard Studios) which resulted in a one-off record deal. March '78 saw the release of he Outcasts debut 7" single which featured 3 snarling, snot-nosed punk classics- "You're a disease" "Frustration" and "I don't want to be no adult".This single was re-issued in 1996 by French punk label Combat Rock.

After continuous gigging around N.Ireland, the band built up a loyal fanatical supoort. They earned themselves sopport slots to The Radiators From Space at Jordanstown Poly and The CLASH at the Ulster Hall on 11/10/78 (the band received £10 for their trouble and even had to return home for their own gear). A little self-publicity didn't go amiss as was evident on the night they ran onto the stage at an Elvis Costello gig at the Ulster Hall, grabbed the mic off 'The Specky One' and shouted "We're The Outcasts, buy our single". This act went down well with the punters but the bouncers were not too amused! They even managed two sets at the Phoenix Free Festival in Dublin, playing to a crowd of around 3000 people.

They soon joined forces with Terri HOOLEY of GOOD VIBRATIONS records and "Just another teenage rebel" c/w "Love is for sops" was released as the 3rd Good Vibes single in the summer of '78. The single was later given a second pressing complete with a new picture cover, to coincide with the Good Vibrations Irish Tour in April '79.
The OUTCASTS continued to cause mayhem on the local gig circuit before going into the studio to record a track, the excellent graphically violent "The cops are comin" which was to appear on the double 7" compilation EP "The Battle Of The Bands", again on the Good Vibes label. A different version of this song would crop up on the bands debut LP the following year.
The debut album "Self Conscious Over you" was released in 1979 on the Good Vibrations label in the UK and it was also released in France on Blitzkrieg Records. The album showed a great musical versatility, the band moving away from their stock-in-trade three chord punk, to include keyboards and saxophone on a couple of songs. With Terri Hooley now the bands manager, the title track from the album was lifted as a Good Vibes single and was backed by "Love is for sops". Around this time John Davis made a documentary on the band, which included live footage from an Ulster Hall gigs as a follow up to "Shell Shock Rock", his highly acclaimed, award winning movie on the N.Irish punk scene. B
The debut album featured 11 original compositions, with the band saving the cover versions for live gigs. Sadly, songs such as "These boots are made for walking" and their own composition "Johnny's a wanker'' never made it onto vinyl.
Their last Good Vibrations related release came in the shape of the "Room to move" EP, a compilation 7" to wich The Oucasts contributed the track 'Cyborg' which also appeared on their debut album. This Ep was released by Energy Records.
In mid 1980 GREG was inured in a motorcycle accident, just ouside the seaside resort of Portrush. As he was unable to play bass for a while, Gordie Blair (ex-RUDI) was brought in love live gigs. The next single "Magnum force" c/w "Gangland warfare" featured Gordie on bass and the single also marked the debut of second drummer Raymond Falls(then a 16 year old, still at school). the sleeve of this single we have always found to be quite eerie, because if you look directly above Colins' head on the cover photo, you will see the words "Sacred to the memory of...". Bearing in mind that Colin was tragically killed in a car crash the following year, it does seem a bit spooky! Around this time The Outcasts recorded 4 songs "Gangland warfare", "The end of the rising sun", "Programme love" and "Machine gun" for the John PEEL Show. This 1st session was broacast on 25/5/81. Also around this time Ross GRAHAM (who had first met the band uring the filming of "Shell Shock Rock") took over as Manager/Producer.
The band then set up their own Oucasts Only label in mid '81 and released the 4 track "Programme love" EP which was then followed by another 7" single which featured a cover of the Glitter Band hit "Angel face" c/w a new version of "Gangland warfare", sadly this was the last Outcasts record to feature COLIN, who was killed in a car accident, shortly before the single was released.
The 2nd album "Blood And Thunder" was released by Abstract Records in 1982 (by New Rose in France) and on 25/9/82 they recorded their 2nd and final session for John Peel Show, the featured tracks being "Winterland", "Magnum Force", "Sex and glory" and "Frustration". The Oucasts also recorded around 6 sessions for the local Downtown Radio as well as 2 sessions for Dave Fanning on RTE and 2 for the Janice Long show on BBC Radio One.
Their 1st live appearance since Colins death, took place at the legendary Harp Bar. Although the Harp was barely recognizable from the bar it was a few years previous (due to some extensive renovation work), it was still a fitting venue for their 'comeback' gig. There was a unique atmosphere in the Harp that night and The OUTCASTS gave one of their best ever performances.
n 1983 Abstract Records released the single "Nowhere left to run" on both 7" and 12" format, with the live favourite 'Ruby' appearing on the B-side ('Ruby' was originally intended to appear on an odd' covers album being put together by the French New Rose label). This single was issued later in the same year by Anagram Records in the UK and also by New Rose in France. The french issue is more notable as it inclued a live version of "The cops are coming" and came in a grey sleeve as opposed to the blue in the UK. This single signaled a slight change in musical direction for the band, to a more Psychobilly sound.

In early 1984 "Seven deadly sins" was released both as a 7" single and a mini album by New Rose in France. "Seven deadly sins" (albeit a different version) had originally appeared on the Psychobilly compilation album "Revenge of the killer pussies". The mini album contained 4 new band compositions and a David BOWIE 'cover'.

985 saw the band make their last apperance on vinyl when New rose released their version of the old Stooges classic "1969" on both 7" and 12". Earlier in February 1984 The OUTCASTS had supported The CLASH at the RDS in Dublin and a further springkling of live gigs in '84 and '85, the band decided to call it a day...

 

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