❉ Looking back on the ITV Night Time rock show, and a chat with ‘Krusher’ Joule.
“when I MC festivals, l I still have people coming up to me and telling me how much the programme influenced them. I always tell them that I’m honoured and privileged to have help corrupt their youth!” – Steve ‘Krusher’ Joule.
As unbelievable as it might seem now, if you were a devoted rock and metal fan in the U.K. back in the late 1980s, it could be pretty difficult to see the latest video by your favourite band. The mainstream media at the time were championing the likes of Bros, Wet Wet Wet and the whole roster of Stock, Aitken and Waterman acts. You might get the occasional video or appearance on Top Of The Pops by a rock/metal act but the wider scene was woefully under-represented on British Television.
This of course, was back when most British households only had four television channels. It was fairly normal for ITV to close down around 12.30 am. This began to change in 1986 when ITV region, Yorkshire TV, began experimenting with 24-hour broadcasts. They did this by simulcasting the satellite TV channel Music Box throughout the night. Soon, other ITV regions caught on and started broadcasting their own content in the early hours.
ITV Night Time was experimental, unpredictable and often more interesting than it’s more mainstream daytime output. Who could forget America’s Top Ten with Casey (Voice of Shaggy from Scooby Doo) Kasem? Or the James Whale Radio Show which regularly showcased cult comedian Charlie Chuck, Brian The Singing Miner (once seen, never forgotten) or the legendary drunken appearance by The Mission’s Wayne Hussey?
There was Get Stuffed (a cooking show for students), tacky nightclub show The Hitman and Her, cult police comedy Sledge Hammer!, plus more offbeat programming. It’s surprising how many people still remember the slightly odd five-minute programme Night Shift in which Colin Bennett (aka Mr. Bennett from Take Hart) would bug people working throughout the night. These were all shows that genuinely had their own cult following.
The real jewel in the crown if you were a headbanger though was Raw Power. It had started out life on the aforementioned Music Box satellite channel under the name The Power Hour. Its’ ITV incarnation was originally presented by Nikki Groocock (who was the teenage fantasy of many of my friends at Stockport School back in the ‘80s). Groocock was later joined by legendary sleeve designer and Kerrang! art director Steve ‘Krusher’ Joule. Krusher had produced artwork for artists such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Japan, The Sex Pistols, Blondie, Motorhead and many more.
Later the programme changed its name from The Power Hour to Raw Power (to tie in with the fortnightly RAW Magazine). Nikki and Krusher were also joined by Phil Alexander (now MOJO editor and Planet Rock DJ). They would usually present the show from London’s Marquee Club on Wardour Street, but later episodes would see them reporting from locations such as nightclubs, album launch parties and – where else? – Castle Donington’s Monsters of Rock Festival.
This was a fertile time for rock/metal and every sub-genre was represented by Raw Power. Guns N’ Roses were the new band on the block and Def Leppard and Bon Jovi were selling records by the multimillion. Thrash metal had a huge following and at that time the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer had been given very little exposure on British TV.
British rock had a whole new wave of bands that were given incredible support by the programme including Thunder, The Quireboys, Little Angels, Manic Street Preachers, The Almighty and Gun. Alternative U.S. rock acts such as Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Living Colour and Nine Inch Nails all benefitted from heavy rotation.
I asked some of the show’s fans about their Raw Power memories. Adam Newlyn recalls “It was the only show on at the time that played the music I liked (barring 5 minutes on the ITV Chart Show). Combined with the magazine it gave access to a lot of up and coming bands The Almighty being one of them”.
Tim Dodd remembers how essential the programme was for him: “For me it was compulsory viewing (and recording) every Friday night / Saturday am. Plenty of great interviews – Extreme, Little Angels, Thunder, Wolfsbane”
Danielle McCarthy told me “Raw Power was responsible for more sleepless nights as a teen than alcohol or partying!”
It’s evident that the programme had a huge influence on the record collections of its viewers.
