Despite initially forming in 1976 with a line up centred around vocalist Phil “Shonna” Rzonca and guitarist Dave Ryan, the Abrasive Wheels (the name was inspired by Shonna’s engineering apprenticeship) were quintessentially a 1980s punk band as part of a new wave of bands with a harder, more aggressive sound.
After a few lineup changes, Dave and Shonna were joined by the inventively-nicknamed “Harry” Harrison on bass and “Nev” Nevison on drums. This lineup released the ABW EP on their own Abrasive Records label in 1981, which sold out an initial pressing of 3,000 copies.
Further singles and albums were released on scene labels Riot City and Clay (home to the likes of Vice Squad, Chaotic Dischord, Discharge and GBH) selling respectable amounts but as time progressed their sound became more polished and they started to lose their hardcore following, leading to the band’s split at the end of 1984.
Shonna stayed in Leeds and resurrected the band in 2002 with additional guitarist Steve Popplewell, but the others dropped out leaving Shonna and Popplewell to get a new line-up together that still tours to this day.
Phil ‘Shonna’ Rzonca