The Wasps are a Punk band first formed in East London, February 1976 with original lead singer/songwriter Jesse Lynn-Dean. They were there at the start of the UK Punk rock movement, along with the likes of The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Damned, Buzzcocks, UK Subs, Sham 69, Stiff Little Fingers, Subway Sect and many more.
During the '76-'77 period They performed extensively at venues across London and the UK such as The Roxy, The Vortex, The Bridge House, Music Machine, The Marquee, etc and performed live twice on Radio 1's John Peel show. Their singles "Teenage Treats" (a favourite of Peel's), "Can't Wait 'Till '78" (along with their version of "Waiting For My Man on the '77 "Live at The Vortex" album), are considered Punk classics from that period.
Their first single with RCA, "Rubber Cars", was RCA's fastest selling single the week it was released and would have been a massive hit had RCA not reluctantly pulled the record. The band with the line up at that time split in 1979 during its release due to unresolvable managerial disputes.
“THE WASPS "Teenage Treats / She Made Magic" (4 Play). Aha, A light at the end of the tunnel. Adopting the old saw of attack being the best means of defence/offence The Wasps deliver a great record, great guitar riff and great singing. A hit or my name is B. P. Fallon.” - Bob Geldof
"TEENAGE TREATS"........."Great record" - Bob Geldof, guest reviewer, NME '78
THE WASPS..... "A knife edge sound, the best of New Wave" - Rosalind Russell, Record Mirror
"CAN'T WAIT 'TILL '78" (LIVE AT THE VORTEX)...... "A great opening track" - David Aldridge, Making Tracks
"RUBBER CARS"......... "Stands head and shoulders above most of this weeks selection" - Kelly Pike, Record Mirror, Feb '78
THE WASPS ......."EXCELLENT"- JOHN PEEL (R.I.P)
LINE UP: #2
Sep 77 – Feb 79
Jesse Lynn-Dean (vocals)
Johnny Rich (drums)
Steve Wollaston (bass)
Gary Wellman (guitar)
"RUBBER CARS" RCA
After doing the circuit and doing the first of 2 John Peel sessions on February 13th 1978, RCA swooped and signed The Wasps. RCA chose "Rubber Cars" as the first single and it was released on February 16th to positive revues. The "Rubber Cars" single was actually recorded with Jesse Lynn-Dean (vocals), Johnny Rich (drums), Steve Wollaston (bass), Gary Wellman (guitar). Rod Argent (of The Zombies and the band Argent) played keyboard on "Rubber Cars and on "This Time", with also some guitar by Neil Fitch on the flipside "This Time".
"Rubber Cars" was performed as the Jesse Lynn-Dean Band, due to managerial disputes at that time, on "Runaround" hosted by Mike Reid, at Southampton TV. The producers went to the expense of making an animated cartoon that was edited into the live performance on the show. A fully animated series based on the song was soon under consideration by TV producers.
Suddenly The Wasps were hot property and it seemed as if anybody who ever had anything to do with the band in a business capacity was trying to claim a piece of the action. Hassles in the form of writs and threats of legal action from "previous" managers caused RCA to reluctantly pull the record out of the shops after only one week. During this week RCA said "Rubber Cars" was their fastest selling single and outsold all the other RCA singles that week and it was expected to go to number one!
The disappointment of what was happening and the continuing legal battles tore The Wasps apart. After almost continuous gigging, writing, rehearsing and recording for years, plus suffering the usual pressures that always exist in a band situation, The Wasps were exhausted and they split. After attempting to put the band back together with Wollaston, Rich & Wellman, Lynn-Dean again ran into a brick wall and the legal turmoil seemed unsurmountable. Lynn-Dean reformed the band briefly with new members, Neil Fitch (guitar), Dave Owen (bass), Tiam Grant (drums). They performed the on "Runaround" TV show as the Jesse Lynn-Dean band.
