Spanner Spells It Out

Back in 2014 we released the History Lessons 7″ EP … two songs each from Action Sedition and Spanner.

Note: it’s  now available as a free / pay-what-you-like download at the Rebel Time Records bandcamp page … check it out right here !

Spanner’s contributions to this platter were the songs “Always Antifascist” and “Impossible” … both instant classics and smash hits …

Now, in 2019, Spanner have resurrected, revisited and remade these two top-notch tunes and included them on their brand new full-length We Won’t Be Stopped Rebel Time Records will have copies of the album (vinyl and cd) in hand shortly. Stay tuned.

In 2014 we asked Spanner to give us the run-down on these two ditties; a bit of commentary on what inspired these songs. What the band said remains timely, topical, pertinent and to the point.

Thusly, and without further ado, here are the brand new versions of “Always Antifascist” and “Impossible” along with lyrics and Spanner’s remarks … dig it … pics are from the We Won’t Be Stopped recording sessions …

It’s a tired old story when times are harsh
The racists and fascists go on the march
With twisted faces and ideas
Misplaced anger, ignorance and fear
They go for easy targets and never aim high
Believing all the bullshit and swallowing all the lies
Yeah they can shout loud but they’ve nothing to say
Just the same old bigotry that never goes away
Repackaged as radical, new and improved
But so many times it’s been proved
They’ve got nothing to offer but division and hate
And power and strength to the nation state

Raised fists antifascists help the fightback spread
And the only good fascist is one that is dead
Militants in resistance we know our enemies
And we know that our best weapon is solidarity

Police and fascists march side by side
It’s always been the way, it can’t be denied
Waving batons or St George crosses
They’re working for the rich and the same bosses
So there’s plenty of violence to protect “Free speech”
For the fascist scum and the filth they preach
Their “right to protest” is always ensured
While antifascists feel the force of the law

Liberals without a clue
Trying to tell “the movement” what to do
Follow the leaders from a to b
And let’s pretend we got unity
Stirring speeches keep people still
As designated protest pens get filled
Miles from the fascists behind police rails
Playing it safe and doomed to fail

We know that fighting fascism means sometimes we have to fight
Not pacified, dead end demos where everything is so polite
It’s not about being macho, elite or super tough
But a look at the history of fascism should tell us enough
It’s confidence and strength will grow if it is unopposed
So with barricades and whatever it takes we’ll make sure their road is closed
Wherever they start we have to stop them to make sure they have no chance
There’s many ways to beat the fascists and push back their advance
We’ll never accept the rise of the right or fascists on our streets
And we won’t follow leaders on the long road to defeat
In memory of fallen comrades we will never forget
Nor do we forgive so our rage is fuelled to destroy the fascist threat

Spanner says:

“These lyrics were written in the context of a resurgent far right worldwide and we feel everyone should be aware of the true character of right wing movements however much they attempt to re-brand themselves in current times.

In the UK we have many outspoken fascists and they are regularly in the mainstream media gaining confidence and trying to recruit new members from mass and social media hysteria targeting immigrants. They will use any opportunity and tragedy to exploit community tensions and people’s shitty living and working conditions shifting the blame from the ruling elite to working class immigrant communities. This works quite nicely for bosses and politicians who in times of crisis always fall back on using fascists to do their dirty work, attacking social movements, trade unionists and instigating terrorism and mass murder. Fascism and Racism cannot be separated from the normal requirements and workings of capitalism. Changing all this is not going to be easy! Witness in Greece the huge upsurge of openly fascist Golden Dawn in the face of austerity measures, in Ukraine the right wing take over of the government with brutal murders of political opponents on the streets. They have gained strength with well documented police collusion whilst violently attacking enemies and minorities. Fascists have created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion, blaming working class immigrants for the greed and excesses of the rich. We hate what capitalists and fascists have done to this world.

While our preferred way would be to encourage people to change their views, most fascists don’t and they need to be targeted and stopped from spreading race hate and violence as a matter of urgency. We honour the history of antifascist fighters from the partisans fighting Mussolini, the Spanish Civil War and the Nazis to the street fighters of today. We also understand that history has shown that physical confrontation is an effective way to stop fascism in its tracks, however we do also support a diversity of tactics and different ways of confronting fascism as we talk about in the song. Whatever your preferred way to fight fascism, if it is not stopped it starts with racist attacks and can escalate further, ending in concentration camps and genocide.

