Chucking on the debut LP by Theatre Of Hate today for no particular reason apart from I wanted to give it a dust off and a spin. By the way chums, SS Records is not quite as sinister a name for a record label as one might at first imagine, explaination below by Kirk Brandon:
“I’m going to back track here to fill in the picture, as best as my damage will allow…. while still in The Pack I had come across a certain Scotsman, a Terry Razor….I had met him when I had been trying to get record company interest in my aforesaid Punk band, The Pack, or The Park (“it sounds more regal” ..Simon Werner) as we lovingly called it at the time”.
“I had observed him with two girls on his arm and a bottle of champagne at The Marquee one night, I presumed he was in the Recording Industry.
Terry had been working for Stiff Records which probably needs no introduction to anyone in the meatpacking industry”.
“Terry worked for Robinson in what today would be called ‘marketing’…in fact all those mad Stiff logo legends like ‘If It Ai’nt Stiff it Ai’nt Worth a Fuck’..well picture Terrys Scots voice swearing at someone and you’ll guess where it all came from. Terry was asked by Robinson to start a shop/retail outlet in Covent Garden and to start up a Record Label. The shop was called Secret Service as was the label. It was pretty successfull as I recall. Anyway sometime prior to this I’d asked Terry to bring out a single for The Pack and this would all coincide with the shop time frame. The Pack song was ‘King Of Kings’, with one of my all time favourite songs I have ever written as the ‘B’ side, ‘Brave New Soldiers’. The recording sounds as fresh and raw and edgy today as it did all those decades ago. It sold well I believe”.
“We, Terry and I went our seperate ways. Now comes a hard bit, I don’t actually remember how it was Terry re-entered the picture, but he did. Terry was now working for The Clash doing their merchandice on tour/running his own label (Mikey Dread being one of his artistes, ‘DREAD AT THE CONTROLS’) and was also a personal friend of Ian Dury having helped Ian rehab himself with his condition…Terry was working out of the Blackhill Management office at Royal Oak close to the Westway. Luke Rendle reminded me the other day that this office was where I had first met him. He was working for Terry loading albums with Paul Simonon from The Clash helping him”.
“Terry and I decided we’d bring out a single for Theatre Of Hate, which would be ‘Legion’, on his record label imprint Secret Service Records, abbreviated to SS1 by the pressing plant, on the centre of the disc and catalogued as SS1. If you look, the artist the late great artist Chris Morton put two dollar signs as its logo on the cent re piece. Little did we know what lay in store for this bit of virtually irrelevant formality…..”
*** The Pack, The Straps and Theatre Of Hate’s debut 7″ singles are on this site if you search for them. Text below from Wikki…
Theatre of Hate were a post-punk band formed in London at the beginning of 1980.
Led by singer-songwriter and ex-member of punk band The Pack, Kirk Brandon, the original group also consisted of: guitarist Steve Guthrie, bassist Stan Stammers ex of The Straps / Epileptics, saxophonist John Lennard and drummer Luke Rendle from Crisis / The Straps.
In 1980, The Pack had evolved into Theatre of Hate. The name of this new band was inspired by Antonin Artaud’s book ‘Theatre and its Double’, the band took its name from the concept of the Theatre of Cruelty: Artaud called for the emotional involvement of the audience. Singer Brandon borrowed the thespian term because he was “trying to do the same.” The first Theatre of Hate release was the ‘Original Sin’ single in November 1980, which reached #5 on the UK Indie Chart.
Theatre of Hate garnered much early attention as a live act and after their debut 7″ release, ‘Original Sin’ in 1980, made their album debut in 1981 with the live LP ‘He Who Dares Wins Live At The Warehouse Leeds’. Shortly after the album’s release however, Steve Guthrie left the band.
In August 1981 Theatre of Hate entered the studio with producer Mick Jones of The Clash to record their first non-live album debut, ‘Westworld’, which was released in February 1982 and which went on to reach the UK Top 20.
Shortly after the album was recorded new guitarist Billy Duffy (formerly of The Nosebleeds) joined the band and drummer Luke Rendle was replaced by Nigel Preston. The album finally reached number 17 in the UK Albums Chart, and also spawned the Top 40 single ‘Do You Believe in the Westworld’.
In February 1982, Theatre of Hate released another live album entitled ‘He Who Dares Wins: Live In Berlin’, and Billy Duffy left the band to join Death Cult, the band continuing for a short time before splitting up later that year.
Brandon went on to front Spear of Destiny with bassist Stammers.