SURGICAL knife sharp lyrics and a soaring riff, The Only Ones hit Another Girl, Another Planet was one of punk’s greatest anthems.

Penned by their leader Peter Perrett, he sang ‘I always flirt with death. I look ill, but I don’t care about it.’

He said: “I was a different person when I wrote that song, very arrogant, rude and indulgent.

“I’m 71 now and I wish I had had the wisdom in my youth that I possess now, instead of wrecking my health.

Lancashire Telegraph: Peter Perrett on stage with The Only Ones

“My health was deteriorating to a point where it was imminent that something had to change, otherwise there was only one destination.”

Often living a notoriously ruinous lifestyle, he battled heroin addiction for many years.

But Perrett and his band shared stages with Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, David Bowie and The Who before The Only Ones fizzled out after producing three fine albums.

“I don’t remember much about my youth as my addiction has mostly wiped it from my mind, but I’ve been clean for 12 years and this is the happiest and most contented period of my life,” said Perrett.

“Music is the thing you fall in love with as a teenager before you fall in love with other human beings.

“It gave me the escape from the pain of growing up.”

He adds: “I’m quite fortunate to be in the place I am now, because it’s like starting again.

“I’ve got my solo career, The Only Ones are going to play live and my two amazing sons, Jamie and Peter Junior, are inspiring young men.

“They encouraged me to pick up my guitar again.

“I call them my musical minders.”

When describing his ‘years in the wilderness’ Perrett admits he would never leave the house for months on end.

“At least I have never had chance to become this jaded musician because I’ve only been a musician for short periods of my life.”

The Only Ones co-headline slot at Blackpool’s Punk Rebellion party in August promises to be an emotional re-union.

The original line-up last played a full set together when they landed top billing at Rebellion 2012, but since then drummer Mike Kellie has passed away.

Perrett said: “Rebellion is a celebration of survival and I like that.

“It is going to be weird playing without Mike because everybody is irreplaceable in their own way.

“When I went up to Blackpool it felt like 5,000 punks had landed from outer space on the promenade.

“It could have been a scene from the film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers - but there’s a really nice vibe.”

The punk revolution in 1977, he says, was a juxtaposition of cultural England, the anger of youth versus the drab austerity of life in bleak Seventies Britain.

“You can still tell when you hear punk songs from 76/77, because the songs and energy fitted the zeitgeist of the moment,” he said.

“Not long ago I heard a radio DJ say that Another Girl, Another Planet sounded if it had been recorded yesterday.

“That’s nice, but I was never keen on raking up the past, looking back with rose-tinted spectacles.

“But I’ve since realised though that nostalgia has got a place in our transitional existence.

“There’s a sort of comfort in nostalgia as the world gets scarier by the day.”

When the Only Ones reformed in 2007, Perrett admits: “It didn’t work. I wasn’t invested artistically because I wasn’t well. I just went along for the ride because I was still using drugs but now life can be a joy.”

Perrett is fighting the chronic lung disease, emphysema, meaning his movement on stage is strictly limited to allow him the extra energy to play his guitar and sing.

“I always wanted to stand out from the rest, to be anti-fashion, and hence the name the Only Ones,” said Perrett.

“I disappeared for decades and I’ve now got my lovely therapy – music – this glorious thing to look forward to every day.”

Rebellion Festival, Winter Gardens, Blackpool, August 3-6, Headliners include The Damned, New Model Army, Henry Rollins, Die Toten Hosen. Details from