Decca Wade
Exclusive Interview
Questions posed by Phil Singleton
February 2009

During my recent interview with Ray McVeigh, guitarist with The Professionals, Ray recalled a night during the summer of 1982, when The Professionals and The Angelic Upstarts were invoved in a full scale riot at a gig in Montreal.

Here's the story from one of the Angelic Upstarts, drummer Decca Wade.

Phil: I recently spoke to Ray McVeigh about the legendary night in Montreal when the Angelic Upstarts supported The Professionals, which culminated in a riot. What can you remember about the day itself before the trouble started?

Steve Jones and Decca at the bar

Decca: Well I remember the day very well, we all (the Angelic Upstarts and The Professionals) were sitting in this bar in Montreal; it was the first time I'd ever had a cocktail, I have Steve Jones to thank for that. Steve said "I'm gonna show you something in a minute, it will put you right on your back." So then came this weird looking drink with umbrellas and cherries and shit in it. After copious amounts of cocktails later (at $4.80 a glass and Steve paying!) I need the toilet, went for a piss and decided to strip off, right down to my white sports socks.

In the wash room I noticed this white towel, I took it from the rail, folded it then draped it over my arm, walked back into the bar. I heard Paul Cook say "look at this fucker." I walked over to them all and said "Excuse me sir, do you require a wine list?" They all laughed like fuck and Jonesy had to turn away laughing.

Then it was time for us to head up to the venue for a sound check. We did that, then time for more drink as you do. I don't remember much of what happened after that but I remember pissing on Ray's leg; well that's what proper drummers do, isn't it ?(laughing). It was time for The Angelics set; we walked on stage - there must have been a couple of thousand people there - and there was these fuckers in particular, spitting and giving us grief, so right away Mensi (Upstarts' singer) was hitting out with his mic stand and Mond (guitarist) was throwing stuff at them. This just carried on throughout our set, getting worse as another song finished; so that was the start of the troubles. Then it was time for The Professionals to come on stage; Ray McVeigh was in a right mess, puking all over the place.

How soon did you become aware of the aggro The Professionals were having on stage?

Well straight away. We had wound them up to start with. We noticed Ray was getting a lot of hassle from this guy in the audience and Ray wasn't happy at all. I think they played one or two songs and this fucker just kept spitting at Ray. Ray was falling all over the place, pissed and trying to boot this guy, then I noticed Steve take off his guitar and hit this fella over the head with it, the poor fucker was covered in blood. Then the whole place just went crazy, really crazy.

The Professionals came off stage for a short while, Cops turned up and everyone was going nuts. The band went back to the stage and Steve was saying things like;"If there is any more aggro we don't play." - I think things did settle down a little.

The Upstarts & The Professionals head to the venue for the sound check

I believe the Upstarts encouraged Ray, Steve & co. to kick it off again, just when things were calming down! Tell me more!

Yes we started it off again. We were at the side of the stage, there was a stud wall - one of those stud wall things - we started pulling off these 4 x 2 lumps of wood and shouted over to Ray and Steve "Go on man, start it again, kick it off again." Well of course with the drum mics and other mics on stage, they were picking this up, so the audience could hear what we were saying. Obviously this just sent them wild, didn't it? Another riot, Police everywhere, Police helicopters, total mayhem.

I remember the end of the gig and walking out onto the streets with The Professionals and Steve English (Professionals' security). Everyone was out there waiting to fight us, these red neck lumber jack types. Steve English was hitting everyone with this baseball bat, he was batting this pathway through the crowds: "Get out of my fucking way" he was shouting. I haven't seen anybody run as quick as English that night; he ran towards this Big Foot 4 x 4 thing, got up on the bonnet and smashed the wind screen in with his baseball bat. Then he took out the driver's window, dragging the driver through the window and hitting him full force with the bat. Then he was hitting the fuckers standing up in the back of the truck. English was covered in blood but it wasnt his! We managed to get past all this, English took off his t-shirt and wiped the blood from his baseball bat then threw them both in a bin. Can you imagine this big fucker, full of muscle barging through the streets of Montreal, covered in blood, no shirt on, with his three quarter length shorts on; he didn't give a fuck.

Finally got back to the hotel, got pissed again and Ray announces he has lost his guitar, it was a very expensive thing. I felt really sorry for him, he loved that guitar. Sorry Ray.

What was your part in the riot itself? Were you happy just to survive?!

Well I'm still here - thanks to Stevie English. I had to defend myself, I was hitting people with 4 x 2 bits of wood, anything I could get my hands on.

How did all the trouble finally come to an end?

Well that was due to Steve English, he carved his way out, well cleaved his way out is probably the best way to describe it; he cleared the whole lot with his baseball bat. We managed to get out unscathed, if it had not been for Stevie English we wouldn't have got out of there. When you are young and daft you dont give a fuck, I mean the gun laws over there; the Cops could have just shot us or anything and we didn't care, but Stevie English saved the day I would say.

Did you support The Professionals at any other of their shows? Any other memories that stick out?

Yes, we did two great shows in Toronto, two nights in the same venue. I always remember there was this kid on his bicycle. Jonesy had asked him directions to this bar or something. The kid was peddling like fuck and the poor kid fell off, so we gave him $20 and took him back to his front door. Yeah, those two were great shows, The Professionals at their best; great band I was well impressed. Well, if you can imagine me, a little Geordie lad from Jarra (Jarrow), and then here I am with the very fellas who inspired the Angelic Upstarts... never ceases to amaze me.

Well you can quote me on this, it's been a pleasure, you end up working with your idols, playing the same bill with them, I loved every minute of it, I'll treasure it till I go to my grave... Well who wouldn't?!! What a lucky lad I have been.

Decca, thanks very much for taking the time to answer the questions.

And the same to you Phil, thanks very much for your time too and showing an interest in me and I hope I have been a help, Thanks, Li'l Man Wade.

Phil would like to extend special thanks to Keith Robson, a close friend of Decca Wade, who made this interview possible.
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Photographs ©Decca Wade. Decca portrait taken by Keith Robson for use with this interview.
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