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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rip up the footnotes

Stonehenge 1978. Here & Now with ATV in colour - pic by Annie M.
Back row - Chris (ATV), Kif Kif, Dennis (ATV)
Front - Mick (ATV), Granto and his feet, Mark (ATV), Keith, Steffe, Marie-Claire, Gavin


Simon Reynolds is posting the 'missing' footnotes to his book Rip It Up and Start Again.

Here is one about Alternative TV, Here and Now and Stonehenge

Pushed even further out

Cracked, the debut album, had been sufficiently accessible such that a conventional career path beckoned for Perry: a big tour, a role as working-class-hero and punk spokesman.

Instead, he took a total swerve and committed ATV to a free tour that summer, organized by the hippy band Here and Now, about as unfashionable an entity as then imaginable. Popular on the free festival circuit and linked to outfits like Hawkwind and Gong (Here and Now had formed originally to back up Daevid Allen, post-Gong), this gaggle of long-hairs, Perry decided, represented real independence, unlike his former peers in punk rock, who almost without exception were now indentured to major labels and slogging their way to success via the most conventional music-biz channels.

“Here and Now focused on ATV and The Fall [whom Perry had signed to Step Forward, the label he ran with financial backing from Miles Copeland]. Here and Now saw this attitude that me and Mark E. Smith had, and they suggested doing a Punks and Hippies Unite Tour. I was like, ‘free gigs? This is exactly what we should be doing!. It was a real experience, a totally different world. When we went on tour and I had to sleep in a tent, I was terrified. Everyone walking around stark bollock naked, people pissing everywhere!

While most punks were sitting in the Speakeasy talking about record deals, I was in a field at Stonehenge with a bunch of hippies. And thinking, 'maybe this is the real alternative?'” A joint album of live recordings from festivals was released, Here And Now/Alternative TV’s What You See Is What You Are.

This is useful. It shows (in case you didn't already know) that there was an alternative route from punk to Stonehenge - one which existed apart from Penny Rimbaud and Crass playing there. ATV/ Here and Now played Stonehenge in 1978. The Mob also played that year.

Kif Kif and 'Granto' / Grant Showbiz were involved/ organised the Meanwhile Gardens gigs The Mob played at plus Fuck Off Records.

Zounds were also connected in, as this (from 1998 interview with Zounds by Lance Hahn) shows http://www.zoundsonline.co.uk/hahn.html

"I was never into the ramma lamma, identikit punk thrash sound that soon took over punk and was very tiresome and unimaginative. What was good about it was the scenes that started up all over. .. That is the current official media history of punk; that it was all about these London trendsetters. But, there were more interesting things happening at the margins as usual. Us in Oxford, the Mob in Somerset, The Astronauts in Welwyn, The Instant Automatons in Hull… A whole load of weird, idiosyncratic bands creating their own lives and scenes and music."

The Free Festival scene of the '70s in England was the perfect incubator for Zounds. Drawn to the scene both by the politics and the desire to play, they found themselves entrenched in that gray area of hippies, punks and activists.

Steve, "Well Here & Now were doing Free Festivals and free gigs and seemed to be much more politicized than other bands, this of course was slightly prior to punk. There was a kind of radical hippie tradition that included Hawkwind, Gong, and The Pink Fairies centered around Ladbroke Grove. The Pink Fairies were influenced by the radical politics of The MC5 and Jerry Rubin and the Yippies. A lot of future punks lived amongst this Ladbroke Grove hippie scene. Joe Strummer lived next door to Here & Now and there were people like the Slits. Everyone was getting into Reggae at that time and there was a lot of interest in Rasta."

As the punk scene began to grow, they became more and more involved with the Free Festivals setting up tours and carrying on the tradition with other punk bands.

Steve, "Here & Now championed the free tours and us and the Mob dug the idea and met each other through them. We carried on the free tour idea by starting the WEIRD TALES tours, Zounds the Mob and the Astronauts, and of course the legendary Jonathan Barnett who was an inspiration to us all."

Through the free festival scene as well as Here & Now who were very involved in the regular details of those events, Zounds were introduced to the Mob, a band they would tour with and develop close ties with…. a guy called Jonathan Barnett put a tour together with us, The Mob, the Astronauts and the Androids of Mu. We all kind of were on the fringes of the Here & Now free music scene and were under the influence of their ex-drummer, a guy called Kiff-Kiff who was an amazing guy and went on to limited fame in England with a band called World Domination Enterprises.

He and Jonathan Barnett put together this outfit called Fuck Off records, and us and the Mob put out tapes and stuff through them. We all hung out round Ladbroke Grove and Shepherds Bush. There were loads of gigs at the Acklam Hall and round West London. Then we did these mad free tours. During which we met Crass and Zounds dwindled to just Lawrence and myself."

As much as with Crass, Zounds would forever be linked with the Mob from then on.
Steve, "I think we met in 1978. We toured with them, lived in houses and buses with them, had the same drug dealers and slept with the same people. Despite that we were never really close."

Finally - the Androids of Mu chose not to make a record for Crass...


NC: Can you tell us about your deal with Crass?

B: Two years ago, when they wanted to do a single with us, they didn’t want our drummer to play on it cos she was playing out of time. They wanted their own drummer, and we all thought it would sound like Crass again, so we refused it straight away.
C: Actually, they left the offer open, so we can do a single with Crass whenever we want to.

NC: Do you still have an involvement with them?

C: Well, the thing is we don’t wanna be produced by Crass, because of the sound.

NC: Won’t they let you produce yourselves?
C: If they did then we’d do it, but even then I don’t think there’s any point in us being on the Crass label because we got our own label.

NC: Being on the Crass label would mean you sell loads of copies, to their fans.

C: Yeah, and it’s not quite right, is it?

NC: You mean that people buy the stuff just for the name?

C: Yeah.
B: We all support Crass, what they are doing, it’s just that we’re not the right sort of band to do a single with Crass. As well as that, we’ve got our own label , so why not do it on our own label, rather than do it with Crass?


Blogger Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf said...

Interesting that, Penny seemed to like the sound of his own drumming, didn't he drum on the Zounds single?

1:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dug out my old Mu LP, 012 LP (Kif Kif's band a few years before World Dom Ent's) and for good measure The first Astronauts LP 'Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs' - Hows that for a full house of Streetlevel studios recordings?
Penny never done the drumming for Cant Cheat Karma, Nuzz, some session guy did it, who my old mate and boss John Loder knew.

9:16 pm  

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