Red Set

A History of Gang of Four

by James Dooley

The Gang of Four’s ‘Entertainment’ long player was called one of the best 100 albums of the 80s by Rolling Stone.

In the autumn of 1976 two young British university Fine Arts students travelled to New York City. The primary aim of the journey was for the duo to take in the city’s museums and in the process expand their respective areas of study. Via a series of acquaintances the pair ended up staying with one of New York’s pioneering punk journalists. The trip ended up being a series of visits to the Museum of Modern Art by day and, punk epicenter, CBGBs by night. From this unlikely blend Gang of Four emerged.

Red Set looks at the art and music that inspired the formation of Gang of Four and, in turn, considers multiple waves of musicians who would be influenced by the group. A number of questions are explored. What styles of music and art attracted the group members when they were youths? Is it possible to seamlessly integrate music, lyrics and visual art? Is it conceivable to make political music without having overtly issue-oriented lyrics? Can music be weighty without be weighed down? Can humour and seriousness occupy the same song? What can be achieved through popular music … and what are the limits?

Red Set will be published in June 2018. Pre-orders are available at Amazon UK / Hive / Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound.

On sale: June 2018
Paperback ISBN: 9781912248032 ($14.95 US // $16.95 CAN)
eBook ISBN: 9781912248049 ($9.99 US &CAN)

About the Author:
Jim Dooley studied at the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he investigated the links between politics and popular culture and wrote an MA thesis on music piracy. Jim has conducted numerous interviews for reggae fanzines (some being compiled in More Axe 9: Interviews from the Culture Reggae Archive in 2013), written articles for the BEAT, and is the author of the Small Axe Guide to Dub (Muzik Tree, 2010).