In April 2022 The Wasps re-released their "debut" album "Punkryonics". This new, highly collectable LIMITED EDITION CD is called "Punkryonics Plus" (Singles & Rare tracks 1977-1979) on Vespa Records and features 2 bonus tracks, "Stranger Love" and "Waiting For My Man" from Live at the Vortex. Now 17 tracks in total. The full colour CD is in an
In April 2022 The Wasps re-released their "debut" album "Punkryonics". This new, highly collectable LIMITED EDITION CD is called "Punkryonics Plus" (Singles & Rare tracks 1977-1979) on Vespa Records and features 2 bonus tracks, "Stranger Love" and "Waiting For My Man" from Live at the Vortex. Now 17 tracks in total.
The full colour CD is in an attractive and robust plastic free digifile case and comes with a 12 page booklet with photos and the story of The Wasps.
The CD comes with a free digital download. The "Punkryonics Plus" album will also be released on vinyl later in 2022.
"Punkryonics" was originally released on CD in November 2003 on Overground Records it featured15 tracks from the 1976-1979 UK Punk period including their Punk anthem "Can't Wait Till '78" from the notorious "Live at The Vortex" album. Along with a host of great tracks, the album also feature The Wasps first single the Punk classic "Teenage Treats" on 4Play Records and "Rubber Cars" on RCA Records, which was their fastest selling record of the week.
En marzo de 2022, The Wasps relanzó su álbum "debut" "Punkryonics". Este nuevo CD de EDICIÓN LIMITADA altamente coleccionable se llama "Punkryonics Plus" (Singles & Rare tracks 1976-1979) en Vespa Records y presenta 2 bonus tracks, "Stranger Love" y "Waiting For My Man" de Live at the Vortex. Ahora 17 pistas en total. El CD a todo color está en una atractiva y robusta billetera digifile libre de plástico y viene con un folleto de 12 páginas con fotos y la historia de The Wasps. El album viene con una descarga digital gratuita.
El álbum "Punkryonics Plus" también se lanzará en vinilo más adelante en 2022.
"Punkryonics" se lanzó originalmente en noviembre de 2003 en Overground Records e incluía 15 pistas del período punk británico de 1976-1979, incluido su himno punk "Can't Wait Till '78" del famoso álbum "Live at The Vortex". Junto con una gran cantidad de excelentes pistas, el álbum también presenta el primer sencillo de The Wasps, el clásico punk "Teenage Treats" en 4Play Records y "Rubber Cars" en RCA Records, que fue su disco más vendido de la semana.
In 2011 The Wasps released their second album, this time on vinyl "ThisWASPunk" on Rave Up Records. This album featured 2 tracks that did not appear on the "Punkyronics" album, "Stranger Love" and their high energy live performance of "Waiting For My Man" from the LIVE AT THE VORTEX album.
Singles: "Teenage Treats", "Can't Wait 'Til '78", "Rubber Cars"
Jesse Lynn-Dean's solo single "Do It" on Creole Records '78
Albums: "Live at the Vortex", "Punkryonics", "ThisWASPunk".
Many of their songs have appeared on numerous Punk compilation albums such as
"Perfect UnPop" the John Peel sessions,
"Teenage Treats" VOL.1 (compilation series),
"1234 Punk & New Wave '76-'79" (Highly Acclaimed Compilation album),
Punk 1977, Action Time Vision, Harmony in My Head, 1977 The Year Punk Broke, etc, etc...
Live Performances TV & Radio: Two "John Peel Sessions "on BBC Radio 1, "So It Goes", "Runaround" presented by Mike Reid.
References/Books: " '77 The Year of Punk & New Wave" by Henrik Bech Poulsen
more to be added!
