February 23, 2017
Here’s part of an interview With 2 members of Police Bastard conducted by Robin Valk who spends his time writing about Music, Musicians, Music Business and Radio in the UK’s West Midlands.
Robin: As a bumbling young rock DJ, I covered the decline of progressive and hard rock throughout the 70s. Pub-rock rose and fell, global forces like Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac emerged, and Birmingham moved from Monsters of Metal to cross-cultural mixes, (UB40, Apache Indian, the Beat, Ruby Turner). Oh, and let’s not forget the New Romantics. On second thought, let’s.
By the end of the decade, Punk Rock emerged, to be rapidly commoditised as product and fashion trend (Generation X anyone?), and used as a career-launching platform (Police, Squeeze, Boomtown Rats). Then the mainstream lost interest, so it went underground, morphing from a bunch of snotty teenagers flipping the bird at the man, into something else altogether.
Police Bastard were punks once. Now they’re punk/metal/thrash, a set of 40 somethings with a remarkably long history, and a new album, Confined. The dumb rebellious simplicity of the late 70s has been replaced by something more complex, more considered, even dutiful. The music? Savage as ever, of course – but now, these guys can play. John Doom and Mark Badger talk it up after the jump.
John Doom: The band started as a fun project in about 1993. Not many albums, but we’ve done lots of touring. A real mix.
Robin: Twenty years – are you still as angry?
John: When I was about 16 I formed Doom. They’re still going now. It was Crust/Punk. We were raised on Punk – and political punk as well. Anarchist Punk Rock.
Robin: OK, let’s clarify some definitions. Proper Punk has always been about being snotty and challenging the establishment. I came in for all that when the Sex Pistols went round radio stations on promo tours. But Political Punk goes a lot further – as irreverent and challenging as all Punk, but with a more layered set of things to say?
John: We were influenced by Crass and Conflict and all these bands that were political. Yeah, we were angry then… but we lived with our parents! We were at odds with a lot of things. We lived in suburbia; a lot of people there were quite racist, traditional in their values. We were singing from a slightly different hymn sheet. So, yeah, when we formed Police Bastard in 1993, I’d left Doom, and become a bit jaded. I made a commitment to write about things that were pertinent to me and the band – fresh ideas, positive things, not spiteful and vicious things. But filtering down to where we are now, I’d still say there’s plenty to be angry about.
Robin: No argument from me on that score. The early punk bands reacted against turgid progressive rock. There’s that famous Who song, Who Are You, which tells the story of Pete Townsend having a drunken row with Johnny Rotten in a Soho pub… but all that was years before you even started Doom. So does that mean that you are bringing – gulp – an adult perspective to your punk?
John: I’ve been through many different ways of thinking about things. In some ways, time strengthens your position, because you can come at things from an adult perspective. You’re not quite so quick to judge, to let things spill out your mouth. Here’s an example. When we were growing up listening to Crass and the like, people were really, vitriolically anti-religious. If you fast forward to now, there’s all these questions about what faith is, and about respecting other people’s faith; Islam for example. All these ideas of being blasphemous and rude and in your face – you come round to thinking maybe faith isn’t the problem, maybe it’s the organisation and the power behind it. That’s something we address on the new album.
Robin: But that early 70s/80s anti-establishment punk blasphemy was pretty much all against Christianity. Nothing else was on the radar.
John: Exactly. It’s a more complex and globalised world. You’ve got to take on ideas about the whole world, not just your own neighbourhood. The world’s got smaller. It’s easy to see a lot more problems – Syria, Russia – different issues.
Robin: How does that play out with your audiences – from the early days to now?
John: Weird. It might be my cynical nature. Underground Punk exists as an entity, outside the mainstream. It’s always been a constant. But around acid house and rave culture, some people forgot about issues, forgot about being angry…
Robin: They were blissed out…
John: Yeah! More hedonistic, having a good time. But those issues were still there. Things come around though. A lot of original bands came back for one last time in their fifties… Things come in cycles. Over the last five years, you’ve seen a shift back, politically and in society, to what brought people out in the seventies. People are feeling disillusioned. Feel there’s no hope, that there might not be those jobs for them. So you can see Punk growing again.
Robin: Are you saying nostalgia for Punk? That makes it a commodity!
Mark Badger: It’s like a dogma. Some people still think that if you want to be in punk band, you gotta think a certain way, look a certain way, sound a certain way, do certain things. The idea of Police Bastard, when I joined was more attractive than the band itself. Something that had a brutal musical delivery of political ideas, with a very diverse set of individuals. To me, that flies in the face of the dogma of what it is to be punk or metal. And we’re still doing that.
