Monday, 20 April 2015

Vintage Vinyl #8

Theatre of Hate - Do You Believe In The Westworld 7"
Bought from: Strawberry Fields, Cardiff
Price paid: one of a batch of five singles I paid £8 in total for

Another superb record I found at the now sadly defunct Strawberry Fields. It's completely representative of the post-punk era and as such has deservedly earned itself 'classic' status. Therefore I don't need to extol its virtues to such an educated and informed audience as you lot.

Instead, I can tell you about my introduction to Theatre of Hate and the one and only time I saw them live. I used to walk to school each morning with two mates who were neighbours. One of them, who was known to all as Megs, had two older brothers. One was a punk and played drums in the local punk band The Cult Maniax, the other was a rock fan. Therefore Megs was exposed to quite a bit of alternative music. I remember he introduced me to Half Man Half Biscuit, the Housemartins and Spear Of Destiny. I particularly liked the latter of these and as was my way I made sure I researched the band and got to know their back catalogue (they had just had a hit with Never Take Me Alive at the time; to this day, an absolutely immense tune).

Eventually I found out about Theatre of Hate, the former band of SoD singer Kirk Brandon and bassist Stan Stammers. I didn't like them so much at the time - a little too harsh for my liking, not as melodic as Spear of Destiny either. Do You Believe In The Westworld got stuck in my head though for some reason and over the next decade or so I kept finding this song, and other Theatre of Hate tracks, cropping up on compilations and in other people's record collections.

At some point in the early 90s, I went with Megs and a few others to see the reformed Theatre of Hate at the Cavern in Exeter. I still wasn't familiar with an awful lot of their material, but I do remember it being an excellent performance with loads of energy. Do You Believe In The Westworld took the roof off that night.

There are a lot of parallels you can draw between Theatre of Hate and a number of bands who have come to prominence over the last decade or so - Bloc Party, Foals to name just two of the better known ones. This Mick Jones-produced track remains one of their best loved and influential.


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