Grudge (UK) Distortions Of Reality; tape (1991)



‘Grudge’ was from the South Shields area (East of Newcastle upon Tyne). On this tape here: Duncan Kelsall (guitar), John Boundy (bass), Steve/Stevie James (Wingrove) (drums; later ‘Warwound’) & Keith Cahill (vocals). Keith & John had been in the death-metal band ‘Mortal Remains’, Steve Wingrove was in ‘Hellkrusher’ before, and Duncan in ‘Mortal Terror’ (who did a split-LP with ‘Generic’). Later John played for ‘Blunt Wound Trauma’…

My review in Tilt! #8: >>Crusty thrash (or vice versa) played with a loose wrist. Reminds me of ‘Ripcord’ and ‘Heresy’ but with a more metal sound and a gear slower. There are also some contemporary influences (‘Hiatus’?) and an epic touch. Fucking good…<<


Grudge’ was a band formed in South Shields, a town just outside of Newcastle upon Tyne in England around 1991. It came about as a result of splits from other bands at the time and wanting to still play and be active within the punk-scene. It was initially formed from member of three bands: ‘Hellkrusher’, ‘Mortal Terror’ and ‘Mortal Remains’. I was the original drummer in ‘Hellkrusher’. I was playing in the band ‘Senile Decay’ with Scotty from ‘Hellbastard’ and was approached by him and Ali from ‘Energetic Krusher’ to play drums for a new band they were putting together. After maybe a year or so it was mentioned to me at the time that the other two member of the band werent happy with the guitarist and they wanted to replace him. I disagreed as I thought he was a friend and wanted to continue to have him stay in the band. In hindsight they were right but friends being friends and all that… Not long after, I was contacted and told they were splitting the band as it wasn’t working out, which surprised me as we had just released the Wasteland album [1990] and were just getting some momentum from it. Gutted I accepted it and moved on.

At some point I noticed the other members of ‘Hellkrusher’ waiting to be picked up for a gig. They obviously hadn’t split up, just replaced both the guitarist and myself, but had neglected to inform us of this. As you can imagine I was shocked and hurt. It was a long time ago and we were really young and sometimes young people go around things the wrong way. We’re fine now and have been for a long time, I’m just telling things how they happened … Anyway, I decided, more determined than ever, to carry on and sought to start a new band with Davey [Thornburn, guitarist] from ‘Hellkrusher’. I was friends from being young kids with Duncan [?] who was the guitarist with ‘Mortal Terror’. He was looking for a band to play in after getting married and feeling himself being pulled in the direction of work, marriage and the like. I had played with him in my first ever band ‘The Betrayed’ and we used to practice in my dad’s shed with another old school-friend Mick. Davey didn’t stay for more than a few practices before we went our separate ways.

‘Hellkrusher’ had been supported by a band from South Shields called ‘Mortal Remains’. They were what you would call a grindcore type band but we didn’t have those labels yet so they were just heavy as fuck with growly vocals. They were kind of falling apart so I approached Keith Cahill about singing for my new band. I also asked him to bring his bassplayer, ‘Brigzzy’ as he had a massive distorted bass-tone and I liked it. He also brought one of the other guitarists Pauly with him too but he only came to one practice and kind of wasn’t interested. So we had a line-up: myself (drums), Duncan (guitar), Cahill (vocals) & ‘Brigzzy’ (bass).

‘Briggzy’ and myself were on the metro to Newcastle one day thinking of names for the band and I suggested ‘Grudge’, which he liked so that was that. He was an artist and came up with the typeset etc., which is exactly the same as the Swedish band ‘Grave’ for some reason. I think that was purely accidental on both our parts as I think we didn’t know their music in ’91.

We used to practice at the same place as ‘Hellkrusher’ (believe it or not) and recorded a few early demos there. We then went to a studio in Gateshead, the neighbouring town to Newcastle and recorded the Distortions Of Reality demo there. It came out really clean and not heavy enough for us at the time but it was done.

We had a gig with ‘Extinction Of Mankind’ in Newcastle and Cahill decided he was leaving the band by not turning up or contacting us. We were thrown in at the deep end so between myself, ‘Briggzy’ and Duncan we got through it and blagged it live. Duncan left soon after just, leaving me and ‘Briggzy’.

I was in a relationship with a vicar’s daughter at the time (believe it or not) and her brother’s friend, Danny, was a guitarist. He was really young (16) but really good. He joined the band and that’s where we really came together as a band. We were really fast and really tight. We had found the sound and band-member we needed. We recorded another demo (with a BBC engineer at the time) that was a rager. I have it somewhere, it was great! We gigged with this line-up for years. I was working in a studio and we used to rehearse and hang out there, our friend Tommy was always there too and we eventually convinced him to do vocals. I had been in a band with him (called ‘Damnation’) so he wasn’t a stranger to being in a band. He wasn’t into the noise (like we were) so he struggled a touch, but he was our friend and we were a band of friends. We used to record our practices and tried to record an album, I have some of that lying around too …

Eventually Danny kind of started to lose a little bit of interest and the communication wasn’t great between us at the time: ‘Grudge’ faded away. I decided to form a new band and asked ‘Briggzy’ if he wanted to play bass. He initially said no, I think he was sick of being in a band with me, haha! I was very driven and a decent drummer, and as we all know: good drummers are rare things. ‘Briggzy’ eventually agreed to play bass in the new band and we asked our friend Lee to play guitar. Danny wasn’t happy when he found out but we had lost touch and thought he wasn’t interested. This was in the days before mobile phones or the internet so it was much easier to lose touch in those days. We eventually asked our friend Al to join on guitar too and recruited two young vocalists Eddie [Liddle] and Idene [Roozbayani]. They took a little time to bed in but they were amazing fronting the band. We called this new band ‘Blunt Wound Trauma’.

I eventually left this band to start ‘Demon 340’, a band put together entirely because Low, a friend of mine had wanted to play bass in a band. He was tattooing me at the time and I agreed to teach him how to play bass and that was that. We recorded an album (Til The End Of My Life) [2005], did some touring and had some great gigs. After that I ended up back in a band with Danny from ‘Grudge’. I had joined one of Tyneside’s oldest punk bands, ‘The Fiend’, and they needed a lead-guitarist so I suggested Danny. (We had made friends by then.) We recorded The Brutal Truth record together so it was great to be back in the studio with him. We gigged and toured a lot with ‘The Fiend’.

I went on to help out on drums for ‘Dogsflesh’ and in doing so bumped into ‘Rat’ [Anthony Martin] from The Varukers, who was singing for ‘Discharge’ at the time. He asked me to help out in his band ‘The Vile’ so I ended up joining them. I then went on to do some drumming for ‘The Varukers’, whilst in ‘The Vile’. We got together with Ian Glasper (author and bassist from ‘Decadence Within’) and Damian Thompson, ex-guitarist of ‘The Varukers’ and guitarist of the one and only ‘Sacrilege’, who had decided to put his old band ‘Warwound’ back together. We (myself on drums, ‘Rat’ on vocals, Ian on bass and Damian on guitar) released all the original material and recorded two new albums and three singles with ‘Warwound’.

Apart from a brief stint drumming for my friends ‘Anti-System’, you are up-to-date with the lockdown of 2020.

Stevie James

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