Liverpool is known around the world as a city with a proud musical heritage – and it was once home to a basement club that became the beating heart of local punk scene.
Opened on October 1, 1976, Eric’s carved out a space for this Liverpool subculture in the basement of The Fruit Exchange on Victoria Street.
Beneath the iconic sign, a pair of metal doors led down the the underground den where alternative music and fashions weren’t only welcomed but celebrated.
READ MORE: Quiggins was Liverpool’s alternative heart that was home to goths, punks and skaters
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Eric’s was a membership only venue, which meant music lovers had to buy an annual membership to get in.
Regular attendees will remember carrying the recognisable membership cards, with their name and signature written on the front.
The membership scheme also served an important purpose in fostering the city’s punk scene by creating the opportunities for under 19s to watch bands at matinee shows.
This meant young punks were able to get into shows that would normally be off limits to anyone underage.
Punk fans during the last days of Erics club on Mathew Street, Liverpool in 1980.
Over the years, Eric’s hosted some of punk’s biggest performers, from The Runaways to The Sex Pistols, who played their only Liverpool gig at the underground club.
Eric’s became the epicentre for Liverpool’s musical sub-cultures, with bands like Buzzcocks, The Clash, Joy Division, Ramones and Talking Heads all appearing on the bill at some point.
By fostering a space for alternative music, the club also acted as a catalyst for local bands who were just coming up in the scene.
Merseyside bands like Dead or Alive, Echo & the Bunnymen and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark helped launched their budding careers with gigs at Eric’s.
Sex Pistols poster for Eric’s
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Founded by Roger Eagle and Ken Testi, who was also managed cult Liverpool band Deaf School, the club was named Eric’s as an intended alternative to the era’s disco clubs which had more glamorous names like Tiffany’s or Samantha’s.
Roger and Ken were later joined by Pete Fulwell, the owner of a small record label Inevitable who later became the manager of bands like It’s Immaterial and The Christians.
Eric’s moved out of its basement home into a longer term site on Mathew Street opposite The Cavern Club, where it continued to host early performances by punk and post-punk bands.
The club lasted until March 1980 when it was raided by police for drug offences.
The final acts to grace the stage before the raid were The Psychedelic Furs supported by Wah! Heat.
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