Teenage Treats 7″ (4 Play, FOUR-001) released Nov 77, re-issued Dec 77 (Illegal, FOUR-001A) re-issued 2014 (Paramecium PAR 016AA)
Tracks: Teenage treats, She Made Magic
Live at the Vortex 7″ (Nems, NES-115) released Dec 77, split 7″ with Mean Street*
Tracks: Can’t wait ’til ’78, Bunch of stiffs*
Various Artists – Live at the Vortex: Volume One LP (Nems, NEL-6013) recorded Oct 77, released Dec 77
Tracks: Can’t wait ’til ’78, Waiting for my man
Other Pre-'79 Recordings;
Tracks: Stranger Love
Recorded Nov '77 Pathway studios
Tracks: Free country
Recorded '77 Spaceward studios
Tracks: Run run angelica
BBC John Peel session #1 13-2-78
Tracks: Teenage treats, J-J-J-Jenny, She made magic, Something to tell you
BBC John Peel session #2 1979
Tracks: Run Run Angelica, Rubber Cars, This Time, She's Alarming
Recorded late '78
Tracks: Another song about dancing, Cross my heart, Do the zoo, Evil man, He’s back, JJJJenny, Rubber cars, She’s alarming, Something to tell you, This time
Rubber Cars 7" RCA Official Release 1979;
Punkryonics Official Release 2003; album, on CD, Released 3rd November, 2003 Overground Records featuring 15 tracks:
JJJJenny, Teenage Treats, Something to tell you, Run run Angelica, Evil Man, She Made Magic, Can't wait 'til '78, Free Country (previously unreleased version, Pathway Studios, London, '77), Rubber Cars, This Time, She's Alarming, He's Back, Cross my heart, Another song about dancing, Do the zoo.
ThisWASPunk Official Release 2011; album on vinyl, Rave Up Records, 2011, featuring 12 tracks:
Can't Wait 'Till '78 (from Live at The Vortex: Volume 1, recorded Oct 77, released Dec 77) , Stranger Love (previously unreleased, Pathway, London 1976), Waiting For My Man, from Live Vortex: Volume 1,recorded Oct 77, released Dec 77), Teenage Treats, JJJJenny, Free Country (previously unreleased version, Pathway Studios, London, '77), Run Run Angelica (longer unreleased version Spaceward studios '77), She Made Magic, Evil Man, Something To Tell You, He's Back, Do The Zoo.
51 gigs in 13 months! (There were actually more gigs that are not even listed)
11/11/76 Bridge House, Canning Town, London (1st gig)
18/11/76 Bridge House, Canning Town, London
05/01/77 Bridge House, Canning Town, London
12/01/77 Bridge House, Canning Town, London
13/01/77 Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington
16/01/77 Bridge House, Canning Town, London
19/01/77 Bridge House, Canning Town, London
20/01/77 Marquee Club, Wardour Street, London
26/01/77 Bridge House, Canning Town, London
17/02/77 Rock Garden, Covent Garden, London (with Talking Heads)
18/02/77 Rock Garden, Covent Garden, London (with Talking Heads)
13/03/77 Lord Nelson, Holloway, London
14/03/77 Lord Nelson, Holloway, London
27/03/77 Monster Ballroom, Loch Ness
22/04/77 Marquee Club, Wardour Street, London
30/04/77 Music Machine, Camden High St, London (with Georgie Flame & the Blue Flames)
01/05/77 Ablemarle Club, Romford
03/05/77 Railway Pub, Putney, London
19/05/77 Fulham FC Social Club
20/05/77 Roxy Club, Covent Garden, London
24/05/77 Railway Pub, Putney, London
29/05/77 Kings Head Hotel, Harrow
18/06/77 Red Deer, Croydon
25/07/77 Music Machine, Camden High St, London (with The Police & Flick)
06/08/77 Green Man, Plumstead, London
09/08/77 Music Machine, Camden High St, London
11/08/77 Rafters, Manchester (?)
