The Cortinas

The Cortinas were an English punk-rock band from Bristol that released two singles on Miles Copeland’s Step Forward label in 1977. The band initially formed as a Stones-influenced pub-rock act and reverted back to that style for their 1978 singular album True Romances. Guitarist Nick Sheppard joined the final lineup of The Clash.

Members: Jeremy Valentine (vocals), Dexter Dalwood (bass), Nick Sheppard (guitar), Mike Fewings (guitar), Daniel Swan (drums)

Roxy Shows

The Cortinas formed in 1976 and worked up local audiences before hitting the London club circuit in early 1977. They became a fixture of punk hub The Roxy in Convent Garden, where they played double-bills with The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, and Wire.

“Fascist Dictator,” “Defiant Pose”

In June 1977, The Cortinas issued their first single: the three-chord buzzsaw plunger “Fascist Dictator.” The lyrics use sadistic metaphors in lieu of typical boy/girl fare. Overside, the ascending chordal briskness of “Television Families” breaks midway for drum rolls and sliding bends, indicative of their budding virtuosity.

Later that year, they released a second two-sider: the riff-arched pogo pulse of “Defiant Pose” backed with the twitching velocity slide of “Independence.” The original 7″ features a Hipgnosis design that shows a boy regurgitating. The band performed two further songs in this vein, “Having It” and “Further Education,” on their 7/16/77 Peel broadcast.

True Romances

In 1978, The Cortinas signed to CBS and issued their only album True Romances. It features 13 songs, mostly in a mid-tempo rock style. The tracks “Heartache” and “Ask Mr. Waverly” were issued as the band’s third and final single.

Later Activity

Guitarist Mike Fewings recorded during the ensuing seven-year period with Bristol New Wavers the Colortapes and Essential Bop. Nick Sheppard resurfaced on The Clash’s oft-discounted 1985 swan song Cut the Crap.

“Fascist Dictator” has appeared on more than a dozen multi-artist punk compilations. In 2008/09, two Cortinas concert recordings — For Fucks Sake Plymouth (rec. 1977) and Please Don’t Hit Me (rec. 1/9/78) — were issued as Mp3 albums on Bristol Archive Records.


  • “Fascist Dictator” / “Television Families” (1977)
  • “Defiant Pose” / “Independence” (1977)
  • True Romances (1978)

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