Alternative TV
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Alternative TV: My Life As A Child Star (Feel Good All Over, 1998), 4/10
Alternative TV: Punk Life (Overground, 1998), 5/10
Alex Fergusson: Perverse Ballads (Overground, 1996), 5/10
Alex Fergusson: The Essence (Trisol, 2001), 5/10

Alternative TV was one of the bands that expanded punk-rock's vocabulary with keyboards and experimental touches.

Mark Perry, a radio disc jockey and the editor of one of the first punk fanzines, "Sniffin' Glue", started the band in March 1977 with Alex Ferguson on guitar, Micky Smith (and later Tyrone Thomas and then Dennies Burns) on bass, John Towe (and later Chris Bennett) on drums. The singles Love Lies Limp (Sniffing Glue, 1977), Knights of the Future/ Alternatives to Normal Eating (Red Ronnie's Bazar, 1977) and How Much Longer/ You Bastard (Deptford Fun City, november 1977) heralded a new era for British rock music, an era that would soon revel in the modernist sounds of XTC and Magazine. Ferguson had already left by this time. Alternative TV's songs were melodic and complex, although they still boasted punk's angry "take-no-prisoners" attack. The Image Has Cracked (Deptford Fun City, 1978) is a milestone of that era, as are the singles Life After Life/ Life After Dub (Deptford Fun City, 1978), Life/ Love Lies Limp (Deptford Fun City, 1978) and Action Time Vision/ Another Coke (Deptford Fun City, 1978). But the band was falling apart. Only Perry and the bassist were left on the album Vibing Up the Senile Man (Deptford Fun City, 1979), a much more experimental album at the border between free-jazz and electronica, while the market also received a couple of live albums and a bootleg or two. The last single was The Force Is Blind/ Lost in a Room (Depford Fun City, 1979).

Perry also released a solo album, Snoppy TUrns (Deptford, 1981) and released records under the names Good Missionaries and Here And Now.

The original line-up reformed for the album Strange Kicks (IRS, 1981) and the singles The Ancient Rebels/ Dub in Bed (IRS, 1981) and Communicate/Obsessed (IRS, 1981).

Perry used different line-ups for the album Peep Show (Anagram, 1987) and the EP Sol (Chapter 22, 1990).

Splitting in 2 (Anagram, 1989) is an anthology of material from the first album and the singles.

Alex Fergusson joined Psychic Tv and later started a solo career devoted to a baroque and psychedelic pop sound with Perverse Ballads (Overground, 1996). The Essence (Trisol, 2001) is even more sophisticated, with help from Strawberry Switchblade's Rose McDowell.

Alternative TV resurrected for the single Purpose In My Life/ Company Of Lies (Feel Good All Over, 1993) and the album My Life As A Child Star (Feel Good All Over, 1993), mostly in the vein of 1970s' pub-rock.

Yet another incarnation of the band would convert to trip-hop with Punk Life (Overground, 1998).

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