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Interview

 

Alternative TV
14/08/01 (interview with Mark Perry)



Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

Alternative TV have been around since March 1977 when I formed the band with guitarist Alex Fergusson. We played our first gig at the Nottingham Punk Festival in May 1977. We started releasing records soon after, our first release being Love Lies Limp which was given away free with my fanzine, Sniffin Glue. The band went through loads of line-up changes in the first 2 years and we split up for the first time - in the summer of 1979 after a brief name change to the Good Missionaries. We reformed briefly in 1981, 1984, 1985 and 1991 but these line-ups usually only lasted for a short time, although weve always managed to put albums out on various labels. We have been reformed properly since 1995, when we played a punk fest at Bath. Since then we have been constantly playing although the line-up still changes a lot!

The current line up is me on vocals and guitar, Tyrone Thomas on lead guitar, Grahame Hullett on bass and John Isaac on drums. Weve just recorded a new album called Revolution for September release on the Public Domain label, and we are touring the UK in August.


Discography.

Youll have to check my website for my discography, its too long to list here!
www.markperry.freeuk.com


What is the highlight and what is the lowest point in the bands history?

I think the low point must have been when we originally split up back in 1979. Id lost interest in
the punk scene and felt like giving up music altogether. The highest point is hard to pick because
theres been quite a few. Playing New Yorks CBGBs in January and April this year was very special. Also playing places like the Marquee, the Roundhouse and the Rainbow Theatre in 1978 cause I used to go to those gigs a lot when I was younger. It was great to be up on stage for a change.

You have had covered some unusual topics in your songs, where do you find you ideas and what inspires you?

I dont know what inspires my songwriting. It just happens. I try to stay away from obvious punk topics although Ive written a couple of my angriest songs for the new album. Im never afraid to talk about my feelings in my songs which sets ATV apart from a lot of punk bands who seem to be scared of sounding soft or something.

Would Alternative TV allow one of their songs appear in a commercial? If yes, what would you like it to be advertising?

I wouldnt mind ATV music being used in an ad as long as it was for something that I actually liked or used. I think that doing an ad for car or mobile phone would be an awful sell out but doing one for something traditional like Daddies sauce or Colemans mustard would be a laugh.


Describe punk at the beginning of the 21st century.

Punk, in all its forms, is still the most havin it music on the planet. Plus, it gives us olduns to still make a noise!


If you could take a vocalist, guitarist(s), bassist and drummer from different bands to make your perfect band who would you choose (can be deceased)?

My best punk line-up would be Gene October (Chelsea) on vocals and guitar, Mick Jones of the Clash on guitar, Glen Matlock on bass and Bruce Smith (Pop Group/PIL) on drums. If we had a keyboard player it would have to be a 20 year old Keith Emerson!

Is there any band you would feel particularly honoured if they covered an Alternative TV song? If so, which band and what song?

Supergrass doing a version of Life would be interesting.


Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2001.

UK tour in August, Punk Aid in September, loads more gigs. Revolution album coming out soon. Im
also doing a solo album, out early next year.

Any final comments?

I think that its great that the UK punk scene has kept going. Its weird that its still happening 25
years on but as long as its exciting and free of bullshit, its brilliant. I hope more new young bands
get formed though, because well run out of puff soon!
Mark Perry.