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Gang of Four releasing live album/film (watch a clip); Andy Gill talks Frank Ocean sample, Viet Cong name change, more

Gang of Four
photo via Gang of Four Facebook

The current version of Gang of Four, which has guitarist and occasional vocalist Andy Gill joined by all recently-joined members (including lead vocalist John “Gaoler” Sterry who joined in 2012), is releasing a live album/film, Live… In The Moment, this week (9/9). It was recorded at NYC’s Irving Plaza in 2015 and London’s Islington Assembly Hall in 2015. If you’re wondering why they chose now to do a live album, we asked them for some insight:

Why a live album now? A chance for the doubters to see what Gang of Four 2016 is all about?
Andy Gill: It’s been literally decades since a Gang of Four live record and I didn’t totally love the last one which was the mid ’80s At the Palace. We’ve always been a very strong, powerful live outfit so it makes complete sense to release this record at this point in time. Also the sound of it is amazing; big… totally captures what a great Gang of Four gig is like in all its excitement and precision. And of course it showcases Gaolers’ full on performance and stellar vocals.

Ahead of the release, we’re premiering the clip for “Love Like Anthrax” from the Irving Plaza show. Check it out:

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That’s the same Gang of Four song that Frank Ocean sampled on his new album, and we asked Andy about that too:

BV: Gang of Four was in the news again recently thanks to a small part you had in the new Frank Ocean album. Did you know that was coming?

Andy Gill: Frank Ocean’s management got in touch with me in November of last year saying that Frank was building a song which featured a loop from “Anthrax” and could he have permission to use it. My first thought was that this is fairly unusual for people to be that up front and honest. Most bands just take Gang of Four ideas and dress them up a little and call them their own!

His manager, Wendi, played Frank’s track down the phone to me as we were driving somewhere on the west coast on our tour bus which was a little bit surreal as I couldn’t properly hear it. But I think Frank Ocean is great and I was aware that he was a big fan of Gang of Four.

Did you realize what a big deal it was going to be?

Because it’s Frank Ocean it was obviously going to be a big deal.

While we were talking, we also asked him about Viet Cong changing their name to Preoccupations, considering he had talked to us about their name amidst the initial controversy:

BV: In 2015 you told us your thoughts on the controversy Viet Cong was facing due to their choice of name. Any new thoughts on their decision to give in and change it to Preoccupations?

Andy Gill: I think I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again. Why “Viet Cong” is more offensive as a name than “the US military” ( the other side in that nasty conflict) is a mystery to me. It’s a perfect example of the no-platformer / safe spacers getting things wildly out of proportion and censoring things around them that simply don’t need censoring. It’s as if they are only going to be happy when they have created a pink fluffy world around themselves in which anything uncomfortable is erased.

I have complete sympathy for the band and I don’t think it’s a question of giving in. They were just going to be harassed forever otherwise and they simply wanted to get on with their music.

Gang of Four will begin a tour later this month with dance punks The Faint, who are definitely influenced by Gang of Four (and who are headlining). Since we last spoke, Pictureplane was added to that tour as an opener. If you’re going, it’s worth catching him. As mentioned, the tour lands in NYC on October 6 at Webster Hall. Tickets for Webster are still available.

The Faint recently released a video for “Skylab1979,” a new song which appears on their upcoming career-spanning compilation, Capsule: 1999-2016, which drops September 30 via Saddle Creek. Pictureplane also recently released a video for “Joyrider” off his very solid 2015 LP Technomancer. Watch both of those videos, with the full list of tour dates:

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Gang of Four — 2016 Tour Dates
Sep 10 Tvornica kulture Zagreb, Croatia
Sep 12 16 Tons Moskva, Russia
Sep 13 Erarta Stage Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
Sep 14 TAVASTIA Helsinki, Finland
Sep 21 Proxima Warsaw, Poland
Sep 22 Reeperbahn Festival Hamburg, Germany
Sep 29 First Avenue (w/ The Faint) Minneapolis, MN
Sep 30 Metro (w/ The Faint) Chicago, IL
Oct 01 Newport Music Hall (w/ The Faint) Columbus, OH
Oct 02 Danforth Music Hall (w/ The Faint) Toronto, Canada
Oct 05 Paradise Rock Club (w/ The Faint) Eastham, MA
Oct 06 Webster Hall (w/ The Faint) New York, NY
Oct 07 The Trocadero Theatre (w/ The Faint) Philadelphia, PA
Oct 08 9:30 Club (w/ The Faint) Washington, DC
Oct 10 Mercy Lounge (w/ The Faint) Nashville, TN
Oct 11 CENTER STAGE (w/ The Faint) Atlanta, GA
Oct 13 House of Blues (w/ The Faint) Houston, TX
Oct 14 South Side Music Hall (w/ The Faint) Dallas, TX
Oct 15 Emo’s (w/ The Faint) Austin, TX
Oct 17 Livewire (w/ The Faint) Scottsdale, AZ
Oct 18 The Observatory North Park (w/ The Faint) San Diego, CA
Oct 20 Mayan Theater (w/ The Faint) Los Angeles, CA
Oct 21 Brooklyn Bowl (w/ The Faint) Las Vegas, NV
Oct 23 Regency Ballroom (w/ The Faint) San Francisco, CA
Oct 25 The Showbox (w/ The Faint) Seattle, WA
Oct 26 McMenamins Crystal Ballroom (w/ The Faint) Portland, OR
Oct 28 In The Venue (w/ The Faint) Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 29 Gothic Theatre (w/ The Faint) Englewood, CO
Oct 31 Sokol Auditorium (w/ The Faint) Omaha, NE

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