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Music Q&A: Spear of Destiny

Kirk Brandon has been fronting Spear of Destiny for 40 years and he’s marking the occasion with almost as many live dates. Ahead of playing The Waterloo this week, he tells us why Blackpool is a cool place to be waiting for the end of the world with an iced beer.

Tell us about your new Spear of Destiny album Ghost Population.
It’s an album I spent more time on since the ’80s. I think the time spent on it really shows in the production. It’s an album I’m immensely proud of in fact. At the end of the day it’s all about the songs. There are some really interesting sonics on it. Yes, it’s way left of centre but then I’m not some lad with stars in his eyes and strings on his limbs. The songs themselves are self explanatory, some observations, some deliberate, and others general. I’ve even put humour in some of them, albeit dark.

Theatre of Hate is also still active – do you approach the two bands differently?
Very differently. What works for one definitely doesn’t for the other. Stanley Stammers and Chris Bell in TOH have a very different approach to music and indeed life itself. Strangely enough, what with the intensity of TOH, there’s a lot of humour in the band. Maybe it’s a release valve. There’s definitely an ‘atmosphere’ to TOH’s music. On record and particularly live. A stark threatening life space.

Over the past few years you’ve also been working on reissuing your back catalogue. Why was this important for you?
I decided to re record several albums in line with what I originally thought they should be. A much harder edge, more rock based guitar sounds. More immediate. Less oceans of reverb on everything, as was the original ’80s recordings. For some, singing at the bottom of a well is the way to go but I’ve changed my opinion over the years.

You’re self releasing the new album on your own label. How has the music industry changed over the years you’ve been working in it and is it for the better or worse?
The industry is essentially the same for young people. What’s the difference between a whore and a singer? Whores get paid. If you do get meshed up with record companies, I’d advise find out where and what you’ll be paid. Plus, never surrender your merchandise to the company. It’s your life blood and will keep you afloat in the wacky world of touring. Today with social media, there are definite inroads into interactivity with your audience that didn’t exist in the ’90s. This is a good thing if you keep on top of it.

What do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t managed to carve out a career in music?
Foreign Legion was an option when I was younger but to be honest I don’t really know. Probably something a bit dim at best. Or maybe I’d have just roamed the earth until I found some place that resonated with me. More likely.

This current tour is a massive 38 dates. What’s in your touring survival kit?
Normally it’s Assam team, a lock knife, headphones, warfarin, a jumper, glasses, a book if I’m lucky.

Have you been to the Waterloo in Blackpool before? What else will you be checking out while you’re in town?
No, this is going to be our first visit, in fact we were recommended the club by Danny Farrant, the Buzzocks drummer. Strangly enough, I actually like Blackpool’s decadence and on the edge of destruction feel. It’s like it was almost designed by Banksy the artist. It’s a cool place. To be waiting for the end of the world with an iced beer.

Spear of Destiny play the Waterloo Music Bar on 17th May. Photo: Warren Meadows

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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