Touring his biographical solo show ‘An Accent Waiting To Happen’, Richard Strange hosted an intimate evening of stories, live music and comedy illustrating, with slides and video clips, his long career, amongst many things, as a musician, nightclub owner and actor.

He related his early days at school where a teacher first introduced him to William Burroughs’ ‘The Naked Lunch’ and his early musical influences such as Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, The Kinks and Love, then performing an acoustic cover of ‘Alone Again Or’ which he said inspired him to start a band.

Together with Urban Blitz (guitar, violin), Stoner (bass) and Peter DiLemma (drums), he formed proto-punk band Doctors of Madness. After promoting their own gigs, they grew in popularity and later made television appearances, until one day a support band, that happened to be The Sex Pistols, put them out of business.

With backing vocals sung by singer Lilybud, Strange performed some Doctors Of Madness songs on electric and acoustic guitar taken from the band’s 1976 debut studio album, ‘Late Night Movies, All Night Brainstorms’, with ‘Billy Watch Out’ and ‘Mitzi’s Cure’; the latter inspired by Burroughs’ cut-up technique.

He moved onto the next stage of his life founding the arts club Cabaret Futura, which hosted Richard Jobson’s poetry performances and put on Soft Cell’s first show. After then signing to Virgin records as a solo artist, he toured his second album, ‘The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange’, playing alongside the likes of Grace Jones and appearing on The Old Grey Whistle Test. With Lilybud, he then sang ‘By The Wall’, written after touring in Berlin at the time of the wall falling.

Strange also discussed film, theatre and musicals and his various acting roles including a part in the blockbuster ‘Batman’, a Tom Waits musical and first meeting a young actor named James Nesbitt. After performing some more solo material, he returned to Doctors of Madness with their 2019 protest album, ‘Dark Times’, playing both electric and acoustic guitar alongside Lilybud for ‘This Is How To Die’ and ‘This Kind of Failure’, and ending the evening on single ‘Make It Stop!’.

01/12/22: Richard Strange @ West Hampstead Arts Club, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Launching the second volume of his autobiography at a sold out event, David Gedge spoke to The Wedding Present’s co-writer and former bassist Terry De Castro as well as book illustrator Lee Thacker about his latest work, also taking questions from fans, and thereafter performing an intimate 50-minute acoustic set with two other members of the band, De Castro (guitar) and Melanie Howard (bass).

Gedge’s first and now second volume of his autobiography-cum-graphic novel contains comically illustrated stories from diaries, press clippings and ex-band members; the latest volume is based on the release of the band’s debut album ‘George Best’ and the John Peel sessions. The first volume had covered his early life and the band’s formation.

After the interview, The Wedding Present played a standard set, starting on their 1987 debut studio album, ‘George Best’, with the ringing strokes of ‘Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft’. ‘Something And Nothing’ – the title of Gedge’s book – and ‘Dare’ followed; the latter complimented by De Castro’s ascending electric guitar.

Gedge also played a cover from his orchestral project, Cinerama, with its Western whistling introduction and erotic lyrics, ending in Spanish flamenco. The Wedding Present then moved onto their latest single – from a series of monthly releases amounting to 24 in total – ‘Science Fiction’, which was filled with dreamscape guitar.

The band returned to their debut album with ‘Give My Love To Kevin’, second album ‘Bizarro’ with single ‘Brassneck’, its chords dancing on fuzzy electrics. They ended their set on debut album single ‘My Favourite Dress’, which descended into frantic rhythmic strumming.

17/11/22: The Wedding Present @ Walthamstow Trades Hall, London.

Photo (top) © Simon Cardwell.

Photo (bottom) © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


To mark the launch of Richard Evans’ new book ‘Listening To The Music The Machines Make: Inventing Electronic Pop 1978-1983’, Andy Bell talked to the author about his band Erasure, following their UK tour last year to promote their eighteenth studio album, ‘The Neon’.

Bell discussed the history of the synth-duo, from his audition to be a singer for electronic musician Vince Clarke, who was moving on from a failed project with Paul Quinn, to how, once he had been given the job, it had taken him time to find his confidence amongst synth men.

They moved onto some of the band’s televised performances on Top of The Pops, where Bell met the likes of Terence Trent D’Arby and Mel & Kim, and how fame had impacted his life. He also spoke about Erasure’s signing to Mute and working with Clarke, describing the instrumental recording process the two undertake in the studio and revealing they are yet to release their best work.

Evans’ book provides a detailed analysis of the electronic-pop genre with input from its pioneers, including Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure), who also did the foreword, Martyn Ware (The Human League, B.E.F., Heaven 17), who spoke at the launch, and Daniel Miller (The Normal, Mute), who Andy Bell called Erasure’s third member.

06/11/22: Richard Evans + Andy Bell @ Queen’s Gate House, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Former PiL drummer Martin Atkins brought his live tour of PiL memories and stories to the UK once again, but on this occasion  sadly in the wake of the recent loss of his former bandmate, Keith Levene, whom he based part of his talk on.

