(4 / 5)
I used to be a punk. Some say I still am, but somehow I do not think they are referring to the spiky hairstyle or the safety pin holding my tattered jeans together!
I liked the attitude, the energy and the “up yours” to old fart rock and roll and the establishment, back in the punk heyday. As a kid who’d just left school, it was a permit to be naughty writ large! My parents disagreed vehemently though.
But for me, the music was not the main focus and was a bit of a bonus. The fashion was the main thing, to stand out and not conform. The rebellious aspect of the movement.
I didn’t much care for getting covered in spit at gigs or the hassle you got from almost everyone, just because of how you dressed and had your hair.
It didn’t register that some of the bands could not play and the singer sounded like he was having a circumcision op’ without anaesthetic! It was always too damned loud and to be honest, often pretty shite. But hey, it was our shite! You could keep your Stones, your Beatles and your disco bollox.
However, there were some fabulous bands among the dross, and Derby’s Anti-Pasti were one of them. Formed in 1978 and split in 1984, had a brief return in 1995 and then reformed again in 2012 and are still at it – albeit with one original member in the ranks today – drummer Kevin Nixon.
Singer Martin Roper and guitarist Dugi Bell formed the band in 1978, with Nixon on drums and Will Hoon on bass. Later they were joined by second guitarist Ollie Hoon. Today it’s Nixon, Ollie Hoon and Ben Hanson (now lead singer) working the live circuit as Anti-Pasti.
Their band’s debut album, curiously titled for a first release, “The Last Call”, spent seven weeks in the UK Top 40, peaking at number 31. Martin Roper left in 1982.
So, to this awesome box set. Three discs, 44 tracks in total covering their output between 1980 and 1983. Spoiled for choice here, me!
The triple-threat set opens with their debut album “The Last Call”. All 14 cuts. Great to hear “Brew Your Own” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog” again. The latter a fiery cover of the Iggy and the Stooges 1969 track. Check out Slayer’s version too.
The second disc is 1982’s “Caution In The Wind” album, which made it to number seven in the UK Independent Chart. Standouts for me include “”X Affair”, “East To The West” and “Agent ABC”.
The last disc “Rarities”, does what it says on the tin…..It features 18 non-LP tracks, including all of the Indie Chart No.11 hit EP “Four Sore Points”, the number nine charting “Let Them Free” and the Number one hit “Six Guns”. Marvellous track.
There’s the single version of the track “No Government” from their first album. The Wragby Studio Session tapes 1980: “Ain’t Got Me” and “Another Dead Soldier”, and three live tracks from the “Apocalypse Now Tour”. They are: “Two Years Too Late”, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Another Dead Soldier”
Plus a few other single versions of album tracks and some other worthy additions. The booklet contains detailed liner notes, pictures of all relevant record sleeves and lots of press clippings from the era. It’s a decent offering for the price of half a dozen cappuccino coffees or circa four pints of beer. Or one bottle of hand sanitiser!
I have been threatening to visit the annual “Rebellion” festival in Blackpool for some years now, and when it runs again and if this band are on, I really must make the effort.
At my age, I’ll pack plenty of earplugs and I can always wear my Covid-19 visor, mask and gloves just in case some dunderhead decides to resurrect the spitting. (A few hundred boots up the rear end may well change his mind on that one!)
By David Roman
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’