John: Some of our goals have come true. The major labels don’t control things anymore. So the DIY ethic, at the heart of punk, hasn’t been affected by the decline of the industry. And the web has helped.
On the craft and musicianship front, the band now has some phenomenally good technical skills. A thunderous attack, played with blistering skill and stamina. You just wouldn’t have had those skills twenty years ago – they come with time. Does stagecraft sort of get in the way?
John: I think there have been times when we’ve been in danger of disappearing up our own asses. A few pints where we became a little bit too metally, a little bit too technical. That’s because we’re absorbing ideas from all over.
Robin: But there’s nothing wrong with being a fabulous player…
John: Not at all. But you can move away from some of the areas you should be in. As Mark was saying, one of the beauties of Police Bastard is that if we want to do a dub song, a metal song, a two-minute punk song, we’ll do it. It doesn’t get in the way.
Robin: What’s the gender split with your audience?
John: Fairly good. I never like to see it get too male. There was a point with hardcore where it became too violent and too macho. Everything became blokes with their shirts off, fighting rather than enjoying the gig. My experience has been good. We’ve had loads of girls dancing, and not feeling harassed or beaten or groped. I’ve been fairly happy with it.
Mark: We manage to sell good quantities of girls and boy’s t-shirts.
Robin: So how about the album….?
John: I’m proud of this album, We’d finished the band in about 98… the rest of the band was unable to put the time in. We had jobs, I went back to university… Then the band sort of reformed, and at first I felt a little bit off about it. But what they were doing was great – exactly what Police Bastard were all about. Eventually Mark asked me to come in with the band, and it’s gone from there. Our singer lives in Spain, we’re all doing different things, and we’ve still managed to come together and create new songs. All different, dark, aggressive, touching on new material.
Mark: John and Pid (Stu-pid) have probably come up with the best lyrics on Confined they have written so far. The new album was difficult in lots of ways, especially getting everyone together. But we’ve got to hand it to Simon Reeves. He sat there with about 27 channels of guitar. John put down several tracks of noise and feedback and other horror. Simon sat there clamly with his head in his hands muttering what am I going to do with this? John simply said ‘You’re the Producer, you sort it out!’ And of course, he did. We are all really pleased with the finished record.
February 21, 2017
John Sinclair – “Beatnik Youth Ambient” on Vinyl.
by Iron Man Records.
Pre-order the Vinyl here: http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com/artist/john-sinclair
All Press enquiries to Sean Newsham : email@example.com
Catalogue Number: IMB6033
Label: Iron Man Records
Do It (6:16) Recitation – John Sinclair, Music – Youth, Mix – Youth and Michael Rendall
Brilliant Corners (11.29) Recitation – John Sinclair, Produced by Youth
War On Drugs (6:18) Recitation – Howard Marks, Music – Youth, Mix – Youth and Michael Rendall
Sitarrrtha (9:19) Recitation – John Sinclair, Produced by Youth
John Sinclair, the renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary will release “Beatnik Youth Ambient” on Iron Man Records. The record is over 30 minutes of ambient, chill out music from the restless creative mind of Youth with some fine spoken word and poetry delivered by John Sinclair.
John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today continues his work for cultural transformation.
Youth is one of the UK’s most influential producers and has been honoured, this year, with an Outstanding Contribution Award by the Music Producers Guild. His career spans more than 30 years and is one of the UK’s most consistent, credible and influential producers, Youth has also hand drawn the beautiful cover artwork.
The record features 4 ambient tracks including 2 tracks completed in late 2015. Do it and War on Drugs were composed and produced by Youth with words By John Sinclair and Howard Marks. John Sinclair presents some illuminating words of wisdom on the life of the artist in the opening track Do It, while Howard Marks delivers some lost last words in War on Drugs on side B. The Mood is maintained by 2 extra ambient tracks taken from the Beatnik Youth album simultaneously released by Iron Man Records on Double CD. The free-form cinematic Brilliant Corners is a homage to Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs and the smokily atmospheric Sitarrtha reflects on the work of John Coltrane.
The record is a smoker’s dream with the 4 ambient tracks clocking in at just over 30 minutes.
