[kj] Joke + Lords of the New Church

T.B. planetary at socal.rr.com
Fri Jun 10 19:20:40 EDT 2016

-----Original Message-----
From: Gathering [mailto:gathering-bounces at misera.net] On Behalf Of Jim
Harper via Gathering

Afternoon people!

It's a few decades too late, but I've recently discovered that the Lords of
the New Church were actually rather good. Not entirely surprised to discover
that there are a few connections between the Lords and KJ. They're both on
the Weird Science soundtrack, for example.

Yesterday I read an interview with Brian James that mentions the Lords doing
a tour of France with Killing Joke in the mid-80s. The Lords were trying out
a two-guitar line-up. Does anyone have any further details on this tour?
Dates, places, etc? Was it a two-headliner tour, and if not, who was

Does anyone know of any further connection between the two bands?

Help much appreciated!


As it's already been mentioned, Killing Joke and The Lords played the same
festival (Reading, 1986) but on different nights.   I have never come across
a date where The Lords and Killing Joke actually played the same venue and
show together.  I've mentioned in the past how cool it would be if Killing
Joke could drag Brian James along for a US tour as support.  James is the
kind of guy who really needs a kick in the ass to do anything these days.
But to be fair, he's not in the best health.

I was a huge Lords fan from the start.  I saw them on their first US tour in
'83, was pulled up onstage with a few others in the crush up front and got
to watch most of the set sitting on the wedge monitors.  After the show,
Stiv invited anyone who wanted to come over to the hotel they were staying
at to hang with the band.  A pretty eye opening night.

The first studio album is unimpeachable, imo.  Simply great from start to
finish.  The 2nd one "Is Nothing Sacred" has its moments, but the band kind
of went in a bunch of different creative directions from reggae to goth and
it's only the singles and a couple key tracks that save it.  The 3rd one,
1984's  "Method To Our Madness" they were pushed by Miles Copeland in a more
mainstream commercial hard rock direction resulting in a pretty good album
that borrows much from bands like Hanoi Rocks and actually was a big
influence on Guns n' Roses and the glam metal crap that came out of LA in
the next few years.

They could be wildly uneven live.  Sometimes horrible then inspired even
during the same show.  There's about a dozen near complete shows on YouTube
that illustrate my point about that.  Whenever my friend and I saw them, we
used to good-naturedly heckle them from the front demanding they play super
deep cuts like "Dreams and Desires" or "Worlds Without End."  Stiv
eventually started incorporating DaD into "New Church" for their encore
which turned the two songs into a Doors/The End-type epic.

The several year period between 1986 - 1989 found The Lords kind of marking
time getting by playing mostly clubs shows in the US, UK and throughout
Europe.  They had been dropped by IRS Records at the end of 1985 when their
3rd and final full length studio album "Method To Our Madness" didn't sell
what was expected, nor did their comically rude cover of Madonna's "Like A
Virgin" do much for them either.  There was friction between Drummer Nicky
Turner who was doing AR work for IRS head Miles Copeland and bassist Dave
Tregunna who saw an obvious conflict of interest especially in that Copeland
was ripping the band off (which Copeland did to most of the bands he
managed).  Tregunna left the band in early '86 and they brought in new bass
player Grant Fleming and 2nd guitarist Alastair Symons and occasionally had
keyboards w/Mark Taylor (who left to join The Cult).  It was during this
time I saw The Lords well over a dozen times and got to hang out mostly with
Stiv Bators before and after shows as they constantly played every club and
dive bar in the SoCal area, especially in LA.  One of my favorite memories
of this time was after one show at a local bar which maybe 20 people
attended which was literally a couple blocks away from my apt, Stiv, a
roadie and a couple other fans came over to my place and we watched
"Apocalypse Now" on laserdisc .

For their  1987 US tour, (the last time they played the US, btw) Symons was
out of the band and it was back down to a lean 4 piece.  They had put out an
excellent 4 song EP ("Psycho Sex") that was the last creative gasp from the
band.  After the tour, Nicky Turner left to work with Copeland and never
played drums in a band again and in 1988, Dave Tregunna rejoined The Lords
and replacing Grant Fleming (who went on to become a photographer, I believe
he shot some photos for Primal Scream's "Screamadelica" LP) and new drummer
Danny Fury joined completing what would end up being the final lineup of the
band that lasted until mid-1989.  The Lords spent '88-'89 doing short tours
through the UK and Europe trying in vain to get a new record deal.  

The final show and breakup of the band is legendary.  In mid 1989, a
promoter offered decent money for The Lords to do a one-off show at the
Astoria in the UK but singer Stiv Bator had injured his back in a previous
gig a few months prior and wouldn't commit to the show.  So the rest of the
band secretly put an advert in various UK music mags looking for a singer
which Stiv found out about.  So Stiv commits to the show, they do the show
and for the encore, Stiv comes out in an oversized t-Shirt with the "Singer
Wanted" ad printed on it, pointed out the other 3 members of the band saying
"Brian, you're fire, Dave, you're fired, Danny, you're fired," and walked
off the stage leaving the rest of the band onstage mortified.  About a year
later, Stiv was dead from being hit by a car in Paris.

I had an insider's perspective of the short lived reunion attempts in 2001 -
2003.  There's a unreleased album called "Hang On" from 2003 that has some
great moments mixed with some truly dreadful bits, mostly due to the
terrible idea Brian James had of using two lead singers together, one whom
apparently kind of blackmailed James into having him in the band because he
bought the "Lords" trademark when the copyright lapsed in the '90's.

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