6. Please tell us about the zine you were doing at the time... And also your political motivations, which seemed pretty intense for someone so young.
CL: I did 3 issues. I think it was around 1980-81, or 1982. It was pretty run of the mill anarcho-punk stuff, Crass, Poison Girls interviews, though at least I also had bands like Pere Ubu and Gang Of Four, local bands like The Fakes and China Pig. I also put out a compilation tape of local (Central Scotland) bands called Look To The Future, which there was some great stuff on and can be heard on the Kill Your Pet Puppy website. Yes, I did have some pretty strong views, but the early 80s were a very political time. It seemed like everyone was into CND, nuclear disarmament and anti-militarism, because the prospect of nuclear annihilation and conscription genuinely felt threatening. This was the period of the Cold War fallout. Likewise, the prospect of national service in the army when you left school had actually been suggested by some politicians as a way to curb the spiraling unemployment figures and also loomed large in the popular adolescent imagination. Whether it ever was a threat or simply a spin employed by the opposition is neither here nor there. It felt tangible and at that time people genuinely felt they could make a change through protesting, whether that was on marches or from a stage. Animal rights and the anti-Apartheid movements were becoming popular, too. That whole socio-political climate provided the ideological oxygen to the anarcho-punk scene.
7. How did you come into contact with Andy Martin and The Apostles, and how was it to work with such a controversial band?
CL: I heard a tape of The Apostles (first demo) when I was staying with Miles of Napalm Death, and thought it was amazing. I wrote to Andy and got an enormous typed letter plus about half a dozen tapes back a few days later. We kept in touch and in Summer 1983, when I'd just turned fourteen, I went down to London and stayed with him in the squat he shared Ian Slaughter, who did the notorious Pigs For Slaughter zine. That fanzine was another immense influence both on myself and the development of the early anarcho-punk scene. During my stay, Andy was recording a demo with The Assassins Of Hope, and I jammed with him in the studio. At that time The Apostles were using Razzle of Hanoi Rocks as a fill-in drummer but as I had recently parted company with Political Asylum he asked if I wanted to fill The Apostles drumming stool. So there I was; a 14 year old kid drumming for one of my favorite bands and squatting in Hackney with no running water in a condemned building where you had to climb up the side of the building to get in as the door was barricaded up. The Apostles were unique at the time as there was not one single band who sounded anything like them musically. Neither Andy nor Dave listened to punk music, something that I didn't have a great deal of interest in by then myself and was more into electronic acts like Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle and SP etc. As for their beliefs it's hard to understand but at that time there was this very hippyish, sixties throw-back Crass-clone mentality where everyone paid lip-service to these undefined ideals of “anarchy, peace and freedom” and were becoming increasingly like brain-washed Buddhists in black rags. The Apostles and Pigs For Slaughter fanzine were about THE ONLY voices in the whole anarcho-punk movement who voiced any opposition to all that and instead were into the Angry Brigade, Baader Meinhof and armed struggle: - "Releasing our comrades from Stannheim Towers/Isn't gonna happen with love and flowers”, haha. Which is all terribly naive and unrealistic to consider now but at the time it did seem incredibly exciting and, dare i say it... glamorous. Something there certainly wasn't much of in the anarcho scene back then. Andy was also producing a fanzine called Scum, which championed the emerging 'Power Electronics' scene: acts like Whitehouse, Consumer Electronics and Ramleh. This was what a lot of the disillusioned, original anarcho-punks were getting into, and was probably the most exciting scene happening musically. During my time with The Apostles, I used to bunk the overnight train from Scotland down to London on Fridays and as I was still a kid, I’d find a likely looking couple on the train and hide under the table where they were sitting or spend the night in the toilets. If a guard came along I'd tell them I was feeling sick and my parents were further down train with my ticket. Once I got down to London we would usually have a day in a rehearsal studio to practice the songs then we went into the studio the next day. The first release I recorded with them was The Rising From The Ashes EP where I read out the names of the Red Army Faction and Angry Brigades members name-checked at the end of the song The Stoke Newington Eight.
8. What is your favorite Apostles release and why? Likewise, your least favorite? Again, please give reasons.
CL: My favorite Apostles material, which I still think are absolutely unique and incredible recordings, are the early demo tapes. In particular 2nd Dark Age and Topics For Discussion, which in retrospect are closer to experimental music than punk and are characterized by a very depressing, droney, and druggy sound. The original studio recording of the first single “Blow It Up, Burn It Down, Kick It Til It Breaks” is also stunning; in my opinion, the only time any Apostles recording ever did justice to their sound. Unfortunately, due to the pressing of the vinyl - together with Andy's bewildering compulsion to ruin anything that sounded well recorded and played - sounds atrocious. “The Creature” on the third EP is another great track, very claustrophobic and psychotic sounding and of course “Mob Violence” on the 5th EP is a classic. I never followed their work after I left so can't really comment on any of the albums or later recordings. Sadly, I think Stewart Home was right in that Cranked Up Really High book when he wrote “While the anarcho-punk groups weren't really playing punk rock at all, because notions of ideological coherence came to dominate their thinking, The Apostles were locked into a rigid punk rock groove where a desire to explore contradictory impulses resulted in stasis if not actual paralysis”. A great shame really, because I do think The Apostles were undoubtedly the most challenging out of all the bands who emerged from that scene. In fact, The Apostles were probably the only band other than Crass who actually provoked thought and debate within the entire punk movement.