RUDI 'Big Time' 45
Rudi flyer (Joe Donnelly)
Brian Young - RUDI (Joe Donnelly)
RUDI live (Joe Donnelly)
RUDI Who killed the band?
The saying "it's better to burn out than fade away" could have been written
about Belfast N. Ireland's finest punk band
RUDI. If they didn't have bad
luck they would have had no luck and eventually it killed the band. They
had everything going for them, great songs with energy, melodies and
hooks (the alternative to
the Outcast's yob punk or S.L.F's tabloid
songwriting). Untouchable live, critically acclaimed and with the largest
local fan base of any of the big N.I punk bands. But every time they got
within touching distance of success it all fell apart. Their legend casts a
huge shadow over the original N.I. punk scene of the late 70's and they
were the influence for a whole generation of local punk bands. They were
the band that was going to make it, but while the likes of
S.L.F, the
Undertones, Protex
and in the early 80's the Defects and the
achieved varying degrees of success, Rudi seemed to go
from one disasterous situation to the next, never making it to the next
level. But why they never made it while some bands from the same scene
did, I don't know? They certainly weren't better bands with better songs
that's for sure.
Over the last couple of years the Rudi
profile has been raised to the highest
it's been since the band were an active
functioning glam punk monster in the
70's/early 80's. A steady stream of legit?, bootleg?, vintage product has been
released with the latest being their follow up to 'The Band That Time Forgot' LP, and
hot of the vinyl press 'The Complete RUDI Singles Collection' with a free red vinyl EP
covering their Good Vibrations releases. From the magnificent 'Big Time' a classic
punk debut 45 if ever there was one, to the later Jamming label singles with the
added 'Love Is Electric', which was to be the fifth single but due to the continuing

lucky streak, it never happened! If you can buy or steal this LP make sure you
do because you will not be disappointed, it is a very limited edition and you will be
hard pressed to find a better collection of pop/punk 45's from any band.
Brian Young (guitar/vocals) continues to this day as
frontman for Belfast punkabilly kings
the Sabrejets, he's
still pulling the shapes and moves on the stage like the love
child of a three way between Johnny Thunders, Marc Bolan
and Vince Taylor that he's always been. Gordy Blair
(bass/vocals) found fame and success down under in
Australia as a member of Dave Grainey and the Coral
snakes while Graham Marshall (drums) and Ronnie
Mathews (guitar/vocals) called it a day with the music bizz,
too many kicks in the teeth, you can only take so many
disappointments....and Paul Martin? But they can all be
proud of the legacy of great music they have left in their
wake. Hopefully this time they will get the attention from a
new generation of punks as well as the older ex punks that
Rudi have always deserved.

Joe Donnelly - Belfast 6-12-02
For a more comprehensive look at Rudi in full, check out
this great fan site done by Roger at....
Brian now plays in Sabrejets he also formed Shame
Academy in 2002 with Greg Cowan (Outcasts) and Petesy
Burns (Stalag 17) who regularly perform Rudi and Outcasts
numbers live.
'The Complete Singles Collection' LP
Now here's a collection to savour. This record captures Rudi from their snottier energetic
early late 70's development, right up to their synthesized last 45 and eventual demise in the
early 1980's.
Rudi can't fail eh, well on this collection they don't, but it begs the question
why they're the one band that got criminally ignored by the deaf A & R departments of the
late 70's? While all around em, bands were getting snapped up? Anyway forget what
could've been and concentrate on a timeless classic in the shape of
Rudi's most famous
track the addictive 'Big Time'. 'Big Time' kicks off this album and is a song that conjures up
so much to all who hear it. It's all about the spoiled kid in the neighbourhood or the band
who had it all, and how having everything on a plate can mean fuck all in reality. Great
observations, sarcy lyrics and that fucking great guitar break with a raw wobbly lone note,
makes this flawed masterpiece classic. This song is still fresh and stlll relevant today, so if
you ain't heard this track yet don't miss out nick it, steal it or bootleg it coz it's that good!
There's something very alluring about the early crop of Belfast punk bands. Maybe it was the warzone they were living in, or coz
they were truly hungry for a change? Well whatever it was they had a great gift for the attitude of punk that was aped by so many,
yet meant by so few. The follow up single 'I-spy' shows a definite improvement in confidence as their playing gets a lot more
adventurous. Lots of guitar licks round this one off, great stuff. The slow but atmospheric intro to 'Genuine Reply' shows what the
band are really capable of even at this early punk stage. It's just a glimpse before they jump back up a gear into a more frisky
ending. The clever echo on Brian Young's lead vocal gives him a distinct 50's crooner feel. Which sounds strange in print
reviewing a punk record but it works so well. And that's another string to
Rudi's bow, they had original arrangements. Also I
suspect Brian Young's roots in music were showing through as he's now fronts Belfasts only rockabilly outfit
Sabrejets. Again
taking no emphasis from his band mates, co guitarist - Ronnie Mathews and the rhythm section of Gordy Blair on bass and
Graham Marshall on drums all contribute to distinctive Rudi sound. 'The Pressures On' is probably my second favourite track after
'Big time', with it's powerchord intro and those Stuart Adamson (Skids) dual guitar riffs that create a fucking highly compact song to
play at the local pop punkers. They keep up the momentum with the punkier sounding 'Who's Who' that owns one of those snotty
riffs you've heard everywhere over the 30 years. Like
the Clash, Rudi made great use of the dropout to bass 'n' drums in a lot of
their songs which is great when bands can really pull it off, and
Rudi certainly can. '14 Steps' which appears late on in their career
adopts a neat synth run but nothing too extravagant, and works well alongside the regular duel guitar's. They end with their final
swan song 'Love Is Electric' which never seen the light of day till now, and is a long way down the line from 'Big Time', but is still
capable of worming its way into your brain as they go for that early 80's electronic feel but with just enough guitars to make it work.
My only fault with
Rudi and possibly one of the reasons they never made it to a bigger audience is some of their songs are way
too obscure lyrically to carry the payload of the tunes. Pop bands today can sing throwaway rubbish and get hits but this band who
had so much more just don't have the knack to pull the trigger as often as they should've. But even so, they still deliver the goods
more than most. If I had to choose I'd go for this collection of the definitive Rudi as it's more compact, picks the superior mixes and
should be heard by all walks of punk life. In the words of the song... "this is a Genuine Replay."
Peter Don't Care
RUDI 'The Complete Singles Collection' 2002 (Last Years Youth Records)