*This conversation was recorded in January 2019 and has been available via podcast apps since then, now available for the first time on YouTube* Welcome to our interview, where we dive deep into the world of musical influence, shining a spotlight on the brilliant mind behind Gang of Four, Andy Gill. While some bands achieve household-name status, like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, there are artists whose impact far exceeds the fame of their discography. Gang of Four falls into this category.
Prepare to be amazed as we explore the undeniable influence of Gang of Four, which can be heard in the music of mega-bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, indie titans Fugazi, and UK media darlings Bloc Party. It’s fascinating to note that Bloc Party seems somewhat hesitant to attribute their sound to Gill’s distinct and angular guitar work. Andy talks about the release of their first album when journalists pointed out the resemblance between Bloc Party and Gang of Four. However, the band claimed they were not consciously aware of the influence but coincidentally came across Gang of Four’s record while working on their own. On the other hand, Fugazi has openly acknowledged the impact of Gang of Four on their music. It seems that Gill’s influence is pervasive.
We have the incredible opportunity to chat with Andy Gill due to Gang of Four’s upcoming tour of Australia in March 2019. This tour provided the perfect platform to showcase a fan-favourite album from their extensive catalogue for Australian audiences. Alongside performances of the iconic “Entertainment” (released in 1979), they also shared some tracks from their new album, “Happy Now,” as well as selections from their intervening years.
While Gang of Four enjoyed only modest chart success, they did make waves in the United States with the track “Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke” from their album “Mall” (released in 1991). Notably, this song featured the exceptional bass playing of Gail Ann Dorsey, who would later collaborate with David Bowie. It’s plausible that Gill played a role in introducing Dorsey to the Thin White Duke, which Andy discusses during our conversation.
The connection to the Red Hot Chili Peppers runs more profound than a typical band-to-band influence. Andy talks about this significant episode in his career, as he produced their first recognized album, aptly titled “The Red Hot Chili Peppers” (released in 1984). Through the recording process, Gill discovered that the esteemed bassist Michael Balzary, better known as Flea, hailed from Australia.
Join us as we embark on an exploration of the captivating influence and musical journey of Andy Gill, the visionary behind Gang of Four. Discover how his innovative sound has left an indelible mark on the music world, transcending mere fame and influencing generations of musicians.
Rest in peace, Andy Gill (1956 – 2020).