Eventually Nikki Groocock left, to be replaced by Ann Kirk. Krusher was given his own spot, Krusher’s Kosmos, in which he would sit on a sofa with his beloved dog Bullseye and chew the fat over the latest news and releases. Usually there would be a competition involved. Krusher’s likeable manner was a big hit with viewers and he his still much loved by British rock fans of a certain age.
We Are Cult caught up with Krusher Joule:
WAC: Hi Krusher! Thanks for chatting to We Are Cult. How did you get involved in Raw Power?
Krusher Joule: First , it’s probably best to mention that between 1987 and 1997 my memory is almost non-existent, but I’ll do my best to answer your questions mate. I think it was 1989 when I was first asked if I’d like to do the odd spot for The Power Hour. I believe Nikki Groocock was the presenter and I’m pretty sure that it was because I was art director of KERRANG! and also presenting my own show on BBC’s Greater London Radio that I was asked to do it, and if my goldfish memory serves me well it very quickly became a weekly spot as well as co-hosting when we went out to rock clubs to film the segments.
WAC: What are your fondest memories of presenting Raw Power?
KJ: Hanging out with some very big rock stars always has its bonuses. Haaaaaargh! I was always pretty outrageously drunk or off my face when I filmed my bits, but after years of drink and drug abuse I was a very good functioning alcoholic/drug fiend and to be totally honest the production crew didn’t care as long as I delivered, which I was very capable of, in fact i was known as the one take wonder, especially when it came to filming my weekly ‘Krusher’s Kozmos’ section, as that always resulted in the camera and sound guy getting an extended lunch break which they always appreciated.
I recall smuggling Bullseye into hotels when we were out doing location shoots. It was also always good fun to go to rock clubs and gigs where we would be filming our bits and hang out with the actual people that watched us and get to know first-hand just how much they loved the programme.
WAC: Are you aware of how much the show still means to a generation of Rock & Metal fans and how you helped shape their tastes?
KJ: Absolutely! Especially when I MC Bloodstock and Stonedead Festival and still have people coming up to me and telling me how much the programme influenced them. I always tell them that I’m honoured and privileged to have help corrupt their youth!
WAC: Your spot with Bullseye was hugely popular and fondly remembered. Did Bullseye get his own fan mail?
Yes! Especially on his birthday, which was Valentine’s Day and we’d literally have postbags full of dog treats and birthday cards for him, I on the other hand used to get the odd card and letter usually from women reminding me of restraining orders or demanding child maintenance! Haaaaaargh!
WAC: Do you think the Show would work if it came back now and what do you think of the way media does or doesn’t present the genre these days?
KJ: To be honest I never watch anything these days after seeing the horrors of KERRANG! TV and SCUZZ, so I’m not really qualified to give an opinion how the media present it these days, but I think we had a formula that was perfect, co-presenter/producer Ann Kirk representing the big hair bands and myself representing the heavier end of the scale. I know going by the amount of mail we received when we announced the show was ending that it was a greatly loved show and by a LOT of people. Sadly, some bigwig at ITV decided that rock was dead and so were we, no doubt he’s probably dead now but rock will NEVER DIE!!!
Thanks for chatting to We Are Cult, Krusher!
Raw Power went through one more name change in (1994) to Noisy Mothers (although Krusher suggested they call it Watch with Motherf**ker, which for some reason never got the green light).
By 1995, ITV had called time on the show and although by then most of us had satellite or cable, nothing quite matched the spirit of Raw Power. The show and its presenters will always be remembered fondly by those of us who watched it. A true cult classic. In the words of Krusher Joule himself, “Rock hard, rock heavy, rock animal!”.
❉ David Geldard is a contributor to We Are Cult and loves Sci Fi & Horror, Doctor Who, Starburst Magazine, Stranger Things, The 60’s Avengers, Twilight Zone, The X-Files, cult movies and weird shit. He tweets as @BungleSir.