Lunatic Fringe (Ayatollah #3)

In the late 70s Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran to start an “islamic revolution”… The zine was started (early 80s) by Fredrik ‘Fredda Frivolt’ Brickman (later guitar/vocals for ‘Bedrövlerz’), Peter Ahlqvist & Jörgen Wernersson (3 friends from Fagersta, Sweden). It contained mostly oi!/skinhead/punk bands. They even gave attention to ‘Skrewdriver’…

Content? Band-info (e.g. ‘Red Alert’ in #1; ‘The Partisans’, ‘Conflict’, ‘One Way System’ in #2) and -interviews (#1: ‘Crude SS’, ‘Special Duties’; #2: ‘Destructors’, ‘Bad Relgion’, ‘Violators’, ‘Chaos UK’; #3: ‘Channel 3’, ‘External Menace’, ‘Lunatic Fringe’, ‘Subhumans’, ‘T.S.T.’, ‘Awlopp 69’, ‘Combat 84’, ‘The Insane’; ‘Cult Maniax’); zine-/record-reviews, cartoons, etc.

In 1983 Peter A. started his record-company/mailorder/shop Uproar Records & Tapes and a magazine focussing on US and international HC. Later “he ran the Rockborgen venue and started the Bergslagsrocken festival” in his hometown, “a renowned punk/HC/metal/indie festival”. The www states “In 1991 he started the fanzine The Burning Heart and worked as a manager with a local metal/crossover act, besides continuing as a promoter. In 1993 he founded the label Burning Heart. That grew bigger and bigger, leading to a joint-venture with Epitaph recs (run by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz).”


Me and my friend Peter from the small town of Fagersta were bored because we had nothing to do (we weren’t into sports). I was into punk since ’77 and my friend was into oi mostly. I played guitar in my first band ‘Awlopp 69’ but Peter couldn’t play an instrument. We’d seen some early fanzines and thought we could do that as well. We sent letters to bands with questions and most often got answers. The bad jokes in the zine are me to blame for. When I started ‘Bedrövlers’ and Peter started Uproar records and tapes (later Burning Heart recs), there was no time left to do a zine. Instead we started Bergslagsrocken, a festival with punk/HC/metal. Also numerous smaller gigs. Fagersta is a small town: 14.000 citizens. We were about 50 punx at the time in early/mid ’80s. And one skinhead. It all came from boredom and frustration. We wanted to do something. It created a movement of DIY and shaped us to be non-racists. We were fighting for animal liberation, etc. We got to know and played with all the important bands. Not only from Sweden. It was a great time.

Jörgen was part of the mag for a short period but was kicked out because of he was lazy. Peter was a soft skinhead, a ‘herbert’ (a word we use for a person between punk and skin; a little bit of hair and half-skin) ha ha ha. It wasn’t me who wanted ‘Screwdriver’ in the mag. And maybe none of us knew enough about them. Can’t remember. Later on we learned what ‘Screwdriver’ was about and wanted nothing to do with them. We are all anti-racist.

Fredrik Brickman

I did Ayatollah fanzine with Fredrik and some others in the beginning, but it was mostly Fredrik and me. Then gradually it mostly became just me and after Ayatollah #3, I continued with Uproar zine and also did one issue each of Stick Together and D.N.N.H. (with some remaining material intended for Ayatollah). All off them in Swedish.

Peter Ahlqvist

‘Lunatic Fringe’ was the band of Michael Hopewell a.k.a. Bear Hackenbush (vocals) who also did Skate Muties From The 5th Dimension zine. I met him when visiting St.Paul’s squat in Bristol (home of ‘Chaos UK’). This interview – condcuted after the release of the Who’s In Control EP (on Resurrection recs – was with bassist Nick Horne. The others were Adrian Blackmore (drums) & John Finch (guitar).

[Translation below; with help of Fredrik Brickman]

‘Lunatic Fringe’ is a socialist punk band from Bristol, England. The first time they let themselves be heard, was last summer: on the famous compilation-LP Riotous Assembly. They had a great song on that called British Man. The band became known because of that. 2 months later [1982] they put out their debute single containing 3 songs: Who’s In Control, Mail Order Rebels and Omnibus. We got interested in the band and decided to write some questions to Nick, the bassplayer. A week later we got a letter from him. We wanna make clear that these are only Nick’s views and the others might have other opinions.

Nick Horne (bass), Adrian Blackmore (drums), John Finch (guitar), Michael Hopewell a.k.a. Bear Hackenbush (vocals)

I think the song on Riotous Assembly is great, what do you think? How come you are on that record?

Well we had done some gigs in Bristol and Riot City recs has it’s main office in Bristol, so because of the support we got, we were asked. We’re happy with the song even if it’s badly produced and the other bands on the compilation sound better. And it’s slower as well. We were worried that people wouldn’t hear how good it is. Myself, I like it hard and I’m happy that at least one more person likes it.

Is it easier to get gigs now after the compilation?

No it’s not, nobody’s offering gigs anyway. But we haven’t put that much effort in it anyway. Nowadays in the UK you have to be in genres like oi, ‘Crass’ or ‘Discharge’ to get gigs. We don’t like to play music that fit others, not to criticise those bands at all. Therefore we dress like heroes and jump around like stars.

What is Resurrection recs like and how do they treat you?

It’s a record-company put together by Shane [Baldwin] and Dave [Bateman] from ‘Vice Squad’ and we have a single out there. We like the production and the layout picturing a tortured cat. We are strongly involved in animals and their treatment. But right now we are tired of how the company treats us… They haven’t bothered to contact us since the single came out. Neither did they sent the money they owe us. They didn’t give a shit about it. Apparently they have more important stuff to to take care of. At the moment we have a a strong punk-movement here in England, with people who care about things and want an alternative for the world of today. Of course there’s also bands who betrayed their ideals, and who’ve gotten involved in the mainstream music-business and are a threat to no-one. They want to be accepted by the media, so their part in the whole thing is to fool people and in the end they themselves are deceived and totally controlled by the media. These are the things that people hear about punk and that they then accept, and I think that sucks.

Has the record-company helped you with gigs?

No, not at all. It doesn’t to help them or rather, fill their wallets. We appreciate that they gave us a chance but not what they did/didn’t do later.

How does your audience look like and respond?

We get mostly punx but we would like to have others too. The response is mostly good but it depends if they don’t stand posing in the corner or if they dance.

Would you perform on Top Of The Pops if they gave you the chance?

We wouldn’t like anything better than to be on that programme, not for commercial reasons or to appear on TV but to see some real punx on that shitty show. Just think of a punk-band that breaks the barriers and to see real punks, not a stupid band. I also think that on such an occasion it’s important to explain the lyrics and what punk stands for to ordinary people. I try to scribble down my views and think that in that way I’m conveying a message. The music for the songs is then done by John Finch, the guitarist. In addition, he writes most of the lyrics and he does that wonderfully.

Have you got any new records coming?

We have absolutely no plans for a new record. We have nowhere to put out a new record, we have recorded a demo and would like to make records out of them; we will send the tape out.

Anything to add?

A lot; that people would start to think for themselves and think free, then the earth would be better and people free. Then society, the media, the education-system would have it harder to control us. The most important thing is nuclear disarmament. The earth will be a battlefield if this goes on, starting with Europe. It’s also a way to show that people don’t go for the lies of those who rule. Diarm Or Die!

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