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999

One of the longest-lived groups of the punk era, 999 formed in London in December 1976. Led by vocalist/guitarist Nick Cash, a onetime student at the Canterbury College of Art under the tutelage of Ian Dury and a former member of the pub rock units Kilburn and the High Roads, the band also included guitarist Guy Days, bassist Jon Watson, and drummer Pablo LaBrittain. After dispensing with a series of names -- including 48 Hours, the Fanatics, and the Dials -- 999 quickly established themselves as a popular fixture on the London punk circuit, issuing their incendiary debut single, "I'm Alive," on their own LaBrittain Records in late 1977.

The single won the quartet a deal with United Artists, who issued both "Nasty Nasty" and "Emergency" in 1978; an eponymously titled LP debut, produced by Andy Arthurs, followed later in the year. For their sophomore effort, 1978's Separates, 999 enlisted producer Martin Rushent, resulting in a more polished, mainstream veneer for material like the near-hit "Homicide" and "High Energy Plan." After LaBrittain suffered injuries in a vehicular accident, drummer Ed Case was brought in to pick up the slack for a major U.S. tour preceding the release of 1980's The Biggest Prize in Sport; issued a short time later, The Biggest Tour in Sport EP collected

material recorded live during the group's American dates.

A healthy LaBrittain rejoined 999 full-time for 1981's Concrete, an album buffered by covers of "Li'l Red Riding Hood" and "Fortune Teller" -- an indication that the group's wellspring of creativity was running dry.

1983's 13th Floor Madness was universally panned for its disco-like grooves, although 1985's self-released Face to Face was acclaimed as a melodic return to form. At the end of the year, Watson exited the group's ranks and was replaced by bassist Danny Palmer in time to record 1987's Lust, Power, and Money, a live set cut in London.

Palmer left the band in 1991, replaced by former Lurkers member Arturo Bassick (aka Peter Arthur Billingsly), who has remained with the band since. In 1993, 999 returned with their first studio album in eight years, You Us It! Though the material didn't quite reach the heights of their

earlier releases, it certainly proved that the band was still vital and alive. Further live performances throughout the rest of the decade (at punk festivals and mini-tours) cemented the fact that the band was here to stay. ~ Steve "Spaz" Schnee, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

999 never got the credit they deserved.Guy Days was a great guitarist!Gr e a t band.
Fealin alright with the crew, gone but not forgotten,Lo n d o n s burning dial 999
One of my top fifty bands....lot s of good memories skating around Worcester. I couldn't even list my fifty in any catagories, precendence, value to there genre, etc., but theses guys are in there - some where.
dh_wbr
999 none better Punks who could actually play instruments the live album "Biggest Tour in Sport" is one of my most prized possessions. It is hard to believe that is was 30 years ago!
I'd nearly forgotten 999 - thank FSM for Pandora bringing back my memories - saw them (with the Dickies?) in LA in '79 or '80 (or was it '81?) and bought a t-shirt. Don't remember much of the show, but I do remember wearing the shirt at the store and woman asking me if 999 was actually code for a devil-worshi p p i n g conspiracy (like an upside-down 666). Ah, good ol' 80s Satanic panic...
ihill61
Never a leader, but an awfully entertaining follower of the movement. Can't believe that they actually played in a tiny club in Goleta, CA, just off the UCSB campus. Seeing them from 4 feet away gave them a permanent spot on my playlist at KCSB FM, on my show "Punk Rules OK" during the late-70s/ear l y - 8 0 s .
early 999 (77'-82') is one of my all time favorite old school punk bands ever!
simple s**t rocks!
Great classic punk.

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