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The Apostles are an experimental punk rock band who developed within the confines of the 1980s anarcho-punk scene in the UK, but did not necessarily adhere to the aesthetics of that movement.

The Apostles
The Apostles performing at the Spread Eagle, Southend on Sea, December 1981
Background information
OriginLondon, United Kingdom
GenresPunk rock, anarcho-punk
Years active1979–1990
LabelsMortarhate Records
Associated actsAcademy 23, Innocent Bystander, Political Asylum, Oi Polloi, The Parkinsons, Geordie, Hellbastard, Sidewinder, Nero Circus, Heavy Water, The Demolition Company
Past membersAndy Martin
William 'Bill' Corbett
Julian Portinari
Dan McIntyre
Pete Byng-Hall
John Soares
Chris Low
Dave Fanning
Chris "Widni" Wiltshire
Malcolm "Scruff" Lewty
Sean Stokes
Colin Murrell


The Apostles were formed in the Islington area of London in 1979 by William 'Bill' Corbett (vocals), Julian Portinari (bass), Dan McIntyre (drums) and Pete Byng-Hall (guitar).[1] This line-up of the group did not play any concerts, and only appeared in a small number of fanzines (including Paroxysm Fear and New Crimes) before Bill Corbett left the group.

Andy Martin joined as vocalist in summer 1981, and the group played their first concert on 22 September 1981. This line-up of the group then recorded an eponymous demo tape later that year.

The music of the group is generally characterised by a varied eclecticism which encompasses punk and Blues rock, with influences like Lemon Kittens, Five Or Six, and other avant-garde groups.

The remaining founder members of the group left the group in early 1982. Martin recruited Dave Fanning (ex-Innocent Bystander) as bass player, along with a revolving line-up of musicians - including John Soares, Kev Apostle, Flump, Chris Low (ex-Political Asylum) and Olly Bucket (Eat Shit) - in order to continue the group, who went on to play numerous concerts in the London area, and to record 8 demo cassettes and 4 7" singles between 1982 and 1984.

Andy Martin and Dave Fanning were joined in 1984 by Malcolm "Scruff" Lewty (later of Hellbastard, Sidewinder, Nero Circus and Heavy Water) and drummer Chris "Widni" Wiltshire which created a line-up which remained relatively stable (with the addition of Sean Stokes and Colin Murrell) until the groups demise at the end of the 1980s. The group recorded over 10 demo cassettes, 4 7" singles and 7 12" LP's between mid-1984 and 1990. Original guitarist Pete Bynghall re-joined the group in late 1988 for their last recordings and final concert (cf Live At The Academy).

Always highly critical of the seemingly inward looking anarchist movement of the times, the autonomous and extreme libertarian approach of The Apostles seemed to portray classic anarchism, as opposed to the conformity of many of their contemporaries, This led the group receiving respect from notable members of the anarcho-punk movement such as Conflict, who released three records by The Apostles, and Crass with whom the band co-operated with during the squatting of the Zig-Zag Club and during the time in which The Autonomy Centre and Centro Iberico anarchist venues operated. Both Martin and Fanning worked during this period at the Little @ printers - an anarchist printers located in the same building as the Autonomy Centre in Wapping. The Autonomy Centre was founded with proceeds from the Crass "Bloody Revolutions" single in 1980 where Martin was a keyholder prior to joining The Apostles.

The anti-communist and anti-gay lyrics of 'Rock Against Communism' and 'Kill or Cure' on the 'Giving of Loving Costs Nothing' ep and other similarly themed later songs opened the group to charges of fascism and homophobia. Whilst this material was intended to expose the supine attitudes of those within the 'anarcho punk' milieu who did not challenge such blatantly provocative sentiments (a tactic which Andy Martin had used since his entrance to the group), they undermined the coherence of the band's ideology, leading Stewart Home, in his book Cranked Up Really High, to describe The Apostles as "locked into...a stasis if not actual paralysis".

During the time the band was together Andy Martin began to write about his homosexuality and the subject in general which alienated many of their former fans but did not deter Martin. In 1989, Andy and Dave did an interview with Homocore fanzine which addressed this issue.[2] Among their many recordings released, The Apostles contributed the song "Forbidden Love" to the first queercore compilation, JD.s Top Ten Homocore Hits, released by J.D.s fanzine in 1990.

The Apostles split as a group in 1990, immediately forming Academy 23 which also included Nathan Coles (of The Unbelievables) and Lawrence Burton (formerly of Konstruktivists). The group collaborated with the industrial band The Grey Wolves on two songs, "Terror Chamber" and "Terror Intensifies", both featured on compilations.

Academy 23 were later renamed in 1994 as Unit who continue to record and perform to this day.



  • Live at the LMC, Jan 1983 (Split live LP with The Mob) bootleg
  • Punk Obituary, 1985, Mortarhate Records
  • The Lives & Times Of The Apostles, 1986, COR Records
  • The Acts Of The Apostles In The Theatre Of Fear, 1986, Acid Stings
  • How Much Longer?, 1986, Acid Stings
  • Equinox Screams, 1987
  • The Other Operation, 1988, split album with Statement (Patrick Poole)
  • Hymn To Pan, 1988 (only available in America)


Chart placings shown are from the UK Independent Chart.[3]

  • Blow It Up, Burn It Down, Kick It Till It Breaks!, 1982
  • Rising From The Ashes, 1983 No. 21
  • The Curse Of The Creature, 1983 No. 17
  • The Giving Of Love Costs Nothing, 1984
  • Smash The Spectacle, 1984 No. 22
  • Anathema/The Apostles, 1985
  • Death To Wacky Pop!, 1986 (features members of The Joy Of Living)
  • No Faith No Fear, 1986

The Joy Of Living were a female folk/punk band who released 1 cassette demo in addition to the above recording.

Demo Albums (cassette only)Edit

  • The Apostles 1981
  • The 2nd Dark Age 1982
  • Libertarian Propaganda 1982
  • Topics For Discussion 1982
  • A Sudden Surge of Sound (retrospective on CFC Cassettes) 1983
  • Swimmers In The Sea Of Life 1983
  • Live At The Recession Club 1983
  • Will I Ever Be Free? 1984
  • Fire In The Sky 1985
  • Visions Of The End 1985
  • Punk Leftovers 1986
  • Private Performances 1987
  • Gary Cooke Was Here 1987
  • The Progressive Blues Experiment 1988
  • The 12th Gate To The Underworld 1988
  • Death 1988
  • How To Suck Seed 1988
  • Life 1989
  • Live At The Academy 1989 (the last ever performance 23/02/89)

Tracks On CompilationsEdit

  • Mob Violence (Part 2) - We Don't Want Your Fucking War 1986 LP Mortarhate
  • 'Inner Space - God Save Us From The USA 1987 LP, Happy Mike
  • Walls - You've Heard It All Before (Crass Covers compilation) 1993 LP Ruptured Ambitions Records
  • Hyde Park 1988 LP (released by German band Doc Wör Mirran featuring international groups, not all punk)
  • J.D.s Top Ten Tape - Forbidden Love 1990 cassette

Several early Apostles tracks are featured on the Cause For Concern compilation "A Sudden Surge of Power". A sampler of the early 80s post-Punk Industrial music scene, it also features contributions from Nocturnal Emissions, Test Department, Attrition, 400 Blows, We Be Echo and ex-Throbbing Gristle members Chris and Cosey.


  1. ^ Glasper, Ian, The Day the Country Died: A History of Anarcho Punk 1980 to 1984, Cherry Red Books, 2007, p.90.
  2. ^ Homocore interview.
  3. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.

External linksEdit