You can pre-order the Vinyl, Double CD and T-shirt here: http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com/artist/john-sinclair
From Detroit to New Orleans and from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, John Sinclair is still the king-size, psychedelic old-gangster poet, a living legend, a veteran of the counterculture, a survivor of the Marijuana Wars, and one of the last bohemians still standing. As a co-founder of the Detroit underground newspaper The Fifth Estate, manager of MC5, and Chairman of the White Panther Party described on Wikipedia in these modern times as a far-left, anti-racist, white American political collective founded in 1968 and dedicated to cultural revolution his mark on the boho rock & roll underground has been unique.
In 1969, with Richard Nixon in the White House, Vietnam in chaos in the wake of the Viet Congs near-suicidal Tet Offensive, and American cities still scared and scarred from urban riots, even the comparatively harmless agitprop pranks of White Panther cultural revolution had those in power reaching for their metaphoric and sometimes actual revolvers. Authorities remembered how John had organized the MC5 playing outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the only band actually able to perform before Mayor Daley’s rabid police department violently derailed the massive anti-Vietnam war rally with teargas, billy clubs, and helicopter support.
John was deemed a danger to society and set up like a bowling pin. After handing a couple of joints to a hassling hippie who turned out to be an undercover narcotics agent, John found himself on the bad end of a ten year jail term. At the same time though he became a cause celebre. Free John Sinclair became one more battle cry in an embattled era. Protests, propaganda, and a giant concert in Ann Arbor headlined by John Lennon and Yoko Ono ultimately resulted in John s release in November 1971. Lennon even wrote a song about him called ‘John Sinclair’ which he included on his ‘Sometime In New York City’ album.
In common with much that happens with John, a meeting with producer Youth (Paul McCartneys ‘Fireman’, Primal Scream, The Verve etc & Killing Joke bass player) that sowed the creative seeds was a matter of stoned synchronicity. As former Track Records boss Ian Grant tells it, Alan Clayton told me he had John Sinclair coming round tomorrow. I said “The John Sinclair?” One night Zodiac (Mindwarp) was on the bill with the Dirty Strangers and Youth was very taken with John. “I want to make a jazz album with John” he said. Since then, the two met at Youths house whenever he was home, and when John was in the country, and recorded the album.
And through the course of those recordings John, always so associated with the 1960s, took a serious step into the ways of the 21st century, with the same intoned poetry, but with melodic backing vocals, highly inventive production, even a nod to hip-hop, but still remembering his first loves of blues, be-bop, and classic rock & roll.
Beatnik Youth Ambient is one more step in the Big Chief’s long zigzag trip that seems set to continue all the way to the far blue horizon. Summing up John Sinclair, you can only say with certainty that the beatnik goes on.
Youth has been responsible for numerous hits from artists including The Verve, Embrace, Echo and the Bunnymen, Crowded House, The Orb, Sir Paul McCartney and The Charlatans. Among his recent projects was the co-production of Pink Floyd‘s final and largely instrumental album, The Endless River. Youth also remixed David Gilmour‘s current solo album, Rattle That Lock. The Verve’s Urban Hymns brought Youth a BRIT Award for Producer of the Year after three consecutive years of nomination.
Youth says “I’m very proud of the longevity of work on Killing Joke and The Orb, how those recordings still sound fresh… and what I’ve done with The Verve and Richard Ashcroft, and Paul McCartney (The Fireman) and Pink Floyd. It’s only really working with those guys, with my insecurities, that I felt as though I could go, ‘yeah, I am a producer’.” His “university” was Killing Joke after he left school, and it “doesn’t really get more intense than that”.
As a young musician Youth, whose real name is Martin Glover, cut his teeth doing bass sessions for Adrian Sherwood productions and for artists such as Kate Bush whose phenomenally successful Hounds of Love album had Youth on bass. He was also a founder member and bassist of the band Killing Joke. After leaving Killing Joke (and a short experiment with the band Brilliant, managed by Bill Drummond and featuring June Montana, Jimmy Cauty and other key innovators of electronic and indie dance music), Youth began working with Alex Paterson and Cauty as The Orb, a collaboration that was responsible for the introduction of chill-out ambient house music.
Cauty and Drummond eventually moved on to form The KLF, leaving Youth and Paterson to experiment extensively in the post punk British dance music and Acid House scene. This led to the release of two classic albums as The Orb – U.F.Orb and Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, which incorporated Little Fluffy Clouds, a track that defined ambient house and chill-out and brought these genres firmly into the mainstream.
