Star Scene: Andy Gill ~ GANG OF FOUR

Andy Gill’s scene is simply Gang of Four. The Gang of Four‘s founding member and guitarist states: “Anybody who was observing my life would say my scene is clearly Gang of Four and spending pretty much all day, every day, in some respect, on Gang of Four. Whether it’s making the music or whether it’s sitting at a laptop for most of the day trying to organise things with other people that work with me. So, I’d be lying if that wasn’t like 95% of what I end up doing. The other 5% is probably in the kitchen making fantastic food – cajun gumbo, lobster or prawn gumbo is a favourite. And blackened redfish or salmon, which also is a Cajun thing. And some Mexican stuff, I can’t … Yeah, I like things that have got a little bit of chilli in them. They’re my favourite things.”

Gill’s music tastes are eclectic and helped form his own distinctive style in Gang of Four. A younger Gill “sort of liked The Stones quite a lot”, then as a young teenager he was “very, very into Hendrix”. Gill continues about the music he listened to growing up: “For some reason, a lot of it was American. So, I guess, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Stax music, Motown. Sort of a very wide-ranging bunch of stuff. I liked things with a groove. When Hendrix eventually came out with Band of Gypsys, which was much more the kind of funk-orientated record, I thought that was amazing, fantastic. So I guess, in terms of guitar, on the one hand, I like the sheer noise and freeform nature of Hendrix and I suppose to a certain extent I like The Velvet Underground. And then, at the other extreme, the very, very tight funkiness sort of like Steve Cropper playing on those Stax records. In a way, he’s like the antecedent for Nile Rodgers, with that kind of very tight, funky playing. Or Wilko Johnson. Also robotic, funky. Well, not really funky, but tight and repetitive. That also has a part to play for me.”

Gill’s distinctive musical style and angst driven lyrics are still relevant today as they were when Entertainment! was first released. Gill has heard this before. He states: “People have said that to me. It feels like these words are as relevant now as they were 40 years ago. And I sometimes say that back then, I think I thought and I think a lot of people thought that maybe the world would become a slightly more progressive place and there’d become less gender inequality. There’d be less racism. I don’t know. The world would become a better place. Sometimes history doesn’t go in the way you think it might go. It’s not a linear thing. Sometimes it throws you for a loop.” Gill continues: “Through all the things that have happened in recent years and all the rest of it, people have become aware of what the issues are. We may not have arrived anywhere just yet, but at least a lot more people are aware of what the issues are. And speaking up about it, yeah. And being brave enough to do that.”

Entertainment! does stand the test of time 40 years later. As for what fans can expect of the tour, Gill states: “We probably won’t be as rigorous as just do it in the exact track listing. But I think we’ll play Entertainment! first in whatever order we play it in. And then after that we’ll do some new stuff, and the stuff in between. What I normally do, is I’ll play something from Entertainment! and then I’ll play something next to it which is just not even six months old. And it’s interesting that they sit so well together. They’re not the same thing, of course, but they seem to inform each other, if you like.”

Catch Gill and Gang of Four playing Entertainment! and more on their Australian tour! 

GANG OF FOUR 40th Anniversary of Entertaiment!
Play Entertainment! in Full + other Hits

“Entertainment! is one of those records where germs of influence can be traced through many genres and countless bands” (Allmusic) One of the most influential and groundbreaking bands to rise from the British punk scene in the late ’70s was GANG OF FOUR. To Celebrate the 40th Anniversary since the release of their debut album Entertainment! they will play the album in full + other Hits; I Love a Man in Uniform, What We All Want, Paralysed, To Hell With Poverty and more!

GANG OF FOUR’s Entertainment! may have been a sarcastic title, but it wasn’t entirely inaccurate. The album is caustic and bursting with disgust for unethical capitalism, opportunist politicians, and consumer society, among other things, but it’s also crafted with amazing pop sensibility- it is also remarkably danceable. The album was chock full of stone-cold classics Damaged Goods, Naturals Not In It (used during the title sequence of the Marie Antoinette), Not Great Men, Anthrax and Ether. It also featured At Home He’s a Tourist which was banned by the BBC when released as a single due to a lyrical reference to condoms. The band were asked to perform the song on Top of the Pops. However, when the show’s producers heard the line

“And the rubbers you hide in your top left pocket” they asked the group to change the word rubbers to rubbish for fear of causing offence. The band refused and the appearance was cancelled.

When they finished the album and played it to their record company, EMI mystified asked “Is this the demo?” to which the band said, “No. It’s the album”. EMI left it as it was and it was put out without any polishing.

As with any boundary breaking record, Entertainment! has subsequently been the source of a continual stream of copies and copies of copies, but even as the imitations continue, GANG OF FOUR’S debut remains singular, a powerful call to arms and out of apathy Entertainment! was named. 5th Greatest Punk Album of All Time (Rolling Stone) 8th Best Album of the 1970s (Pitchfork) Kurt Cobain (listed Entertainment! as 13th on his Top 50 Favourite Albums in his journal.

Michael Hutchence cited GANG OF FOUR as a major influence on INXS (Anthrax was used in Richard Lowenstein’s movie Dogs in Space which featured Michael Hutchence). They were also influential on the likes Fugazi, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand. Join GANG OF FOUR as they Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the album that kick started it all and changed the musical landscape, Entertainment!

‘GANG OF FOUR are one of the most influential bands in punk history’ – Mancunion

“GANG OF FOUR are glorious. They sound enormous. They are thrilling. They are exciting and have a whiff of danger and revolution about them” – Louder Than War

About Mary Boukouvalas 1443 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos,,,, She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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