ANGELIC UPSTARTS Interview (GiGi’s Cocktails)

“Catching Up With The Angelic Upstarts”

I recently had the chance to meet up with Mensi and Neil of the Angelic Upstarts when they performed a lively show at GiGi’s Cocktails in Ventura, California.

I was familiar with the Upstarts historic role in the U.K. punk scene and their cult following through the years (including Morrissey openly championing them). I was also familiar with their having written what was later to become the theme song for the BBC television show “The Young Ones” (which I first saw re-aired on MTV in the 1980’s).

Mensi and Neil graciously lent insightful quips about the history of the band, their history of collaborations and extensive touring experiences. Most dramatically, Mensi also discussed the, at times, estranged nature of his relationship with Joe Strummer and how this relationship still impacts him today. Similarly, Mensi discussed his relationship with Morrissey who Mensi respectfully refers to as “complex.”

Mensi’s candid, self-effacing and humble nature further confirmed that he is, indeed, a punk rock legend who, like the best of his musical peers, has continued to champion the cause of the downtrodden and the voiceless against exploitation, oppression and abuses of power. Nearly 40 years on, Mensi and the band are still professing their unique blend of working class consciousness, political advocacy and DIY sensibilities to enthralled fans of all ages.

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Jason Reed
Inner Edge Music



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