The police have a long history of routine protection of free speech for fascists whilst denying it to and physically attacking those who oppose them. Free speech under capitalism is a farce and an illusion and we certainly don’t think it should be applied to those who exploit it to further race hate. If you think the law is going to protect your free speech, think again – neither the law nor free speech will defeat fascism. In the face of overwhelming repression and criminalisation of social movements as we have seen worldwide it is clear that we cannot rely on our basic “civil liberties”. Liberal antifascism with it’s flawed analysis and tactics, misguided faith in mainstream politics and reliance on government to solve these problems is dangerous in the extreme and has contributed to the growth of fascism.

If we’re serious about defeating Capitalism and Fascism we have to use all tools at our disposal, whether its guitars or iron bars”

The world we want to live in is too far away
The bad times are here to stay
All hope is gone and there’s nothing we can do
Apathy is everywhere the rebels are too few
No one is listening to the screams and shouts
We’re powerless and we can’t break out
Revolution was just a futile dream
The struggle’s been lost or so it seems

But the only struggle that is lost is the one that’s never fought
So hold your head up high and fight to win
Demand the impossible with a new world in our hearts
Stay solid never give in

Everything has a price and it’s all doomed
to be used, exploited and consumed
A devastated planet pushed over the brink
Millions of species made extinct
So much life annihilated by politics
Toxic air and chemicals keep us sick
Desperate people, ruined lives everywhere
Suffering’s so normal that no one cares
Children learn early on that life is cruel
Violence and domination are what rules
We’ll never know peace or freedom or a life not sold
We’re defeated, beaten, numb and so controlled

But there’s many of us having a go
And living our lives against the flow
Remember that you are not alone
And nothing here is set in stone
Recognise our struggles are all linked
And things can change faster than you think
Victories and struggle can be won
The impossible can be done

Spanner says:

“Surrounded everyday by bleak news, relentless consumerism, routine abuses, daily poverty and violence and “business as usual” ecocide it is easy to see how comrades can loose hope in the modern world. The grip of the state seems ever stronger with social movements enduring surveillance, infiltration, out-right repression and a lack of people getting involved in the fight. Whether it’s apathy, fear or cynicism or just a life of daily struggles to survive there are so many obstacles for people joining the struggle.

So much is designed to keep us apart, isolated as individuals whether it is shitty new contracts where you don’t know your co-workers or when you will work, the rise of social media and its associated online activism and simply the cost of living increasing not matched by wages brings us all down. The concerted effort by the state to prevent us working together, whether that is through legal avenues such as anti protest laws, or social control is not an accident.

However. There is much we can do to break out of our little boxes, and learning from the lessons of the past we can find ways to work together, and fight to win. We can gain so much inspiration from other struggles and victories, both at home and away. We get strength and inspiration from hearing about the countless ways people find to resist. In the face of so much intended to break our spirits, hope and solidarity their creativity, determination and ingenuity help us carry on. Never give up!”

Spanner: Music For Social Change Not Profit

Super excited to see the new album from Spanner ( self-confessed militant ska punks )  finally out and about.  We should have physical copies in hand at the end of February / beginning of March.

The new album is an insightful/inciteful mix of upbeat/offbeat simply outstanding not-just ska-punk.  12 up-in-arms oppositional anthems that feature horn, fiddle, a little french and the dulcet tones/vocal stylings of Ben, Eve and Richy.  Feisty, fiery (and at times a little folksy) We Won’t Be Stopped stands as Spanner’s latest and finest “small contribution” to the building of a resistance culture/resistance movement.

We’ve long had a love affair with Spanner and have been honored to have had a hand ( along with a host of other like-minded labels ) in getting their music to the masses.

Both the Crisis album and the History Lessons split EP ( two tracks each from Spanner and Action Sedition )  are available as free/pay-what-you-can downloads from our bandcamp page.

In April / May 2013 we brought the band over to Canada for a few shows, with, in more ways than one, spectacular results.  Their canadian tour diary remains required reading … 

Simply amazing people, amazing politics and amazing music.  A band that works hard and plays hard. As they say in the song  “All Over The Place” :

We pile into the van and we’re off on tour
Em’s at the wheel with her foot to the floor
We got places to go and people to see
For a while at least we’re breaking free

We may get lost but we can’t go wrong
With so many good people laughs and songs
And collective living where everything’s shared
Remind us that we are everywhere

Sound system’s full blast and we’re doing alright
Dancing all the way through another top night
Tomorrow our legs and heads will hurt
But tomorrow we don’t have to go to work

We got a feeling that we’re in the right place
And the dance floor’s full of friendly faces
We’re so proud to support and play
In all the free spaces where we wish we could stay

CH:
For all the trouble makers and the rebels we know
For the squats and the raves and the punk rock shows
Woah hoah!!!!
GO GO GO!!!!

