Interview with Douglas P. and Tony Wakeford about the Crisis era
(Aldo Chimenti for Rockerilla)
1.Why after 3 decades did you decide stopping the blackout and talking again about your early punk experience with Crisis?
Well Doug has always handled the Crisis side of things and even after all this time it still seems to have a kind of life of its own. It makes sense to have our perspective on it and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality (not sure thetas the right word!) of the final concert.
2.How do you remember that general agit-prop punk era?
Through very cracked rose tinted glasses. I wont say time has made the past grow fonder but it has certainly removed some of the more barbed edges.
Now its hard to believe that some people saw it as a pre-revolutionary period. Admittedly this was the WRP a group loony even by the far lefts standards but its kind of symbolic that it could even be believed.
I mean there was a stage I had to walk around my home town with a concealed knife because the locale KKK types were not amused. There were strikes like Grunwick, with mass picketing and even school kid strikes. But that hardly makes it Moscow 1917.
3. Punk-rock and militancy in the left wing was a very explosive blend, but which was the biggest battle/dream/aim of Crisis?
I think Crisis (Well Doug and me) saw Crisis as way of imbuing or infiltrating a distinct ideological strain of left wing politics into punk.
4. Crisis did about 100 concerts in UK amongst RAR festivals and other events, but their memory is above all for the fanatical riots between kids. Crisis were labelled “Red Fascists” and once you even must performing under a new moniker. How did you see, explain yourself those phenomena of violence?
Well, our following was imbued with a gang mentality that small town Surrey and Brixton both had. This is where most of our following came from. Crisis just put them together with an added infusion of Glaswegians and inflicted it on where ever we played with side splitting results. Sometimes literal.
5. Can you talk about your deal at Roxy?
Our advance was a Tequila Sunrise each at the bar. It was downhill from then on.
Our ‘manager ‘ ended up choking to death on his own genitalia a few years later. I doubt it was suicide!
6. You missed the chance to sign with the good punk label Step Forward, but it gave you the opportunity to record a demo tape you sent to John Peel. What did happen?
Well, we did a session at the BBC and John Peel played it a few times.It was rather exciting I must admit.
7. The Crisis debut single “No Town Hall (Southwark)” was released via Action Group for a specific social cause. Did the single work well for that intent?
Not sure to be honest. Doug rang me up about it, and I had a song I was working on called ‘no rich, no more’, or something equally poetic and just changed it enough to work. Always the man of principle.
8. “Ends!” features the final Crisis show in Guildford, the same place where you started. Which was your feel in that circumstance? Disillusion? Bitterness? A sense of liberation?
A bit of all 3. My memory is terrible, but I think relief turned to depression quite quickly.
9.That gig featured “All Alone In Her Nirvana”, a song that you kept for Death In June. There are any other DIJ tracks firstly written for Crisis?
Not that I can remember. Which could well mean there were loads.
10. Tony, can you talk about your brief live collaboration with then the Patrick’s band Runners From 1984? Did Crisis have any other contact and/or interest in other punk bands.
I just remember risking life and limb on the back of Pat’s motorbike when i got picked up from the station for rehearsals. I think we did one concert in the hell hole of Reading. I think we could have been quite good actually. Well, I remember The Strapps, and the singer Jock from Brixton days. A fellow member of the squatararty.
11. You told that your experience with political organisations like RAR was disappointing. Why?
Oh the usual, being patronised and exploited. But that’s nothing new regarding the left and anyone working class. I think partly being used as a suicide squad/ battering ram also had something to do with it.
12. The mini LP “Hymns Of Faith” was an innovative, brilliant punk record for me. What did represent that chapter for Crisis?
Well I think it showed we were capable of progressing. Not being stuck in a straight jacket of punk cliches.
13. Do you feel any regret for Crisis, besides of being younger?
Younger and so much thinner! In one sense it would have been interesting to have made the jump up to the next level which I think we would have done if we had not split. But then again it would have all have ended horribly and few people who are alive today wouldn’t be.