Punk music will never die. It’s an addictive genre and one that never leaves the genre, no matter hard old you are, punk will draw you back in. One band that has recently reformed is Derby’s Anti-Pasti, they are unsung heroes of the punk scene and have the experience behind them. The band have just released their first album in 35 years, titled Rise Up, an energetic punk blast from the past. In September I got to speak to drummer Kevin Nixon and bassist Ben Hanson to talk about the band’s history and future plans in an interesting chat.
Jack: Hey, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Kevin [Nixon, drums]: Very well now that we have the album on general release.
Jack: Firstly what are the origins of the name Anti-Pasti?
Kevin: It’s Italian for starters, it was the first thing on the menu at a restaurant opposite the pub that we used to go to when we were teenagers.
Jack: In 1981 you toured with Discharge and The Exploited as part of the legendary ‘Apocalypse Now’ Tour. Do you have fond memories of the tour?
Kevin: We spent a lot of time with The Exploited during that tour and never really got to know Discharge until January of this year when we played together at 100 Club. The sound engineer used to turn the mic off for my snare drum because I hit it so hard. We made some fantastic fans/friends on that tour many of them I am still in contact with via Facebook or gigs.
Jack: The Exploited and Discharge are still around. How does it make you feel knowing a lot of bands from the original days of punk are still going strong, releasing new music and playing live?
Kevin: It’s a great feeling, especially when we meet up at a festival or gig. Its very important to be writing, recording and releasing new music, what would be the point otherwise?
Jack: The Last Call was your debut album; do you have fond memories making this album?
Kevin: I used to record my drums then go out causing mischief with our old friend Andy T (look him up) and his girlfriend Pam. I used to hate recording, nowadays I enjoy it.
Jack: Does it feel weird knowing your work has been in the UK Charts?
Kevin: It’s something to be proud of. I don’t think any other band from our city of Derby has ever had an album in the charts. It was along time ago, The Last Call sold 20,000 copies in its first week of release but that was a long time ago and we can’t trade on past glories.
Jack: Are the charts still relevant for music today?
Kevin: No not at all. Sales are not the same… how can the people that run the charts keep track of all the downloads?
Jack: You just released your first album 35 years called Rise Up. Are you happy with the response?
Kevin: Yes almost all of the reviews have been good, we`re hoping it leads to more gigs outside of UK.
Ben [Hanson, bass/vocals]: Yes very, it’s received some great reviews from all across the world.
Jack: Was it hard writing for Anti-Pasti after such a long period of time?
Kevin : No I’ve always written, I wrote or co-wrote the title track to all of our albums.
Jack: What was the recording process like and was it different to how it was done in the ’80s?
Ben: It was easy on the whole – we had a great engineer who was really in tune with what we were trying to achieve. We laid down the bass and drums first then stuck about 20 guitar tracks on each number! The vocals came last then I took the whole lot back home to mix in my shed – we recorded some extra guitars and vocals there too. All the band – especially Kev – had creative input into how the finished product sounds.
Kevin: Very easy, years ago we used to spend about two days sound-checking the drums, now days it takes about half an hour. Mistakes can be repaired so we don’t have to restart a song over and over again.
Jack: The album was released on Westworld Records, what was it like working with them?
Kevin: They’re very switched on; they are very in tune with the punk scene and ethos. They know what kind of thing we need and we know what they need, its good relationship.
Jack: The album deals with a lot of issues such as mental health, global injustice and war as well as featuring references to the Calais jungle. Was it your choice to include them on the album?
Ben: Yes, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it onto the final cut – we had probably the same number of songs again that never made it for one reason or another. What I feel most proud of was that we really did have complete control over every single aspect of the album – everything you hear and see is down to us as a band.
Kevin: Of Course, that’s why we wrote the songs to highlight global injustice.
Jack: Punk music was initially dismissed as a fad. Why has punk music endured?
Kevin: Because its great rock ‘n’ roll and the fans won’t let it die.
Jack: You’ve played Rebellion Festival a few times over the years. What makes Rebellion Festival so special?
Kevin: It’s a great atmosphere and its good to hook up with old friends who are in bands too.
Ben: It’s got an atmosphere all of its own – for me it’s a mix of sheer excitement and abject terror. The first time we did it in 2012 we were second on the bill to Social Distortion. I was so nervous I forgot to switch the amp on. I turned it right up during the first song and then realised it wasn’t on; when I finally hit the power switch it nearly blew me into the 4000 strong crowd.
Jack: Would you say there are splits between the punk and metal communities or are they united?
Ben: Have you seen that cartoon with the punk kid and the metalhead arguing about their favourite bands and the one they agree on is Motörhead? That about sums it up.
Jack: What are your thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn?
Ben: It seems we finally have a politician in the forefront who isn’t full of bullshit and that’s encouraging – time will tell though I suppose.
Jack: What plans do you have coming up for Anti-Pasti?
Ben: Keep writing, find a singer, do some gigs, make another album.
Jack: Finally, because you supported them recently, what is your favourite album by The Clash?
Kevin: London Calling.
Ben: The US version of The Clash is great because it includes some killer singles like ‘White Man in Hammersmith Palais,’ ‘Complete Control’ and ‘I Fought The Law.’ That’ll probably offend some purists out there.