We began in 2006, when Allison and I recorded demos. The results were so encouraging that we were inspired to recruit a bassist and take the band out. We added Denise Page to our lineup, and played our first show headlining London's famous 12-Bar Club. It felt good, and we recorded our first album on an old 8-track machine, with a total lack of production. We titled it Between a Bank and a Funeral Parlour, a reference to the location of our studio, which was housed in Allison's old flat.
Mick Jones, ex of The Clash, took an instant liking to our rough-house recording, and when we staged a Joe Strummer Memorial show in 2008, Mick asked us, along with members of Hard Fi, to back him on some Clash songs, which was a great honour. Especially to play White Man in Hammersmith Palais, one of my all-time favourite songs.
We then recorded a single with Mick in the Producer's chair, Monks Punks and Drunks.
Across the road to our studio was a park. One day we were approached by a very affable Gentleman who told us that whilst working in the park as a Gardener he heard us practicing and liked the sound we were making. This was our first encounter with Tony Clarke, who had been an Abbey Road engineer on the team that recorded The Beatles. He had recorded many of the greats in the 60s and 70s, and produced an album for Paul McCartney. Tony became a friend and Mentor of the band. He supported and encouraged us all through the early stages of the band, and the lessons we learned from him were invaluable.
2008/9 We played the legendary Carbon Casino in Ladbroke Grove, followed by our own residency in the same venue, the now defunct Inn on The Green, where we curated our own Rock n Roll Circus, and shared the stage with Jim Jones Revue, Dennis Bovell, ATV and Viv Albertine. We ended the year by hosting another Strummer Memorial show.
2010 we recruited a new bass player, as Denise was short of time. (We still love her though). That year saw a lot more London shows, and a mini-tour of New York City (both Allison and I had spent time living in NYC in the past), where we hooked up with old and new friends and fans.
Our second album, Building Ten, released in 2011, caused a large stir in the Rock n Roll Community. With the addition of Dave Wright on tenor saxophone, and spiced up with the soulful vocals of the amazing Krysten Cummings, we were cooking up a storm of punked up garage rock n roll with conscious lyrics. For the album launch we returned to the 12 Bar Club in Soho. After some great reviews and well-attended shows in London, we received airplay on BBC Radio 6, Radio Caroline, Resonance Radio, Choice FM. The live shows featured Dave's great horn playing and we often extended the songs to improvise.
Next, in 2012, we quickly put together an EP, A Rakket U Trust, which was again well-received by fans and critics. We now had more material to choose from live, and our audience was growing.
2013, probably our busiest gigging year, saw another change of bass player, a weekly residency in Camden Town, Strummercamp and Rebellion Festivals, some shows around Britain, culminating with headlining London's Borderline Club. In Tottenham we were joined onstage by Hero of 60's counter-culture Edgar Broughton, for a rousing version of his classic Out Demons Out, which blew my mind as his band were one of the first I ever saw as a young dude. Another high spot was performing twice on The Rotten Hill TV Show, directed by our good friend Roger Pomphrey R.I.P.
In 2014, you guessed it, seven bass players in, another bassist change..we added Wigsy, a Ladbroke Grove stalwart who had been a friend for years, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, we released our third album, Death Coaching. After all the gigging, Allison's drumming had gone up a few notches, and my song writing was entering another phase (so I am told). Going back to our roots we recorded the songs on a vintage reel to reel machine, with Mick again guesting on 3 numbers, some more sax from Dave Wright, and Krysten again adding vocals. Mixed by David M.Allen (ex-Cure producer). We told him we wanted a garage sound that sounded like the band was in your living room. Death Coaching received great reviews and is still having some airplay on radio.
We played Benefit shows for the Firefighters, who were striking, culminating in a big show with Glen Matlock at The Coronet in South London.
We also hosted a another monthly residency, this time at The Alleycat Club in Soho.
In 2015 a new single 'Time for War is Never', was released as a follow-up to Death Coaching, for free download in December 2015. This song has now become our anti-war anthem, played at most shows.
New Years Eve: Trakker played a great show in Ladbroke Grove with Rotten Hill Gang, where I was lucky enough to join Glen Matlock and Paul Cook on stage for a rendition of Submission, the old Pistols number.
should mention that since Allison custom designed an artwork for our first album, she has taken care of all the covers, painting her visual interpretation of the theme of each album, which we see as a large part of this band's process.
I have also made some visual art in relation to the band, and every year since 2015 we exhibit our works at the annual Punk Art Show at the Underdog Gallery, London Bridge.
That took us nicely into 2016. In January we were asked to play (at very short notice) the Bowie Memorial show, at Union Chapel in North London, where we performed to a capacity audience and a massive live global stream. Each band or singer to cover one Bowie song was the brief. Backstage was chaotic and a bit fraught, with all the bands rehearsing their Bowie numbers at the last minute. We drafted in our friend Gary Guitar Lammin of Bermondsey Joyriders, for our spirited version of Jean Genie. I won't lie- it was scary, all the Bowie fans in the world know that one so well. Luckily we nailed it!
Then followed Strummercamp festival, this time in London, and a residency at Portobello Road's Mau Mau Bar, the last bastion of West London Bohemia.
We started to record another album in our own studio, which we sadly lost due to property developers.
In 2017 Mick kindly housed us temporarily in his studio and we finished recording the new album there. With his input the sound was changing, now tighter we think, and possibly a bit more crafted in the songwriting and arrangement dept. We were exploring more blues than usual, and that's evident on the album; plenty of slide guitar in evidence, and also rockabilly reared its axle-greased head. Jennie Matthias Bellestar was our guest vocalist on one track, Portobello Blues.
We played Record Store Day at Rough Trade West, where we shared the stage with Gilbert O' Sullivan and Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, who we really admire. A great street gig, we can safely say that Portobello rocked.
Keeping up our dedication to helping those in need, we played for Alan McGee's "Musicians Against Homelessness' show, with our special Guest, Knox, original Frontman of seminal punk band The Vibrators.
In 2018 we played shows at Acklam V1llage, the space taken over by The Community for The Community, originally for those affected by the Grenfell fire. As time elapsed the space is also now being used for a variety of arts and creative pursuits, and our main contribution has been to celebrate local culture and history by recreating the vibe of the legendary Acklam Hall in the late 70s.
We were honoured to play a set at Jesse Malin's Joe Strummer tribute at Dingwalls, alongside some big names from the USA and UK.
We played a set at The Underdog Gallery for the Punk Rock nRoll Art Show.
Album number four, All Shook Up Again in W10. was released on October 12th 2018. So far its receiving great reviews and selling like hotcakes.
2019: We ran a residency At Mau Mau in Portobello Road, in association with our good friend Tessa Pollit, ex-Slits, who played a DJ set of old stool dub and reggae.
A sellout show at The Albany in Central London went down well.
Allison played her favourite records on Portobello Radio.
I managed to complete the script and most of the song writing of my punk rock opera, 'Stickin' Boy'.
2020: Another gig at Underdog Gallery went down great.
More about 'Stickin' Boy'... The idea began about 20 years ago as a movie script, which I worked on with Mick. Trakker recorded a couple of songs for the project, but we never really felt the script was finished, and the idea was abandoned. Last year, after seeing a friend put on a low-budget play with a small cast in a tiny London theatre, I had the idea to rewrite my script for theatre. This year we began work on it again with Mick at the helm. More info to follow.