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Release Info: After The Fire: Laser Love (1980) + Batteries Not Included (1981)
After The Fire originally formed in 1971/early 1972 with Peter Banks on keyboards, John Leach on bass and Ian Adamson on drums. The original group disbanded in December 1972. Peter went on to play keyboards for Narnia, playing alongside John Russell.
In 1974 Peter and Ian decided to breathe new life into ATF and started auditions for a guitar player. Andy Piercy approached the pair, and after a settling of opinions the Piercy/Banks partnership was formed. The early material took the form of Christian stories. In 1975 Robin Childs joined the band as a bass player.
In 1977 Robin left, replaced by Nick Battle and Ian left to be replaced by a "strange" drummer, Ivor Twidell. By late 1977 Nick had decided to leave but was persuaded to stay to record Signs of Change.
Signs of Change was released on a private label out of frustration with the Christian record labels who insisted that bands pay up-front. It was an outstanding album for it's time, a little dated now, but well thought through and brilliantly executed. The six tracks are reminiscent of early Genesis and Yes, synth-lead with good-sized instrumental breaks. The album had a limited release of 4000 copies and with an even more limited number including a lyric sheet insert - printed white hand written lyrics on black. The album was distributed by mail order.
ATF moved on musically and with Nick leaving Andy switched to bass (not before various bass players had appeared with the band) and John Russell joined the band as the new guitarist, after seeing the band playing at a pub.
The band was eventually signed up by CBS in 1978 and started recording in the winter. During the production of the Laser Love album no less than 5 producers worked with the band (the band also produced 2 tracks), leaving the final release a little dis-jointed. Some of the tracks were recorded twice by different producers.
During August 1979 the band played the Greenbelt festival for the last time (having been regulars in the past few years) - everything about the bands appearance was electric, from the sound check in the early afternoon to the fireworks that finished the overrun evening performance. It gave the band a chance to air the new tracks before the release of the new album in October 1979.
Ivor left the band in October 1979 after ill health led to his collapse on stage, he was replaced by Nick Brotherwood. The band started work on a new album - 80-f. It was turned down by CBS and led to yet another change in drummer, however, the album contained some excellent tracks like Operator that never saw the light again. An acetate of the album is in existence. This delay cost the band a US tour.
Pete King, ex-Flys drummer, was recruited as the new drummer and quickly filled the role. His style matched the band and he settled in as the band started re-recording the album with Mack as the producer. The album was released with two singles, which again, never got the airplay they deserved. The album sold well in Germany and the band released Sternenflug - a German version of Starflight.
1981 saw the band touring extensively abroad, along with appearances on Old Grey Whistle Test and Rock Goes To College.
The album Batteries Not Included was the most polished release, and sadly the bands last release of new material. The singles did well in London, kept high in the Capital Radio phone votes, but the sales did not reflect this masterpiece.
Friends of After The Fire
Laser Love tracks:
Laser Love / Joy / Take Me Higher / Life In The City / Suspended Animation / Like The Power Of A jet / One Rule For You / Time To Think / Timestar / Check It Out
Batteries Not Included tracks:
Short Change / Frozen Rivers / Sometimes / Sailing Ship / I Don't Understand Your Love / The Stranger / Rich Boys / Carry Me Home / Dancing in the Shadows / Space Walking / Gina / Stuck in Paris / Bright Lights / Bonus track: One Rule For You (Live Rainbow 1980) [Rich Boys 7" b-side]
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