Blaggers ITA

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Blaggers ITA
Origin London
Genres Streetpunk, punk, rapcore
Years active 1988–1995
Labels Words Of Warning, Parlophone

Blaggers ITA (formerly The Blaggers) were a British Oi!/punk band founded in 1988.[1] Vocalist Matty 'Blagg' Roberts had previously fronted Oi! band Complete Control,[2] who released an LP on Oi! Records in 1985.[3] Blaggers ITA were noted for their strong anti-fascist and left wing lyrics and activism.[4]

Although the band initially played in a generic Oi! style, they later added a trumpet player and incorporated influences from hip hop and electronic dance music, including sampling, and added the letters ITA to their name ("In The Area"), inspired by Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound Records.[citation needed]

The band had close links with Anti Fascist Action (AFA), donating money to the organisation and promoting its ideology.[5] The band's support for revolutionary politics and AFA, along with their earlier association with the Oi! scene and support for Irish republicanism, meant that in the early 1990s they became a target of Neo-Nazi groups such as Blood & Honour [6] and C18.

In 1993 they signed a record deal with EMI[7] and enjoyed some commercial success with three minor hit singles.[8] Stress and Oxygen benefitted from promotional videos,[9][10] while Abandon Ship saw an appearance on The Word.[11]

The record deal resulted in some criticism due to EMI's status as a major label and large corporation, and its former links with the arms trade.[12] In a debate strongly echoed four years later in the case of Chumbawamba, the band justified the move with the argument that the financial and promotional support of EMI would enable their political message to reach a wider public; they also argued that the deal gave the band more money to spend on political causes.[13] For example, money earmarked for promotional events was used on full page adverts in the national music press promoting direct physical anti-fascist action, while creative use of tour support funds went to aid political groups throughout the country.

In the summer of 1993, the group embarked on a high-profile UK tour supporting Manic Street Preachers. In July 1993, frontman Matty Blagg allegedly punched Melody Maker writer Dave Simpson, as a consequence of Simpson stating that Matty could never reform his fascist past (as a teenager Matty had been associated with the British Movement but while in prison was enlightened by another prisoner and subsequently dedicated the rest of his life to educating others) resulting in a court case, which was dismissed on legal technicalities.[14] The incident led to the cancellation of many of the band's biggest supporting tours and festival slots (inc. main stage slots at Reading and Glastonbury), an effective boycott by the music press,[15] and the consequent cancellation of their EMI contract.

Shortly afterwards Matty Roberts left the band, which for a short time continued without him. Roberts died in February 2000.[16]

A new version of the band named Blaggers AKA formed in 2002. This line up has played gigs and festivals across Europe, including benefits for the Independent Working Class Association [17][18] and Antifa groups,[19] but has not released any records.

In 2013 original vocalist "Bilko" Wells was announced as the Class War candidate for Hackney North & Stoke Newington in the forthcoming 2015 UK General Election.[20]

Lineup[edit]

Early-1990s lineup[edit]

  • Matty Blagg - lead vocals
  • Christy Robson - rapper/DJ
  • Steve Serious - guitar
  • Paul The Pig - guitar
  • Matt Vinyl - bass
  • Jason 'Wrist Action Jackson' Cook - drums
  • Brendan 'Rimmer' Hodges - trumpet, samples and design (credited SIT Inc)
  • Carlos Coutinho - keyboards

Other musicians[edit]

  • Bilko - second vocalist (1988–1989)
  • Jez the Jester - drums (1988–1989)
  • Cab - drums (1989)
  • Gary the Squatter - guitar (1989–1990)
  • Olaf - sax (1992) + sax and vocalist (since 2001)
  • Marcel - guitar (since 2001)
  • Brian Hayes - guitar (1993-1996)

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • On Yer Toez (released as The Blaggers) (1989)
  • Blaggamuffin (1991) [mini-LP] [21]
  • Fuck Fascism, Fuck Capitalism, Society's Fucked (1991)
  • God Save the Cockroach (1992) [mini-LP, aka New Kids On The Blag] [22]
  • United Colours of Blaggers ITA (1993)
  • Bad Karma (1994)

Singles & EPs[edit]

  • "Victory to ANC" (flexi disc, 1990?)
  • "It's Up To You" (1990)
  • Beirut EP (1990)
  • "Here's Johnny" (1992)
  • "The Way We Operate" (1992)
  • "Wildside" (bootleg credited to Ramraiders ITA, 1993)
  • "Stresss" (1993)
  • "Oxygen" (1993)
  • "Abandon Ship" (1993)
  • "Mantrap" (1994)
  • "Thrill Her With a Gun/Dairy Thief" (1995)
  • "Rumblefish/Death by Cool" (1995)
  • "Guns Of Brixton" (1995)
  • "Session" (1995)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dementlieu Punk Archive". Dementlieu.com. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  2. ^ http://www.dementlieu.com/users/obik/arc/blaggers/blaggers_ukr5.html
  3. ^ http://www.discogs.com/artist/1793558-Complete-Control-2
  4. ^ http://www.westnet.com/consumable/1995/Jan11.1995/revblagg.html
  5. ^ "Dementlieu Punk Archive:Blaggers ITA: interview from UK Resist 5". Dementlieu.com. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  6. ^ http://www.dementlieu.com/users/obik/arc/blaggers/blaggers_ukr5.html
  7. ^ "Dementlieu Punk Archive:Blagegrs ITA: Stress Press Release". Dementlieu.com. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  8. ^ ChartArchive - Blaggers ITA. Chartstats.com (2012-04-19). Retrieved on 2012-05-03.
  9. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2Wt7YRmlYo
  10. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnkV_XZDiQs
  11. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vM7DWhsFrw
  12. ^ http://www.uncarved.org/music/apunk/ita/blaggersarnie4.pdf
  13. ^ http://www.uncarved.org/music/apunk/ita/blaggersidea12.pdf
  14. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/blaggers-ita-mn0000757695
  15. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/blaggers-ita-mn0000757695
  16. ^ "Obituary - Matty 'Blag' Roberts". Redaction.org. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  17. ^ "Stage Bottles". Stagebottles.de. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  18. ^ "World | Iwca Benefit Gig". Indymedia.org.uk. 2005-05-20. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  19. ^ http://libcom.org/forums/south-east-london/antifa-uk-gig-saturday-6th-october-london-02102007
  20. ^ http://www.writeoutloud.net/public/blogentry.php?blogentryid=39493
  21. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Blaggers-ITA-Blaggamuffin/release/1302297
  22. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Blaggers-ITA-New-Kids-On-The-Blag/release/1302287

External links[edit]