Interview:2008-Elegy56-Tony

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You met each other in 1975. How exactly ?


Well, if my memory is correct it was on a coach to London from Woking to attend a anti-Fascist event. As neither of us had comb overs or beards i think we kind of gravitated together.


As shows « UK79 », chosen for our cd sampler, most of Crisis music was very genuine punk rock. Did you feel close to other punk bands of the time ?


Not really. I suppose on the political level it was the The Clash. I think both Doug and me liked Wire.


Crisis was very idealistic & political in a leftist sense. What did urge you to be so engaged at the time ? Your social origins and environment, unequalities and injustice, the harshness of the government, frustration ?


Well my Dad was a shop steward but supported Enoch Powell, and was also an ex-military policemen. I was also brought up on the first high rise estate in what was a very rich area of surrey. very close to St. Georges Hill where a lot of rock stars and rich Arabs lived. So I was a mixture of views some radical and some reactionary. The 70's were a time of political unrest in the UK, and everything then was a lot more political.


What did you denounce in "UK79" ? How different is UK today from the late seventies ?


Oh the usual, the police, the queen, the NF......you name it. The UK is very different now. The unions and students where both forces to be reckoned with, especially compared to now. Even the far left punched above its weight.


Death In June and Sol Invictus have been less obviously oriented, more symbolic and poetic. Was is in reaction to Crisis' too obvious messages ?


I think so yes. Crisis was painting in very broad strokes, and by the end every one was very disillusioned. I certainly had had enough of writing in chants. DIJ was about ambiguity and aesthetics, history and symbolism.


Death In June and Sol Invictus were considered by many as extreme right, mainly because of the imagery used. How do you feel about it ?Do you regret this use of imagery today or do you deplore the stupidity of these accusations ?


Well, I can only speak for myself. Due to my particular past and stupidity I have made a point, with the interview with Peter Webb etc of stating where I stand. I feel its needed because I owe it to the musicians I work with who are also friends and the fact that especially in eastern Europe people are getting attacked and some times killed because of being Gay or Jewish. I don't want any ambiguity regarding were I or the band stand on this. As for anyone else I don't think they have anything to regret or explain.


Tony, you felt attracted from socialist ideas to a kind of National Front political bubble in the early 80's. That's why you came apart from Doug and Patrick Leagas ?


Yes and a general slide in to a self destructive life style Just because I had a death wish i can hardly blame Doug and Pat not wanting to go along for the ride.


Musically speaking, you both turned, strangely enough, from punk to folk music. Some could say you faced a kind of identity "crisis" at the time :) ? Yet, some Crisis songs did announce the post punk scene (« Alienation ») or even death rock («Kanada Kommando"). How do you explain this complete change of direction in the early 80's doing folk at a time when post punk and new wave scenes were maybe more fashionable ?


There seems to have been a weird synchronicity with certain artists taking that direction. For me it was going from bass which is not the best instrument for song writing to learning (if it can be called that) the acoustic guitar. I finger picked bass and did the same when I abused six strings. I'm not sure if it was this that moved it towards a warped form of folk or not.


What has become of other Crisis members ? Any news ?


Luke lives not far from me and we say hi if our paths cross. not sure what he is up to. And I spoke briefly with Lester on My Space last year but I'm not really up on what people are doing.


"Ends!" witnesses of your last gig as Crisis playing the same night as Magazine. Any anecdote of this very special evening ?


I can hardly remember anything. Magazine where a great band and I wish I had some stories but nothing comes to mind. I'm going to see them when they play later this year.


Do you know the excellent french band "Frustration", called after the Crisis song ?


No, I hope they have better luck then we did....


Are you still in contact with Patrick Leagas ?


I exchanged e mails with Pat earlier in the year, but am not regularly in contact. it would be nice to see him but his job means he is away a lot.


A few words about Grey Force Wakeford ?


It was a very enjoyable project to do. Me in London, Kris in San Francisco and Nick in Monaco. Swapping files. I think it worked well. What are your projects in the next few months ? By the time you read this I will have played a London concert. A solo album I have done for the Israeli label Eastern Front is mixed, and mastered, by my producer Reeve Malka and is on its way to Tel Aviv.


Orchestre Noir still exists ? Who are the core of the project today ? What about Eric Roger ?


Well its now called Orchestra Noir and London based. Its

  • Tony Wakeford- Double Bass, Sounds, Electronics, Voice
  • M- Percussion, Sounds, Electronics, Vibraphone, Marimba, Jaws harp
  • Guy Harries- Flute, Recorder, Melodiica
  • Richard Moult- Piano
  • Mark Baigent- Oboe
  • Renee Rosen- Violin
  • Ben Sansom- Violin
  • Alexandria Lawrence- Viola
  • Jessica Constable- Voice
  • Autumn Grieve- Voice
  • Emily Ovenden- Voice

We are about to sign to Prophecy and we have a album almost ready. Eric and I no longer work together.


What about 'The cruelest Month' by Sol Invictus ? What is the line-up ?


We are working on it for a April release by Prophecy. The line up is moi, Andrew King, Guy Harries, M, Caroline Jago, Lesley Malone, Renee Rosen. Its going very well. After its released Prophecy will be releasing a box set of the back catalogue.


What about Triple Tree ? Is it released ?


Its just come out at last and we have had a rehearsal which went really well. We are looking to play live. There is talk of a couple of concerts in Scandinavia.