One of punk rock’s first female icons, Gaye Advert, turned 65 this week.
Born Gaye Black, she played bass in the English band The Adverts in the late 1970s. The Virgin Encyclopedia of 70s Music called her the “first female punk star”. Dave Thompson who wrote regularly for Melody Maker and Record Collector in the 1980s stated that her “photogenic” looks, “panda-eye make-up and omnipresent leather jacket defined the face of female punkdom until well into the next decade.”
She was dubbed Advert by The Stranglers during their Nashville residency in 1976, when she would get on the guest list as she was on the scene, seeing them every week: “I said my name was Gaye and they wrote down my name and said it was an advert for identification purposes.”
She left home in Bideford, Devon, UK, to London at 20 with her boyfriend and now ex-husband TV Smith. They formed The Adverts in 1976. They were one of the first punk bands to enjoy chart success in the UK; “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” reached number 18 in the UK Singles Chart. Mojo ranked “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” at number 12 on the list of “the best punk rock singles of all time”.
After the demise of the Adverts in 1979, Advert stopped playing bass and disappeared from the British punk scene. She has said that she was “a bit disillusioned and worn out,” and felt picked on by the press. She then took up a career as a manager in social services. She recounted her experiences of being in the band in an interview for Zillah Minx’s 2010 film She’s a Punk Rocker UK.
She continues to create art and began to exhibit her work in 2008. She is hoping to show some of her artwork at Nestival at the Bird’s Nest pub in Deptford, South London, this week.
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Text: Wikipedia, Punktuation.
Pics: Kingdom of Style, last.fm, Punktuation.