The Pack are back, with Kirk Brandon leading the charge

He went on to find fame as the frontman of the post-punk bands Theatre of Hate and then Spear of Destiny.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 3:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:55 pm
Kirk Brandon's first band The Pack in 1978. They are at The Dockyard Club in Southsea on January 24, 2019

But before then Kirk Brandon led The Pack in the late 1970s.

During their lifetime the band only released a brace of singles and one EP before they split in 1980. A posthumous compilation Dead Ronin was put out in 2001, and it is now getting its first ever vinyl release through Overground Records.

And to mark this, the band have reformed to play their first shows in nearly 40 years – including one in Portsmouth.

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Kirk recalls how the band started: ‘The origins of The Pack started with the original band the Pack of Lies. It consisted of myself Kirk Brandon, John Fuller – an old school friend, and a Scottish drummer called Rab Fae Beith. We rehearsed and got the songs together at John’s uncle’s house in Stanmore. 

‘The Pack itself was formed some time in 1978 in Clapham, South London, among the punk anarchist scene and set against the backdrop of the totalitarian government of Margaret Thatcher – at a time when the country stood at the abyss of total chaos. 

‘Looking back, the lyrics to the songs were simplistic, aggressive, confused, funny and silly – much like myself at the time.

‘Life consisted at the time of trying to survive on the streets and squats of south London – the whole period was funny, violent, and grim all at the same time, the band mirrored its surroundings – so no excuses made.’

The band’s first gig was alongside a film-screening, with Kirk now joined by Canadian brothers John and Simon Werner and Rab. 

‘The gig was as much a shock to the band as to the startled film-goers. I remember they showed Marlon Brando in The Wild One before we went on, so we were all juiced up for some kind of riot! What actually happened was about 150 people with 1,000-yard stares stood stock-still, stunned at the power at the noise of the band – we were really angry.

‘A lot of the shows The Pack played ended up in mini riots and many venues were trashed.

‘All of the band members, myself included, I would describe as a fairly unhinged bunch of people, and what passed for normal, among the band and its constant crowd of friends and supporters, did not necessarily tie-in with the outside world as a whole.

‘This is a period that filmmakers are only beginning to see the significance of. With all the violence, the drugs and with one member of the band becoming religious in the end, it had to implode sooner or later. 

‘The music industry would not touch The Pack with a barge pole – apart from the King of Kings single on Rough Trade. For the band it was a lifestyle, the idea of making money out of it was just too far fetched and in our own strange way seemed dishonest, preferring instead penury bolstered by dole cheques.’

Their last ever gig was a sell out at the 101 Club in Clapham, but Kirk adds: ‘By this time success was not an option the band was willing to take. 

‘Along the way we lost a few friends and a lot of idealism but for a lot of us the memory still lives on.’

The Pack

The Dockyard Club, Southsea

Thursday, January 24