Buzzin from the music, the people we’ve met
The places and the stories we’ll never forget
All the people who understand
All the organisers and wicked bands

There’s lots of places we have been
That show what we got is more than just a scene
And we can do more than just survive
Resistance culture keeps us alive

Up the punks, anarchists and squatter crews
Opening spaces and showing new views
They know what they’re doing and show what can be done
Mixing freedom and autonomy with lots of fun

None of this lot could you call workshy
They’re not afraid of living it DIY
They’ve built so much from fuck all
Flying the flags and standing tall

When the cops come it’s less talk more rocks
On the streets and barricades defend the squats
Never mind the laws, whatever they say
They may get us out but we’ll never go away

Spanner won’t be stopped, and you won’t be stopped from hearing this record.  Or, for that matter, any other Spanner, as the band now have all their releases up on their bandcamp page … We Won ‘t Be Stopped (2019),  Crisis (2011), Intruder Alert! (2007) & Gate Crashers (2003).


In keeping with the “music for social change, not for profit” philosophy, all releases are ‘name your price.’

The album is up on the Rebel Time Records bandcamp page as well … again, a ‘name your price’ download …

As the band writes “so this has been a while in the works and it’s been a little bit of a metaphor for the struggle at times. But hey, we won’t be stopped! Our new album, entitled We Won’t Be Stopped, is out now on vinyl, to be followed shortly on CD.”

“Proper album launch is March 30th at the Red Lion in Easton, a benefit for Bristol Antifascists and a chance for us to get all the lovely people who made a guest appearance on the album to play it.”

“In Bristol you can get it from BASE infoshop: baseinfoshop@riseup.net.

Blind Destruction records have helped with the release and are also stocking it in the UK.

In Canada, Rebel Time Records are our accomplices.

In France and Europe the guilty parties are Mass Prod, Maloka and La France Pue, all of whom have helped put it out and will be helping to get it about!

We’ll put up a hopefully growing list of other shops and distros selling the album as we distro it ourselves. If you run a distro or radical infoshop and would like to stock the album, please get in touch.

Huge thanks to all the above record labels and everyone who helped make the album. ”

 

Spanner – They Won’t Be Stopped

That’s right, nothing is going to stop Spanner (or us) from getting their brand new album ‘We Won’t Be Stopped’ over this side of the pond. It’s on its way, via punk post, and should be here by the end of February. We’ll keep you posted!

This is our third Spanner release. We had a hand in putting our their first 12″ ‘Crisis,’ and then took part in the ‘History Lessons’ EP, which saw Spanner and Action Sedition do up a couple of tunes each on a 7″.

Both these records are available as free / pay-what-you-like downloads from the Rebel Time Records bandcamp page.

Mixing politics and pleasure, this militant punk’d up ska band from Bristol, England, strikes fear into the hearts of capitalists, cops, bosses and politicians everywhere! With the release of ‘Won’t Be Stopped,’ they continue their mission that aims to prove punk can and should still be part of a genuine opposition and resistance movement within our communities, and we are pleased to be apart of bringing their music and message into North America.

In their own words:

“Spanner has been mixing politics and pleasure since around 2000, and we aim to still be at it when it’s time for dancing on the ruins of the empire. We’re taking bookings for the after party now! Our sound is a small contribution to the soundtrack to revolution and we hope to inspire both much dancing and more direct action. We play militant, ska’d up punk that’s not just for entertaining “alternative” consumers or being part of the illusion of rebellion. Punk for us has to be more than noise and more than a hairdo. We want punk and punks to be part of a community in opposition and resistance to this murderous system which leaves everything it touches damaged or dead. We know that with our creativity and determination we can make a new world, and punk is about doing it now! We’d also very much like our music to strike fear into the hearts of capitalists, cops, bosses and politicians everywhere… if only they could hear the words!

We love meeting DIY bands, gig collectives, subverters, squatters, rebels, resisters, renegades, revolutionaries and fellow trouble makers from all over. It reminds us that we are everywhere!!! We are always looking for gigs and festivals to play, so get in touch if you think you could do with a Spanner in the mix.”