Youth’s skills as a producer were now being noticed by a much wider audience, not least because of his remix work with band like Siouxsie and The Banshees, Malcolm Maclaren, A Guy Called Gerald, Fine Young Cannibals, Marc Almond and U2. In 1993, he collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney who had developed an interest in remix culture. This resulted in Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, an ambient album – and the first of three critically acclaimed albums – released under the name of The Fireman.
Over the years, Youth has notched up a staggeringly large and varied list of production and remix credits for artists such as Yazz, James, Primal Scream, Gun’s N’ Roses, Blue Pearl, Art of Noise, P.M. Dawn, Shack, De La Soul, Erasure, Beth Orton, Bananarama, Maria McKee, Suns of Arqa, The Shamen, Kool and the Gang, Texas, Pete Murphy, Tom Jones and Dido. He remains tireless in his quest for inspiration, excellence and innovation in recording great music and also finds time to paint, illustrate and publish poetry. All original artwork on the sleeve was hand drawn by Youth.
John Sinclair the White Panther firebrand who stoked the MC5’s insurrectionary manifesto has roots that stretch back to jazz and the beats, as a writer, avant-garde champion and poet. John has travelled the world, collaborating with like-minded souls; a living embodiment of the original free spirit that fought to emancipate a generation, one of the few still flying the freak flag.
Since the early 90s, Sinclair has released albums of his poetry, but Beatnik Youth Ambient is possibly some of John Sinclair’s best work to date.
This poorly served generation needs it: that militant energy which released the bats in the 60s is crucially booted into the 21st Century in a riotous celebration of personal freedom, cultural trailblazers and marijuana.
The following Iron Man Records Patrons have made this Vinyl release possible:
Suzy Tweddle, Deborah Ritchie, Scott Roe, Margaret Calleja, Thomas Rathgeber, Dan, Lee Parsfield, Chris Scales, Muir Mathewson, Michael Howe, Jonathan Harris, Dave Barnard, Bill Fadden, Mike Burgess, Jachim Palm, Lyle Bignon, Thomas Burke, Ben Cartlidge, Matt Grimes, Toby Conyers, Chris, Andy Cavendish, Steve Wyatt, Andrew Dubber, Frank Knoblich, Vaughan Roberts, Ian Robertson, Marcus H, Seth Faergolzia, Ricky Lee, Kathryn McCormack, Ade Cartwright, Sunwoo Jung….
Become a Patron too https://www.patreon.com/ironmanrecords
February 12, 2017
Police Bastard – Confined (VINYL) has arrived after many months of waiting.
A big Thank You to all of you who have pre-ordered the VINYL or have contributed as Iron Man Records Patrons. I would like to acknowledge the ongoing insanity of the following and their kind financial support for this madness:
Suzy Tweddle, Deborah Ritchie, Scott Roe, Margaret Calleja, Thomas Rathgeber, Dan, Lee Parsfield, Chris Scales, Muir Mathewson, Michael Howe, Jonathan Harris, Dave Barnard, Bill Fadden, Mike Burgess, Joachim Palm, Lyle Bignon, Thomas Burke, Ben Cartlidge, Matt Grimes, Toby Conyers, Chris, Andy Cavendish, Steve Wyatt, Andrew Dubber, Frank Knoblich, Vaughan Roberts, Ian Robertson, Marcus H, Seth Faergolzia, Ricky Lee, Kathryn McCormack, Ade Cartwright, Sunwoo Jung….
Almost all orders have been posted out in the last few days, and Patrons will get their copies this week.
It’s been a bit mad at this end, I have never had to post out so many records in such a short time before. It’s been a task in itself just trying to get the orders to the post office.
If you would like to buy Police Bastard – Confined on VINYL try the Iron Man Shop here
If you would like to become an Iron Man Records Patron go here
This record is possibly the best record the band have released to date and there are only 500 copies on Vinyl so get one while you can.
The work continues on new recordings and new material. The band will be back playing live later this year, hope to see you then
February 3, 2017
The general history of art and literature shows that the highest achievements of the human mind are, as a rule, not favourably received at first. Iron Man Records would like to invite you to consider becoming a Patron.
Iron Man Records has dedicated over 20 years to supporting, promoting, and working with, some of the most interesting artists you may never have heard of, sometimes with a budget you can stick under a glass.
February will see the release of Police Bastard – “Confined” on Vinyl.
One of CVLT Nation’s Top Crust Albums: “Thought-provoking monologues and confrontational lyrics bring you on a cold, doom-laden journey of perpetual war, psychological mind control and disillusionment.”
April will see the release of John Sinclair – “Beatnik Youth Ambient” on Vinyl.
