The Apostles

The Apostles

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Apostles

Img_capt = The Apostles performing at the Spread Eagle, Southend on Sea, December 1981
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = London, United Kingdom
Genre = Punk rock
Years_active = 1979 - 1990
Label = Mortarhate Records
Associated_acts = Academy 23 Innocent Bystander Political Asylum Oi Polloi The Parkinsons Geordie Hellbastard Sidewinder Nero Circus Heavy Water The Demolition Company
Current_members = William 'Bill' Corbett Julian Portinari Dan McIntyre Pete Byng-Hall Chris Low Dave Fanning Andy Martin Chris Wiltshire Malcolm "Scruff" Lewty Sean Stokes Colin Murrell
Past_members =

The Apostles are an experimental punk rock band who developed within the confines of the 1980s Anarcho Punk scene in the UK, but did not necessarily adhere to the aesthetics of that movement.


The Apostles were formed in the Islington area of London in 1979 by William 'Bill' Corbett, Julian Portinari, Dan McIntyre and Pete Byng-Hall. This line-up of the group did not play any concerts, and only appeared in a small number of fanzines (including "Paroxysm Fear" and "New Crimes") before Bill Corbett left the group.

Andy Martin (ex-Black Flag / Carnage) joined as vocalist in late 1981, and the group played their first concert on 22 September 1981. This line-up of the group recorded a demo tape - 'The Apostles' - in late 1981.

The music of the group is generally characterized by a varied eclecticism which encompasses punk, Blues Rock, Industrial music (with influences like Lemon Kittens, Nocturnal Emissions and Five Or Six cited), and more abstracted avant garde experimentation.

The remaining founder members of the group left the group in early 1982. Martin recruited Dave Fanning (ex-Innocent Bystander) as bassplayer, along with a revolving line-up of musicians (which included John Soares, Kev Apostle, Flump, Chris Low (ex-Political Asylum) and Olly Bucket (Eat Shit) ) in order to continue the group who went on to play numerous concerts in the London area, and to record 8 demo cassettes and 4 7" singles between 1982 and 1984.

Andy Martin and Dave Fanning were joined in 1984 by Malcolm "Scruff" Lewty (later of Hellbastard, Sidewinder, Nero Circus and Heavy Water) and drummer Chris Wiltshire which created a line-up which remained relatively stable (with the addition of Sean Stokes and Colin Murrell) until the groups demise at the end of the 1980's. The group recorded over 10 demo cassettes, 4 7" singles and 7 12" LP's between mid-1984 and 1990. Original guitarist Pete Bynghall re-joined the group in late 1988 for their last recordings and final concert (cf Live At The Academy).

Always highly critical of the seemingly inward looking anarchist movement of the times, the autonomous and extreme libertarian approach of The Apostles seemed to portray classic anarchism, as opposed to the conformity of many of their contemporaries, This led the group receiving respect from notable members of the anarcho-punk movement such as Conflict, who released three records by The Apostles, and Crass with whom the band co-operated with during the squatting of the Zig-Zag Club and during the time in which the The Autonomy Centre and Centro Iberico anarchist venues operated. Both Martin and Fanning worked during this period at the Little @ printers - an anarchist printers located in the same building as the Autonomy Centre in Wapping. The anti-communist and anti-gay lyrics of 'Rock Against Communism' and 'Kill or Cure' on the 'Giving of Loving Costs Nothing' ep and other similarly themed later songs opened the group to charges of fascisim and homophobia. Whilst this material was intended to expose the supine attitudes of those within the 'anarcho punk' milieu who did not challenge such blatantly provocative sentiments (a tactic which Andy Martin had used since his entrance to the group), they undermined the coherence of the band's ideology, leading Stewart Home, in his book "Cranked Up Really High", to describe The Apostles as "locked into...a stasis if not actual paralysis". During the time the band was together Andy Martin began to write about his homosexuality and the subject in general which alienated many of their former fans but did not deter Martin. In 1989, Andy and Dave did an interview with "Homocore" fanzine which addressed this issue¹. Among their many recordings released, The Apostles contributed the song "Forbidden Love" to the first queercore compilation, "JD.s Top Ten Homocore Hits", released by "J.D.s" fanzine in 1990.

The Apostles split as a group in 1990, immediately forming Academy 23 which also included Nathan Coles (of The Unbelievables) and Lawrence Burton (formerly of Konstruktivists). The group collaborated with the industrial band The Grey Wolves on two songs, "Terror Chamber" and "Terror Intensifies", both featured on compilations.

Academy 23 were later renamed in 1994 as Unit who continue to record and perform to this day.


*"Live at the LMC", Jan 1983 (Split live LP with The Mob) bootleg
*"Punk Obituary", 1985, Mortarhate Records
*"The Lives & Times Of The Apostles", 1986 COR Records
*"The Acts Of The Apostles In The Theatre Of Fear", 1986 Acid Stings
*"How Much Longer?", 1986 Acid Stings
*"Equinox Screams", 1987
*"The Other Operation", 1988, split album with Statement
*"Hymn To Pan", 1988 (only available in America)


Chart placings shown are from the UK Independent Chart.cite book |last=Lazell |first=Barry |title=Indie Hits 1980-1999 |year= 1997 |publisher=Cherry Red Books |isbn=0-9517206-9-4 ]
*"Blow It Up, Burn It Down, Kick It Till It Breaks!", 1982
*"Rising From The Ashes", 1983 #21
*"The Curse Of The Creature", 1983 #17
*"The Giving Of Love Costs Nothing", 1984
*"Smash The Spectacle", 1984 #22
*"Anathema/The Apostles", 1985
*"Death To Wacky Pop!", 1986 (features members of The Joy Of Living)
*"No Faith No Fear", 1986

The Joy Of Living were a female folk/punk band who released 1 cassette demo in addition to the above recording.

Demo Albums (cassette only)

*"The Apostles 1981
*"The 2nd Dark Age 1982
*"Libertarian Propaganda 1982
*"Topics For Discussion 1982
*"A Sudden Surge of Sound (retrospective on CFC Cassettes) 1983
*"Swimmers In The Sea Of Life 1983
*"Live At The Recession Club 1983
*"Will I Ever Be Free? 1984
*"Fire In The Sky 1985
*"Visions Of The End 1985
*"Punk Leftovers 1986
*"Private Performances 1987
*"Gary Cooke Was Here 1987
*"The Progressive Blues Experiment 1988
*"The 12th Gate To The Underworld 1988
*"Death 1988
*"How To Suck Seed 1988
*"Life 1989
*"Live At The Academy 1989 (the last ever performance 23/02/89)

Tracks On Compilations

*"Mob Violence (Part 2)" - We Don't Want Your Fucking War 1986 LP Mortarhate
*'Inner Space" - "God Save Us From The USA 1987 LP Happy Mike
*"Walls" - You've Heard It All Before (Crass Covers compilation) 1993 LP Ruptured Ambitions Records
*"Hyde Park" 1988 LP Released by German band Doc Wor Mirran featuring international groups, not all punk
*"J.D.s Top Ten Tape" - Forbidden Love 1990 cassette

Several early Apostles tracks are featured on the Cause For Concern CFC compilation A Sudden Surge of Power. An excellent sampler of the early 80s post-Punk Industrial music scene, it also features contributions from Nocturnal Emissions,Test Department, Attrition, 400 Blows, We Be Echo and ex-Throbbing Gristle members Chris and Cosey.


* [ 1."Homocore" interview]

External links

* [ Website for The Apostles' current band UNIT]
* [ Website for The Apostles]
* [ Article about The Apostles]
* [ The Apostles interview with "Homocore" zine]

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