Monday, August 2, 2010

Angelic Upstarts

The National Front, Margret Thatcher, and Skrewdriver, are all big conversation drivers from 1970’s British culture. Another is a band that formed in South Shields, named The Angelic Upstarts. Getting their start in 1977 The Angelic Upstarts were probably one of the most political bands for the time. Lead by vocalist Thomas Mensforth (Mensi),who grew up very poor, the band’s other members were Ray Cowie (Mond) on guitar, Steve Forsten on bass, and Derek "Decca" Wade on the drums. Making a point to call out issues such as racism, police brutality, and class, The Upstarts identified themselves as a band with leftist and socialist views.
1979 saw the debt single from the band entitles “Murder of Liddle Towers” which caught the eye of Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey, who would decide to take the band under his wing. The band's first two albums entitled “Teenage Warning” and “We Gotta Get out of This Place,” drew a clear line of disapproval, of the policies of Margret Thatcher and Police Brutality, while still keeping a working class edge and philosophy. Around this time The Upstart would become nothing short of mortal enemies with followers of The National Front political party, who miss understood the message of the band for support for their cause.
While “The Upstarts” were labeled as a skinhead Oi! band they displayed above average songwriting and musical skills. In the years to come the band would experiment with styles such as reggae, folk, and new wave only to prove that they were not just another Oi! or punk band, but a band that could bridge gaps between genres and generations.
In the mid 80’s the band would break-up, most likely do to low record sales. However the band has reunited many times sense. In 1992 they stayed together long enough to release the studio album “Bombed Out,” and the reuniting in the 2002 resulted with the album “Sons of Spartacus”. In August of 2006, Mensi announced he would be resigning from performing with “The Upstarts”, but that the band would carry on with Chris Write, from the Newcastle street punk band “Crashed Out”, replacing him on vocals. However that didn’t last long, in the later part of 2007 Menzi rejoined the live line-up.
It’s been almost 35 years, sense The Angelic Upstarts have decide to pick up instrument and make music, and you can still see them play live today. No matter what your politic are, you have to admit The Upstarts did something too many bands try to do today, and that’s reaching out and moving people to think outside of the box.

Thomas 'Mensi' Mensforth
Dickie Hammond
Neil Newton
Gaz Stoker
Decca Wade

Former Members:
Chris Wright
Mond Cowie
Steve Forsten
Sticks Warrington
Glyn Warren
Paul Thompson
Ambrose Nzams
Tony Feedback
Brian Hayes
Derwent Jaconelli
Ronnie Rocker
Max Splodge
Tony van Frater

Teenage Warning - August 1979
1.Teenage Warning
2.Student Power
3.The Young Ones
4.Never Again
5.We Are The People
6.Liddle Towers
7.I'm An Upstart
8.Small Town Small Mind
9.Youth Leader
10.Do Anything
11.Let's Speed
12.Leave Me Alone

We Gotta Get Out of this Place - April 1980
1.Never 'Ad Nothing
2.Police Oppression
3.Lonely Man Of Spandau
4.Their Destiny Is Coming
5.Shotgun Solution
6.King Coal
7.Out Of Control
8.Ronnie Is A Rocker
9.Listen To The Steps
10.Can't Kill A Legend
11.Capital City
12.We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

2,000,000 Voices - June 1981
1.Two Million Voices
2.Ghost Town
3.You're Nicked
5.Heath's Lament
6.Guns For The Afghan Rebels
7.I Understand
8.Mensi's Marauders
9.Mr. Politician
10.Kids On The Streets
12.We're Gonna Take The World
13.Last Night Another Soldier
14.I Wish

Still from the Heart - 1982
1.Never Say Die
2.Flames Of Brixton
3.Action Man
4.Wasted (Love By None)
5.Here Comes Trouble
6.Theme For Lost Souls
7.I Stand Accused
8.Black Knights Of The 80's
9.Cry Wolf

Reason Why - 1983
1.Woman In Disguise
2.Never Give Up
3.Waiting, Hating
4.Reason Why
5.Nobody Was Saved
6.Geordies Wife
7.Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
8.42nd Street
9.The Burglar
11.As The Passion
12.A Young Punk
13.Where We Started

Last Tango in Moscow - 1984
1.One More Day
2.Machine Gun Kelly
4.Blackleg Miner
5.Who's Got The Money
6.Last Tango In Moscow
7.I Think It Should Be Free
8.Never Return
9.Rude Boy
10.No News
11.Jarrow Woman
12.Nowhere To Run

Power of the Press - 1986
1.I Stand Accused
2.Nottingham Slag
3.Joe Where Are You Now?
5.Empty Street
6.Power Of The Press
7.Stab In The Back
8.Here I Come
9.Thin Red Line
10.I'd Kill Her For Sixpence
11.Greenfields Of France

Brighton Bomb - 1987
1.I Stand Accused
2.Nottingham Slug
3.Joe Where Are You Now?
5.Empty Street
6.Brighton Bomb
7.Power Of The Press
8.Stab In The Back
9.Here I Come
10.Thin Red Line
11.I'd Kill Her For Sixpence
12.Greenfields Of France

Blood on the Terraces - 1987
1.Pride of Our Passion
3.I Wanna Knighthood
4.Heart Attack in Paris
5.Four Grey Walls
6.I Don't Wanna Fight the Soviet
7.Our Day Will Come
8.Blood on the Terraces
9.Heroin Is Good for You
10.It's Your Life
12.Never 'Ad Nothing - (live)
13.Leave Me Alone - (live)
14.Teenage Warning - (live)
15.Last Night Another Soldier - (live)
16.Guns for the Afghan Rebels - (live)
17.One More Day - (live)
18.Two Million Voices - (live)

Bombed Out - 1992
1.Red Till Dead
2.Albert's Gotta Gun
3.Victim of Deceit
4.Open Your Eyes
5.Still Fighting
6.The Writing on the Wall
7.A Real Rain
8.Let's Build a Bomb
9.Proud and Loud
10.Stone Faced Killer

Sons Of Spartacus - 2002
1.Safe Heaven
2.Lonely Man Of Spandau II
4.Chuck Taylor (Ace Of Hearts)
5.Caught In The Crossfire
6.Action Man
7.Don't Get Old (In Tony's Britain)
8.South Shields Born 'N' Bred
9.Tally Ho Ginger
10.Maxwell Dynasty
11.Stop The City
12.The Great Divide
13.Bandiera Rossa
14.Stand Up


  1. wow. keep up the great work. not trying to bitch, try and keep up more often. this blog is very informative, and I have turned quite a few people on to it. while im not a HUGE fan of the angelic upstarts, they did have some clever tunes, and you seem to have a knack for profiling great bands of yesteryear. cheers!!

    Andy Wanderer

  2. Nice blog! And good infos!!!!!!! Let´s contact! See my blog

    Oi! from BRASIL!