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All The Madmen

 

All the Madmen began as a Yeovil based fanzine in 1978 and became a record label in 1980 when the first single by the Mob (Crying Again) was released on All the Madmen. Other singles and an album by the Mob followed. As well as the Mob, the label also released records by Andy Stratton, the Review, the Astronauts, Flowers in the Dustbin, Zos Kia, Blyth Power, Thatcher on Acid, Clair Obscur, Dan, Hysteria Ward and We Are Going to Eat You.

 

Although the Mob stopped playing and recording in 1983, All the Madmen continued as a record label  until 1988. If All the Madmen had been just another record label and the Mob just another punk band, that would have been the end of the story. But the music was always only part of the story. The bigger picture is reflected in the title of the Mob’s 1983 album -‘Let the Tribe Increase’.  The Mob and All the Madmen were part of a counter-culture which never quite faded away.

 

So when the Mob reformed in 2011, their gigs became celebrations of the tribe’s survival, bringing hundreds of people back together again and attracting many who had been too young to be part of the original tribe. The success of the reformed Mob has now inspired a planned revival of All the Madmen as a   collective, collaborative and creative project, to become more than (since it never was) ‘just another independent record label’.

 

Much of the enthusiasm for this revival comes from Mark Wilson of the Mob. Back in 1982, it was Mark’s energy which (with the help of Rough Trade) led to the recording and release of ‘Let the Tribe Increase’ in 1983. It was the financial success of the album which helped All the Madmen to survive until 1988. For a revived All the Madmen to be a success in this new age of austerity, Mark recognises that enthusiasm will have to be tempered by realism. This will be added by Mark’s daughter, who is actively involved in the project.

 

Thirty years ago, the life-affirming idealism of the original counter-culture encouraged the punk generation to create alternatives to apathy and despair. While young  people today do not face the threat of nuclear war, their future prospects are still very bleak. The values of co-operation and mutual aid which empowered the young people who created All the Madmen are as vital now as they have ever been. To inform and inspire a new generation is therefore an essential part of our collective ambition.