Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Apostles

     The Apostles, who have probably influenced me the most out of all the bands that will be mentioned here, may carry a passionate hate for the anarchist and pacifist punk scene, want to be forgotten and deny ever being a part of it, but got involved within it during their time as a band and made such great contributions to that scene(though they questioned it to no end) that they ended up becoming associated with it whether they wanted to or not(somebody once commented on the band saying that 'Crass opened the door. The Apostles kicked it in'). The band helped setup four different anarchy centres: The Autonomy Cetre(Wapping), The Centro Iberico(Westbourne Park), L.M.C.(Camden) and the recession club(Hackney) and they also ran an information network, got homeless people connected with housing co-ops and squatter groups, gathered like minded individuals, included an abundant amount of writings and art in their releases, organized several non-musical social events, and took part in lots of direct political action. Formed in 1979 around the Islington area of London, The Apostles began life with William 'Bill' Corbett on vocals, Pete Bynghall on guitar, Julian Portinari on bass and Dan McIntyre on drums in hopes of starting something similar to Crass. It would not be until a few years later when their two most controversial and well known members Andy Martin and Dave Fanning joined. Both Andy and Dave are homosexuals(Andy also has Dyspraxia) and this played a part in destroying the bands popularity, pushing them more underground than most of the other bands because people felt that they couldn't support the Apostles due to their gay members and also their anti-anarchist pacifist punk views.

Dave on the left and Andy on the right.
     The bands first singer, however, had to leave to go to University, so his older brother Andrew Bynghall who was drumming for Twelve Cubic Feet at the time told Andy that his little brother's band needed a new singer. Andy joined(was previously in the bands Black Flag/Carnage but felt too ashamed to tell the band that he was gay because he thought that they wouldn't accept him, so he didn't tell them at first), but wanted to make them a pop group like Twelve Cubic Feet, where as the other three members wanted a Crass like group. Pete, Julian and Dan had become regulars at Crass and other Crass related gigs, but Andy would never want to go with them, called Flux of Pink Indians 'Flux of Pink Idiots', and would decide instead to go to places like the Africa Centre too see such bands as The Lemon Kittens and Eyeless in Gazza. Despite their differences, The Apostles managed to play their first gig at the basement Youth Club in Covent Garden, and their second gig with the Sinyx; the first gig being where Andy met Dave Fanning(at the time he was playing bass for Innocent Bystander and Libertarian Youth) and John Soares(at the time was Libertarian Youth's guitarist). However, the band eventually came to the conclusion that they could no longer work with Andy so they 'sacked' him, picked up all their gear and left him by himself.

     Andy remained very determined(I find him as a very smart, clever and funny man), so he started his own label called Scum tapes, took up guitar, drums and vocals, recruited Dave Fanning on bass, John Soars on guitar and Martin Smith on drums. The three new members were all formerly from the band Libertarian Youth, and Andy even decided to sort of get back at his old band by calling it the Apostles. This would be the lineup that came to release their cassette only albums 'The Apostles' in 1981 and 'The Second Dark Age' in 1982 on their label Scum Tapes. As homosexuals, both Andy and Dave struggled with becoming accepted within the other anarchist punk bands, and even helped with the gay liberation struggle and even setup gay co-ops.

     On December 18th, 1982, The Apostles played at the Zig Zag Squat gig along with Dirt, Faction, The Epsilons(D & V), Crass, Flux of Pink Indians, Conflict, Sleeping Dogs, Soldiers of Fortune, Amebix, Omega Tribe, Null and Void, T42, The Mob, Polemic and Youth in Asia. The Apostles played between Sleeping Dogs and Amebix. It was a free all day event where each band was only allowed to play thirty minute sets. Several of the bands consider it the best gig they ever played, but Andy recalled an event recently that took place during it that made him feel complete disgust towards the anarchist pacifist punks.

