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Alternative TV

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Alternative TV were an influential British punk band formed in London in 1976.

As the founding editor of the pioneering Sniffin’ Glue fanzine, Mark Perry gained attention in the British punk scene. He formed the band whilst producing the fanzine, although eventually diverted his energies solely to this band.

Key members of the band were Perry and Alex Fergusson, who described their music as “closest to Can and reggae-type rhythms,” and were generally more innovative and experimental than many of their peers within the punk scene at that time.

The band’s debut single was “Love Lies Limp”, a free flexi disc issued with the final edition of Perry’s Sniffin’ Glue fanzine. Shortly afterwards they released the “How Much Longer/ You Bastard” 7” in December 1977, the ‘a’ side being a critique of youth culture apathy.

Soon thereafter at the end of 1977, Perry sacked chief collaborator Alex Fergusson. Fergusson went on to form Cash Pussies and, a few years later, Psychic TV along with Genesis P Orridge.

With new members John Towe and Dennis Burns, a dub influenced single, “Life after Life,” was released as well as a well-received album, The Image Has Cracked. The band’s second album, Vibing Up the Senile Man saw the band take a more explicitly experimental direction however, which alienated many of their followers as well as the music press. Around the same time, a live LP, split with commune-dwelling hippy band Here and Now was released (a document of their tour together), marking the band’s movement further away from the ever more predictable punk/new wave scene.

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