The Outcasts : Martin Cowan and Colin Getgood (better
known as Getty) on guitar, Colin Cowan on drums and Greg
Cowan on bass and vocals formed in Belfast in January
of 1977 and played their debut gig in August of the same
year. Due to a severe lack of venues in Belfast for punk
bands, The Outcasts were forced to hire nightclubs to
use for private parties, and then playing before the management
knew what was happening. Dubbed 'The band you love to
hate' by the local press due to their bad boy image and
loutish behaviour, the band began to attract their own
local following and even managed to make the front page
of local news paper the News Letter in January 1978 when
their gig at the Pound was attended by a journalist keen
to report on the new youth movement emerging in Belfast.
The Outcasts cut their first demo at Wizzard Studios
in early 1978 and the resulting demo attracted attention
from the recently formed Portadown based label IT Records.
March 1978 saw their debut three track 7" single
released on the label. After continuous gigging at the
Harp Bar the band built up a loyal fanatical following
and they soon joined forces with Terri Hooley of Good
Vibrations Records and Justa Nother Teenage Rebel was
released as the third Good Vibes single in the summer
of 1978 with Terri becoming the band's manager around
this time too. The Outcasts continued to cause mayhem
on the local gig circuit before going into the studio
to record a track The Cops Are Coming, which was to
appear on the double 7" compilation The Battle
Of The Bands EP, again on the Good Vibes label.
A debut album Self Conscious Over You was released
in 1979 again on the Good Vibrations label in the UK
and it was also released in France on Blitz - Krieg
Records to much critical acclaim. However, on the eve
of the album's release Greg was involved in a car crash
which put him in hospital for twelve weeks. The album
and a single of the same name came out when he was in
traction. Upon Greg's release from Hospital, Gordy Blair
joined the band on bass until Greg had fully recovered
and was in a position to play bass and sing again.
The Outcasts final Good Vibrations related release
came in the shape of the Room To Move EP, a compilation
7" to which The Outcasts contributed the track
Cyborg. Energy Records released this EP in conjunction
with Good Vibrations. Back in Belfast however the band
were dropped from the Good Vibrations label but local
film maker John T Davis made a documentary on the band
called Self Conscious Over You. The movie featured footage
of The Outcasts performing at an Ulster Hall gig introduced
by John Peel. The film was a follow up to Davis's highly
acclaimed and award winning 'Shellshock Rock' movie.
The Outcasts film even received a screening on BBC N.
The band's next single was Magnum Force. It featured
Gordy Blair playing bass on the 'b' side only and also
marked the debut of second drummer Raymond Falls (then
only 16 and still at school). The single was released
on the band's own GBH Records. Ross Graham, who had
been brought in by the band to produce the single, took
over as their manager. They had first met Ross during
the filming of 'Shellshock Rock'.
As a five-piece they toured France and England regularly.
The Outcasts recorded a four track session for the John
Peel Show on BBC Radio 1 which was broadcast on May
25th 1981. The band then set up their own Outcasts Only
label in mid 1981 and released the four-track Programme
Love EP, the only blip being Getty being hospitalised
after a fight with London skinheads and the band having
to do some live shows without him. The highlight of
this period for the band was their appearance at the
'Christmas On Earth' festival in Leeds.
The band followed their extensive gigging with the
release of another 7" single, this time the live
favourite and Glitter Band cover Angel Face. Sadly this
was the last Outcasts record to feature Colin, who was
killed on Thursday 13th May 1982 in a car accident,
just shortly before the single was released.
The band's second album Blood And Thunder was released
by Abstract Records in 1982 (and by New Rose in France)
and on September 25th 1982 they recorded their second,
and final, session for the John Peel Show. The Outcasts
also recorded a clutch of sessions for the local Downtown
Radio as well as two sessions for Dave Fanning on RTE,
and two for the Janice Long show on BBC Radio One. The
band also made a promo video for the track Winter.
In 1983 Abstract Records released the single Nowhere
Left To Run on both 7" and 12" format. This
single was issued later in the same year by Anagram
Records in the UK and also by New Rose in France. In
early 1984 New Rose in France also released Seven Deadly
Sins both as a 7" single and a mini album. 1985
saw the band make their last appearance on vinyl when
New Rose released their version of the old Stooges classic
1969 on both 7" and 12". Shortly after it's
release Raymond Falls left to join the army and the
Outcasts were no more. Greg, Martin, and Getty continued
to play under the name Time To Pray for a short while.
Today the band are fondly remembered by many, and still
have a large cult following in France where they toured
regularly in the 1980's. The Outcasts had no pretensions.
They had no intention of seeking fame and fortune in
the bright lights of London. N. Ireland was their home
and this is where they kept their base.
To celebrate his 50th birthday Greg Cowan played a
handful of songs to invited guests with his brother
Martin and Raymond Falls at the Black Box in Belfast
in June 2010. This was the first time that the three
members of the Outcasts had been on the same stage since
their split in the mid 80s. They were ably assisted
on the night by Petesy Burns on bass and Brian Young
on guitar. This "gig" ignited the idea of
reforming the Outcasts and when they were offered a
prime slot at the Rebellion PuNk Festival in Blackpool
the following year, it was an offer which they couldn't
refuse. To date the band has played two sell-out shows
in Northern Ireland and the Rebellion PuNk festival
in Blackpool. Further gigs will surely follow!