ONCE dubbed 'the new Seattle', Newport's musical history is rich and varied - from The Smiths' infamous show at the Newport Centre, which resulted in outbreaks of violence inside the venue, to the Clash's Joe Strummer working as a gravedigger for a time and the disputed tale of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's proposal to girlfriend Courtney Love after her band Hole played at TJ's back in the 90s.

South Wales Argus:

While some view the latter as simply an urban legend, the mere fact that stars of such repute were playing shows and watching their peers play shows in the city cements its status in musical history.

So much so, that Manchester-based film director Nathan Jennings is in the process of producing a film charting the history of live music in Newport.


"I'm a Newport lad and going to TJ's was a rite of passage for me," said Mr Jennings.

"There's a least 40 to 50 years of live music heritage in Newport."

The Stone Roses' John Squire even used the town's iconic cherub as part of the cover art for the bands single Love Spreads in 1994.

South Wales Argus:

Mr Jennings' film, The Rock Of Newport, is currently in production and is scheduled for release next year.

The project will take viewers down memory lane, charting the visits of some of music's great and good to Newport.

"Hand on heart, if you name a musician or band, the likelihood is that they have played in Newport or have some connection over the years to the town," said Mr Jennings.

"Whether it be, Bowie, Bad Brains or Blondie to the likes of Oasis, The Offspring and Ozzy.

"You just couldn’t stop with an exhaustive list."

Mr Jennings continued by saying that for a period during the 90s, Newport bands numbered in the 100s.

"Newport bands were signing to ‘major’ labels," he said.

"A&R heads and the mainstream would be flocking to Newport to discover and sign new talent frequently."

South Wales Argus:

While Newport might not be viewed as the new Seattle in more recent times, Mr Jennings believed that the music scene in the city was no less exciting.

"I think music will always be there and bands will always exist even in the smallest of venues," he said.

"The demand and the need of new upcoming talent will always need a stage to perform. The new Le Pub premises in recent years is a testament to an actively supported grassroots."

South Wales Argus:

Newport East AM John Griffiths said: “The musical history of Newport has always added to the vibrancy of our city.

"I am sure many of us have very fond musical memories, made right at the heart of the community. I look forward to seeing the city’s music scene continue to go from strength to strength for years to come.”