12/08/77 Top Rank, Sheffield
17/08/77 Music Machine, Camden High St, London
17/08/77 Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's, Soho, London
18/08/77 Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington
26/08/77 Roxy Club, Covent Garden, London
04/09/77 Arts Centre, Battersea, London
09/09/77 Roxy Club, Covent Garden, London
13/09/77 Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington
17/09/77 Roxy Club, Covent Garden, London (*)
26/09/77 Vortex, Wardour Street, London
27/09/77 Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington, London
28/09/77 Man in the Moon, Chelsea, London
05/10/77 Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington
10/10/77 Vortex, Wardour Street, London
14/10/77 Dingwalls, Camden Lock, London
22/10/77 Bell, Kings Cross, London (with Supbway Sect & Necromats)
23/10/77 Top Rank, Southampton
01/11/77 Music Machine, Camden High St, London
12/11/77 Red Cow, Hammersmith Rd, London
12/11/77 Vortex, Wardour Street, London
18/11/77 Roxy Club, Covent Garden, London
22/11/77 Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington
29/11/77 Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington
05/12/77 Vortex, Wardour Street, London
In 1976 Johnny Rich, Drums, Steve Wollaston, Bass and Del May, Guitar, all from East London met Singer/Songwriter, Jesse Lynn-Dean from Islington. The chemistry was right and The Wasps were founded.
Johnny Rich: Drums was given his first set of drums at the age of 7 by his uncle Doug, also a drummer. Rich was playing live gigs by the time he was 15 and soon founded the band “Trance”, which included a young and very talented Steve Wollaston on bass. It was later in the group “Maude”, re-named “Blockade” (’71-’72), that Rich played with Del May, who later became the guitarist in the original Wasps line up. Rich went on to play with “Remus Down Boulevard”, which included in its line up guitarist, Dennis Stratton who went on to join “Iron Maiden”. After a period of working with “Stanton Drew”, Rich re-grouped with Steve Wollaston and Del May and later, with Jesse Lynn-Dean (vocals), they became The Wasps.
Steve Wollaston: Bass, who for a short time played under the name of Steve Dominic, was the artistic and often quiet and moody member of “The Wasps”. He bought his first bass guitar when he was 13 for £10.00 with money he saved from doing a paper round. Later Wollaston used one of the first long scale “Dan Armstrong” London basses to be made. The same guitar as was later used by Glen Matlock of “The Sex Pistols”. After leaving his first band, “Trance”, Steve played on the circuit with a number of progressive/underground bands and then joined cult band, “Lady June’s Elysium”. “Lady June” who came from an aristocratic background, was part of a strongly substance affected, arty in-crowd in London at that time. One of her albums contained sleeve notes that were deliberately perforated in such a way that roaches could be made from them. Her cat was permanently stoned and Lady June always carried a hip flask containing her favourite gin. Among others, her acquaintances at that time included Brian Eno, Kevin Ayres. The stance of the band suited Wollaston and his musical input was considerable until the band encountered some personal problems and fizzled out towards the end of ’75.
Jesse Lynn-Dean: Vocals, in late ‘75 had somehow managed to walk in to EMI Publishing in Charing Cross Road, London with a tape of his songs and without an appointment talked his way past reception and into the office of Dave Ambrose a top EMI Publishing executive. Ambrose (former bass player with Brian Auger’s/Julie Driscol’s “Trinity”), was and still is reckoned, by some, to have the best ears in the business. An amused and astonished Dave Ambrose did however listen there and then to Lynn-Dean’s songs and told him EMI would sign him as a songwriter. Jesse Lynn-Dean told Ambrose he had plans to do these songs himself, so Ambrose told him to go and get a band together and come back. About a month later Lynn-Dean heard Rich, Wollaston and May rehearsing and was impressed with their power and open-mindedness to new ideas and thought they would be ideal musicians with whom he could work. This suited Rich, Wollaston and May since they were looking for a singer and were impressed with the originality of Lynn-Dean’s material. Lynn-Dean who had been listening to the likes of “Velvet Underground”, “Iggy Pop”, “MC5” and had a healthy respect for David Bowie’s “Spiders from Mars” period, found he had a lot in common regarding his musical tastes with Wollaston and together with Rich’s drumming ability to add dynamics to just about any song and Del May’s exceptional versatility as a guitarist, all the ingredients were there to wreak havoc on the tired and staid Blues and Pub Rock scene that was dominating the circuit at that time.
