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Alt.Eighties: A Post-Punk Aria

October 18, 2023

The alternative Eighties produced some memorable vocalists but none so distinctive as post-punk legend Kirk Brandon. His powerful vocal style is gifted with extraordinary range and depth making it difficult to link his work to one specific genre. Having said that he was labelled as one of the ‘godfathers’ of Goth, sitting comfortably alongside the likes of Peter Murphy (Bauhaus) and Siouxsie Sioux (Banshees). His first major band, Theatre of Hate, is certainly considered to be one of the first exponents of a movement that was later to be labelled ‘Goth”.
Brandon’s music career started in 1978, in Clapham, south London, with the formation of punk group The Pack, in which he was the singer and songwriter. Brandon later formed the post punk new wave band Theatre of Hate in 1980 recruiting Stan Stammers on bass guitar, Nigel Preston on drums, Billy Duffy on guitar and John ‘Boy’ Lennard on saxophone. Theatre of Hate had their largest hit from the Westworld album with the single “Do You Believe in the Westworld?”
Theatre of Hate disbanded in 1983. Brandon and Stammers were then joined by Lascelles James on saxophone and Chris Bell on drums to form Spear of Destiny. The new band adopted a more melodic and less aggressive sound, distancing themselves from post-punk and moving a little more towards mainstream pop.
Through each of these incarnations the characteristic element was undoubtedly the distinctive voice of Kirk Brandon, capable of standing alone and delivering powerful and emotional storylines. This week on Alt.Eighties we sit back and enjoy the glorious sounds of Kirk Brandon’s extraordinary voice and his work with Theatre of Hate and Spear of Destiny