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Rock/Pop

Scritti Politti

Events

12 Upcoming Events

United Kingdom

12 Events
Loaded 12 out of 12 events

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About

The post-punk turned synth-pop outfit

When Green Gartside and Tom Morley studied fine arts at Leeds Polytechnic, they’d been hugely inspired by seeing the Sex Pistols launch their famous Anarchy In The UK Tour there in 1976 with The Clash, The Heartbreakers and The Damned. So after leaving university, the pair – joined by friend Nial Jinks – moved to London’s Camden Town together and started gigging.

The name Scritti Politti was chosen because it sounded like the title of an Italian book by Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci that Gartside was reading at the time called Scritti Pollitici, which means “political writings”.

The band’s music initially melded punk and reggae sounds with politically influenced lyrics that were often improvised. Scritti Politti self-released a record called Skank Bloc Bologna in 1978. With Jinks on bass and Morley on drums, Gartside reluctantly emerged as the frontman, but after a gig in 1979 he fell seriously ill – which was later diagnosed as a panic attack – and went to his parents’ home in South Wales for nine months to recover.

When Gartside came back in 1980, after spending time listening to American soul music, he steered Morley and Jinks away from the punk scene. In the coming years they released three singles – Sweetest Girl, Faithless and Asylums In Jerusalem – that broke into the top 100 of the UK singles chart, followed by the 1982 album Songs To Remember, which peaked at No.12.

Scritti Politti disbanded for a few years, with Gartside going home to write. When he returned to London, his musical leanings shifted toward synth-pop and he also changed the line-up, bringing two New Yorkers, keyboardist David Gamson and drummer Fred Maher, on board. Not only was Scritti Politti signed to Virgin, but the intricate pop-art album that resulted, 1985’s Cupid & Psyche 85, was not only critically acclaimed but also reached No.5 on the UK albums chart. All five of its lead singles – Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin), Absolute, Hypnotise, Perfect Way and The Word Girl – performed well on the charts.

Scritti Politti’s third album Provision arrived in 1988. It reached No.8 on the UK albums chart and boasted the singles First Boy In This Town (Lovesick), Oh Patti (Don’t Feel Sorry For Loverboy) and Boom! There She Was

Due to exhaustion, Gartside left the band again, returning in the ’90s to work on some new material and record covers featuring rappers Shabba Ranks and Sweetie Irie. For a time, he adopted a quiet life in Wales and shunned being in the studio. However, after his sister enticed him to move back to London, he rejoined Gamson, who produced Scritti Politti’s 1999 album Anomie & Bonhomie.

That was followed in 2006 by the Mercury Prize-nominated White Bread Black Beer, a solo album by Gartside, who had become the group’s only permanent member. The compilation Absolute was released in 2011 featuring two new tracks written by Gamson, Day Late And A Dollar Short and A Place We Both Belong.

In 2014, Gartside provided vocals on the track Between The Clock And The Bed for fellow Welsh band Manic Street Preachers, whom Scritti Politti later supported on tour.

In late 2020, Gartside announced a Scritti Politti UK tour to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Cupid & Psyche 85.

FAQS

Scritti Politti is touring the UK from 21 September – 2 October 2021 in celebration of 35 years of Cupid & Psyche 85. It will feature the album performed in its entirety for the very first time.

Scritti Politti will be visiting the following UK cities in 2021:

  • Norwich
  • Birmingham
  • Manchester
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds
  • Gateshead
  • Brighton
  • London

Tickets for Scritti Politti’s 2021 tour dates are on sale now.