     While one of the bands was playing, five skinheads forced their way in and pushed Andy and some others out of the way to get to the front of the stage, and as Andy and Dave followed them, they witnesed the skinheads take down a fifteen-year-old Asian boy and they began beating him. Andy turned to the 500 strong audience, but to his surprise they formed a circle around the skinheads and watched the young boy struggle to fight back and get beat up since their idea of Crass's pacifism couldn't let them fight back. This enraged Andy, so he and Dave began to move towards the boy, but Penny Rimbaud and Andy from Crass jumped in and pulled off the two biggest skinheads while Colin Jerwood from Conflict took care of the rest until the skinheads ran away scared. When Andy Martin went to comfort the boy, he was surprised to find out that the boy had come down to the gig to see The Apostles play because John was in it, and himself an Indian, but by that time John had left, but it was the reaction from the audience and the other bands that infuriated Andy, and he lost all respect for the anarchist pacifist punks as he saw serious flaws in Crass's anarchist and pacifist ideas(Sort of like Malcom X's belief that you should be peaceful and respectful, but if you are hit you need to hit back). Other bands such as The Rondos, Six Minute War(pre-Fallout) and Ian Bone's The Living Legends had similar beliefs to Andy and spoke out against Crass's ideas(it seems that they all ended up getting ignored because of this).

     Another reason why Andy became upset was because even though Andy Palmer from Crass had invited them to come down, and they worked hard to organize the event, no one gave them mention or credit for all of their hard work. The band did not care if big groups such as N.M.E, Melody Maker or Sounds pretended they did not exist, but the fact the entire punk scene ignored their contributions in political and social activities frustrated them. As another result, Andy stated that he will 'forever hate them for it'. In 1982, the band went on to record and release their first single 'Blow it Up, Burn it Down, Kick it Til it Breaks' during that same year.

Drummer Chris Low.
     Soon after the Zig Zag gig, Chris Low, who was writing to Andy and had enjoyed their 'Apostles' cassette, had just left Political Asylum and decided to come down and join the band. Chris noticed that Andy looked more like a mod, and Dave like a hippy, and that they didn't even listen to any punk bands or had any interest in sounding like Crass and even disagreed with some of their ideas. Some of the ideas that the Apostles believed in were against pacifism such as armed struggle, punk as 'dead' and no longer a threat to the system, punk gigs as an excuse to bring forth change, Class War(this was before the Class War zine associated with Ian Bone and his band The Living Legends began) and the anti-Nazi groups they were in which included hunting down and attacking racist Nazis who were up to no good. 

Dave Fanning on the left and Andy Martin on the right.
     Chris himself was more into bands like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire which added to the unique Apostles sound(at the time nobody else sounded like them). Once Chris joined, the band recorded and released their second and third E.P.s 'Rising from the Ashes' and 'The Curse of the Creature' both during 1983 on their own SCUM tapes label.

     In 1984, Chris departed and was replaced by Chris 'Widni' Witshire. Fortunately for Chris, he would go on to play drums briefly for Oi Polloi. Malcolm 'Scruff' Lewty also joined The Apostles as their second guitarist. 1984 also saw the release of their 'Smash The Spectacle' single on Mortarhate.

     In 1986, their epic debut album 'Punk Obituary' was released on Moratarhate. Later that year, The Apostles released their second album titled 'The Lives and Times of The Apostles' on a different label called Children of revolution. During 1987, Windi left the band to attend University, and Scruff also quit to focus on his other band; the trash metal band Hellbastard. The two were replaced by Sam Stokes and Colin Murrel from the avant-garde performance art duo 'The Demolition Company'. 

     Several more cassette albums were made after this, and in 1988, their 'Hymn to Pain' L.P. was released on the label No Master's Voice. The bands life was now starting to come to an end, but not until sometime after their last studio session were they were rejoined by former Apostle co-founder Pete Bynghall. Andy felt that a last gig was not necessary(they only played twenty four gigs during the band's lifespan) , and Sean's relationship with Colin became bitter, but Andy was convinced to do it, and so did Sean and Colin even though they both ignored each other throughout the set. The Apostles played their last gig at Chats Palace, Hackney and Andy admits that the band had finally pulled together and played a good set, but their only audience consisted of Dave's friends named John Waddingham, Tim Verden and Tim's dog Leo.(an eerie gig where they were the only group that played). The Apostles split soon after around 1990 since Pete had to leave(wanted to lead a new life in America), Andy quit and the rest couldn't carry on, but Andy and Dave organized and started a new band called Academy 23 that is still active today(Dave recently left), but under the name Unit.