Here’s a taste of the new album …

Wreck the prison society
Rebel against everything that stops us being free
Revolt against sexism and patriarchy
Rethink assigned gender and identity
Reject the culture of celebrity
Wreck, Rebel, Revolt, Rethink, Reject

For all these things there is no app
Could it be your smartphone’s another clever trap?
Full screen dominance, we’re isolated
Keyboard warfare’s overrated

Social media does not make a revolution make
Profile, status it’s just another fake
Mass communications aren’t mine or yours
But another tool to keep us masses indoors

The illusion of community and connection
Has got us all facing in one direction
We won’t change much with all the texts we send
Obsessed with the screen and facebook friends

Can you really do it all from your phone
Or is the power at your fingertips not your own?
Is it all a substitute for taking tho the streets
And the power that we hold when we really meet?

There’s no shortcuts on your laptop
We’ve a long way to go to make the madness stop
Are you carried away with your portable device
And a mobile that keeps you immobilised?

Our time is wasted staring at these screens
When we could be in the real world fighting for our dreams
Breaking the grip of handheld distractions
Shutting down their power as we switch to action

Rage against abuse and brutality
Reclaim our lives and our autonomy
Resist the destruction wreaked by industry
Refuse the impositions of authority
Remember past struggles and our history
Rage, Reclaim, Resist, Refuse, Remember

Separation, exploitation
You can justify anything
When every living thing’s at our disposal
And you think the human race is king

Property, authority, hierarchy
Lies at the root of it all
But from where you think you’re stood on top of the world
There’s a very long way to fall

Objectification, severed relations
Numbers replace lives
Mass torture, cruelty, abuse and slaughter
Are neatly normalised

Domination, subjugation
Ours is the loudest voice
But what makes our species really stand out
Is it’s capacity to destroy

Domestication, annihilation
For fun, food, profit and science
Unquestioning acceptance
Of horrific daily violence

CH:
Categorised as commodities
Legitimises the atrocities
Ringing any bells from history?
Let’s fight like hell for all to be free

Break:
It’s not up to us how other animals should behave
We’ve got no place to control or to enslave
What makes you think that you can decide their worth
Their lives, their conditions, their death and their birth?
Why do you accept that human progress and gains
means inflicting so much misery, suffering and pain?
The slaughterhouse, the zoo and the laboratory cage
Must be demolished and abolished with all our rage
But we can’t stop there because there’s so much more
Total liberation is what we’re going for

History Lessons EP – Free Download

Back in 2014 we released the “History Lessons” 7″ EP which featured two songs each from Action Sedition and Spanner.

Spanner is releasing a new album titled “Won’t Be Stopped” and we’re stoked / pleased as punch / happy as clams to be able to assist in a small way with the album’s release. It will be out this fall on Rebel Time Records and other like-minded labels.

In fact, we are so excited about this upcoming release that we are giving away the “History Lessons” EP for free. That’s right, you can download the EP from our bandcamp page for free / PWYC! Continue reading “History Lessons EP – Free Download”

Spanner – Interview 2012

An interview with Bristol’s militant ska punk band Spanner that we did back in 2012,  just prior to their triumphant 2013 Canadian tour … you can both download their “Crisis” album and their split 7″ with Action Sedition for free / pay-what-you-want from the Rebel Time Records Bandcamp page … new album from Spanner out shortly on Rebel Time Records and other like-minded labels … 

All right, let’s get this party started…for those of us unfamiliar with Spanner, how about a bit of a history? Who/what is Spanner??

We are an anarcho ska punk band from Bristol, U.K. Formed around 2000 from the wreckage of Disruptive Element (folk punk), we’ve been playing benefit gigs, squat gigs, a few uproarious tours, festivals and the odd wedding since. The band is really going well at the moment, having recently released our first full length album (yeah, I know, what took so long?!) and getting out and about a bit more in Europe over the last few years. We all get on well and really enjoy the band. There’s a distinct lack of rock n roll rows or punk rock punch ups in this band! I love the mix of radical politics and pleasure and I’m happy and proud that Spanner has put a lot back into the scene / movement and supporting a wide variety of struggles. We’re not the most organised of bands, but somehow we carry on!

Spanner has been described as ” knock out in-yer-face political punky ska, more spikey than skanky but still eminently danceable.” Accurate assessment?

