By the numbers – it’s telling that Gang Of Four in 2022 are clearly bookending themselves with the years 1977 and 1981. That was the period captured in last year’s deluxe box set 77-81, which comprised Entertainment! and Solid Gold and singles of the era. Two of the founding members – vocalist Jon King and drummer Hugo Burnham – are back in the fold after leaving the band in 2012 and 2006 respectively (not counting various hiatuses). Original bassist Dave Allen is not back, but Sara Lee’s bonafides are more than intact, having been the one to originally replace him in 1982 for their next two records.
Missing and irreplaceable, of course, is the late Andy Gill on guitar – the man who kept the band and brand alive from day one – but as stand-ins go, you could do far worse than Dave Pajo, of post-rock godhead Slint and also with tenures in Stereolab, Zwan, Interpol, Tortoise, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs amongst others.
We are four nights into sort-of reunion tour, the fifth being tonight in Toronto for what will be my first show in four months and third in 27; I’m excited, anxious, nervous, but also pleased that there’s just the one band on the bill and I should be home well before midnight. Update: Obviously, not the kind of press clipping I wanted to share.
In any case, with the tour underway, interviews with the band are coming online – I’ll be collecting them here; the fact of the reunion and tour is so unexpected and unusual, there’s surely questions.
Burnham and King also did some press around the box set release last Summer, here talking to Alternative Press about the band’s early days:
With regards to Gill’s absence, his widow Catherine Mayer spoke to The Guardian in January about the falling out between Gill and his former bandmates prior to his passing, and Good Grief: Embracing Life at The Time of Death, her book about the experience of losing him. And for the record, while she is unhappy with how the box set has framed the band’s legacy, she approves of the reunion tour.