In my aforementioned misspent youth (lasting all the way through my mid-twenties, unbelievably) I was in a bunch of bands whose one common link was that we all worshiped the Gang of Four. If you know them, you'll know why. They defined post-punk's jagged guitar rhythms, raw funk-influenced bass and subversive political lyrics. (Okay, those politics don't go much deeper than art-school Marxism--as singer Jon King said in a recent interview, "you're either in opposition or you're a collaborator"--but they sounded very Right On when I was young.). And their live shows totally rocked. They're the inspiration for the current crop of very cool post-punk bands such as LCD Soundsystem, the Rapture and Bloc Party.
So I was unreasonably thrilled to hear that they were reforming for a tour this year. And, when I saw them in San Francisco, they were as good as ever. Now they're getting ready to release a new double album, which will be one CD of original songs re-recorded (apparently at least partly an effort to regain the rights to their music, which they had lost to their former label) and one of remixes by such bands as Ladytron, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Dandy Warhols. For those of you who share my Go4 fanboy obsession, here's more:
Start with the Gang of Four website, where you can hear a few tracks already and pre-order the album at a slight discount.
Did you know that after leaving the Go4 and founding Shriekback and a few other bands, bassist Dave Allen had quite the tech career? From his bio:
In 1999 he became General Manager, Los Angeles Division, of Emusic.com, the world’s first pay-for-download music service offering open format MP3 files for end users. In 2000 Dave was hired by Intel Corporation to become Director, Business Development for their Consumer Digital Audio Services Operation (CDASO) in Beaverton, Oregon. CDASO was an internal start-up at Intel charged with developing consumer internet-connected products such as MP3 players, Home Entertainment Servers and wireless devices to deliver internet files to legacy hi-fi systems within the home. In 2003 Dave joined the Overland Agency where he created the Overland Entertainment Division and its online music store, OEbase.com.
He now runs a online music consultancy in Portland called Pampelmoose that sounds, well, pretty Long Tailish:
Our team believes that the current music recording and distribution system is broken. With the vast array of new technologies now available providing musicians and labels with the means to market, promote and distribute their products via the internet, new eco-systems have been created, rather like Nerve-nets that spawn from each other and keep growing exponentially. With that in mind we consider the music recording and distribution system as a carte blanche on which we can impose our ideas. Everything is possible.
He's even got a blog.
Meanwhile, guitarist Andy Gill has had a strong career as a producer. More on his site.