101 Millais Road
The Wasps began to rehearse at Johnny Rich’s mums terraced house in Leytonstone’s “Millais Road”. Fortunately for the band, Rich’s mother had hearing problems and used to switch off her hearing aid when the band was practising. Also another stroke of luck was that the next-door neighbour was none other than Rich’s uncle Doug who had given him his first drum kit and revelled in what he called Rich’s “Power-house” style of drumming which emanated from Johnny’s extra loud stainless steel Asba kit, imported from France and one of only 3 in the country. How the rest of the street put up with the noise has always been a mystery.
Lynn-Dean was stunned at the band’s input and immediate understanding and ability to give his songs their unique Wasps identity. Rich and Wollaston were solid and powerful but at the same time bright and creative, building a foundation upon which Del May would go to work with a modified Gibson SG guitar strung partly with Ernie Ball banjo strings.
The Wasps soon put together a set of original songs plus high-energy versions of “Jean-Jeanie” and Tommy Tuckers “High heel sneakers” and were asked by Terry Murphy to play at “The Bridge House” in Canning Town, London. The Wasps played to a packed house and the gig was reviewed by Giovanni Dadomo of “Sounds” magazine, who declared The Wasps were a fine and exciting new band. The next day, armed with the Yellow Pages, Lynn-Dean called one of London’s top booking agencies, “Evolution”, who represented many big name acts at the time, including “The Troggs” and “Georgie Fame”. Being careful not to mention they were a Punk band, Lynn-Dean told agent, Bob Herd (later to become The Wasps manager), that The Wasps were available for work. Bob Herd said he would let them know and Lynn-Dean thought that that would be the last he’d hear of him. That same day “Evolution” rang back and told Lynn-Dean they had a problem. Georgie Fame had pulled out of “The Marquee” that night and could The Wasps stand in and be at “The Marquee” in an hour for a sound check. (Obviously at this point Evolution were still unaware that The Wasps were a Punk band). Lynn-Dean said that it wouldn’t be a problem although not really having any idea how he was going to pull off this next miracle, particularly considering everybody in the band was doing a day job and had to be contacted. But it got done.
Now the majority of the audience at The Marquee that night awaiting the performance of Georgie Fame, were members of what probably became known as the “Yuppie Set” They were nice people who would admit to a misspent youth at the “Whisky-a-Go-Go” but now drank chilled Reisling and nibbled on pieces of raw cauliflower. People who liked pubs near rivers on Sunday mornings and who’s wardrobes were likely conceal green wellies. People who’s record collections if played at a certain volume, could probably save the earth from being invaded by Martians for fear of them dying of boredom. So, when The Wasps walked on to the stage at” The Marquee “that night and exploded into an amphetamine crazed version of “Teenage Treats”, it came as no surprise to the band that there was a mad rush to leave the premises by three quarters of the audience who already seemed edgy about the arrival of Punkers who had heard about the late change in billing and were just beginning to filter in, in full regalia. Lynn-Dean was disappointed by this display of middle class narrow-mindedness and promptly helped them on their merry way by hurling his mike stand at them along with a prolific string of obscenities as they were desperately scuttling away towards the exits.
This was the beginning of a dilemma for London venues. What was happening to their safe little venues? They didn’t know which way to jump and while they were thinking about it, The Roxy, The Vortex and other “Punk” venues were beginning to appear. By then The Marquee had given way to the New Wave and everybody else followed suit. Punk had broken through.
The Wasps were now playing regularly at venues all over London, including The Roxy, Rochester Castle, The Rock Garden, etc. Curiously it seemed that whenever they played outside London the audiences were becoming more violent. When The Wasps played at Shrewsbury Civic Centre things got very rough. The band and their sound men had to play the gig behind a barricade of chairs stacked five high and security men sustained injuries trying to keep fans off the stage who were trying to join in with the band. It was during this gig that drummer, Rich’s shirt caught fire (thanks to the fireworks that were being thrown around), although luckily he wasn’t injured. Guitarist, May’s versatility was stretched to it’s limits in so much as apart from playing lead and rhythm, he was having to use the end of his guitar to knock people off the stage. It started with people pogo-ing, spitting and throwing stuff, which at the time was more or less what was expected, but then things got out of hand. People were throwing themselves off the balcony onto the crowd below them and lots of fights broke out. A local newspaper reported that the gig had put a strain on the casualty department of the nearby hospital. The council branded The Wasps as “Depraved “and banned them from playing there again. Needless to say a few other venues followed suit with bar staff refusing to work if The Wasps played.
