ASSASSINS OF HOPE

Formed: East London, England, UK

Assassins Of Hope

ABOVE: Image from here

Band Bio / Discography

Leon Hope, Prisoner of Charity fanzine, March/April 1983: The band all have different ideas on what they want to achieve, personally I hope that the lyrics and music will move some people to change their way of life and the way they approach life. Music is one of the purest media and is the way most young people learn and derive inspiration. Music has completely altered my way of life and it can alter others [sic]. The music makes us happy or sad, it can touch our souls more than books or films. Music is the soundtrack of our existence.

Yup, it's anarcho punk time, folks! This lot were largely unheralded, except in fanzines that is, and information on them a trifle sketchy, so I have tried doing my best to piece together this band bio from the few sources at my disposal, chiefly Kill Your Pet Puppy, the liner notes to Anti-State: Anarcho Punk Compilation Vol. 2, and this artlcle here by Lance Hahn.

They formed in 1980 with this lineup:

Vocals: Victor Mization
Vocals: Jozie (aka Jozi or Josie)
Vocals: Chantal
Guitar: Ivan Oxo
Bass: Leon Hope
Drums: Mike Raphone (Leon's younger brother)

One wonders why Mike Raphone wasn't on lead vocals, but he wasn't, the wonderfully named Victor was, alongside Jozie and Chantal, who were initially hired as guest vocalists/poets presumably in a nod to the Ignorant/Libertine/de Vivre Crass model. The band made its live debut at a CND benefit gig in October 1981, alongside anarcho luminaries The Apostles, Eratics, Terminal Disaster and The Epsilons. That show was ruined when members of the National Front showed up and decided to use them not only as punching bags but as target practice for their air rifles.

Victor lasted for three gigs before he was replaced by Peat Protest (for that is how his name is spelled), the brains behind the fanzine Protest, ex-singer for Primal Chaos with The Apostles' Andy Martin (more of him later). The cassette only Slowmotion Suicide demo was released in 1982, by which time the band comprised the following bods:

Vocals: Peat Protest
Vocals: Jozie
Vocals: Chantal
Guitar: Ivan Oxo
Bass: Leon Hope
Drums: Mike Mahon

Their music and lyrics were fairly typical of the anarcho punk sene, although traces of Theatre Of Hate and goth-punk are in evidence, but the terrible sound make this particular tape a real slog.

Throughout this period they played with all the usual suspects (Rudimentary Peni, The Sinyx, Conflict, Zounds), helped set up the Anarchy Centre, played at Centro Iberico, and earned the distinction of being the first anarcho band to perform at punk/skinhead venue Skunx in Islington. Peat, however, decided to leave in late 1982, and the band appeared to struggle on for a short time after, with the Prisoner of Charity reporting in February 1983 that the lineup now comprised the following:

Vocals: Jozie
Guitar: Suzie
Bass: Leon Hope
Drums: Mike Mahon
Vocals/Tapes/Percussion: Chantal

Two demos were recorded in 1983, each without the involvement of Chantal, who apparently did not enjoy gigging.

Assassins Of Hope With Andy Martin featured The Apostles' lynchpin on lead vocals/guitar. Here's what Andy had to say about him involvement in the demo (as told to Tony D in Kill Your Pet Puppy):

Quite how I was enlisted to help the band record these five tracks is a profound mystery to me. There was no love lost between us; Leon in particular made his opinion of me public in various fanzines – I suspect his socialist political beliefs were offended since I never disguised my own fascist sympathies at the time, despite being stridently opposed to racism; this was probably the only common factor in our political ideals. Stating all that, Leon was first person I ever met who was totally into The Jam, it was he who introduced me to the works of that band. "Come back Chantelle [sic], all is forgiven” is a reference to one of the original singers in the group – she absolutely loathed and despised me while I held her in nothing but complete contempt. I have never been able to tolerate communists and I found the company of wealthy, spoiled teenagers profoundly irritating. Since these people were both communists and from wealthy privileged families then contretemps were inevitable. Why are so few working class people drawn to Marxism? Perhaps because communism has little of real substance to offer us, whereas the sons and daughters of the rich can afford to indulge their political fantasies.

Ouch! (You can read the entire article and download the demo here.)

The other 1983 demo was Demo.83, which featured Jozie on vocals and a bloke called Carl on guitar. While Leon )in the Lance Hahn article) asserts that the Assassins of Hope split and The Assassins were formed in its place, it appears that they may have initially decided to carry on under the original band name, as evidenced by the handwritten demo cover, before subsequently opting to become The Assassins instead. Either way, Jozie left after this demo and they carried on, as The Assassins, with a fellow called Gino on vocals, for a couple more years.

This lot recorded a 12" single, Hell Is For Heroes, which was not released. Their only vinyl release was on the Mortarhate compilation We Wont Be Your Fucking Poor, with their tune ('Red River Run Deep') having been lifted directly from the second of their two demos. This second demo proved to be their last because Mike was sent to a detention centre in 1985 for his involvement in a riot at a Conflict gig in Surbiton. The band split in late 1986. (Note: The Lance Hahn article mentions two demo tapes in 1986, 'Lust For Life' and 'Never Been A Killer', but these are not referenced in the Anti-State liner notes, which were written by Mike Mahon, so I have not listed them in the discography below.)

Leon, as told to Lance Hahn: I look back with a mixture of emotions at Assassins of Hope. It was my first band, so I have fond memories of playing gigs and writing songs for the first time. There was lots of energy. We had loads of ideas and were committed to our political/social ideals. Most of the time we really enjoyed playing gigs and played with some decent, friendly, like-minded people - though there was also rivalry/disagreements between us and other bands, none of it malicious. I think the music was primitive, much as you’d expect for punk, but otherwise I doubt that we’d have gotten into playing guitars and writing songs.

DISCOGRAPHY

Demos

       
Assassins Of Hope - Slowmotion Suicide Assassins Of Hope with Andy Martin - Assassins Of Hope With Andy Martin Assassins Of Hope - Demo.83 The Assassins - Demo The Assassins - Demo
Slowmotion Suicide
(Tape, 1982)
Assassins Of Hope With Andy Martin
(Tape, 1983)
Demo.83
(Tape, 1983)
Demo 1984
(Tape, as The Assassins, 1984)
Demo 1985
(Tape, as The Assassins, 1985)

 

Various Artists

Paranoia Is Awareness UK Tape 1982 (Cause For Concern): Prisoner Of Law / Rejection

Pulse Of A Nation UK Tape 1983 (Rising Free): Rejection

We Wont Be Your Fucking Poor UK 2xLP 1986 (Mortarhate): Red River Run Deep [as The Assassins]

Here We Go: A Celebration Of The First Year Of The UK Miner's Strike 1984 -1985 UK LP 1985 (Sterile): Genocide

Anti-State: Anarcho Punk Compilation Vol. 2 UK CD 2005 (Overground): From The Gutter [as The Assassins]

 

Links

KILL YOUR PET PUPPY - Band bio, downloads and photos

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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