New Model Army (band)

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For the English Civil War Parliamentary Army, see New Model Army.
New Model Army
NMA Cologne Dec 2007 cropped.jpg
New Model Army in Cologne on 22 December 2007
Background information
Origin Bradford, England
Genres Post-punk, Alternative rock[1]
Years active 1980 – present
Labels Abstract, EMI, Epic, Eagle, earMUSIC, Attack Attack Records
Members Justin Sullivan
Michael Dean
Dean White
Marshall Gill
Ceri Monger
Past members Phil "Tom Tom" Tompkins
Rob Waddington
Stuart Morrow
Ed Alleyne-Johnson
Robert Heaton
Moose Harris
Ricky Warwick
Chris McLaughlin
Adrian Portas
Dave Blomberg
Ed Wolsenholme
Mark Feltham

New Model Army are an English post-punk/alternative rock band formed in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1980 by its lead singer and main composer Justin Sullivan, bassist Stuart Morrow and drummer Phil Tompkins. Within a few months, Tompkins had left to be replaced by Rob Waddington, who himself was replaced in summer 1982 by Robert Charles Heaton.[1][2][3]


New Model Army formed in Bradford, West Yorkshire in October 1980, taking their name from Thomas Fairfax's English Revolution militia. The original line-up featured Justin Sullivan (also known initially as Slade The Leveller), bassist Stuart Morrow and drummer Phil Tompkins. By the time they began making their first records in 1983, Robert Heaton had joined as drummer (and later multi-instrumentalist). In the intervening years, members have included Jason 'Moose' Harris, Ricky Warwick, Chris McLaughlin, Nelson, Adrian Portas, Dave Blomberg and Ed Alleyne-Johnson. The current line-up features Dean White (keyboards and guitar since 1994), Michael Dean (drums since 1998), Marshall Gill (guitar since 2006) and Ceri Monger (bass since 2011).

Their music has always been unclassifiable, drawing on influences across the musical spectrum – punk, folk, soul, metal and classical, while Sullivan’s lyrics, which range from directly political through to the spiritual and personal, have always been considered as a key part of the band’s appeal.[2] Above all they feature story-telling and landscapes and Sullivan’s long time association with the artist, novelist, and poet Joolz Denby, who was the band’s first manager[4] and remains to this day their art designer, has underpinned much of the band’s ethos.

Their first mini-album Vengeance (1984), written against the backdrop of the early Thatcher years was an uncompromising and musically original debut. Following a performance on The Tube, it reached Number 1 in the UK independent chart in early 1984. The band then made a series of albums for EMI (and one for Epic) attracting some of the world’s best-known producers and mixers including Glyn Johns, Tom Dowd, Andy Wallace, Bob Clearmountain and Niko Bolas. These albums, No Rest for the Wicked (1985), The Ghost of Cain (1986) (album of the year in The Times), Thunder and Consolation (1989), Impurity (1990) The Love of Hopeless Causes (1993) brought the band chart recognition and large sales across the world. However, despite these successes, the band remained staunchly outside the mainstream, exploring different sounds, styles and ideas – all the while supported by a famously fanatical and loyal fan base.

In 1996, foreseeing how the Internet was going to change the music industry, they returned to their independent roots, setting up their own Attack Attack Records label and continued to thrive creatively with a series of albums Strange Brotherhood (1998), Eight (2000), “Lost Songs” (2002), Carnival (2005), High (2007) and Today Is a Good Day (2009).

The period around their 30th Anniversary, celebrated in 2010 with special marathon shows across four continents, was accompanied by misfortunes including the sudden death of long-time manager, Tommy Tee, and a fire that destroyed their studio and archive. However, the band emerged with two revolutionary albums, Between Dog and Wolf (2013) and Between Wine and Blood (2014), mixed by Joe Barresi and greeted with surprise and acclaim by critics and a return to the Top 40 in the UK and Germany.

In October 2014 a documentary feature film about the band’s career and recent return to higher public awareness, “Between Dog and Wolf: The New Model Army Story” by Royal Television Academy Award winner director Matt Reid from Hustler Street Films premiered at the Raindance Film Festival in London and the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal.


The band was named after the English revolutionary army of Thomas Fairfax.[2] Led by guitarist / vocalist, Justin Sullivan (who performed briefly under the name 'Slade the Leveller' in the early 1980s), the group has a loyal, global, multi-generational cult following called The Family. New Model Army frequently toured with more than five band members.

In November 1985, the British music magazine, NME reported that the New Model Army had been refused work permits to the United States. This was because the US Immigration Department had said the band's work is of 'no artistic merit'. Nigel Morton, NMA's manager commented "If it's all down to the band's politics, it's a bit strange because Billy Bragg and Poison Girls, whose politics are exactly the same as New Model Army's, have all been allowed entry into the States recently. We've already appealed against the decision".[5] In the magazine's December 1986 edition they stated that New Model Army had finally got permission to tour in the US.[6] In January 1993, just six months after Sullivan was nearly accidentally electrocuted on stage, the band issued the single "Here Comes the War". The resultant controversy stemmed from its enclosed instructions of how to construct a nuclear device.[2]

The ex-New Model Army member, Ricky Warwick went on to form The Almighty in 1988.[1] Former members Chris McLaughlin and Stuart Morrow played in the band Loud between 1989 and 1993. The band has also collaborated with electric violinist Ed Alleyne-Johnson, who worked with them on their Top 40 single "Vagabonds", and their albums Thunder & Consolation (1989) and Impurity (1990), as well as touring extensively with them for five years. Alleyne-Johnson later released several solo albums, including Ultraviolet (1994), which peaked at number 68 in the UK.[7]

The group also tours as 'Justin Sullivan and Friends', which means a more acoustic set without some players (which ones varies), and is linked to Red Sky Coven, in which Sullivan also plays.[1] In early 2003, Sullivan released Navigating by the Stars, a solo album recorded with other band members and featuring Michael Dean on drums, Dean White on guitar, Danny Thompson on double bass, and Mark Feltham on harmonica.

In 2004 their one-time drummer Robert Heaton died of pancreatic cancer.[8]

After a short tour at the end of 2004, the group returned to the studio to record their ninth studio album, Carnival (2005). EMI has released four remastered earlier albums.[1]

The next studio album, High, was released in the UK on 20 August 2007, and in North America on 4 September 2007. On 5 September 2007, their North American tour in support of High was cancelled when they were denied visas by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.[9]

Today Is a Good Day, was released in September 2009.[3] On 3 and 4 December 2010, the band played two dates at the London Forum, celebrating their 30th anniversary, following dates throughout mainland Europe, Brazil and the United States. Between Dog and Wolf was released in September 2013.

Their latest album is called Between Wine And Blood and was released in September 2014. It is a double album with a studio and a live album. The live tracks are recorded during the 2013 tour and are all songs from the album Between Dog and Wolf

Main contributors[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Live Albums[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Artist biography by Steve Huey". Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 690–691. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  3. ^ a b "Home". New Model Army. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Storyteller: Bob Cornwell Interviews Joolz Denby". Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 412. CN 5585. 
  6. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 425. CN 5585. 
  7. ^ "Ed Alleyne-Johnson | Artist". Official Charts. 1994-06-18. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  8. ^ "Robert Heaton - Obituaries - News - The Independent". 8 November 2004. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "New Model Army - US tour cancelled". 5 September 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 

External links[edit]