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The Roxy was a fashionable nightclub located at 41–43 Neal Street in London's Covent Garden, known for hosting the flowering British punk music scene in its infancy.


The premises had formerly been used as a warehouse to serve the Covent Garden wholesale fruit and vegetable market. In 1970 they were converted to a late-night bar called the Chaguaramas Club. At that time it was owned by record producer Tony Ashfield, who had several hits with 1970s reggae star John Holt, with whom he formed a company called Chaguaramas Recording Productions, probably after Chaguaramas Bay in Trinidad.[1]

The Roxy was started by Andrew Czezowski, Susan Carrington and Barry Jones.[citation needed] The main entrance was on street level where you would walk into a small bar and seated area. Downstairs there was a small stage, bar and dance floor.[citation needed]

In December 1976, Czezowski, Carrington and Jones organised three gigs at the Roxy.[citation needed] They financed the venture with borrowed money (Jones, a musician, pawned his guitar to stock the bars, and hire sound equipment, etc.). The first show, on 14 December, was Generation X, a band Czezowski managed. The second on the following night was the Heartbreakers. The third, on 21 December, featured Siouxsie and the Banshees and Generation X. However, it was the Clash and the Heartbreakers that headlined the official gala opening on 1 January 1977 which was filmed by Julien Temple and finally screened on BBC Four on 1 January 2015 as The Clash: New Year's Day '77.[2][3]

The only thing that could count as a "scene" is the Roxy. And the Roxy is a dormitory. The last time I went I was feeling really uppity. I stood in the middle and looked around and all these people were slumped around dozing! I threw tomato sauce on the mirror and stormed out. And I haven't been back there. I don't think I will go back there. The sooner it closes the better.

Joe Strummer[4]

Don Letts was the resident DJ at the club and he was instrumental in encouraging punk rockers to embrace reggae.[citation needed]

In 1977, Harvest Records released an album Live at the Roxy WC2, featuring some of the regular acts who performed there, that made the top 20 in the UK Albums Chart. A further live album was released in May 1978 of lesser known acts such as the UK Subs, Open Sore, Crabs and the Bears. Since the late 1980s, a number of previously unreleased recordings of Roxy gigs from the late 1970s have been released as live albums including the Buzzcocks (Trojan 1989), the Adverts (Receiver, 1990), X-Ray Spex (Receiver, 1991), and the Boys (Receiver, 1999).

DJ Letts recorded many of the band performances in 1977 at the Roxy, some of which were released the following year as The Punk Rock Movie.[5]

The anarcho-punk band Crass featured the Roxy as the subject of one of their most well known tracks, "Banned from the Roxy", in 1978.[6]


41-43 Neal Street in 2008

The site later became the flagship store for the swimwear brand Speedo.

On Tuesday 25 April 2017, a 'People's Plaque' was unveiled by the Seven Dials Trust and invited unveilers - Andrew Czezowski and Susan Carrington, the founders of the ROXY (with Barry Jones),Gaye Black (The Adverts), Pauline Murray (Penetration), Tessa Pollitt (The Slits) and Jordan Mooney (who worked for Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's SEX/Seditionaries shop on the King's Road). The plaque is at first-floor level on Neal Street, marking the site of 'The Roxy: legendary punk club, 1976–78'. Andrew Czezowski and Susan Carrington, guests and members of the original bands who played at the club then went onto attend the PV of 'Fear & Loathing at the ROXY' an exhibition of photographs taken mainly during the club's first 100 nights, commissioned by Shaftesbury Plc and curated by artist and historian Jane Palm-Gold. The exhibition comprised the works of Derek Ridgers, Ray Stevenson, Jeremy Gibbs and Rebecca Hale and ran for 3 weeks.

Bands that played at the Roxy in its first 100 daysEdit

Aside from four bands mentioned above in connection with the December 1976 gigs and the gala opening, other bands that appeared there in the first four months of the club's life (January 1977 to April) included:[7]


  1. ^ Paul Marko (2007). The Roxy London WC2: a punk history. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  2. ^ Vincent Dowd (1 January 2015). "Julien Temple on The Clash: 'The energy of punk is really needed now'". BBC News. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  3. ^ "The Clash: New Year's Day '77". BBC Four. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  4. ^ Coon 1977.
  5. ^ "The Punk Rock Movie from England". 9 June 1978. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  6. ^ ""Banned from the Roxy" from Feeding the 5000". Small Wonder Records. 1978.
  7. ^ Thompson, D. (2000) Punk, Collector's Guide Publication, Ontario, Canada, p. 61 – 62


Further readingEdit

  • Marko, Paul (2007). The Roxy London WC2 - A Punk History. Punk77 Books. ISBN 978-0-9556583-0-3.
  • Tassell, Nige (June 2011). "Warming up in a Winter of Discontent". The Word. No. 100. pp. 52–55. ISSN 1479-1498.

External linksEdit