Atkins began speaking about Levene and focussed more on their relationship throughout, looking at slides of photos from the band’s tours from the ‘Riot at The Ritz’ in New York and his own time playing with PiL in Paris, at a John Peel session and over the course of the 1980 US tour, including the band’s infamous appearance on American Bandstand in front of 18 million viewers.

He talked about his audition at the invitation of Levene at Townhouse studios, playing with Jah Wobble and suddenly having his audition of  ‘Bad Baby’ recorded, which was later released on PiL’s second studio album, ‘Metal Box’. He recreated the audition on drums with his fellow PiL and Brian Brain bandmate, bass player Pete Jones, performing samples of ‘Poptones’, ‘Careering’ and ‘Public Image’.

Atkins also covered problems in the band such as the show at The Palladium in New York where they only played a 20-minute set and tumultuous relationships between members which eventually led to him being fired by Levene. He later rejoined the band for their 1981 ‘Flowers Of Romance’ studio album, demonstrating the album’s unique sound with a drum sample played against the rhythms of a Disney Mickey Mouse watch he had bought on tour.

He finished reflecting on his last conversation with Levene, and his regrets about not asking him to jam with him and Jones recently, pausing to process his emotions.

16/11/22: Martin Atkins @ Dublin Castle, London.

Photos (Pete Jones and bass) © Ayisha Khan.

All other photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


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.



Ahead of the release of their new studio album, ‘Private View’, Blancmange held a secret preview listening party for the new record which was played in full followed by a Q&A with frontman Neil Arthur. The event was also 40 years to the week since the release of the band’s debut album, ‘Happy Families’.

The album playback at the experimental art space was presented with visuals in the way of an animated series of dots. Arthur then answered questions, starting with the beginnings of the band, from Mark E Smith’s encouragement to contact John Peel to his and Stephen Luscombe’s first session with the radio DJ after signing to London records, armed with just a cheap organ and Toledo guitar.

Arthur spoke about recording the band’s early singles including ‘Living On The Ceiling’, which he said came out of a mistake on guitar that produced the oriental melody, also a result of him and Luscombe being introduced to Pandit Dinesh’s percussion and Deepak Khazanchi‘s sitar that eventually featured on the single.

The frontman also discussed the new album: the concept as well as the lyrical and sonic significance behind some of the tracks. He finished the interview reflecting on his achievements after 64 years before taking questions from the audience.

28/09/22: Blancmange (album playback + Q&A) @ IKLECTIK, London.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


To launch the first volume of his new autobiography, Human League and Heaven 17 founder Martyn Ware was in conversation with journalist Lucy O’Brien sharing stories from his time in both bands; the book also follows his series of podcast interviews with contemporary musicians across the electronic genre.

Ware began speaking about the early electronic scene in Sheffield emerging from the industrial noise of the city, meeting Ian Craig Marsh in a youth project called Meat Whistle and going to see Roxy Music at Sheffield University, with Brian Eno specifically influencing his interest in making music. The pair were doing sporadic live synthesiser performances when they met Adi Newton, forming the band The Future before the latter left to form Clock DVA.

Their search for a much needed singer resulted in their schoolfriend Phil Oakey joining the band lineup (later renamed The Human League), but following contention at  Virgin who signed them, Ware lamented about how he was forced out of his own band by Oakey, agreeing to handover the name to him but retaining 1% of the profits from the next release, which luckily turned out to be ‘Dare!’.

Following Ware’s formation of new band Heaven 17 with Glenn Gregory, he met Tina Turner who did backing vocals on the band’s song ‘Bored Confusion’, and talked about finally getting a hit single with ‘Temptation’, which just missed out on getting to No. 1. He also joked about having to share a recording studio with The Human League while in H17 and realising one day from some leftover backing tape that the girls could not sing, a comment that unfortunately ended up being published in the music press.

Ware finished the interview talking about his podcasts and political interests, and his current and future musical projects.

01/09/22: Martyn Ware @ Walthamstow Trades Hall, London.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.


Following the release of his second autobiography, ‘Living On A Thin Line’, Kinks’ guitarist Dave Davies was interviewed by music journalist Phil Clarke, also ahead of the release of a new documentary film about his many years touring in America which is due for release later this year. For the first time ever, a trailer of the film was shown accompanied by the soundtrack song, ‘Living On A Thin Line’ – the 1984 Kinks’ single that Dave originally wrote for his brother Ray but ended up singing himself on his advice.

Dave was asked about his early expectations for the band which he explained were very little, also disliking the ‘Kinks’ bandname itself. He said he was disappointed with their first tour of America during the height of the British invasion due to the lack of radioplay for bands and the way they were received by older Americans and promoters/venues, coming back with their tails between their legs, before they later made a connection with working class audiences due to the early rock ‘n’ roll and country and blues influences in their music.

He also talked at length about his stroke in 2004 and how he used humour to make a quicker recovery while he was in hospital, learning to play guitar again through meditation and positivity. He has plans to continue to record new music as a solo artist and play live shows; he described making music as “falling in love often.” He spoke about his musical influences right up to the present time such as George Formby’s inspiring use of humour in his music that helped The Kinks’ songwriting and his modern day interest in Beethoven.

11/07/22: Dave Davies @ Walthamstow Trades Hall, London.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.