punk formed in Cardiff, Wales, U.K. in the summer of 1991. The original
line-up was: Kip-Xool (Drums) formerly of THE HERETICS and COWBOY
KILLERS, Chris (Bass), Jake (Guitar), Jon (Guitar) and Welly (Vocals)
editor of Artcore Fanzine (1986 - ). Jon joining in the autumn of
1991, their rhythm Guitarist Jake lasted less than a year and moved
to London in 1992, and Bassist Chris left in 1994 to be replaced by
After two Demo's; the both six song 'Eden' at the end of 1992 and
'Burning A Better Britain' in the spring of 1995 (as well as a disastrous
unreleased Demo in late 1993), they split-financed their first EP
with J.S.N.T.G.M. Records of Blackpool in the autumn of 1995 (500
pressed) and toured the U.K. with Bristol's SPITE to promote it in
the spring of 1996. Bassist Dog left the band after the tour, and
they parted ways with Drummer Kip-Xool at the end of 1996 (who went
on to IN THE SHIT and DA CAPO). They were replaced by Will on Drums
and Hairy on Bass. The 7" EP sold out.
The 'Words That Burn' EP caught the ear of legendary Los Angeles Hardcore
Punk label B.Y.O. Records, and the deal was inked in 1997, they recorded
a rough Demo for the label before recording their thirteen song debut
album 'A Nasty Piece Of Work in the autumn of 1997 with Frankie Stubbs
(LEATHERFACE) recording. The album was released in early 1998 on LP,
CD and Cassette.
A 7" culled from this session; 'Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?' (with
the out-take 'Access Denied' on the 'B') was also released (red and
black vinyl) to promote their first tour of the U.S.A. and Canada,
in the summer of 1998. A tour that would see them scour California,
the Pacific Northwest, much of Canada and the Mid-West, sharing road-time
and stages with the likes of YOUTH BRIGADE, 7SECONDS, THE SWINGIN'
UTTERS, BRAND NEW UNIT, PINHEAD CIRCUS and 22 JACKS (featuring Steve
Soto of THE ADOLESCENTS) at such legendary venues as Hollywood's 'The
Whiskey A-Go-Go' and the 'Troubadour' amongst many others.
Returning home, Bassist Hairy parted ways with F.L.W. and was replaced
by Tim O'Donovan. They returned to the studio in the spring of 1999
to record their second, and critically acclaimed twelve song album
'Zero Visibility (Experiments With Truth)' (CD only), again with Frankie
Stubbs at the helm, which was released in late summer 1999. Things
took a turn for the worse at this point, their ever fluctuating line-up
took a major battering when both Will and Tim quit (Drums and Bass,
Will joining FISHTAKE a.k.a. THE TAKE), and they were forced to cancel
their first European tour at the last minute at the end of 1999. Their
label was none too pleased with this, and their recently-released
second album saw no further promotion after this point.
The Drum and Bass duties were filled by Wedge (formerly of CLASSIFIED
PROTEST and RECTIFY) and Tom (of Bristol and ASPIRIN KID) respectively.
Then F.L.W. received notification from B.Y.O. Records that a company
manufacturing a boy band by the name of '4 Letr Word' from Minnesota
and linked to MCA/Universal Records in Los Angeles had trademarked
the name in the U.S. and U.K. and had filed 'cease and desist' proceedings
against the label. B.Y.O. Records decided to part ways with F.L.W.
at this point, capitulating to the legal threats. On top of this,
B.Y.O. notified F.L.W. that legal papers were being drawn up whereby
all merchandise and promotional material bearing the band's name had
to be destroyed, forcing the band to take as much of their remaining
merchandise as they could. Although somehow this material still remains
available commercially to this day.
F.L.W. organised their own tour to raise funds for legal representation,
and Welly took a crash-course in Trade Mark law, seeing the band secure
a U.K. registered TM for their name in certain areas of trade description.
After this point, all that is known of the boy band is that all their
members left and their impending deal with MCA/Universal Records collapsed,
leaving the TM owner with a name, but not much else. All the while,
the band continued to tour the U.K. constantly, in the summer of 2000
with Gloucester's WHIPPASNAPPA, before Jon decided to call it a day
after nine years with the band on Guitar.
