has always been in the thick of things starting in the early '70s, when he watched fellow Cambridge native
band Stars go through its paces. Thus inspired,
They made one single and played numerous gigs on the eve of punk -- until personality conflicts scuttled the band.
hatched the Maniacs
with bassist Robert Crash,
a German who'd moved to join London's punk scene. The Maniacs
issued one classic single, "Chelsea '77," a withering swipe at the fashion influences overtaking the scene. Two tracks also appeared on the Live at the Vortex
compilation before Shaw
folded the band in January 1978.Shaw's
next band, the Physicals,
drew on glam and proto-punk roots for its All Sexed Up EP (1978) and "Be Like Me"/"Pain in Love" single (1980), which featured former Sex Pistol Paul Cook's
sturdy drumming and production. All Sexed Up sold 5,000 copies, and "Be Like Me" got airplay, "but it didn't take off big-time," Shaw
said. "It's a case of having a hit." (Overground has since reissued the Maniacs'
and Physicals' output on separate CDs.)
Casting for direction, Shaw
guitarist Brian James
in the Brains, who released one EP during a blink-and-miss-it lifespan (March to June 1979). Sadly, "lots of demos were made, but nothing was released," Shaw
said. The pair's next band, the Hellions,
lasted longer (July 1979 to September 1980), but made no records, and no headway. A disenchanted Shaw
worked briefly with Kirsty MacColl
before quitting music.
He resurfaced in 1987 with Heaven & the Angels; in keeping with his previous lucky streak, the band released only one EP. He hooked up again with James
for a 1990-1991 album and tour as the Brian James Gang,
and a film soundtrack as the Dripping Lips.
In 1993, Shaw
joined a reconstituted Damned
with founders Dave Vanian, Rat Scabies
, and Captain Sensible. Shaw
also played a major co-writing role on the resulting I'm Alright (Jack & the Beanstalk) album (1995).Shaw
remained in the lineup until 1995, when the Damned's
ever-fractious internecine politics left him the odd man out. He then formed the power trio Mischief
with bassist Paul Gray (Damned, Eddie & the Hot Rods, UFO
) and drummer Jim Simpson (UFO
). The band didn't play out, but its 12-track album later saw release as Hubble Bubble (2003).Shaw
spent the summer of 2003 gearing up for a new Maniacs
album (with Crash,
but not Latter
). "I've also been in touch with Brian,
and might do a project with him," Shaw
said. "I might sit down and jam with him, and something might come out of that." But Shaw
wouldn't have it any other way.