Wire’s penchant for revisiting and reconstructing old material is a topic I’ve meant to go deeper into for a while, but it’s not happening here or now. Instead, a selection from their latest official release, which is a wide release of a former limited release which was a re-release of a decades-old unofficial release.
Not About To Die (Studio Demos 1977-1978) was released to streaming services and on CD today, a couple months after it was made available as a Record Store Day exclusive vinyl release. A cursory look reveals most outlets still have copies of the RSD LP available, so doubtful there’ll be more wax pressed any time soon.
This official edition is more than a re-release of the bootleg of the same name that had been circulating since the early ’80s, consisting of demos for what would become Chairs Missing and 154, recorded and submitted to EMI in 1978. While that was a collection of poor-quality late-generation cassette recordings, this release has been sourced from the original tapes and remastered by the band for a proper-fidelity release.
The album was previewed with a video for the 83-second track that boasts what singer Colin Newman calls, “The best intro to any song ever” and the lyrics from which the collection takes its name.
And for comparison, the original bootleg version of the same song: