Born in London in 1956, Arturo Bassick (real name Arthur Billingsley) made his entrance into music when he joined The Lurkers in March 1977. The band soon released their much-celebrated debut single, ‘Shadow’ / ‘Love Story’, and the later record ‘Freakshow’ / ‘Mass Media Believer’, which Arturo himself penned.
Bassick left the band in November 1977, shortly after this second release, going on to form Pinpoint, with Arturo on guitar and vocals, Dave Allen on bass and vocals and Hugh Griffiths on drums.
They released their first single, ‘Richmond’, with ‘Love Substitute’ as the B-side, in 1979, on Albion Records, which achieved ‘Record of the Week’ in Sounds Magazine, and was later covered by German punk giants, Die Toten Hosen.
Following the success of their debut release, Pinpoint went on to put out a further two singles, ‘Yo-Yo’ / ‘Drowning In The Wave of Life’ in 1980, and ‘Waking Up To Morning’ / ‘Floods and Trickles’, also in this year on Albion Records. Their one and only album, ‘Third State’, was released later that year and featured a techno sound which was to become popular in that decade. It was perhaps because of this very album that just three shows after the album release, the band separated, Arturo blaming producer, Martin Rushent for using Pinpoint as guinea pigs for his next project: The Human League.
After finding himself at a musical loose-end, he formed The Blubbery Hellbellies in 1983, recruiting Slim whom was in The Boothill Foot Tappers with Arthur’ sister, Wendy May, and Lloyd Trip from The Vibes. A first gig supporting the Boothills at The Hope and Anchor in London netted them further gigs, leading to ex-Lurker, Esso, coming in on snare drum. They referred to their style of music as ‘cow punk’.
Of being a Blubb, Arturo has fond memories of performing an average of 200 gigs a year, an experience which he describes as being ‘mad, pissed-up fun’. Their first mini-LP, ‘At Large’ was released on Upright Records in 1984, followed by a further LP on the same label in 1985: ‘Flabbergasted’. The band’s recording success did not end here, however, as they went on to release ‘Cafe Blur’ on Flicknife Records in 1986, and ‘Shootin’ ‘N’ Steamin’ in 1988. Throughout their years of heavy gigging, recording and not forgetting drinking and eating, the band had many additions and line-up changes, owing largely to the sheer volume of shows they were playing and the commitment this entailed.
In 1987, Arturo had a chance meeting with Campino from Die Toten Hosen, a huge German punk band, who transpired to be just as huge Lurkers fans. Offering to finance a comeback album, The Lurkers were reformed with Arturo as vocalist and front man. They went on to support Die Toten Hosen at huge venues across Europe, Arturo himself coordinating the ‘Hosen’s ‘Learning English’ album, released in 1991. Also in this year, Arturo took over the role of bassist in addition to front man, becoming The Lurkers who still continue to perform around Europe and the UK today.
In 1991, Danny Palmer left 999, one of the longest-living groups of the punk era, leaving a vacancy for a bassist: who better to fill this role than Arturo Bassick, whom, just like The Lurkers, tour and gig as frequently to this day.
Arturo has fronted the Blazing Saddles, a Lincolnshire based Country and Western band, who gig somewhat irregularly, but not without aplomb, ever since 1995.
Keeping that Saddle blazing
Performing a unique brand of ‘Punktry and Western’, Arturo also performs as Big Art Peters, and released his solo album, ‘Quit Horsing Around’ in 2011.
A lone ranger
A keen supporter of animal rights, Arturo has to date rescued over twenty dogs, with a particular soft spot for Whippets, Lurchers and Greyhounds.
A man’s best friend
Whippets and strippers – That’s punk
The many faces of Mr Bassick