The Pop Group

The Pop Group

Infobox Musical artist
Name = The Pop Group

Img_capt =
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Bristol, England
Genre = Post-punk, Punk jazz, Noise rock, Punk funk, Avantgarde
Years_active = 1978-1980
Label =
Associated_acts = Rip Rig & Panic
Current_members =
Past_members = Mark Stewart Dan Catsis Gareth Sager Simon Underwood John Waddington Bruce Smith

The Pop Group was a post-punk band from Bristol, England whose uncompromising, dissonant sound spanned punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae. Their lyrics were political in nature more often than not.

Formed in 1978 by Mark Stewart (lyrics, vocals), John Waddington (guitar), Gareth Sager (guitar), Simon Underwood (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums, percussion), they issued their debut single, "She is Beyond Good and Evil" on Radar Records the following year.

Their debut album "Y", was produced by reggae veteran Dennis Bovell to critical acclaim but low sales figures. Although it did not chart, the album's success was sufficient to convince Rough Trade to sign the band, but not before more line-up changes, with Dan Katsis replacing Underwood on bass.

The band's career with Rough Trade commenced with what is possibly their best-known single "We Are All Prostitutes", which featuring a guest appearance by free improviser Tristan Honsinger on cello. This was followed by the release of their second album, "For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?" in 1980, which included a contribution from US proto-rappers The Last Poets.

Shortly afterwards The Pop Group released a split single, "Where There's a Will...", with The Slits, a band with whom they now shared a drummer and managers (Christine Robertson and Dick O'Dell), as well as a growing interest in exploring musical genres such as dub and funk rhythms.

The band split in 1981, after legal wranglings and internal disagreements. Members of the group went on to form bands including Pigbag, Maximum Joy, Head and Rip Rig & Panic, the latter notable for the involvement of Neneh Cherry.

Singer Mark Stewart, meanwhile, collaborated with the On-U Sound posse, issuing records firstly as Mark Stewart and Maffia, then as a solo artist.

The Pop Group and associated bands started a Bristol 'scene' that would later spawn trip-hop.

The Pop Group's poster for "We Are All Prostitutes" featured prominently in episode 2 of the BBC series "Ashes to Ashes", which led to a fan of the band blowing up his father's pub.


* "Y" (album, 1979, Radar Records; reissued on CD by Radar in 1996 and Rhino Records in 2007)
* "She Is Beyond Good and Evil" (single, 1979, Radar Records)
* "For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?" (album, 1980, Rough Trade Records- includes collaboration with The Last Poets)
* "We Are All Prostitutes" (single, 1980, Rough Trade Records)
* "Where There's A Will..." (single, 1980, Rough Trade (split release with The Slits: "In the Beginning There Was Rhythm"))
* "We Are Time" (album, 1980, Rough Trade semi-bootleg compilation of live tracks, demos and out-takes)
* "We Are All Prostitutes" (retrospective compilation album, 1998, Radar Records)
* "Idealists In Distress from Bristol" (official bootleg compilation album, 2007, Vinyl Japan, double CD , Japan only release)


* "The Great Alternative and Indie Discography" (Martin C Strong)

External links

* [ Trailer The Pop Group/Mark Stewart documentary]
* [ Fan site]
* [ Review of "Y" on HeadHeritage, Julian Cope's site]

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