The Exploited are a Scottish punk rock band from Edinburgh, Scotland, formed in 1979 by Stevie Ross and Terry Buchan, with Terry soon replaced by his brother Wattie Buchan. They signed to Secret Records in March 1981, and their debut EP Army Life and debut album Punks Not Dead were both released that year. The band maintained a large cult following in the 1980s among a hardcore working class punk and skinhead audience. Originally a street punk band, the Exploited eventually became a crossover thrash band with the release of their album Death Before Dishonour in 1987.
Although the Exploited continue to perform live, they have not released any studio material since their last album Fuck the System in 2002. Their songs have been covered by Slayer and Ice-T, and despite many lineup changes, Wattie has remained as the Exploited’s singer and leader.
The original line-up consisted of: Terry Buchan (vocals), Stevie Ross (guitar), Colin Erskine (bass) and Andy McNiven (drums). Formed in the West Granton area of Edinburgh, a large grey council estate on the north side of the city. The band’s politics was reflected in its name, coined by drummer and songwriter McNiven, whose father was a Korean War veteran and a Communist. While in the early stages as a band, with little equipment, the band were invited to play their first gig at Craigmuir School. The band seemed to be a victim of their own publicity here. They had spray-painted their band name locally and had stolen Sunday papers, milk, and rolls in the early hours of Sunday morning and redistributed them outside peoples’ front door, with a note saying, “a gift from the exploited”. Their first gig was on Friday 15 December 1978. The date was recalled by McNiven as it coincided with a performance by the Doomed (the Damned by another name) at Clouds in Edinburgh to which they went after performing their own gig. The gig was attended by Terry’s older brother Wattie, who had recently left the army and was a punk in London. Wattie soon replaced Terry, and Andy McNiven and Colin Erskine were dropped from the line-up as well. Jim Park became the drummer in January 1979, first playing on 3 February 1979 at the YMCA in Edinburgh, (the day after Sid Vicious died in New York City). After a few gigs in and around Edinburgh, Stevey Hay left after an appearance in Aberdeen supporting the UK Subs. A few months later, he and Terry Buchan formed The Exposed. The Exposed split in 1980 after a gig supporting the Exploited. Terry left for London. Stevey was prominent in the Edinburgh band scene during the 1980s. Stevey died 14 July 2013 after a successful career as a blues musician. Obituary: Stevey Hay, musician.