There is not much to say about the Anti-Nowhere League that has not already been said, but I'll have a go.
The release of their first album 'We Are The League' was preceded by the notorious release of the cover of Ralph McTell's folk classic 'Streets Of London' albeit with slightly roughened lyrical content.... 'Well have you seen the old girl who walks the streets of London, she carries her old knickers in two polythene bags!'. However, it was the B-side for which the single became best known, and it was the B-side that scrambled the Metropolitan Police's Obscene Publications Squad into action. Copies of the single, specifically 'So What', perhaps the most uncompromising punk song ever pressed on vinyl were seized from the distributors. Such authority action, intended to protect the sensitivities of Britain's teenagers quickly made the League's material and that song in particular must haves for the Class of '82... usually on a C90 cassette!
The League came from Tunbridge Wells, a town that was never going to embrace this particular gang of biker punks.
First up, here is a pretty rare recording of the band from the Top Rank in Brighton on what I think was their first headline tour. Tour support was from The Defects and The Meteors.
Promo poster from the London gig of the tour the following week
As well as the songs from the album, the set contains a new song 'I'm No Fool', which to the best of my knowledge never saw the light of day and 'Why?', an early version of 'Let The Country Feed You' with different lyrics.
02. Can't Stand Rock And Roll
03. Let's Break The Law
04. For You
05. We Will Survive
06. Streets Of London
07. I'm No Fool
10. I Hate People
11. I Am A Sexual Pervert (Animal)
12. We Are The League
13. Wreck A Nowhere
14. So What
15. Fuck Around The Clock
16. Interview 1982
The previous year they famously teamed up with another quartet of hooligans that went under the name of The Damned creating a headline/support double act that had not been seen since the Damned took to the road with The Ruts in 1979. How's this for a gig....... and there's three of those Ruts again on the bill.
They followed up the 'We Are The League' with a brilliant live album 'Live In Yugoslavia' which is a pretty faithful 'We Are The League' set bolstered by tracks such as the Stone's 'Paint It Black', 'Going Down' and the powerhouse 'For You'.
For some reason in the mid '80's, as the UK 82 scene dissipated, The League took to producing a kind of power rock ballad, 'Out On The Wasteland' for example. Not their best period (although I wouldn't tell that to Animal's face!). After 1987's 'The Perfect Crime' album the band had a break of 6 or 7 years before they started playing live again. At this time I saw them play a number of gigs, often as support to big name punk bands, such as the post-Sensible Damned, but also as a headline act. I have to say they were a bit inconsistent at this time, sometimes brilliant but sometimes mediocre, especially on a couple of occasions when Animal's voice was shot.
Animal interview from 2014
The League are still playing and recording new material. Here's a gig from more recent times from Southampton.
01 We Are The League
02 End Of The Day
03 I Hate People
04 We Will Survive
05 My God's Bigger Than Your God
06 Let's Break The Law
09 So What
10 For You
11 Dead Heroes
14 Streets Of London
15 Nowhere Man
17 Fucked Up And Wasted
18 Long Live Punk
19 The Landlord Is A Wanker
20 Fuck Around The Clock
Just in terms of their longevity, The Anti-Nowhere League can now be considered as big player survivors from the UK punk scene and in the 'We Are The League' album they have given us one of the most iconic albums of the entire punk genre.
Some young punk many moons ago!