Jesse Lynn-Dean on stage with his band, The Wasps, during their current tour. / SUR

A new phase of a long career on the punk rock scene

The original singer of The Wasps took time out from his current tour to talk to SUR in English about his story and a new CD

Tony Bryant
TONY BRYANT

There are numerous musicians on the Costa del Sol who claim to have been part of the exciting music scene that was happening in London during the late 1970s, although not many can match the achievements of one die-hard rocker who is still active today, even though he is now 74.

Jesse Lynn-Dean, the original lead singer and songwriter of The Wasps, is currently enjoying a resurgence of the punk rock scene, which has seen his iconic band enter a new phase in their celebrated career.

The Wasps story began in London in 1976, when Jesse, without an appointment, blagged his way into the office of a top publishing executive. The band were snapped up by RCA and recorded several singles, and an album called Punkyronics Plus, as well as participating on the notorious Live at the Vortex album.

The band cut their teeth at the beginning of the punk movement, along with other pioneering groups of the era such as The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned.

They performed extensively at renowned venues across London and the UK and they were one of the driving forces of the late-1970s punk rock scene.

They went on to play a number of dates in France and Sweden, before returning to the UK.

Next came an offer from the USA, so Jesse headed to New York, but he was disheartened by the way the music scene was run in the USA and returned to the UK. A short while after this, the band separated due to contractual difficulties with former managers.

"Basically, what happened was that during their infancy, the guys in the band had signed anything that was put in front of them, as kids do. Once we started to get noticed, all these ex-managers started coming out of the woodwork demanding money for them to be released from contracts. Our record company started to pay some of them off, but it got ridiculous. In the end it broke the band up and I walked away from it, Jesse explains to SUR in English.

Jesse decided to head to Spain for a break in 1980 in order to take a break from the music industry.

"By that time, I was knackered. I had been writing the songs, performing and rehearsing, recording and even driving the van. We got a record deal and then it all went wrong, so I really needed a break," Jesse says.

But Jesse's plans to return to the UK to restart his music career never materialised, because he never went back.

Kick-starting his career

Jesse spent the next few decades running two bars in Fuengirola, but he sold them prior to the pandemic, which is when he decided to kick-start his musical career. After meeting several like-minded musicians, one of who had been a fan of The Wasps since the '70s, Jesse reformed the band and began writing music for a new album, Punk Prayer, which was released earlier this month. They are currently in the middle of a tour to promote the disc, which is also to be released on vinyl. The tour has included several dates in Spain - including Malaga and Madrid - and the UK, and they are to finish off in Portugal next month.

One of the things that has struck Jesse this time around is the number of original fans that are attending his gigs.

"When we played the Water Rats in London, which is a very important venue, we had people turn up from all over the country. Quite a few were asking me to sign the new record - it was amazing," he explains.

The Wasps current success has come at a time when the genre is gaining a new audience triggered by a string of Netflix documentaries about the UK punk scene, and the new Danny Boyle film based on the memoirs of legendary Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones.

Today, Jesse has mellowed and certainly does not come across as an anarchistic singer famed for hurling abuse, and occasionally his microphone stand, at his audience. He does, however, still possess the same drive and passion for his music.

" I believe that the songs on the new album are good songs. I am lucky to be working with some great musicians who are open-minded to new ideas," Jesse concludes.