By the summer of 1980, NFG (No Fucking Good) had caused enough trouble and mayhem and had gained such a bad reputation with club owners it was almost impossible for them to get gigs. So after a brief hiatus, frontman Steven R Stunning, guitarist Markii Burnaway (real name Marcus Scott), bassist Mark DeRoux, and Pete Lambourghini on drums changed their name to ’63 Monroe, and briefly to First Date, before reverting back.
They toned down the extra-curricular activities, and since pure punk was on life support, basically re-invented themselves. The ripped jeans and t-shirts were replaced by leathers, satins, and eye liners, and the pride of London started to get some new bookings around southern Ontario again, and even recorded some demos and taped some of their shows, but fell apart in early ’81.
They quickly reformed with new bassist Pete Dekoker and drummer Jeff Rooth, both ex of The Verve and who Burnaway had spent some time with after the initial NFG breakup, just in time for the release of their debut recording, a seven-track EP on Nardem Records entitled ’63 MONROE/NFG. It was received with little fanfare, but made their own type of musical statement with songs like “Teenage Kicks,” “Goodbye Guyana,” and “Give ‘Em Up.”
They followed it up with the independently-released cassette REIGN OF TERROR in ’83. A little more palatable, they signed on with Savvy Records and released a pair of singles that same year, covers of Herman’s Hermits’ “Henry VIII” in the fall, and just in time for the holiday season, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” They each received a bit of local area interest, but neither exactly set the radio stations on fire.
Their reputation for their live on-stage energy was growing, and they expanded their touring territory by the time they’d released their first full length album in 1985. STINKIN’ OUT THE JOINT. Along with “Henry VIII,” they’d also expanded their musical horizons with a raucous cover of Johnny Horton’s “Battle of New Orleans,” the lead-off, “Horizontal Hold,” “Hey Little Girl,” and “Weekend Punks.” Things were going well and they even played their biggest shows to date, making a couple of trips to New York to play at the famed CBGB’s.
But by the summer of ’86 Burnaway left, and the revolving door saw seven different guitar players try to fill the role in less than three years. The band meanwhile was taking on a heavier sound, sort of a ‘punk meets ’60s garage meets hair metal’ vibe, but they were hit with another setback in 1988 when Rooth died of a drug overdose. Joe Kettlewell took over on drums, and early the next year Burnaway returned. Re-invigorated, they returned to the studios with the intention of releasing a new album, but musical differences started tearing the group apart, and the project was never finished, and they were effectively disbanded after one final show in London in August, 1990.
Fast forward to 2002, and Stunning resurrected a new version of the group for a couple of dates in London that July. This led to a pair of independent releases a year later, the full-length WE HAVE ENJOYED OURSELVES, and THE CHRISTMAS EP. By now conventional radio had completely outgrown the band, and programmers in general who hadn’t happened to have grown up with the band had no idea who they were or what they were listening to, and aside from a few shows here and there, again slipped off the radar screen. The band’s contributions to the local music scene were however recognized, when it was inducted into the London Ontario Music Hall of Fame in 2003.
The compilation HIJACK VICTIM was released in 2006 through a number of labels, including a few overseas, and was followed later that year by the new album, LAST EXIT TO RAWK N ROLL on Speed City Records. With a lineup of Stunning, Dekoker, Burnaway, and new drummer Brad Lavard, it highlighted more crunchy metal and punk vibes with songs like “Gonzo Baby,” “Last Exit,” “Little Miss Attitude,” and “Wasted My Weekend.” The album had a healthy dose of profanity in the titles and lyrics, the diehard fans couldn’t have been happier, although no singles were released and its release went relatively un-noticed.