Although this paranoia died down in a few weeks, all this had taken its toll on guitarist, May who wanted Lynn-Dean to tone things down a bit. He believed that Jesse’s repartee between songs (listen to “Can’t Wait Till ‘78” for example), was winding people up too much, but Lynn-Dean didn’t believe that Punk was just about playing some songs and going home. He said he thought the audience were as much a part of a gig as the band and if things did sometimes get a bit extreme, so what, it was “their time” after all.
A short while after at the Roxy, Covent Garden, London, Lynn-Dean did a stage dive. At this time in 1977 people didn’t catch you and give you a cuddle à la Kurt Cobain, they just let you hit the deck and dived on top of you. Lynn-Dean said he remembered being on the floor still trying to sing and could feel the impact of more and more bodies landing on top of him and for about a minute thought he was going to be crushed to death, until he was dragged out by Wasps sound man Gary Wellman and “The Clash’s” Joe Strummer who emerged from the fracas minus one front tooth.
It was about this time July’77 when Del May finally decided enough was enough and wrote a letter of resignation to the band.
May was an exceptional guitarist but it was agreed that there was no point in asking Del to carry on if that was how he really felt. May leaving the band could have slowed things down if it hadn’t been for one massive stroke of luck. After auditioning dozens of guitarists, none of which seemed to fit in, young Gary Wellman, 16 who until this time had been The Wasps sound man at all the gigs, announced that he knew every note of the set and could play it with his hands tied behind his back. Not wanting to be unfair Lynn-Dean suggested he should “try out “with both hands on the guitar, so he did and Wellman was right. He fitted perfectly into the line up replacing Del May as The Wasps main guitarist. Del May continued to play with the band during August ‘77, which included gigs at Camden’s “Music Machine with “The Police” and “XTC” and Wellman made an impressive debut at the same venue on September 3rd ’77.
It was time for The Wasps to make a record. The first single emerged in November ’77 when two original compositions were issued on 4-Play Records. “Teenage Treats” coupled with “She Made Magic” were two superior slices of Punk with lyrics that epitomised what was going on at the time. The single evoked outstanding revues and was in and out of the New Wave and Indies charts for the next couple of years. At this time the band were being looked after by Myles Palmer, respected author and music biz journalist and along with his business partner, Danny, they had helped to get the band airborne.
“Can’t Wait Till ‘78”
Recorded in Oct ’77, The Wasps next appeared on the notorious “Live at the Vortex” album Dec ‘77, with “Can’t Wait Till ‘78” which can be found on many Punk compilations and is considered a classic example of British Punk Rock in ’77, the lyrics of which were quoted by Kevin Pearce in his excellent book “Something beginning with O”. “Can’t Wait Till ’78” was issued as a 7” single coupled with a track by Mean Streets also from the “Vortex” album. Also on the album The Wasps cover Lou Reed’s “Waiting For My Man”, recorded at the end of a manic set with only five strings left on the guitar and a split skin on the drum kit.
The Wasps then went on to play a number of dates in France and Sweden and shortly after returning to the UK did the first of two John Peel sessions on BBC Radio 1 on February 13th ’78. They continued to perform at various venues around the country.
It was whilst playing a set again at The Roxy, Covent Garden that Iggy Pop who was in London at the time decided he would invite himself up on stage with The Wasps. The band, although they had a certain amount of respect for Iggy, would not let him on stage on the grounds that this type of guesting was superstar establishment stuff and Lynn-Dean told him to go fuck himself and “up-stooge” someone else. This wasn’t exactly what Pop’s entourage wanted to hear and things nearly turned nasty. By this time Lynn-Dean was at boiling point and went to the bar to calm down and The Wasps to a bemused house completed this brief episode of surrealism by launching themselves into an instrumental version of “Duelling Banjo’s” from the film “Deliverance”, which they later explained always had a calming effect on Jesse.
