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Lightning Raiders were an English pub rock band, with Johnny Hodge being the most prominent member of the group. During their lifetime, they released two singles, an EP, and recorded a full-length album that would not see the light of day until 2013.
|Genres||Pub rock, psychedelic rock, punk rock|
|Years active||August 1977–1982, 2011–2012|
|Associated acts||The Deviants, Pink Fairies, The Sex Pistols, The Professionals, Mannish Boys, Killerhertz, Kitsch, Hank Dogs, Love Pirates|
|Past members||John Hodge|
The Lightning Raiders formed in August 1977 with an original lineup featuring Johnny Hodge (known as Little John) on guitar, Andy Allan on guitar/vocals, ex-Pink Fairies Duncan ('Danger Sun') Sanderson on bass/vocals, Jorge Panchito on drums and Michael Wilding on saxophone.
In February 1978 ex-Pink Fairies drummer/singer Twink released an EP called "Do It '77" with the help of band members Sanderson and Hodge. Twink had already recorded his intended single with his regular band but "Chiswick Records didn't like the track and I jammed "Do It" with the Lightning Raiders, which they preferred." Sanderson recalled, "Twink came round my house and dragged me down the studio while I was still asleep one morning, and Little John Hodge just came along to deliver a guitar. Twink had us jam through "Do It", so we did it. Kid [Rogers (guitar)] and John hadn't even heard the flaming song before. At the end he jumps up and says 'That's it, thanks lads!' We didn't even know it was being taped!" Twink's comment on this was that "A second take of "Do It" is a contradiction in terms." The EP was credited to 'Twink & The Fairies'. The band had a loose membership policy, at one time joining Larry Wallis & Duncan Sanderson onstage as The Pink Fairies with Little John & Jorge Panchito completely unrehearsed to fulfill concert obligations with considerable popular acclaim.
On 31 March 1980, a lineup including Little John on guitar, Andy Allan on Bass, Paul Cook on drums, and Steve Jones on guitar released a 7" single, "Psychedelic Musik", on Arista Records. The two members of the Sex Pistols were never official members of the band - they were repaying a debt to Allan who played bass on the Sex Pistols single, "Silly Thing".
In the next lineup, formed in November 1980, Hodge and Sanderson were joined by Gass Wild on lead vocals (who later drummed with Johnny Thunders and the Chrissie Hynde Band), Bruce Irvine on guitar (later with Sean Tyla's Tyla Gang), and George Butler (ex-Kilburn & the High Roads) on drums.
In 1981, this lineup put out "Criminal World" with Revenge Records. They then recorded the Will Reid Dick produced 12" EP for Island Records (under the Revenge label), which included the songs "Sweet Revenge", "Rowdies", "Addiction", and "Soul Rescue". This was to be a preview of the forthcoming LP Sweet Revenge, but in December 1981 they were dropped by the label, making the soon deleted EP very rare.
This lineup was very popular on the club circuit, playing in various clubs such as Dingwalls, the Marquee Club the Music Machine, The Venue, and many more, often with support from heavy rock trio Killerhertz consisting of Hugo Mallett (guitar) Doug McArthur (bass) and former Chelsea drummer Marc Rathbone. Another support act for the Raiders were long haired glam boys Kitsch (under the same management as the Raiders). Kitsch bass player Paul Raven went on to join London cult band, Killing Joke. The Lightning Raiders along with Killerhertz and former Raider Andy Allan, (Andy Allan's future) performed at the 1981 Stonehenge Free Festival. Little John went on to record briefly with Chelsea and play live with Lena Zavaroni in her fathers Kilburn 'pub.
Hodge left the band in February 1982, though the remaining members continued for a time. Duncan Sanderson and George Butler played with Larry Wallis in a series of bands during the early '80s, until the reformation of the Pink Fairies and, later, The Deviants at which point George Butler was replaced by Russell Hunter (original Pink Fairy/Deviant). Little John Hodge recorded & performed with Bert Jansch for his final record 'Edge Of A Dream' which included the Hodge song 'La Luna' inspired by Aleister Crowley. Jansch repaid the favour by appearing on Hodge's solo CD 'La Luna' as 2nd guitarist on a number of tracks.
Johnny Hodge died at home in Camden Town in 2012 having visited New York to reunite with Gass Wild for two short 'Lightning Raiders' gigs, airing songs from a 2nd unheard LP, with guest American musicians filmed by old friend and ex Pink Fairies roadie Joly (founder of Better Badges) resident of NYC. Gass Wild fronts a NYC band called The Love Pirates, a name borrowed from the Larry Wallis band of the 80s. The visit was intended to promote forthcoming documentary Lost Rockers, in which Lemmy (of Motörhead) praises the Lightning Raiders (bassist Sandy recalls they were not always welcomed by Motorhead fans who threw spark plugs at the band mid-set, hitting the hapless Sandy in the testicles!). Andy Allan has been active playing with folk combo Hank Dogs, releasing two CDs and touring with the likes of Joan Baez. George Butler continues to drum with a number of bands, notably the Dirty Strangers, around the Ladbroke Grove area. Duncan Sanderson is currently playing with the re-born Deviants.
The 2013 release of a truncated version of the Lighting Raiders 'lost' album, Sweet Revenge, has given them a posthumous recognition which eluded them beyond a cult level during their lifespan. Often thought of as a 'poor mans Pink Fairies' due to the presence of bassist Sandy, they were in fact a tight and original act in their own right, a fact only now being recognized by the wider public.
- "Little" John Hodge – lead guitar
- Andy Allan – rhythm guitar, lead vocals
- Duncan Sanderson – bass, backing vocals
- Jorge Panchito – drums, percussion
- Michael Wilding - sax
"Psychedelic Musik" line-up
- "Little" John Hodge – guitar, backing vocals
- Andy Allan – bass, lead vocals
- Steve Jones – guitar
- Paul Cook – drums, percussion
- John Hodge – lead guitar
- Gass Wild – lead vocals
- Duncan Sanderson – bass, backing vocals
- Bruce Irvine - rhythm guitar
- George Butler – drums, percussion
- Johnny Hodge – lead guitar
- Gass Wild – lead vocals
- Randy Gregg – bass
- Fuz - rhythm guitar
- Tony Mann – drums, percussion
- 2013 – Sweet Revenge (Rock Candy Records CANDY 135) (Originally recorded in 1980-1981.)
- Singles & EP
- 1980 – "Psychedelic Musik" b/w "Views" (Arista 341)
- 1981 – "Criminal World" b/w "Citizens" (Revenge Records REVS 200)
- 1981 – Sweet Revenge EP (Revenge Records RSS 39)
- "Sweet Revenge"
- "Soul Rescue"
- 1980 – "Views" live track on The Moonlight Tapes compilation. (Danceville Records D1)
- 1997 – "Sweet Revenge" bonus track on Son of Ham compilation. (UHCK 002)
- 1997 – "Addiction" & "Rowdies" on Hogwatch - For a Few Rashers More compilation. (UHCK 003)
- 2009 – "Didja" on Punks from the Underground compilation. (Skydog Records 62243-2)
- The Complete Rock Family Trees, by Pete Frame (Omnibus Press, 1993)
- Twink/Bevis Frond interview (1989), Ptolemaic Terrascope Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
- International Times (1978), Volume 4, Issue 4
- Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982, page 718
- Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982, page 313
- Kilburn & the High Roads Billboard bio]
- Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982, page 561
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982, page 316
- Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982, page 599
- Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982, page 334