Grebo music

This article is about the music genre. For the ethnic group, see Grebo (ethnic group). For the language, see Grebo language. For the Terry Pratchett character, see Greebo.

Grebo is a word that was used at least in the East Midlands in the seventies to describe someone with an interest in Motorcycles. They would also be identifiable by the dress code of dirty denim and black leather jackets similar in style to American Hells Angles and as of the early 21st century like Harley Davidson owners AKA H.O.G's . A Grebo of the late seventies would likely have an interest in heavy rock such as Black Sabbath and Status Quo.

The word may have been re-fashioned by the group Pop Will Eat Itself that represented a brand of United Kingdom subculture of the late 1980s and early 1990s, largely based in the English Midlands.[1] The word had, however, been in use in the early 1980s to describe the followers of bands such as Motorhead and Status Quo - stereotypically wearers of long hair and sleeveless denim jackets (Everyone else in the world called those people "Gumbies"). The word was certainly in common usage in school playgrounds in parts of the West Midlands in 1981 at the very latest.

Influential bands in the scene were Pop Will Eat Itself (who had songs titled, "Oh Grebo I Think I Love You" and "Grebo Guru"), The Wonder Stuff, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, along with London band Carter USM and Leicester bands Crazyhead, The Bomb Party, The Hunters Club, Scum Pups and Gaye Bykers on Acid.[2][3][4] London-based band Medicine Factory (later known as Stark) were also active on the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The term has also been used to describe Jesus Jones, who enjoyed success in both the UK and US.[5][6] The musical styles of the bands were a blend of garage rock, the more alternative forms of rock, pop, hip-hop, and electronica. The musical genre found favour with adherents of the earlier Post-punk roots of Gothic rock such as Mick Mercer which by the late 1980s had changed character significantly.

The Grebo fashion style was dreadlocks, partially shaved heads and high ponytails, undercut or shaved long hair, leather bike jackets and/or jeans, baggy clothing, boots, lumberjack shirts, loose tatty jeans, army surplus clothing, and eccentric hats and scarfs.

The movement, although short-lived, was a reasonable success at the time, and influenced a number of later bands. To a certain extent it was a music press invention, much like positive punk, a scene and style named by British indie magazines, specifically NME and the Melody Maker.[2] The scene occupied the period in the late 1980s and early 1990s before Grunge, Britpop and other forms of Anglo-American alternative rock took over.


  1. Vladimir Bogdanov (editor), All Music Guide to Electronica: The Definitive Guide To Electronic Music, page 404 (Backbeat Books, 2001). ISBN 0-87930-628-9. Quote: "Honing a fusion of rock, pop, and rap which they dubbed 'grebo', the Poppies kickstarted a small revolution."
  2. 1 2 Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography. Canongate. pp. 169, 711. ISBN 0-86241-913-1. Lumped in with the media created "Grebo" scene along with Pop Will Eat Itself, Gaye Bykers on Acid and the early Wonder Stuff, Crazyhead.../[Wonder Stuff] initially lumped in with contemporaries like Pop Will Eat Itself and Crazyhead under the music-press created 'grebo' banner/etc..
  3. Nerds Attack! L' Underground di
  4. Larkin, Colin (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music. Guinness Publishing. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-85112-579-4. In common with Gaye Bikers on Acid (sic), Bomb Party, and Pop Will Eat Itself, [Crazyhead] were linked with the media-fuelled 'biker' or 'grebo' rock genre.

Further reading

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