Sons of Spartacus
The Angelic Upstarts formed in South Shields, England 1977, brainchild of vocalist Mensi (aka Thomas Mensforth). Influenced by the Clash, the Damned and the Sex Pistols, the Angelic Upstarts are a meeting of working class ideology and musical aspiration. Mensi was always liable to provoke reaction, his lyrics making much of his impoverished upbringing and lashing out at London's middle class intelligentsia, as well as standard punk targets like the police and politicians. With Mond (guitar), Ronnie Wooden (bass) and Sticks (drums) on board, The Angelic Upstarts launched their three chord crusade with the independently released single 'Murder of Liddle Towers' in 1978. It's attack on police brutality earned them an early patron in Sham 69's Jimmy Pursey, who chased a similar constituency of disaffected working-class fans. Pursey produced the minimalist Teenage Warning (1979), a cul-de-sac of single idea songs made palatable by the band's wholehearted delivery and their denunciation of racism - a particularly admirable stance at a time when other 'skinhead bands', such as Skrewdriver, were flirting with right wing elements - made the album a classic. With the UK hit singles, 'I'm An Upstart' and 'Teenage Warning' (both 1979), they focused on the plight of the working class. Angel Dust (The Collected Highs) (1983) was a useful compilation of their best early work, and paved the way for 'Reason Why?' (1983), an album on which The Angelic Upstarts came closest to the intensity and diversity of The Clash. Now with Tony Feedback (bass), Bryan Hayes (rhythm guitar) and ex-Roxy Music drummer Paul Thompson. The band split in 1986 but reformed again in 1988 and 1992, gigging all over the world with a new line up: Mensi (vocals), Bryan Hayes (guitar), Max Splodge (bass), and Chris White (drums). Following up on two live offerings - 'Anthems Against Scum' (2001) and 'Live at the Justice League' (2001) - the Upstarts evolve yet again in 2002 with another lineup change: Mensi (vocals), Tony Van Frater (guitar), Gaz Stoker (bass) and Lainey (drums and backing vocals). The most recent Angelic Upstarts release 'Sons Of Spartacus' marks their first studio album in ten years. Harking back to the sound and style of the mega 'Two Million Voices' this is terrace chant Oi! In the finest Upstarts tradition! And rumour has it there's still some fight left in this old dog.. Watch this space!