     Sorry for reviving The Apostles for a day Andy. I know you wont approve of this and probably hate me for it now. Your writings have inspired me though(not all, some of them are ridiculous). Credit to some of the photos goes to Chris Low(burrowed from his collection) and Ian 'Pigs For Slaughter' for writing the brilliant 'Why Punks Fails' flyer.

"Oh, Death"

Look, look,
see what the lord has done.

Look, look,
see what the lord has done.
And I know I am the chosen one.

Well look, down yonder,
down that lonesome road.
Said look, down yonder,
down that lonesome road,
for death will ease my heavy load.

Look, well Lordy well look,
daylight coming to soon.
Said look, well Lordy well look,
daylight coming to soon.
and death he come creeping in my room.

Look well, Lordy well look,
see what the lord has done.

Look well, Lordy well look,
see what the lord has done.
Yes I know I am the chosen one.

"Mob Violence"

I've come up from the slime and the factory grime
where all my friends dads are serving their time,
and the working class women's faces don't shine
when they're scrapping a living on the poverty line.
And their kids don't read Janet and John,
instead they're learning how to make a petrol bomb.
The communist party wail and whine,
well I've got no time for that sickening slime.
The national fascists call their creed,
but I've got no need for that bullshit greed.
The pacifists say 'reject and refuse'.
Ha! I've got no use for that brain abuse.

Mob Violence! Mob Violence!
Fists and faces meet when we take to the street.
Mob Violence, Mob Violence!
Because we get our kicks throwing bottles and bricks.
Mob violence! Mob Violence!
Class anger explodes when we get on the roads.

No white collared John's gonna lead me on:
he wont talk so big when his Bentley's gone.
No politician will stop my mission:
He wont travel far when his legs are missing.
No Eton blue coaster's gonna screw up my rota,
especially when his head's underneath my motor.
All your pacifist preaching pisses me off,
while peace, love and dope just make me cough.
See, the only thing I know that makes me feel high
is a half brick landing in a copper's eye.
Yeah, the only thing I know that makes me feel nice
is the sight and sound of an incendiary device.

Mob Violence! Mob Violence!
Fists and faces meet when we take to the street.
Mob Violence, Mob Violence!
Because we get our kicks throwing bottles and bricks.
Mob violence! Mob Violence!
Class anger explodes when we get on the roads.

"Worker's Autonomy (Part One)"

Singing a song in the morning
as we lock the boss in the laboratory.
Taking the charge of the factory
we work autonomously.
We used to bend and slave for making
everything for your greed,
but now we lend our labor making
under the goods that you need.

Singing a song in the morning
as we lock the boss in the laboratory.
Taking the charge of the factory
we work autonomously.

Why waste your years just
working, and working, and working and working
and selling yourself for a wage?
Take back control of
working and building and living and
set an example for the age of

Singing a song in the morning
as we lock the boss in the laboratory.
Taking the charge of the factory
we work autonomously.
We used to bend and slave for making
everything for your greed,
but now we lend our labor making
under the goods that you need.

Singing a song in the morning
as we lock the boss in the laboratory.
Taking the charge of the factory
we work autonomously.

"Anarchy, Peace & Freedom"

You're smoking a joint and you're dropping acid.
You are so pointless, docile and placid:
you talk about anarchy, peace and freedom...
well, stuff your theories, we don't need 'em.

I don't believe you care at all.
You sit self satisfied and tall, so tall.
The system has you on its' death list,
and you still call yourself a pacifist.

The church of God say they will save you;
the communists want to enslave you;
the state says you'll obey policemen,
and all you say is 'anarchy and peace, man.'