Later that year whilst playing at The Bell, Kings Cross, London, during their set a Wasps fan was set upon by the over zealous bouncers who were determined to make an example of somebody. The fan whom the bouncers mistakenly thought had set off a firework, was dragged through a glass door and beaten up outside the pub. Consequently he died and prosecutions against the venue’s security personnel followed. The band felt they needed to cancel the next few gigs.
The Wasps then underwent another change in management. Enter music biz entrepreneur who had been associated with big bands on both sides of the Atlantic and had worked with heavyweight producers. The Wasps were temporarily taken off the road while Lynn-Dean was whisked off to the USA by the new Wasps management. First to New York where Lynn-Dean did some interviews and guested at CBGB’s with The Ramones (don’t tell Iggy) and then on to Los Angeles where he spent some time at the house of Sharon Osborne (of the Osborne’s fame), then Sharon Arden, daughter of Don Arden who managed “Small Faces”, “E.L.O”, Britt Ekland and owned Jet Records.
The purpose of this trip had been to meet with major record labels who at time had already invested millions by way of advances to established Old Wave bands/artists and the last thing they needed was a New Wave from the UK that was going to make their artists obsolete overnight and be unable to recoup their money. The USA had had a taste of this before when 15 years previously The Beatles and the Liverpool sound did exactly that. Therefore the plan of stateside record companies seemed to be sign the New Wave acts and then bury them. “The Boomtown Rats” had their record ”Monday’s”, taken off the shelves and banned in many states after being accused of glorifying a deadly sniper and Elvis Costello frustrated by his record company in the USA is said to have sent the company’s CEO a shovel with a note saying, “If you want to bury me, this might help”.
This trip to the States and seeing first hand the way the music business was operating, had been an education for Lynn-Dean who, although grateful for the experience was glad to get back to the band in the UK. The Wasps decided to part company with their management again.
A short time after returning to the UK circuit RCA Records swooped and signed The Wasps. Before the ink had even dried on the contracts, the A&R man responsible for the deal and had big plans for The Wasps parted company with RCA. His successor was never going to get a pat on the back for any success The Wasps might now achieve, as he was not the person who signed them. Consequently from the start, The Wasps never got the support they needed from their record company. However, “Rubber Cars”, was chosen by RCA as the first single and released February 16th 1978 to positive reviews.
Southampton Television invited the band to perform live on “Runaround” and went to the expense of making an animated cartoon that was edited into the live performance on the show. It was thought that so original and marketable was the “Rubber Cars” concept that a fully animated series based on the song was under consideration.
Suddenly The Wasps were hot property and it seemed as if anybody who had ever had anything to do with the band in a business capacity was trying to claim a piece of the action. Hassles in the form of writs and threats of legal action from previous “managers” caused RCA to “pull” the record “Rubber Cars” out of the shops after only a week. During this week “Rubber Cars” was RCA’s biggest selling single and was expected to go to number one.
The disappointment of what was happening and the continuing legal battles over who should control which parts of the band tore The Wasps apart. After almost continuous gigging, writing, rehearsing and recording for years, plus suffering the usual pressures that always exist in a band situation, the band were exhausted and they split.
Lynn-Dean tried to reform The Wasps for a brief period bringing in Neil Fitch, (gtr), David Owen, (b) and Tiam Grant, (d), but legal wrangling continued. Lynn-Dean under great pressure could never really come to terms with a re-vamped Wasps in spite of their competence as musicians. After attempting to put the band back together with Wollaston, Rich and Wellman, Lynn-Dean once again ran into a brick wall and the legal turmoil seemed insurmountable. In a last ditch attempt to salvage something from the mess caused by the greed, insensitivity and ego’s of so called “interested parties” who made a career out of trying to extort money from record companies, Jesse Lynn-Dean sadly decided to put The Wasps to bed.
