The Exploited - Biography

The Exploited is a long-running, world-famous punk band from Edinburgh, Scotland. Though the Exploited’s lyrics and music may leave nothing to the imagination, there is some confusion about the the band’s original lineup and date of formation. According to the band’s website, former British Army soldier Wattie formed the the Exploited with guitarist Big John Duncan, bassist Gary McCormack and drummer Dru Stix in early 1980. However, this version of events fails to account for the personnel on the first Exploited single, “Army Life” b/w “Fuck The Mods” and “Crashed Out” (1980 Exploited Record Company), which credits Hayboy on guitar and Mark (Patrizio) on bass. Adding to the confusion, many Exploited bios claim that the band’s original lineup formed in 1979 and consisted of Hayboy, Mark, drummer Jim “Jimbo” Park, and Wattie’s brother Terry Buchan on vocals.           

In any case, one thing about the band’s early days is clear: the Exploited hated Mods, as “Fuck the Mods” and the inscription on the sleeve of their first single (“TO ALL THE EDINBURGH PUNKS AND SKINS—KEEP ON MOD-BASHING!!”) attest. Big John Duncan and Gary McCormack first appeared on the second single, “Exploited Barmy Army” b/w “I Believe in Anarchy” and “What You Gonna Do” (1980 Exploited Record Company); the third, “Dogs of War” b/w “Blown to Bits” (1981 Exploited Record Company) developed familiar themes. The debut album gave a direct answer to Crass’s 1978 “Punk Is Dead”: Punks Not Dead (1981 Secret) included the two-chord title track in a collection of songs similar to the band’s live set at the time, as represented by On Stage (1981 Exploited Record Company).           

“Dead Cities” b/w “Hitler’s in the Charts Again” and “Class War” charted in the UK, and the band mimed the A-side—with pyrotechnics—on Top of the Pops. Dru Stix is rumored to have been sent up the river for armed robbery around this time; in any event, Daniel Heatley drummed on Troops of Tomorrow (1982 Secret) and the Exploited’s first tour of North America, after which Wattie’s younger brother Wullie joined as the more or less permanent drummer. Gary McCormack and Big John Duncan quit after recording Let’s Start A War… Said Maggie One Day (1983 Pax). [A decade later, Duncan appeared at New York’s Roseland Ballroom, where he joined Nirvana onstage for four songs.] Wattie and Wullie soldiered on with new guitarist Karl Morris and bassist Billy Dunn. Wayne Tyas had taken Dunn’s place by April 1985, when the band recorded a Washington, DC show for Live At The Whitehouse (1985 Rival).           

After Horror Epics (1986 Dojo), guitarist Nigel Swanson and ex-UK Subs bassist Deptford John joined the Exploited, though John left after the “Jesus Is Dead” EP (1986 Rough Justice). Bassist Tony Lochiel joined on the punk-thrash hybrid (or “crossover”) album Death Before Dishonour (1987 Rough Justice). Wullie left the Exploited for a short period and drummer Tony Martin took his place on The Massacre (1990 Rough Justice), recorded with new guitarist Gogs and new bassist Smeeks. By contrast, Beat The Bastards (1996 Rough Justice) was a Buchan clan reunion, with Wullie Buchan on bass and drums, Jamie Buchan on guitar and Wattie on vocals. Though Fuck The System (2003 Dream Catcher) is the most recent album as of this writing, Wattie, Wullie and a number of different collaborators have continued to perform as the Exploited.

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