Love in Vain - The Story of the Ruts and Ruts DC
By Roland Link
'Love In Vain' is the definitive biography of the iconic and hugely influential Ruts and Ruts DC. The book is based on over eighty original interviews conducted by the author with bassist John 'Segs' Jennings, drummer Dave Ruffy, family members of the late Malcolm Owen and Paul Fox, a myriad of closely associated music business colleagues and contemporaries and friends and fans. These unique, often revealing, recollections are combined with meticulous research of the contemporary music press to tell the bands' explosive stories.
From the heady highs to the tragic lows and the unplanned, but hugely satisfying, Ruts DC reformation, it's all here. The text is supported throughout by a number of photographs, many previously unpublished.
A few words from Pete Townshend
It is all such a long time ago. In 1979, The Who already struggling to overcome the rigours of a career littered with successes and debris, I stumbled into The Ruts. We were on tour in the UK and (I think) they were supporting us at one of our Northern shows. I liked their set, they reminded me in some ways of The Clash – there was a political undertone to the feeling around the band, but also a lot of joy. We became friends. At the time I had a studio and PA hire company and was able to help out at some solidarity events for Rock Against Racism.
Also, The Ruts were close to the genuine Reggae band Misty In Roots, and the pleasure and privilege were all mine to give Clarence (Misty’s manager) some free studio time, and some gear to help them along. It was shortly after recording that Clarence was beaten by the police in a demo about Blair Peach. He sustained brain damage. Segs and I were utterly staggered. We weren’t blaming the police, but we couldn’t understand what had happened. Clarence was a gentle man, a wise man, a quiet man. He was a beloved guru to the boys in Misty.
From there everything became more positive. I became involved in a number of music cooperatives including Brent Black Music and RAR really did ‘celebrate’ the way musicians stand together and work together regardless of race. The Ruts became family friends, and to this day I regard them as one of the best post-punk bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, partly because of their mix of passion, politics and good humour.
The Ruts and Misty In Roots were both from Southall, that today can seem like a far Eastern bazaar, it was the first true melting pot in West London, and is still vibrant and constantly changing. It’s all here in this carefully researched book, but any book misses out on one important aspect – the music.
We can talk about it here, but not hear it. So if you haven’t heard The Ruts, get on it. They are a great band. Were, are and always will be. But their music also marks the time in the UK when musicians really did stop shouting inane pseudo political rubbish and got down and dirty – The Ruts were one of the first bands to combine music with truth as it was on the streets at the time.