In '79 they were big.
In '83 they were biggest.
In '05 they're back!
Originally a three piece band, the origins of AFTER THE FIRE (aka ATF) date back over 30 years. The band underwent several line-up changes and reformations to record the self-financed "Signs Of Change" vinyl album in 1978, now considered a cult classic and much sort after by record collectors to this day.
A shift in musical direction later in 1978 led to the release of the first of several charting singles including '1980-f' (used as a TV and radio theme throughout Europe) and 'One Rule For You' which could have led to bigger things at home if only the BBC's choice of songs had not included Gary Numan who's "Are Friends Electric" was deemed too similar in style to 'One Rule'
to appear on the same night on Top of the Pops...
The band then had a major hit major hit with their English language translation of the Falco track 'Der Kommissar' entering the top 20 in 9 countries, climbing to no. 5 in the USA and even the coveted no. 1 spot in South Africa.
The band eventually disbanded in 1983 having made a shock announcement at their Dominion Theatre show on Dec 3rd 1982 that this was to be their last gig. Peter Banks and drummer Pete King formed the group Zipcodes with vocalist Keith Smith. John Russell formed Press Any Key with brother Rob, and singer Andy Piercy continued briefly under the name 'ATF' before moving on to pastures new.
Although the band reunited for a couple of special events, things lay dormant until 2004 when Peter Banks and John Russell agreed to take part in a 'Friends' (the After The Fire fan club) reunion where, with John's son Matt on drums and bassist Ian Niblo, they played an informal Karaoke set for brave fans to perform their favourite tracks. Despite a gap of 'some' years it seemed that the fan-base for the band had never deserted them, they were just resting!
This spurred a flurry of activity, resulting in the recruitment of ex-Zipcodes cohort Keith Smith on vocals and a return to The Greenbelt Arts festival in 2004 for a full-on comeback gig some 25 years after the band last played there. A hot and sweaty venue was crammed to capacity where fans were treated to both a trip down memory lane and a band playing timeless classics.
The make-up of the band is different. The charts have moved on. But the band who played over 300 gigs, toured with ELO, Queen, Van Halen and shared a BBC In Concert stage with U2 are back and ready to start a new chapter in their history.
This new phase has seen the release of the bands back catalogue, a 'warts and all' official bootleg of the comeback at Greenbelt on DVD and the release of a single in support of Christian Aid's Trade Justice Campaign, part of the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY initiative.