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Formed 1982
Drums - Grub
Bass - Phil
Guitar - Marty
Vocals - Patsy
Vocals – Mark/Dane/Roy
First gig '82 West Winds Road House in Newtownards
"Unite to Resist" Demo Tape 1983
"Good Morning" - We Don’t Want Your Fucking War - Mortarhate compilation - '83
Toured England and Scotland in '84
Europe in '85 and '86
"Truth Will be Heard" split 12" with Stalag 17 '85
"We Will be Free" split album with Stalag 17 and Asylum '86
Split up in '86 after Gig with Antisect in Norwich
"Belfast" LP with Deno and Gary from Dirt - '87
"Belfast" LP rereleased on Sealed Records - '22

Me and Phil had been writing songs together since 1980 but it wasn’t until 1982 when we met Patsy after the Crass and DIRT gig in Belfast that we started Toxic Waste. Grub (who also lived in Newtownards) heard that we had started a band and announced he was drumming for us. We, having had no other volunteers, agreed.  
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Patsy and Phil

Our first gig was a party in the West Winds Road House in Newtownards that same year, which was shambolic at best. One of the few punks that happened to be there that night was Chuck who later ended up drumming with Pink Turds in Space. He was drumming for a band called Scum at that time and was very encouraging towards us. We organized a couple of gigs (one in the Ards Arena, and one in the Project Bangor) where we invited Scum along to play and they in turn organized a few gigs for us in Belfast at the Manhatten Club. This started a fairly regular slot for us and we became good friends with Stalag 17 and Asylum who also regularly played there. In 1983 we recorded “Unite to Resist” at a 4 track recording studio in Bangor which has to be one of the worst sounding demos in the history of recorded music! It managed to get us more exposure and recognition though and in 1984, Phil, Patsy and myself decided to move to Belfast and make the band our full time occupation. During this time we would regularly hang out at Just Books, an alternative/anarchist bookshop in Belfast. It was there that we met Mark Alexander Les Ostrich who wrote Traditionally Yours and Dear Little Dinosaur and joined us on vocals for a while.

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Toxic Waste at the Manhattan with Mark singing

After he left we recruited Dane (who wrote Burn Your Flags ) to sing and he moved into the house with us in Belfast. Just Books was also where we met all the others involved in setting up the Warzone Collective and we eventually took over the running of the café there. It was the café where we started meeting up with and organizing events with the Rathcoole Self Help Group. Together we organized a small tour of the North of Ireland for the English Anarcho punk band Conflict. They in turn offered us and Stalag 17 a track on a compilation album “We Don’t Want Your Fucking War” released on their Mortarhate label. We recorded “Good Morning” for that but shortly afterwards our relationship with Dane fell sour and he left the band.

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Toxic Waste at the Manhattan with Dane singing

We then asked Roy to sing who had been an active member with the Rathcoole Self Help Group and had sung for Wardance who had also released a track on one of the Mortarhate compilation albums. Very soon after the compilation album we were offered the split 12” with Stalag 17 on Mortarhate and we recorded three tracks with Roy now singing. To promote the split 12” we organized a tour of England and Scotland with KC and the Moonshine Band (who had also appeared on a Mortarhate compilation).

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Toxic Waste and KC and the Moonshine Band - English Tour

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This was a hard first tour and with precious little money coming in from gigs we had to syphon petrol from cars to get home. It didn’t dampen our enthusiasm though and the next year we recorded 4 tracks for a split album with Stalag 17 and Asylum for a joint Warzone/Mortarhate release.

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Toxic Waste in Bristol

This time we organized a tour of Europe which was going brilliantly until we had all our money and passports stolen and we got stranded in Amsterdam. With money and food fast running out, the local punk community came to our rescue and organized a couple of extra gigs and had a whip round for us so we could finish the tour.

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Toxic Waste and Shane in the tour bus in Amsterdam

Pretty much everyone we met on that tour was really sound to us and the level of organization was much superior to England and Ireland even. The next year we decided to do it all again, but by this stage Grub was starting to get very disillusioned with the band and told us he wasn’t going the night before the tour was supposed to begin! With no other option at the last minute we had to get Roy to do drums and sing at the same time. It was pretty awful but the punks in Europe were very forgiving and we managed to pull it off….just.

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Toxic Waste in Europe

Relationships within the band were becoming very strained and we only did a couple of gigs after this before splitting up. One was with Antisect at a festival in Norwich which ended up a drug fuelled mess and the other was in Belfast with an up and coming new punk band called Pink Turds in Space…
After splitting up Grub disappeared never to be seen again, Roy moved to London and Patsy, Phil and I briefly moved to Bristol.
My time with Toxic Waste had started with real enthusiasm, idealism and optimism for the future. We met loads of amazing people and made a lot of good friends (particularly in Europe). We helped to start the Warzone Collective and get an autonomous space set up in Belfast (no mean feat in itself!) but by the end I was glad we were splitting up. Anarcho punk had run it’s course and become stale and boring. It was time for punk to change course again.

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Toxic Waste in Duisburg, Germany

Further reading - "The Day the Country Died - A History of Anarcho Punk 1980-1984" by Ian Glasper on Cherry Red Books, and "It Makes You Want to Spit! - The Definitive Guide to PUNK in N.Ireland 1977-1982" by Sean O'Neill & Guy Trelford

This site is dedicated to the memory of Shane, Siobhan and Chuck. Three of my best friends.

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