Artery in session for John Peel tonight. If we had the Internet in 1980, and we were able to have the kind of access to bands now that we didn’t have then, I think the direction of music might have gone in far more interesting places than what was being offered via the mainstream and MTV, at least in the U.S.. I’m not saying what was the then-current state of Pop music was crap, but the thing about music is that it only stays vital when it’s constantly reaching and experimenting and trying. And when you don’t know what other people are doing, the other movements that are afoot, you’re a little isolated and you feel as though there is a stagnation going on, when what is really going on is mainstream music’s desire to play it safe and not run risks – and only after a movement has gained enough attention via the underground (Like Punk, like Rap, like Disco, like Techno, like Madchester), is it then presented to a mass audience – and sometimes it’s co-opted and approximated and the essential organs are removed and a state of Musical Cryogenics takes place. And sometimes it’s just ignored and written off as being “just too fucking weird”.
I’m saying all that because in 1982 I wasn’t familiar with Artery – and I was pretty good at keeping my ears to the ground. But being in L.A. and the scene evolving in Sheffield fell off my radar. That’s why I say if we had the Internet, or the equivalent of a John Peel over here, things might have been different.
But nevertheless – Artery were one of the initial Post-Punk bands to come out of Sheffield in 1978; a scene which was likened to a hot house of musical invention and innovation – a meeting place of the strange and wonderful. The Sheffield scene gave us Human League and Cabaret Voltaire – and those bands we knew about, but Artery, not so much. And listening to this session, their second (and last) session for John Peel recorded in 1982, gave me the feeling I really missed something the first time around.
Artery were initially together from 1978 to 1985 when they dissolved, went separate ways, did new things and just ceased. But during that time they issued four albums and eight singles. And it was in 2007 that Jarvis Cocker of Pulp coaxed the band to come out of retirement and pick up where they left off. The result has been two additional albums, a reissue of all their past albums and a renewed interest in the band from people who never heard them in the first place (like me) or just weren’t around at the time.
Artery has wound up being one of the influential bands of the early 80s Post-Punk period as well as a band who have also become influential with the current crop of bands. A nice distinction, and further proof if you seem a little too weird at the time, the world will eventually catch up.
And people have caught up.
Here’s their second session for John Peel as it was recorded on January 30, 1982 and broadcast on February 15th of that year.