The Pop Group
|The Pop Group|
|Years active||1978–1981, 2010–present|
|Associated acts||The Slits
Float Up CP
New Age Steppers
Rip Rig + Panic
|Past members||Simon Underwood
The Pop Group are a British post-punk band formed in Bristol in 1978 by Mark Stewart (lyrics, vocals), John Waddington (guitar), Gareth Sager (guitar), Simon Underwood (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums, percussion). Their experimental and politically-charged musical aesthetic spans funk, punk rock, free jazz, avant-garde, and dub.
Their debut album, Y, was produced by Dennis Bovell to critical acclaim but low sales figures. Although it did not chart, the album's success was sufficient to convince Rough Trade to sign the band, but not before more line-up changes, with Dan Catsis replacing Underwood on bass.
The band's career with Rough Trade commenced with what is possibly their best-known single, "We Are All Prostitutes", which features a guest appearance by free improviser Tristan Honsinger on cello. This was followed by the release of their second album, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? in 1980, which includes a contribution from US proto-rappers The Last Poets.
Shortly afterwards The Pop Group released a split single, "Where There's a Will...", with The Slits, a band with whom they now shared a drummer (Bruce Smith) and managers (Christine Robertson and Dick O'Dell), as well as a growing interest in exploring musical genres such as dub and funk rhythms.
The band split in 1981, after legal wranglings and internal disagreements. Members of the group went on to join bands including Pigbag, Maximum Joy, Head, The Slits and Rip Rig + Panic, the latter notable for the involvement of Neneh Cherry. Stewart collaborated with the On-U Sound posse, issuing records firstly as Mark Stewart and Maffia, then as a solo artist.
It was reported on 24 May 2010 that The Pop Group would be reuniting. Stewart announced the first two dates of a reunion tour. Three members of the original line up were part of the reunion with two gigs in London and two in Italy initially confirmed. The band issued a statement explaining the reunion, saying "There was a lot left undone,....we were so young and volatile....Let's face it, things are probably even more fucked now than they were in the early 80's.....and we are even more fucked off!"
The Pop Group played live in Paris (for the first time) on 6 September 2010, at La Machine Du Moulin Rouge venue as part of "L'Etrange Festival" Film Festival which served as a kick off to their five date tour through Europe which included a London gig on New Year's Eve with Sonic Youth and Shellac.
In a 2010 interview, Stewart said that the reformed Pop Group was recording a new album, to be titled The Alternate.
The have been cited as an important influence in the development of alternative music in the 1980s; Mike Watt, of Minutemen and, more recently, Nick Cave, have cited The Pop Group as an important source of inspiration on their own work. In November 2013, the band played the final holiday camp edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Camber Sands, England.
- Studio albums
- Y (1979, Radar Records)
- For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? (1980, Rough Trade Records)
- "Update: The Pop Group Reform". Clash. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- Ryan, Kyle (24 May 2010). "Update: The Pop Group to reunite | Music | Newswire". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 757–758. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- "Update: The Pop Group to reunite". The A.V. Club. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- ATP America presents I'll Be Your Mirror curated by Portishead & ATP – All Tomorrow's Parties. Atpfestival.com. Retrieved on 11 April 2014.
- End Of An Era Part 2 curated by ATP & Loop – All Tomorrow's Parties. Atpfestival.com. Retrieved on 11 April 2014.
- Official website
- Trailer The Pop Group/Mark Stewart documentary
- Fan site
- Review of Y on HeadHeritage, Julian Cope's site