The Boys Whose Head Exploded, our official bootleg capturing the raw & feral energy of The Pop Group at the time…rough and tough right up to the moment when we exploded.
'They played by their own rules and created something unlike anything else that could be heard at the time, and now the album has been reissued to a musical climate that has gone three and a half decades without seeing anything else like it.'
Mark & Gareth in conversation with Mark Fisher and Kodwo Eshun discussing 'For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?’.
‘The walls shook…’
Gideon Coe on our Noise Set slot with Geoff Barrow, as played on his show. Stuart Maconie also featured a few choice selections on his ‘Freaky Side of the 6 Music Festival’ show.
(Photo by Vicky Grace)
‘A radical manifesto for the deconstruction of the establishment, skewered on the continuing horrors of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, The Pop Group’s 1980 album For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? was one of the ’80s great ‘lost’ albums.
Released on their own Y label through Rough Trade, it celebrated antagonism and action, the title track proclaiming “Tolerance is a mark of apathy”. A riot of abrasive post-punk, free jazz and funk, shot through a dubbed-out haze (as heard most brilliantly on the Dennis Bovell-produced ‘We Are All Prostitutes’), the record was like a starter kit for street protest, with tracks titled like resistance anthems and a set of posters that read like placards, ready to be held aloft on the picket lines of Thatcher’s England…
Nestled at the heart of the damning script which hails capitalism is “the most barbaric of all religions” is the phrase “Our children shall rise up against us / Because we are the ones to blame”. Now able to own a copy, this reissue will put For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? into the hands of those children, who will struggle not to draw parallels.’
(Photography by Michael Wilkin)
Shot at the Electric Ballroom in November of 1979 when the single was originally released, the previously unseen video was recently unearthed from the attic of video maker Chris Reynolds.
‘The debates provoked by For How Much Longer rehearsed some of the disputes over aesthetics and politics that had exercised revolutionaries throughout the twentieth century. Was the message the most important thing, or was it formal innovation that made artworks revolutionary? The remarkable thing about For How Much Longer is that it refuses to choose.’
‘The Pop Group’s ‘For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder’ was one of the most challenging records of the post-punk era. The album and its reception reflected the fraught debates about the relationship between music and politics which convulsed post-punk, and which continue to haunt us now.
This unique event will begin with a playback of ‘For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?’, and the single ‘We Are All Prostitutes’. After the playback, discussion of the album will be led by Kodwo Eshun (the Otolith Group, author of More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction) and Mark Fisher (author of Capitalist Realism and Ghosts Of My Life), who will be joined by Mark Stewart and Gareth Sager of The Pop Group. Was ‘For How Much Longer …’ ever properly heard in 1980, and what can it tell us about our current moment?’
Monday February 22nd, Rough Trade East, 7pm.
A Punk London Event