Leeds post-punk luminaries Gang of Four should need little to no introduction. Since their inception in 1978 they have continued to be cited as a major influence for many. Their groundbreaking debut LP ‘Entertainment!’, was released 35 years ago this month yet still finds itself an almost permanent fixture on any ‘must own’ album lists (including number 13 in Kurt Cobain’s personal top 50). March this year saw the release of the bands 9th studio album ‘What Happens Next’ which includes some damn fine collaborations with German musician Herbert Grönemeyer, The Big Pink member Robbie Furze, Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei and Alison Mosshart of the Kills and Dead Weather.
The band have seen a number of line up changes over the years, with guitarist/vocalist Andy Gill been the only constant. Here we catch up with Andy and take a look at the tracks that make up the soundtrack to his life.
BM: What was the song that first sparked your interest in music?
AG: ‘Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones. I used to march to school to it in my head when I was 10.
BM: The first single you ever bought?
AG: First record I bought was Jimi Hendrix ‘Are You Experienced?’
BM: Was there a record in your parent’s record collection that attracted your attention?
AG: Elgar. ‘The Enigma Variations’
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BM: Is there one particular song who’s lyrics you find inspiring?
AG: ‘It’s Not Dark Yet’ by Bob Dylan. One of the most melancholy songs ever written, but I find that inspiring.
BM: What was the first song you ever covered?
AG: ‘I Remember You’ The Ramones.
BM: Is there a song you’d like to cover but either can’t or won’t?
AG: ‘Rattlesnake’ by St Vincent. don’t think I could improve it.
BM: Do you have a tour bus favourite?
AG: ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’ by I – Roy. The greatest version of this much covered song.
BM: What about tracks that brought you together as a band?
AG: ‘She Does It Right’ by Dr feel good. But many tracks got us going – I could equally say Big Youth ‘Train to Rhodesia’. In fact I am going to say that.
BM: Your Saturday night track…
AG: ‘The Passenger’ by Iggy Pop
BM: And your Sunday morning tune…
AG: ‘Nature Boy’ by the Wild Beasts.
BM: Which song is most likely to get you up on the dancefloor?
AG: ‘Le Freak’ by Chic. We were much reviled for loving Chic in the late 70s because ‘disco’ was considered crap.
BM: Is there a record you feel we might be surprised you like it?
AG: ‘Requiem’ by Faure. I’ve listened to this more than any other piece of music. It’s also the music I’d have at my funeral.
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BM: What would be your karaoke choice?
AG: ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ by Bob Dylan
BM: Your favourite track made by your friends…
AG: U2 ‘The Fly’
BM: And by a band that you feel should be bigger…
AG: Anything by The Kills. I mean , they’re big, but they could be bigger – right ? !
BM: Whats your guilty pleasure?
AG: Somethings just have to remain secret.
BM: From your own back catalogue, which song are you most proud of/means the most to you?
AG: ‘Stranded’ from the last album ‘What Happens Next’.
BM: And finally, what do you think is the best song ever written?
AG: ‘History’s Not Made By Great Men’ – Gang of 4. Sorry , I just think it is.
Gang of Four’s current line up is – Andy Gill, guitar – John “Gaoler” Sterry, vocals – Thomas McNiece, bass – Jonny Finnigan, drums.
You can catch Gang Of Four warming up the main stage at the Gigantic Indie All-Dayer – on Saturday 23rd May.
Gigantic Indie All-Dayer – on Saturday 23rd May.
Manchester Academy, Oxford Road, Manchester
1.30PM – 11.30PM
Tickets £29.00 Advance
Box Office: 0161 832 1111 / www.manchesteracademy.net
MAIN STAGE – MANCHESTER ACADEMY
Doors open at 1.30pm the same time as the Real Ale and Cider Festival
Echo And The Bunnymen – on stage 10.05pm
Plus Very Special Guests Inspiral Carpets (Greatest Hits set) – on stage 8.30pm
Pop Will Eat Itself (Greatest Hits set) – on stage 7.00pm
Gang Of Four – on stage 5.35pm
Hurricane #1 – on stage 4.30pm
The Primitives – on stage 3.30pm
The Annual Gigantic Raffle – get down early and collect your free entry tickets – 3.00pm
SECOND STAGE – MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2 – Doors open at 4.30pm
The High – on stage 10.00pm
EAT – on stage 8.25pm
Diesel Park West – performing their classic album Shakespeare Alabama – on stage 6.55pm
Milltown Brothers – on stage 5.35pm
ACOUSTIC STAGE – MANCHESTER CLUB ACADEMY – Doors open at 4.30pm
Echobelly – on stage 10.00pm
The Woodentops – on stage 8.25pm
Mark Morriss – on stage 6.55pm
BOB – on stage 5.35pm
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