Gavin Butt spoke to Gang Of Four’s Jon King about his new book, ‘No Machos Or Popstars’; a study of the 1970-’80s Leeds experimental art scene. He started by reading the book’s introductory analysis of the Leeds art student community, which covered the contributions and takeaways of the several educational art institutions on the avant-garde scene of the time which, in the wake of punk, gave birth to a whole host of experimental art college bands such as Gang Of Four and Scritti Politti.
After discussing the issues of class divide and the laid back nature of art colleges as opposed to universities that helped develop a better vision, King showed some old photos from the mid-’70s of him with Mark White and Andy Corrigan of The Mekons, with whom he shared a flat, doing performance art theatre where they expressed disillusionment and a sense of boredom with ’70s culture conceptual art performance.
The Go4 frontman also reminisced about seeing The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned and The Heartbreakers for £1 at Leeds Polytechnic and spitting at Johnny Thunders at the show. He further ridiculed the idea that a silver plated razor blade earring worn by Corrigan made the front-page of The Yorkshire post. Butt and him then spoke about The Pistols post-Grundy show and how it had inspired so many attendees such as Green Gartside of Scritti Politti but also put off others due to the violence.
The pair also discussed King’s Go4 lyrics smile those of ‘It’s Her Factory’ and how feminism such as “the wages of housework” movement had influenced the artwork. They finished talking about the architectural landscape of Leeds in the ‘70s-‘80s, ironically dubbed ‘the motorway city’ by redevelopers despite its obvious deprivation.
10/11/22: Gavin Butt + Jon King @ Wildcard Brewery, London.
Photos © Ayisha Khan.
© Ayisha Khan.