We’d say that’s a fair and comradely analysis indeed. We play a  mix of ska, punk and budget  end dub with a bit of bodge it drum and bass now being thrown in here and there, coz we hear the kids like that sort of thing these days! And we call it militant ska punk, because we believe and hope that the music we play should be a reflection of and a contribution towards our politics; part of the soundtrack to revolt and music to riot to, not just for entertainment or pacification / confinement in the subcultural comfort zone. Long live the resisdance!

What do you think of when you think of Canada? If indeed you think of Canada at all…

My reflex response to that question would have to be… Trailer park boys!!! Pure class. If ever we feel the need for bodyguards or getaway drivers for our Canada tour (yeah, we’re thinking a lot about that too!), we’ll be asking for Ricky, Julian and Bubbles. Put a shirt on Randy!!!

Also the 500 plus years of indigenous resistance, anarchist organising and attacks we hear reports of (most prominently during the Winter Olympics and G-20 periods) – and the legendary punk rock city of Montreal! One day we wanna play with Jeunesse Apatride, for example! We’re still pretty envious of the title “Black Block n Roll!”.

spannerlogo1

Crisis” is the first track on the album, and it’s also the name of the album so I would assume it’s an important song to the band…what’s it all about?

Well, where do we start? Oh yeah, these capitalist scum have a real habit of wanting it all their way, don’t they? Not content with bailing the bankers and desperately trying to save themselves from system collapse with our money they’re intent on making us pay again with their so called “austerity measures” (read full scale attack on working conditions, livelihoods and essential services for millions of people and our class as a whole). We are now faced with increased, intensified insecurity and precarity and deteriorating conditions in the workplace and job losses everywhere. Meanwhile profits rise and the bosses and bankers continue to reward themselves with huge pay rises and bonuses for their services to capital. Last year, the world’s millionaires managed, in the thick of the “crisis”, to increase their accumulated wealth by 10%. The richest 10% now own 83% of the world’s wealth and the gap between the haves and the have  nots continues to grow ever wider. And yet in the U.K. we are cursed with a government filled with multimillionaires spouting shit like “we’re all in this together” and urging us to tighten our belts and work harder and longer for less, all for  the “national interest”. Their plan is the wholesale destruction and privatisation of public services and this so called crisis is just an excuse to further neoliberal policies and go looting capitalist style i.e. on a massive, global scale. As always it is us who suffer the consequences, with libraries, day centres for the elderly, community projects, youth clubs, advice centres and so much more abandoned and closed down. Working class kids are shut out of further education and left with nothing and the sick are left to die while mercenary corporations are queueing up to get their hands on our schools and hospitals.

We often hear people talking about “Tory cuts”, but this badly misses the point. The present government is simply continuing where the last one left off. Capitalism itself is the problem and all government serves the needs of capital, managing a system based on massive inequalities of income and wealth. The cuts are not just part of economic class warfare, they are totally political and designed to discipline us all and to let us know who’s boss.

They try to tell us that the cuts are “inevitable” but we’ve got other ideas about how we can redistribute the wealth and turn their crisis into our opportunity for advancing the spread of revolutionary ideas and action. It’s a good time to be an anarchist as the system has been so thoroughly shown for what it is and our ideas suddenly seem to make a lot more sense. But our rulers won’t go down without a fight of course. We have to counter their lies and misinformation designed to confuse, divide and demoralise our class and to divert and destroy any rebellion and revolt. But we’ve already seen some inspiring examples and more potential for widespread, collective resistance, in our communities and workplaces. We have to do all we can to link up seemingly isolated struggles and increase coordination and solidarity and make or actions more effective and powerful.

The song “Autonomous Spaces” seems to deal with, it seems to me, a particular space? Is this the case? Is the band associated with (or affiliated with) a particlar info-shop or something?

I’m involved with Kebele social centre, which is an anarchist centre in Easton, Bristol.  It has it’s ups and downs and can often take over a lot of your life, but it’s a very inspiring project which has been going for 15 years now. It’s about collectively meeting our needs and organising for ourselves without bosses or leaders, showing a good example of putting our politics into practice in the here and now, in a DIY, not for profit space. Again, so much to say about it all but this is a zine, not a book! Check out http://www.kebelecoop.org for more info on our history,ideas, events, activities etc and come and visit one day! So, the song is about some of the experiences of the day to day problems and pitfalls but also the constant sources of inspiration and confirmation of the strength of our ideas and in making revolution every day. There’s also a benefit CD for Kebele available from our Info shop!