GODFATHER of punk Charlie Harper is waving goodbye to the tour bus after 45 years on the road with the UK Subs.

“The UK Subs aren’t going to stop playing – we are just not going to be doing the big tours again,” said the 79-year-old who returns to the county for August’s Rebellion Punk festival at Blackpool.

“So, our autumn tour of the UK will be a farewell one and our last.”

He adds: “I was born when the bombs were falling on London in World War 2, so maybe it is time for a little rest.

“When we are on a lengthy tour the band gets a bit shaky around the third or fourth week.

“It’s like a party every night, and it’s catching up with us. When you’re young you can take it, but it is not so easy now.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Charlie Harper at Rebellion, 2022 (Picture: Cris Watkins)

But Harper promised: “We’ll still be gigging everywhere, but mostly at weekends.

“The UK Subs help me stay young and optimistic.

“I live and breathe their music and I can’t wait to play my favourite festival Rebellion.”

The UK Subs would regularly play 100 gigs each year, but the UK Subs leader has suffered health issues since the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘I was struck down by Covid twice, the first time before we had a vaccine - and now I’m battling long Covid,” he said.

“I get breathless when I bend down to tie my shoe-laces, but somehow I’m as right as rain when I get on stage, although I don’t jump about as much as I used to.

‘I was quite poorly, having to isolate at home for 10 months.”

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Harper used the time to pen his memoirs which he hopes will be published later this year.

“I found the whole process of writing very satisfying and it was nice to have some time at home.

“There are some lovely stories in the book, and I hope people will like it, especially the folk who have always supported us.

“The UK Subs is a punk church. Everybody is quite serious and dedicated but they like to have fun too.

“UK Subs fans are wonderful people and most of them are my friends now.”

The UK Subs scored four top 20 albums – including their debut smash Another Kind of Blues – and seven top 40 singles: Stranglehold, Tomorrow’s Girls, She’s Not There, Warhead, Teenage, Party in Paris and Keep on Running.

He said: “When I got the UK Subs together, we were looking for a support slot on a tour and I was in a punk pub off the King’s Road and the group Chelsea walked in with their manager Miles Copeland, who had just started managing his brother’s band The Police.

“We got chatting and I asked him if there’d be any chance of supporting Chelsea’s forthcoming tour.

“Miles knew I’d been going a lot longer on the scene than a few of the guys.

“He put his pint down and said: ‘I think we’ll pass on that one Charlie’.

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“It still makes me laugh thinking about that but a few months later one of our first singles CID was number one in the independent charts and then they were begging us for a support.”

Harper was heavily influenced by Blues music before embracing the 1970s punk scene.

“Punk felt like a return to the early Blues, like Robert Johnson, raw Chicago Blues,” he said. “Punk was no frills music – just the bones of it.

“I love playing the harmonica and Rod Stewart was about in those early days. Everybody called him Rod the Mod and he was a bit of a face in London.

“I’d see him at a club, 5 Dimensions, and he would be sitting on a stool playing a Jimmy Reed song, Bright Lights, Big City, on his harmonica.

“We often talked, and Rod showed me how to play the Blues stuff on his harmonica.

“That was a long time ago now, and I still get inspired by fast punk music and fantastic fresh punk bands like Amyl and the Sniffers from Australia. Check them out everybody.”

Rebellion Festival is at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, from August 3 to 6. Headliners include The Damned, Steel Pulse, New Model Army, Henry Rollins, Die Toten Hosen. Details from www.rebellionfestival.com