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After the Fire

After the Fire (or ATF) is a British rock band that progressed from playing progressive rock to New Wave over their initial 12 year career while having only one hit in the United States ("Der Kommissar") and one hit in the United Kingdom ("One Rule for You").

Early career

Keyboard player Peter Banks originally formed the band in the early 1970s in London, England. After The Fire then went through several personnel changes before settling on Banks, guitarist and vocalist Andy Piercy, bassist Nick Battle, and drummer Ivor Twidell. This lineup enjoyed local success in London, and released an album, Signs of Change, in 1978, on their own label. Having become a highly-priced collectors' item, it was reissued on CD in 2004 with several bonus tracks. At this time, the band's sound was similar to bands like Genesis and Yes.

Success beckons

After Battle left, Piercy switched to bass, and John Russell joined on guitar. The group signed to CBS, and released their second album, Laser Love, in 1979, which marked the band's move towards new wave, with shorter, more catchy pop rock tracks. Twydell left the band to seek a career as a frontman and Nick Brotherwood took over briefly, after the album Laser Love was recorded. Banks changed his name to "Memory" Banks to not be confused with the ex-Yes guitarist, around this time. As these changes took place, After The Fire's single, "One Rule for You", entered the UK Top 40. The group were scheduled to perform it on BBC TV's Top of the Pops that week, a move which would have been almost certain to see it rise much higher, but their appearance was cancelled because Gary Numan was on the show and the BBC thought one keyboard orientated track was enough.

The first version of 80-f was turned down by CBS resulting in the in the early departure of Botherhood. The band, now with Pete King (formerly of the Flys) on drums, were assigned a new producer who re-worked some of the original album tracks and re-visited tracks that had been left off Laser Love. Neither singles charted in the UK but 1980-f gained popularity, like the band, in Europe.

Batteries Not Included, was released in the 1982 to little fanfare and the singles received little UK airplay. They came back into the U.K. spotlight when their English-language cover of Austrian musician Falco's song, "Der Kommissar", rocketed in to the U.S. top ten in 1983, though it only just made the top fifty in the United Kingdom. This was followed by the release of their first and only U.S. album, ATF, a compilation of their UK albums.

Dissolution and aftermath

This success had come too late as After The Fire had been slowly coming apart in 1982. Musical differences, the grueling tour with Van Halen (including a backstage fight that left Piercy's hand badly damaged) led to a breakdown in relationships and the eventual splitup. The single "Der Kommissar" which had been a hit in Canada finally took hold in the American charts but CBS failed to patch up the band. All rights to the band name were signed over by Banks to Piercy and CBS.

Piercy started working on the album, Free Heat (a play on words - After The Fire with the letters RIFT missing), and released the rerecorded single "Dancing In The Shadows" which charted in the U.S. The album was scheduled to be the first CD release by CBS, but although complete, was never released.

Banks went on to build his own studio before becoming managing director of Maldon Computer Company, a software and networking enterprise. Russell worked in a music shop following the split and later was involved in youth work, while Piercy became a record producer. King, who joined the German Rockband BAP in 1986, died of testicular cancer in 1987. Twidell (as Iva Twydell) released two solo albums after leaving the band (Secret Service and Duel, released in 1981 and 1982 respectively), and then became a police officer. Battle became a successful songwriter/producer/ A&R man.

Rebirth

In 2004 at the Friends Reunion, Pete and John were joined by Ian Niblo on bass and Matt Russell (John's teenage son) on drums to perform a karaoke set. Pete was later talked into the (now famous) capacity reunion gig at the Greenbelt Festival, Keith Smith completing the lineup on lead vocals.

In 2005, they re-worked and released the song "One Rule" for Trade Justice, a new recording of their 1979 U.K. hit. They released the second track from the current line up, "Forged from Faith", as a digital download in October 2005.

In January 2007, Keith Smith's departure from the group was announced. The vocals at their first gig in Harrow after Keith's departure were handled by Pete Banks and John Russell and gave the band an "authentic" vocal style. Before Keith's departure, there had been plans to re-enter the recording studio. In May 2008, the band announced the arrival of Tim Turner as drummer, fresh from Titian Red.

Discography

'''After The Fire personnel
(1971-1972)

(1974-1974)

(1975-1977)
  • Peter Banks — keyboards, vocals
  • Andy Piercy — guitar, vocals
  • Robin Childs — bass guitar, vocals
  • Ian Adamson — drums

(1977-1978)

(1979)
  • Peter Banks — keyboards, vocals
  • Andy Piercy — bass guitar, vocals
  • John Russell — guitar, vocals
  • Ivor Twidell — drums

(1979)

(1979-1983)
  • Peter Banks — keyboards, vocals
  • Andy Piercy — bass guitar, vocals
  • John Russell — guitar, vocals
  • Pete King — drums

(2004-2006)
ATF2

(2007-2008)
ATF2
  • Peter Banks — keyboards, vocals
  • John Russell — guitar, vocals
  • Ian Niblo — bass guitar
  • Matthew Russell — drums

(2008-present)
ATF2
  • Peter Banks — keyboards, vocals
  • John Russell — guitar, vocals
  • Ian Niblo — bass guitar
  • Tim Turner — drums

Albums

Year Album UK US
1978 Signs of Change - -
1979 Laser Love - -
1980 80-f - -
1982 Batteries Not Included - -
1982 Der Kommissar - -
2004 Signs of Change (special edition) - -
2005 Der Kommissar - The CBS Recordings - -
2005 Live at Greenbelt - -
2006 AT2F - -

EPs

Year EP UK US
1979 Life in the City - -
1981 Frozen Rivers - -
1982 Rich Boys - -

Singles

Year Song UK U.S.
1979 "One Rule For You" 40 -
1979 "Laser Love" 62 -
1979 "Life in the City" - -
1980 "Love Will Always Make You Cry" - -
1980 "Wild West Show" - -
1981 "Dancing in the Shadows" - -
1981 "Frozen Rivers" - -
1982 "Rich Boys" - -
1982 "Der Kommissar" 47 5
1983 "Dancing in the Shadows" - 85
1983 "8 Ball in the Top Pocket" - -
2005 "One Rule (For Trade Justice)" - -
2005 "Forged From Faith" - -

DVDs

Year Title
2004 "You Had To Be There" Live at Greenbelt 2004 Cat no 985900-4 ROUGHMIX Ltd

References

Guinness Book of British Hit Singles 7th edition

External links

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