English Dogs formed in October 1981 in Grantham and produced two demos during 1982 entitled 'Show No Mercy' and 'Free To Kill'. The band toured as support to fellow punk band Charged GBH in Germany during early 1983 and followed this with a British tour supporting Discharge. In 1983 they signed to Clay Records and released a 6 track EP titled 'Mad Punx And English Dogs' in July 1983.
English Dogs started out in Grantham, home of a certain Maggie Thatcher. Like contemporaries such as GBH, they took the influence of the harder 70s punk bands, but were tighter with a beefier guitar sound. Unlike some they also wrote memorable songs, instead of relying simply on speed and volume. What I suspect made them really stand out was having a genuinely bonkers frontman in Wakey, or Walrus as he was also known early on, probably due to being on the large and whiskery side. He fits on the frontman spectrum somewhere between “lovable eccentric” and “drug crazed maniac” and he found novel ways to get the attention of a audience – eg throwing eggs in the faces of punters between songs.
They were signed to Clay Records, also home of Discharge and GBH, and Mad Punx was released in 1983. With a fine production by Clay records supremo, Mike Stone, it feature 6 songs, 5 of which had titles with words like “death” and “kill” in the title, apparently by accident(“It was a surprise for us when we first saw the EP” – Wakey). However this was not a depressing listen – the songs here were energetic, with a black sense of humour and a slight edge of madness. Max The Millionaire opens with the what for me is best bass intro ever; Psycho Killer, their best known song, is a manic, thrash punk singalong classic with one of the best dumb-but-brilliant choruses ever (“Psycho killer on the loose again – demented brain in constant pain!”); Free To Kill features the kind of riffing that no doubt saw some old 77 punks tutting that this was just metal with spiky hair; and Left For Dead is a singalong anthem about being on the receiving end of a beating based on the real life experience of bassist Wattie at the hands of “an aggrieved boyfriend who had a head like Spike in Tom and Jerry” (Wakey).