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Scritti Politti

In the mid-1970s, Green Gartside was studying fine art at Leeds College of Art and Design (now Leeds College of Art). The Sex Pistols 'Anarchy' tour which included The Damned and The Heartbreakers was launched at Leeds Polytechnic on 6 December 1976, and inspired Gartside to form a band with his childhood friend Nial Jinks, and fellow student Tom Morley.

Scritti Politti originally consisted of Gartside as the lead vocalist, Jinks as bass player, Morley as drummer, and Matthew Kay as the manager who sometimes played the keyboard. Gartside and Jinks had gone to school together in south Wales, and Gartside met Morley at Leeds Polytechnic. For their first public performance in 1976, supporting local Leeds punk group SOS, the group went under the name 'The Against'.

Upon finishing their studies the group relocated to London's Camden Town around 1977, where they lived in a squat. The name Scritti Politti was chosen as a homage to the Italian Marxist writer and political theorist Antonio Gramsci. The correct spelling in Italian to refer to "Political Writings" would have produced "Scritti Politici". Gartside changed it to "Scritti Politti" as he thought it sounded more rock and roll, like the Little Richard song Tutti Frutti.

Alongside other groups of what has been termed the DIY ethic or movement (notably the Desperate Bicycles and Steve Treatment, the latter being associated with the Swell Maps), Scritti Politti released a DIY record titled "Skank Bloc Bologna" on their own St. Pancras label in 1978. To the raw energy of punk, Scritti Politti added a creative spontaneity and a mock-philosophical intelligence in their lyrics, with scholarly allusions to Marx, Bakunin, Derrida, Deleuze, and Lacan.

"Skank Bloc Bologna" picked up airplay on John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show, and the band were signed to Rough Trade under Geoff Travis in 1979, making them labelmates with the other Cardiff avant-garde band, Young Marble Giants.[4] Scritti Politti released two EPs in 1979 with singles "Bibbly-O-Tek", "Doubt Beat", "OPEC/Immac" and "Hegemony".

"Hegemony" – which Gartside eventually cited as being based on the old English folksong 'Lemady' – led to more melodic songs such as "Confidence", which in turn hinted at the direction the band would take in the 1980s. Gartside then slimmed the band down to a three piece.

By the time of "4 A-sides", (Doubt Beat; Confidence; Bibbly-o-tek; PAs) a blend of strong melody and rhythmic jaggedness had been achieved. The band exhibited an explicit do-it-yourself attitude, which manifested itself in their hand-made record sleeves with detailed breakdowns of production costs, including addresses and phone numbers of record pressing plants, and even their own Camden squat address for feedback.


Scritti Politti are a British band, originally formed in 1978 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.
Scritti Politti is now primarily a musical vehicle for singer-songwriter Green Gartside (real name Paul Julian Strohmeyer, born 22 June 1955, Cardiff, Wales), who is the founding member and only member of the band to have remained throughout the group's history.
The name Scritti Politti was chosen as a homage to the Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci: The name is generally understood to refer to Gramsci's political writings (although the correct spelling in Italian would have produced "Scritti Politici"). Green changed it to "Scritti Politti" as he thought it sounded more rock and roll, like "Tutti Frutti".

 

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