Angelic Upstarts – In session for John Peel – June 29 1981 – BBC Radio 1 –
Angelic Upstarts in session tonight. Recorded for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 on June 23rd and broadcast on the 29th.
The Angelic Upstarts formed in South Shields in 1977. AllMusic calls them “one of the period’s most politically charged and thought-provoking groups”. The band espoused an anti-fascist and socialist working class philosophy, and have been associated with the skinhead subculture.
The band’s original members were Thomas Mensforth (Mensi) on vocals, Ray Cowie (Mond) on guitar, Steve Forsten on bass guitar, and Derek “Decca” Wade on drums. Keith Bell was the manager until 1980, when he was jailed for four and a half years for arson.
Angelic Upstarts are regarded as pioneers of the Oi! punk subgenre. In 2001, Various Artists cover album We Are the People was released in tribute to the Upstarts, including tracks from bands such as Leatherface, The Oppressed, Red London and Red Alert. In 2009, punk-influenced singer-songwriter Jamie T sampled vocals from the album Angelic Upstarts Live on his song “The Man’s Machine”.
One of the most politically outspoken bands of their era, they are known for promoting anti-fascism and working class solidarity. Although they were a skinhead band, they openly attacked the racism that was prevalent throughout the movement. As they went on, their music also progressed beyond the limited punk scope.
They were prolific during their first decade as a band, releasing eight albums in that time period. Their early gigs were often plagued with violence from National Front supporters. They have split up and got back together several times and over the past few years have been gigging consistently. Lead singer Thomas “Mensi” Mensforth is the only original member still in the band.
So, to get you set up for the rest of the week, hit the play button and crank this one up – it might do a world of good.