Formed in Belfast in 1978, Protex were one of the pioneers of the Belfast Punk Movement. They were soon signed to the famous Good Vibrations label; their debut release receiving great reviews and enjoying widespread airplay on the UK’s national Radio 1 station. They quickly came to the attention of Rough Trade Records who released Don’t Ring Me Up to wide acclaim. This in turn led to the band signing for Polydor Records who released the singles I Can’t Cope, followed by I Can Only Dream.
The 1980s saw the band take to the road with the Boomtown Rats as well as embark on two extensive tours of their own thoughout the US and Canada.
An album was recorded with legendary producer Chas Chandler who’d worked with, among others, Hendrix, The Animals and Slade. However, the band weren’t happy with the result and after a final release, A Place in Your Heart, the band and label parted ways, Protex splitting soon after.
Fast Forward to 2010 when New York’s Sing Sing Records located the Polydor recordings and released ‘Strange Obsessions’ on vinyl, igniting renewed interest in the band.
Founders Aidan Murtagh and Dave McMaster reformed the band and shows followed in Ireland, Spain and Japan. 2014 saw Protex play shows in the UK including London’s famous 100 Club before being invited to play what were to become two of their most memorable shows to date at Hotel Vegas in Austin as part of the South By South West festival. More European dates followed but by the end of 2014 Dave felt he no longer wished to tour and sadly, left the band.
The current line-up played their first show in a sold out Grand Victory, New York in March 2015 at the beginning of a US tour that finished with four shows at SXSW in Austin. In 2016 Protex recorded and released the Tightrope album on Bachelor Records to great critical acclaim and by the end of the year they’d returned to the stage. 2017 has already seen the band tour Spain and the US, with Italy, Portugal, Germany and Ireland still to come as well as an appearance at the Rebellion festival in the UK.