Undeterred, they enlisted Neil (formerly of SHUTDOWN, also of Bristol)
on Guitar, and hit the studio at the end of the year to record the
'Cold Day In Hell' five track CDEP which was released in early 2001
on Southampton's Suspect Device Records to coincide with their winter
U.K. tour with Falkirk's TURTLEHEAD. They also recorded a version
of 'Mighty And Superior by CONFLICT at this session, which featured
on the tribute CD 'Barricades And Broken Dreams' released on Ledbury's
'Blackfish Records' soon thereafter. Also at this time, to further
their legal stand, the label that originally helped them release their
debut EP back in 1995 decided to re-release it, remastered, with the
other unreleased tracks from the session and a spoken word piece by
label honcho Andy Higgins on the state of music in reference to F.L.W.'s
plight, on a luminous green vinyl 12" EP called 'The Band That
The summer of 2001 saw Neil abruptly quit the band to be replaced
by Matt on Guitar (also of Bristol and THE SPARTANS) and the band
soon toured the U.K. yet again. This time with two Leeds bands; JOE
NINETY and FIG. 4.O. The bands got on well and the tour became known
as the 'Four Ninety Four' tour. Soon after, Drummer Wedge left the
band to move to Scotland. Finding a replacement Drummer is a daunting
task for any band, but to make things worse, Bassist Tom left at the
end of the year, seeing F.L.W. take an enforced hiatus for nearly
a year before a new line-up could be consolidated.
Finally enlisting Jon Swain on Drums, the band began practicing again
in July 2003. After a couple of gigs Jon left and Matt followed soon
after. This saw yet another radical line-up change, bringing Dave
Beer and Dave Millinship for Four Letter Word's first ever two guitar
attack. Will returned briefly on the Drums to record a new 7"
EP, but then left and was replaced by Chris Murphy on Drums. The four
song 7" EP 'Crimewave' was released on Newest Industry on May
1st 2004 to coincide with the band's U.K. tour with Biscuit's Texas
Bombs (featuring Randy 'Biscuit' Turner formerly of The Big Boys)
and the Visual Vitriol Punk Rock flyer exhibition.
In October 2004, Four Letter Word went into the studio to finally
record their third album. With Frankie Stubbs again at the helm at
Frontline Studios in Caerphilly, the outcome was the twelve song 'Like
Moths to a Flame' which was released on Newest Industry at the beginning
of 2005. Critically acclaimed, like previous Four Letter Word releases,
it was well received by long-time F.L.W. listeners, and hopefully
a few new ones. A tour to promote the album with label-mates; Atlanta's
Black Cougar Shock Unit in September 2005 saw the regular, almost
annual meet-up with old pals from around the U.K.
At the end of the tour Welly parted company with the other members,
deciding to take a year out to concentrate on his new shop Damaged
Records. After a year though, thoughts returned to the band seeing
original guitar man Jon returning to the fold, along with 'Cold Day'
era drumming man Wedge, along with new guys Gob on the bass and Nick
on Guitar. The band wrote new material and headed out for a tour of
the East Coast of the U.S. in October 2007 with Off With Their Heads
from Minneapolis. A 7"EP 'Staring Down the Barrel' and a split
tour EP 'One For The Road' with their touring partners was released
to coincide with the tour via No Idea Records, Newest Industry and
After touring the U.S. and playing the Fest, Gob and Wedge decided
to leave the band. This saw Alex join on bass and Glenn from Haddonfield
taking up the drum stool. A short tour of the U.K. in October 2008
with Off With Their Heads ensued before Alex decided to leave the
band and was replaced temporarily by Rob just in time for Off With
Their Heads' second U.K. tour in March 2009, taking in Ireland, Scotland,
Wales and England. Fill-in Rob then left to continue with his real
band and was replaced by Dale Nixon.
Four Letter Word released their fourth and final album 'Follow As
The Crow Flies' in 2009, and after sporadic gigs, decided to call
it a day at the start of 2011, after 20 years.
FOUR LETTER WORD PERSONNEL
Welly (1991 - 2011)
Jon (1991 - 2000 / 2005 - 2011)
Jake (1991 - 1992), Jon (1991 - 2000), Neil (2000 -
2001), Matt (2001 - 2004), Dave (2004 - 2005), Dave (2004 - 2005)
NICK (2007 - 2011)
Gavin (2009 - 2011)
(1991 - 1994), Dog (1994 - 1996), Hairy (1996 - 1998), Tim (1998 -
1999), Tom (1999 - 2002), Chris (2003 - 2005), Gob (2005 - 2007),
Alex (2007-2008), Rob (2009), Dale (2009)
(2007 - 2011)
Kip (1991 - 1996), Will (1996 - 1999), Wedge (1999
- 2002), Jon (2003), Will (2004), Chris (2004 - 2005), Wedge (2005