Penetration (band)

Penetration is a punk rock band from County Durham, England formed in 1976. They re-formed in 2001 with several new members. Their debut single, "Don't Dictate", is now acknowledged as a classic punk rock single[1][2] and their debut album, Moving Targets (1978), is still widely admired.[3][4][5][6]

Penetration band.jpg
Background information
OriginFerryhill, County Durham, England
GenresPunk rock
Years active1976–1980, 2001–present
MembersPauline Murray
Robert Blamire
Steve Wallace
Paul Harvey
John Maher
Ken Goodinson
Past membersGary Chaplin
Gary Smallman
Fred Purser
Neale Floyd
Graham Kaye
Billy Gilbert
Brian Atkinson
Kev Hodgson

Formation (1976-78)Edit

The band's lineup was lead singer Pauline Murray, Robert Blamire (bass), Gary Smallman (drums) and Gary Chaplin (guitar). Chaplin left in March 1978 being replaced with Neale Floyd, with second guitarist Fred Purser joining in July. The band dissolved in late 1979. They reformed in 2001 with original members Murray, Blamire and Smallman, and Steve Wallace and Paul Harvey drafted in as new guitarists.[7]

Formed in Ferryhill as The Points, under which name they played their first gig, at the Rock Garden pub in Middlesbrough in October 1976,[8][9] they changed the band's name after a 1973 song by Iggy & The Stooges. Their second gig was supporting The Stranglers at Newcastle City Hall.[10] Significantly, the band also played at the club The Roxy during its first 100 days. On 9 April 1977, the band appeared on the same bill as Generation X.[11] Early in their career, the band also supported The Vibrators and toured with Buzzcocks.[10]

After the release of their second single, Penetration recorded the first of two sessions for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 in July 1978.[12] Later that year, the band released their debut album. Moving Targets was number 6 in the Sounds Critics' albums of the year; and it made number 13 in the NME critics' chart.

In 1979, they toured Europe, the US and Britain but the grueling schedule began to take its toll.[13] A disappointing reaction to Coming Up For Air, the second album, was the final nail in the coffin of the original band. After the band split in October an official bootleg album called Race Against Time was released, which was a collection of early demos and live tracks.

In 1980, Pauline Murray collaborated with The Invisible Girls, which also included Robert Blamire, as well as other Manchester musicians such as Vini Reilly, guitarist in The Durutti Column, and Steve Hopkins. John Maher from Buzzcocks drummed for the band. Produced by Martin Hannett, the resulting album spawned the singles "Dream Sequence" and "Mr.X", with a further non-album single "Searching for Heaven" released in 1981. Murray also provided guest vocals for The Only Ones' 1980 track, "Fools". Former guitarist Gary Chaplin formed the short-lived new wave bands The Rhythm Clicks, which released the single "Short Time" in 1980, and Soul On Ice which released the singles "Underwater" and "Widescreen" in 1982 and 1983 respectively.

Pauline Murray worked sporadically as a solo artist under the name 'Pauline Murray and The Storm' with Robert Blamire, Tim Johnston and Paul Harvey. Paul Harvey is also a Stuckist artist. Blamire also worked as a producer for various groups, including Scars, whose sole LP (1981's Author! Author!) he produced.

A decidedly more "rawk" proposition than many of the three-chord trainee anarchists on the scene, Murray drawing inevitable comparisons with both Patti Smith and Siouxsie Sioux for her force of personality and the strength / style of her voice.[14]

In 2015, Penetration announced the release of a new album called Resolution in October. The current line-up of the band is Pauline Murray, Robert Blamire, John Maher (ex-Buzzcocks), Paul Harvey and Steve Wallace.[15]



  • Moving Targets (October 1978: Virgin) First 15,000 copies on luminous vinyl No. 22 UK Albums Chart[16]
  • Coming Up For Air (September 1979: Virgin) No. 36 UK
  • Race Against Time (Official bootleg) (January 1980: Virgin / Clifdayn PEN 1)
  • Resolution (October 2015: Polestar)


  • Don't Dictate: The Best of Penetration (March 1995: CDOVD 450)


  • "Don’t Dictate" / "Money Talks" (November 1977: VS 192) Re-released in 1983.
  • "Firing Squad" / "Never" (May 1978: VS 213)
  • "Life’s A Gamble" / "V.I.P." (September 1978: VS 226)
  • "Danger Signs" / "Stone Heroes (Live)" (April 1979: VS 257) Also released, with an additional track "Vision", as a 12 inch single.
  • "Come Into the Open" / "Lifeline" (August 1979: VS 268)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mojo (October 2001) – 100 Punk Scorchers, Issue 95, London
  2. ^ Joynson, Vernon (2001). Up Yours! A Guide to UK Punk, New Wave & Early Post Punk. Wolverhampton: Borderline Publications. p. 269. ISBN 1-899855-13-0. A pulsating punk song. One of the best in a year of many gems. Its anti-authoritarian message was ideal for 1977.
  3. ^ The Guardian (November 2007). 1,000 Albums To Hear Before You Die. London. Penetration's debut alienated their punk following, but, looking back now, it documented the tensions of the era. They were Tyneside punks with a heavy metal guitarist – future Tyger of Pan Tang Fred Purser – whose sonic battles with the band's punk faction makes singer Pauline Murray's doom-laden warnings sound even more urgent and compelling.
  4. ^ Thompson, Dave (2000). Punk. Ontario: Collector's Guide Publication. p. 87. ISBN 1-896522-27-0. Gargantuan.
  5. ^ Thompson, Dave. "Review of Moving Targets on Allmusic". Penetration's debut album stands among the very last true greats of the first wave of British punk offerings. A glorious collision of adrenalized exuberance and astonishing energies, topped by Pauline Murray's unmistakably soaring vocals.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (1994). All Time Top 1000 Albums. Enfield: Guinness Publishing. p. 244. Their debut single, the excellent "Don't Dictate", which came out in the autumn of 1977, set the tone and a widely regarded reputation for their punky enthusiasm. With this, their debut album, that appeared the following year, cementing their critical acclaim.
  7. ^ "Penetration". Graham S. 6 October 2003. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  8. ^ Joynson, Vernon (2001). Up Yours! A Guide to UK Punk, New Wave & Early Post Punk. Wolverhampton: Borderline Publications. p. 269.
  9. ^ "Gary Chaplin 'in conversation' on ANOTHER MUSIC IN A DIFFERENT KITCHEN". YouTube. Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  10. ^ a b "BBC - Tyne - Entertainment - Penetration: Re-animated!". Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  11. ^ Thompson, Dave (2000). Punk. Ontario: Collector's Guide Publication. p. 62.
  12. ^ "BBC - Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - Penetration". Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  13. ^ Joynson, Vernon (2001). Up Yours! A Guide to UK Punk, New Wave & Early Post Punk. Wolverhampton: Borderline Publications. p. 270.
  14. ^ Strong, M.C. (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 112. ISBN 1-84195-335-0.
  15. ^ "Pauline Murray and Robert Blamire's First Generation Punk Band Penetration Announce First Album For 36 Years!". 13 August 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  16. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External linksEdit