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KIRK BRANDON: Interview and release of ‘Westworld’ Deluxe Edition

THEATRE-OF-HATETo coincide with the eagerly anticipated release of ‘Westworld – The Deluxe Edition’ by Theatre of Hate on November 25th, we at Punk Online caught up with iconic frontman Kirk Brandon to find out what the secret is to the band’s everlasting success.


Punk Online: Theatre of Hate have been around for over 35 years now – what is it that keeps the band ‘alive & fresh’?

Kirk: There has been decades where it has remained fallow but it is down to Stanley, John and mines enthusiasm dating back to when we started Theatre of Hate in 1981.

I think our lives that we have lived have added their experiences to the music and enriched it.


Punk Online: I last saw you live in Stockton-on-Tees late last year & compared it to the 80’s when I saw you in front of 2,000+ people at the likes of De Montfort Hall & Rock City. Is it disheartening to no longer get the audience numbers that many believe you should still achieve?

Kirk: I could give you a Spinal Tap answer but refrain on that one. We’ve been out of the game basically for most of the time since the bands demise. But in pieces in the last eight years it has been gathering its own momentum again. The concept of doing what would be a follow up album to ‘Westworld’ certainly added impetus. It gave it all a focus.


Punk Online: ‘Westworld’ reached number 17 in the official album charts in ’82. Do you think Theatre of Hate should/could have gone onto achieve much more commercial success? Why didn’t it happen?

Kirk: We had Captain Smith of the Titanic at the helm as management. He didn’t know what he was doing. We didn’t ourselves obviously, and were making it up as we went along. We should in retrospect have had a break of a year and come back and picked up from where we were when we called it a day. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.


Punk Online: ‘Kinshi’ may be 30+ years after ‘Westworld’ but it sounds just as good & relevant as its predecessor. Why has it been so long in between these recordings?

Kirk: We the band, rediscovered our friendships, and all then expressed a desire to re-ignite what we’d started. A lot of people got burned badly in the old days. For some their lives took a downward pan but Stanley, John and myself have put the pieces back together. It’s really fun to hang out with the guys and laugh. That’s what friendships do.

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Kirk Brandon live with Theatre of Hate


Punk Online: The ‘Kinshi’ tour has just finished & you have just announced another large tour supporting SLF on their 40th anniversary next year. What is that you obviously love about playing live?

Kirk: Playing live is the ultimate testing ground. It’s honesty up there on that stage. You can’t bull anyone from up there, people would see through it. So, you do what you are meant to do and say what it is you wish to say. Plus music is communication….sounds and ideas. Just by being up there you can communicate instantly and more honestly than any amount of Facebook or TV or social media. The stage is the real world.


Punk Online: I’m especially enjoying disc 2 on the ‘Westworld’ deluxe edition entitled ‘BBC Sessions & Rarities’. For example, The Klan & Anniversary recorded for John Peel sound better than I can recall. Was John Peel a big help to Theatre of Hate?

Kirk: John Peel was yes. He brought us to the attention of a listening public that listened to Joy Division, The Fall, The Clash, Killing Joke….. A lot of people attempting to make new music and spread ideas. Real communication.


Punk Online: What music/artists do you listen to? Who has been your biggest influence over the 30 odd years of Theatre of Hate?

Kirk: I have become a bit eclectic in recent years but Joy Divisions totality is brilliant. Sacred music. Timeless in the void. I have however, never tried to copy or emulate them. They are just the iconic.


Punk Online: Favourite track from Westworld?

Kirk: ‘Westworld’ itself. More relevant a question today than when I first wrote it. It really does take some answering. Who are we today? If you believe in it, you may be asked to die for it.


Punk Online: And what’s your favourite song(s) you perform live?

Kirk: ‘Iceman’ or ‘Judas’

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John ‘Boy’ Lennard

Punk Online: What’s your favourite gig Theatre of Hate have done? 

Kirk: We played with The Damned at The Roundhouse a year or so ago. It was ultra-special for anyone who saw us there.


Punk Online: What countries outside the UK are Theatre of Hate best received?

Kirk: Holland, Germany and Italy.


Punk Online: Can we expect Theatre of Hate to be around in one/three/five years’ time? 

Kirk: I sincerely hope so. We have all expressed a desire to continue and see where this takes us. What new music we can find.


Punk Online: When’s the autobiography finally coming out Kirk?

Kirk: This is the question I am asked daily. The bulk of it is done. I will get together with Stanley (Mr Memory) and talk through the early days, his memory is so much better than mine post ops. He can tell you what you ate in a cafe 32 years ago, literally, incredible memory. The early days of my life I enjoyed writing about. The Pack days are insane, like we were. People will possibly have a hard time believing it. Looking back, even I’m struggling. Insane times at the end of the world in South London.


Many thanks to Kirk for taking time out to answer our questions – we really appreciate it.


‘Westworld’ Deluxe Edition released November 25th on Cherry Red Records

Formed from the ashes of punk band The Pack, Theatre of Hate blazed their own trail through the post-punk netherworld of the early 1980s with a string of indie hits, fuelled by an unparalleled reputation as a formidable live act.

The band were fronted by a true star in blonde-quiffed singer/guitarist Kirk Brandon, joined by bassist Stan Stammers, guitarist Steve Guthrie, saxophonist John ‘Boy’ Lennard and drummer Luke Rendle.

After several acclaimed 45s and a live album He Who Dares Wins. Theatre Of Hate recorded their debut studio album with legendary Clash guitarist Mick Jones producing. The resulting LP, Westworld, was issued in February 1982 and reached No. 17 in the UK charts, promoted by a Top 40 single ‘Do You Believe In The Westworld’.

Theatre Of Hate continued to enjoy success throughout 1982 with new guitarist Billy Duffy in tow, releasing a second live album (He Who Dates Wins: Live in Berlin) and more singles. However, sessions for a second album, Aria Of The Devil, were eventually abandoned, and the band broke up. Kirk eventually re-emerged in Spear of Destiny.

For some years now, Kirk has fronted a new-look Theatre Of Hate, who are due to unveil their first studio album since Westworld. Entitled Kinshi, in October.

Unavailable for many years on CD, Westworld has now finally been treated to a deluxe edition. Alongside the original album, which has been Remastered, are bonus tracks from the companion single, previously unreleased tracks from the band’s John Peel sessions, a unique Top Of The Pops version of their hit, alternative mixes and a bonus live disc featuring a previously unissued recording of a live concert from the Westworld tour.

Housed in a clamshell box, the package also boasts within the booklet a raft of illustrations and fresh sleeve-notes penned by Moko’s Pat Gilbert drawn from interviews with band members.



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