How can you tell us that we are violent
when the state spends money on Cruise and Trident?
People are beaten up in racial attacks,
so how can you tell us not to fight back?

The fires of your intelligence are never lit.
Your piss poor pacifism is a turgid trance.
You're so fuckin' stoned that you're still talking shit,
so close your arse and give your mouth a chance.

Political prisoners are killed in prison cells...
Tortured animals suffer from a fate they cannot tell.
We've got poverty and oppression and a state run by police,
and all you sat is 'anarchy and peace'... aw, bollocks!

"A New World in Our Hearts"

At the turn of the twentieth century Francisco Ferrer begun
creating a free school for the benefit of everyone.
But in 1909 the catholic church in Spain
had him executed in God's name, a murderer once again.

In a village in Andalucia in 1933
Six Fingers and associates were fighting to be free;
when the Guardia Civil Fascists started to arrive,
Six Fingers and his friends in a shepherds' hut were burnt alive.

The secretary of the C.N.T., one Salvador Sequi,
as known as Sugar Baby for his youthfulness, you see.
When the catholic militia men of Archbishop Soldevilla
shot Sugar baby down and made the church a killer...

Buenaventura Durruti was a railwayman in Spain.
It hurt him oh so deeply when young Salvador was slain;
he went to the church of Soldevilla, anger in his head -
with careful aim and a trusty gun he shot the bishop dead!

"Libertarian Youth"

Your body is a gift to the nation,
the result of a man and a woman's frustration...

You're taught to believe the unbelievable.
You're taught to accept the unacceptable.

The lies you're told are painted as true. 
Thought and questions will not come from you.

A school of thought is a school of the mind,
but self realization is not or your kind.
Not for your kind.

The stream you swim is the stream they set
and it is yourself that they make you forget.
They train you for work, they teach you a trade;
you're one of the many willing servants they've made.
whether factory fodder or the office elite,
you'll attack one another like the meat you eat.

But if you protest they'll lock you away,
though you only feel anger because they made you that way.
Is it surprising that you salute the nation
when you're unaware of the degradation?
You're living a crime by obeying the law -
have you never thought why and what it is for?

You'll work for the nation until you die.
Your lives are stolen, do you ever wonder why?
Your body is useless, it now lays dead -
all because you were so easily led.
did you ever possess a thought inside your head?
Open the floodgates, paint it black and red!

Use your own head!
Use your own head!
Use your own head!

It's your own life,
live it.

Written by Ian 'Pigs For Slaughter'.

Soon to come downloads(singles wont be uploaded anymore since the Apostles remastered retrospective C.D.s are in the making):

(Due to the immense amount of material, only my top favorite tapes and records will be uploaded)
The 2nd Dark Age 1982 Scum Tapes
Blow it up, Burn it Down, Kick it Til it Breaks 1982(Removed)
Smash the Spectacle 1985 Mortarhate(Removed)
Punk Obituary 1986 Mortarhate
Hymn to Pain 1988 No Master's Voice


  1. Yes, a very good post indeed and we are waiting for the promised materials, come on now!

  2. thanks, i had a good read - don't forget about uploading the records though ;) i knew apostles only from this one mortarhate sampler i have and didnt pay much further attention, reading your post and afterwards clicking through youtube vids really told me something new! - J.

  3. I see. You are welcome. I'll try to upload the Apostles tracks today. I have been busy working on other projects such as my second blog which ties together with this one.

  4. its sink or swim...................... www ................die liebe

  5. Great post!
    Did you upload anything? Can't find Punk Obituary in decent quality.

  6. These guys had some pretty fearfully confused views about LSD... (not that 80's acid was necessarily very good or pure, apparently) but bravo on all other fronts!

  7. All Apostles work can be bought (remastered as digital downloads) from , but the UNIT recordings are of much better quality and transform those old songs into the 21st century!!

  8. Nice page. To me any song of Mr. Martin &co. is a little masterpiece. Great art, unique style. Full admiration.
    [original] Existence, Italy.