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Tom McCourt

Hoxton Tom McCourt outside the Bricklayers Arms in Shoreditch, 1983.
Background information
Also known as Hoxton Tom
Born 1961 (age 48–49)
Shoreditch, London, England
Genres Punk rock, Oi!
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Bass, guitar
Years active 1979 - 1984
Associated acts The 4-Skins, Barney and the Rubbles

'Hoxton' Tom McCourt (born 1961, Shoreditch, London, England) was the bassist and bandleader of punk rock/Oi! band, The 4-Skins. He was one of the most influential members of the skinhead revival of 1977-1978, the mod revival of 1978-1979 and the Oi! movement from 1979 to 1984.

McCourt moved to Hoxton, and was given the nickname Hoxton Tom by fellow West Ham United supporters, at a time when a number of key people were given tags after the area they came from. McCourt was originally a Tottenham Hotspur F.C. supporter but went to West Ham United matches with friends, many of whom were part of the Inter City Firm (ICF), which he became associated with.[1]

Contents

Career

Hoxton Tom McCourt (of the 4-Skins, Carlton Leech (of Rise of the Footsoldier),Gary Dickle and Vince Riordan (of the Cockney Rejects) at the Moonlight Club, west Hampstead, 1980.

An engineer by trade, McCourt formed The 4-Skins in late 1979; along with Gary Hodges, Steve 'H' Harmer and Gary Hitchcock.[2 ] Their first concert was nearly a year later in summer 1980, supporting The Damned and Cockney Rejects. McCourt, Hodges and Harmer were all part the Cockney Rejects Road Crew, as featured on the back cover of the album Cockney Rejects Greatest Hits Volume 1.[2 ] McCourt played guitar on The 4-Skins' first commercially-released recordings (two songs featured on EMI's 1980 punk compilation, Oi! The Album) before switching to bass for the remainder of the band's existence.

Not known as a vocalist, McCourt did however sing in the song "New War", on the 1984 album A Fistful of 4-Skins, as well as perform lead vocals on a re-recorded version of "Chaos", which remained unreleased until the Singles & Rarities compilation was released in the 2000s. McCourt was a continuous member of the band through its original life, writing all of the music from 1979 to 1984 and the majority of the lyrics after Hodges' departure. McCourt has not joined the reformed line-up of The 4-Skins because, in his opinion, "it was about youth".[3]

Subcultural associations

Hoxton Tom McCourt in 1977 as part of the skinhead revival.

McCourt became a skinhead in late 1977, in reaction to the way that punk had become commercialised, and in seeking a sharper clothing style.[4] In 1978, McCourt became a roadie for the punk band Menace, and had become a suedehead, possibly the first since the originals in the early 1970s. Through this, McCourt became involved in the mod revival of 1978 and 1979. The mod fanzine Maximum Speed identified him as one of the faces of the period, as did later books on the mod revival. His photograph was featured on Secret Affair's Glory Boys album liner.[5]

McCourt wore the original fashions of the late 1960s and early 1970s skinhead and suedehead subcultures, which were quite different from the styles worn by many Oi! skinheads and white power skinheads of the 1980s. Despite McCourt's dapper, dandyish appearance, he was also known as an extremely hard character as books such as Jeff Turner's "Cockney Reject" attest.[6] McCourt was known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of 1960s soul music, reggae and ska; and was a DJ at a number of skinhead/mod bars and clubs in North and East London, such as the Blue Coat Boy at The Angel, Islington.[7] Starting in 1983, in a repeat of the original skinhead evolution of the late 1960 and early 1970s, McCourt became one of the casuals.

McCourt, like fellow band member Gary Hodges, was non-racist, as demonstrated by his contributions to the Punk and Oi! Debates in Sounds magazine.[8] . McCourt took an uncompromising view against both the far left and far right, and was known as being a Social liberal. The 4-Skins and their colleagues, Cockney Rejects, met and overcame violent opposition from both militant leftists and right-wing extremists.[9] The Italian Oi! band, Asociale, wrote the song "Hoxton Tom for President" in appreciation of McCourt's street-based politics.[10]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Pennant, Cass (2003) Congratulations You Have Just Met the ICF, Blake Publishing, ISBN 978-1904034858 - Page 90, Chapter 4 written by Garry Bushell
  2. ^ a b The New Breed A Teenage Warning
  3. ^ 4Skins ~ at Runboard.com
  4. ^ Login
  5. ^ gay skinheads ~ at Runboard.com
  6. ^ Turner, Jeff (coauthor Garry Bushell) (2005) Pages 44, 49, 54, 101, 175, 184 and 232 Cockney Reject, John Blake Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1 84454 0545
  7. ^ The Band
  8. ^ Punk
  9. ^ www.garry-bushell.co.uk - Oi! – The Truth by Garry Bushell
  10. ^ The Music of the 4Skins

External links

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