Lynn-Dean picking up again with Fitch, Owen and Grant plus a new girl member, Anna Chen and calling themselves “The 1”, supported Tom Petty and “The Heartbreakers” at “The Venue” in Victoria, London. The performance received positive reviews, but Lynn-Dean, still not over The Wasps, decided to call it a day.
UK Punk in the USA
When asked recently on a local radio station what he thought about the way the USA viewed Punk then and now, Jesse Lynn-Dean said the following: -
“When I was taken to America in ’78 by The Wasps management team, I found that listening between the “lines” to music biz heavyweights at that time in the USA, there was a fear by powerful people across the board that the New Wave could spread anarchy across America as quickly as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones years before had also provoked sweeping social changes. One could procrastinate about conspiracy theories that have existed for years around the deaths of Nancy Spungen and later, “our Sid”, but we don’t because they have already given us the film and told us what we should believe.
There is one question that cannot be swept under the carpet and it is this. How can such a musical and social phenomenon which had exploded onto the scene at such a breakneck speed, suddenly disappear at the height of its power and popularity leaving us with just a few safe bets in the form of bands that never really tried to rock the establishment? The proof that this grinding to a halt of Punk did not reflect what people really wanted can be seen today in the thousands of small record labels all over the world dedicated to Punk. Also, Punk has continued to grow in most parts of the world, particularly in Japan and in the USA where the major record companies have partially sterilised it, re-packaged it in various different forms of “new Punk” and sold it back to us. Punk with a safety catch still on is the way I see it and having said that, a lot of these new bands roots can be traced back to British Punk ’76-’79, i.e. Offspring, Blink 182 and I am sure there will be many others”.
After The Wasps, a disillusioned Steve Wollaston decided to hang up his bass for a while. As many musicians before him, Wollaston’s spiritual convictions brought him to re-assess the direction his life was taking. He went on to do a BA in Religious Studies and a postgraduate certificate in Education at Kings Collage, London and a three year Diploma in Graphics at The London Collage of Printing He also became a one spirit interfaith foundation minister and started a post grad course in psycho synthesis psychology and counselling at the Trust in London. He has written, co-authored and edited more than a dozen books. In 2007 he co-authored a 224 page manual on east-west wisdom with a known English Swarmi and yoga master "The House of Wisdom". He also became a long time close friend and co-author of two highly popular books "The Spirit World in Plain English" and "Spirit Gems" with the late world renowned UK medium and former Benedictine Glyn Edwards.
Johnny Rich’s enthusiasm and ability as a drummer is legendry amongst musicians in London. His considerable stage presence was an integral part of a Wasps performance, Jesse Lynn-Dean often jokingly referred to him as a “lead drummer”. Not surprisingly, after the dissolution of The Wasps, Rich had many offers to consider. In the early ‘80’s he joined “No Dice” and in ’82 turned down the chance to join “Iron Maiden” for personal reasons.
Gary Wellman for a short time after The Wasps embarked on a solo career and although he was beginning to have some success, he opted to put his musical career on “hold” for a while and became a successful businessman.
Jesse Lynn-Dean after The Wasps and briefly “The 1” decided to go solo and 1979 released the single “Do It/Boyfriends Back in Town” two Lynn-Dean originals, on Creole Records. Accompanying Lynn-Dean on this single were Charlie Burchill, (gtr) and Michael Mc Neal, (keyboards), both from “Simple Minds”, plus Tiam Grant on drums. The single was played a lot on the London club scene, but didn’t break in the UK. Interestingly it did well in some other countries, including Australia.
In 2003, The Wasps finally released their debut album "Punkryonics" on CD featuring 15 tracks recorded 1976 to 1979.
In 2019 Jesse Lynn-Dean reformed The Wasps with a new line up for a live performance at the "Punkirola" Punk festival at Black Velvet music venue in Torremolinos, Spain. In 2020 The Wasps were confirmed to play at Rebellion festival in the UK and in Portugal and Spain, but due to Covid the tour was cancelled. Lynn-Dean used this opportunity to write a new album "Punk Prayer " featuring 12 brand new tracks, which was recorded in October 2021.