Alternative TV was one of the groups present at the very dawning of the punk movement (1976/77), which was rooted among British youth, dissatisfied with the social status quo in their homeland. That matter aside, Alternative TV is probably best known for the oft-anthologized single, "Action, Time, Vision" (pictured at right) and even better known for leader Mark Perry's Punk Fanzine Sniffin' Glue.
ATV (as our abbrev-minded world tended to call the band) was among the first acts signed to Deptford Fun City Records, one of Miles Copeland III's many musical concerns. Soon after, Miles gave Mr. Perry the reigns of another label in the Illegal/Faulty family: Step-Forward Records, where acts such as Chelsea, The Fall, The Cortinas and Sham 69 were signed.
In early 1979 ATV split and Mark Perry (with the ever-faithful Dennis Burns) formed Good Missionaries. Through 1980 Perry did solo work and formed yet another band, Reflections.
In 1981 Perry and Burns along with ATV alumni Alex Ferguson reformed ATV with newcomers Ray Weston and Alan Gruner and recorded Strange Kicks for Miles Copeland's I.R.S. Records. Mark and the boys (admittedly with an ever changing line-up) continued to perform and record as recently as 2002! Among the many musicians who've been in ATV: John Towe, Micky Smith, Henry Badowski, Chris Bennett and even Police Tour Manager Kim Turner (on guitar)!
In 1996 Mark Perry found time to write (with Erica Echenberg) And God Created Punk, a book about those pivotal early years and the musical legacy they left -- today's Green Day, OffSpring, etc owe their very existence to the UK punk trendsetters of the late 70s)...
Mark Perry Vocals
Alex Ferguson Guitar
Ray Weston Drums
Dennis Burns Bass>
Alex Gruner Keyboards
Richard Mazda Guitar, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Dee Dee Thorne Vocals on *
Brian James Guitar on *
This effort by the reformed Alternative TV is overall a satisfying record (though AMG says otherwise, but what do they know?) Admittedly there is no real stand out tune like their classic "Action, Time, Vision" single but there are some real gems here. Tunes you may find yourself humming after a listen or two include "The Ancient Rebels" (the song wisely selected by IRS/UK as the single cut), "Communicate" and "There Goes My Date With Doug" (featuring co-vocals by Dee Dee Thorne and the guitar rifts of ex-Damned and soon to be Lord of the New Church, Brian James). The final cut, "Sleep In Bed" was remixed for the B-side of the UK single as "Dub In Bed"
IRS GREATEST HITS VOLS 2 & 3 (SP 70800): features "Action Time Vision"
KILL YOUR RADIO (IRS29696): also features "Action Time Vision"