Ambient, chill out music from the restless creative mind of Youth with spoken word and poetry delivered by John Sinclair.
John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today continues his work for cultural transformation. A psychedelic poet, a living legend, a veteran of the counterculture, a survivor of the Marijuana Wars, and one of the last bohemians still standing. As a co-founder of the Detroit underground newspaper The Fifth Estate, manager of MC5, and Chairman of the White Panther Party described on Wikipedia in these modern times as a far-left, anti-racist, white American political collective founded in 1968 and dedicated to cultural revolution, John Sinclair’s mark on the boho rock & roll underground has been unique.
Youth is one of the UK’s most influential producers and has been honoured with an Outstanding Contribution Award by the Music Producers Guild. His career spans more than 30 years and is one of the UK’s most consistent, credible and influential producers, Youth has also hand drawn the beautiful cover artwork.
Please consider becoming a Patron to support the work. Incredible amounts of time, effort, and money has gone into making these records happen. Iron Man Records would like to invite you to give your support to the artists involved and their work.
Among the rewards, Patrons will get a copy of each release as soon as it is available and Patrons will get their names printed on the sleeve of all future releases generated with their help and support.
You have to build the world you want to live in, and while you may not want to consider running a record label yourself, you can directly influence what happens next. Patrons enable Iron Man Records to continue the work supporting struggling artists.
Please consider getting involved. If you want an alternative to what you see going on around you, you have to make it for yourself. Let’s make something happen https://www.patreon.com/ironmanrecords
December 23, 2016
Looking back on this year, Iron Man Records has had an interesting one. Three recurring themes emerged.
“The only way to support a revolution is to make your own” — Abbie Hoffman, Woodstock Nation.
“Reality is not enough; we need nonsense too. Drifting into a world of fantasy is not an escape from reality but a significant education about the nature of life.” Edmund Miller, Lewis Carroll Observed
“It’s dangerous to understand new things too quickly” — Josiah Warren, True Civilization
Make of that what you will. Some of the significant things that happened this year included:
John Sinclair published a book called It’s All Good: A John Sinclair Reader. Stories of tragedy and triumph that will take you on a trip through the Wonder Years with music lyrics and poetry. Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone attempted to find out how to live a psychedelic life with the poet and activist John Sinclair as BBC Music’s My Generation celebrated the 1960s.
Dr Marshmallow Cubicle – Occupy was released on Iron Man Records, 23rd April, 2016.
In the early hours of 10th April 2016, Howard Marks died peacefully in his sleep. Iron Man Records had the pleasure of meeting, working with and listening to Howard Marks. He really was exactly as you would hope: A truly decent bloke, funny, humble and just Mr Nice. His life and work will live on…..“You might control a lot of things Drugs Tsar, but you’ll never control my mind…..” Howard Marks from the song Let Me Grow More Weed he recorded with P.A.I.N
Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve “Fly Agaric” Pratt was released on Iron Man Records, 23rd June, 2016
The entire Iron Man Records music catalogue was made available on Bandcamp. To start with all releases are £5 or you can Stream the releases and listen for free. All Releases are available on most of the download and streaming platforms already but for those of you who want an alternative to Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Youtube, Facebook and all the other main providers, Bandcamp seems good.
Some people wonder what on earth I do for a living. Well, I earn money working as a Tour Manager and I spend all of it keeping Iron Man Records going. I spend the rest of my time trying to stay sane, despite serious provocation from people who are totally convinced or totally stupid, and often both at the same time. Have a read and make up your own mind: Back In Five Years and My life is a pile of receipts in a deserted restaurant on a cross channel ferry
Simon Reeves at Framework Studio spent three days recording Oliver Senton reading Cosmic Trigger 1 by Robert Anton Wilson for a forthcoming audio book. Iron Man Records somehow managed to neglect it’s responsibilities to The Cosmic Trigger play but was happy to help see Oliver Senton looked after during these recordings.
Test pressings arrived for John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient which includes a beautiful recording of Howard Marks’ last lost words called War On Drugs with an ambient soundscape masterpiece from Youth…and also Police Bastard – Confined. Both records will be released in 2017.
Iron Man Records has ambitious plans to make a big impact in 2017. And with Patrons helping out, I feel positive we can make a big change. I guarantee there will be no funding appplications, no idiotic culture bids, no creative consultants, no government, business or arts advice types involved. Just you, me, musicians, madness and music.
Thanks again for all your support and have a fun Christmas.