Interview with Pete Boyce, the original singer of Antisect

Here is the original interview text with Pete Boyce, the original singer of Antisect which was done in around May 2018.
An article based on this interview (“A short history of Antisect: Past Antisect, Current Antisect” by Satoshi Suzuki) appears in Debacle Path vol.1 (in Japanese language) and here I post the interview instead of the article.

First, I would like to hear some stories of how Antisect started back in the days in early 80’s and about the band in that period of the time.
How was the band originally formed? What kind of life you and people around you had spent? What were the motivations to keep the band active? Did you do/organize some actions or events in the time of Margaret Thatcher?

Pete Boyce: Antisect began in 1982 after Polly and Pete Lyons asked me if I was interested in starting a band. We started as we were young, unemployed and basically had nothing else to do.
The lineup:
Pete Lippy Lyons – Guitar
Pete Polly Paluskiewicz – Drums
Wink – Bass
Pete Boyce – Vox
Later members would include Tom Lowe, John Bryson and Lawrence Windle on bass. Rich Hill and Caroline Wallis on Vox, who both appeared on In darkness. Tim Andrews joined on vocals during 86-87.
We grew up in Daventry, Northants apart from Wink was from Long Buckby Wharfe, a nearby village. We were all into punk and influenced by The Ruts, The Damned, SLF, Crass, Magazine, Motorhead etc.
We worked hard as a band and the motivation was there, none of us were interested in money, (we had none!) and barely scraped enough cash to pay for petrol to get to the next gig or even home sometimes. Most of the gigs we did around this time were benefits and we were all happy with that.
I think the band was a saviour for me from a life of crime. I’d already spent time at a detention centre for an encounter Id had with the Police in 1980 and promised myself I would never be imprisoned again. Life in the UK was hard in the early 80’s with high unemployment, the Cold War, the mines closing and Thatcher. The music scene however was pretty good with so many great bands around. In 1977 I was only 11 years old so I missed the real early start. I didn’t really get into punk until 1979 after seeing UK Subs on Another Kind of Blues Tour. Blew me away. Good old Charlie still out there doing it.

You left the band after the release of “In Darkenss…” album. According to the interview with Lippy in the book “The Day the Country Died” written by Ian Grasper, Lippy mentioned you said you are going to quit the band in the morning right before an UK tour starts. (In this interview I found that Lippy somehow tried to deny the band at that period or the band’s believes though…)
Please tell me some stories around that time when you were going to quit the band.

Pete: Yes, I left the band the day they came to pick me up to tour with DIRT for a couple reasons. My mental health was not so good and I was suffering from depression and anxiety. I didn’t know this at the time and didn’t talk to anyone at all. No one in the band would ever know what was going on in my head and I was in denial for a very long time. I was ill for about 10 years after I left Antisect. I’m very happy to say my life and health are very good now.
Secondly, Id invited my friend Steve, a skinhead to come on the tour for friendship and support and I knew we’d have great time. Steve was my best mate, not racist, loved and knew a lot about punk bands. We went to a lot of gigs together, particularly SLF.
As we approached the van Lippy stepped out. “What’s all this then? He’s not coming” That kind of thing. I snapped and said I didn’t want to be in the band if that was the case. Truth is I’d had enough and wanted to move on and this was the trigger. Polly and Lippy came to my house about 10 minutes later and tried to talk me round but I’d made up my mind and that wasn’t going to change. I hoped the we separated on good terms but I knew I had dropped them right in it and didn’t think they could continue the tour. Fair enough, they did and good for them. They continued as a 3 piece with Lippy and John Bryson (now on bass) taking over the vocal duties and released the single Out from the void in 1985. Somehow, they continued until 1987.

How did the reunion happen in 2011? Then the band released a 10-inch record, and seemed some recording sessions had been going on (I’m not sure if it was musically some kind of an extension of “Welcome to the New Dark Ages” which was never released back in the days (you already left the band when the band was working on it in late 80’s though)). And those new recordings were unofficially released with USB memory and now we can listen to some on Youtube, which I think are really powerful and we can feel more “Antisect” that we have been listening to than the current band’s controversial brand-new record “The Rising of the Lights.”

Pete: The reunion was Lippy’s idea to make money. Period. His intention was always to release a second studio album and then tour the US and Japan. He knew that Antisect would sell records. He seemed to have money problems and believed he could make a buck. Didn’t quite work out that way. Shortly after rejoining he told me that he had approached Southern records a while ago, who were sitting on some royalties owed for In Darkness. They handed over around £10,000 on the understanding it would be shared between all who appeared on the album. He kept the lot and made no effort to contact any of us. When I first learned of this I was upset but I told him that I would rather he had the money than leave it with Southern, but we always had an understanding that he would do the right thing and repay what he owed. A bit of a stir began on their website as another label had re-released In Darkness and Southern were calling it a bootleg and urging people not to buy it. Guess who was behind the release? Pete Lyons had taken £1500 from the label as his permission to do so. I was there when he accepted a cheque at one of the UK gigs we did. That went straight into his pot and no one mentioned it again. Southern were not happy and called him in for a meeting. He denied all knowledge of the record and lied to them about the royalties only finally admitting his guilt at a second, later meeting. They were going to rerelease In Darkness there is no choice themselves but that never happened as I suppose they had lost all trust in him. He got a good telling off from Alison at Southern and I wish I’d been there to see it.

I absolutely hated the 10” that we released to sell at gigs because again Lippy was very underhand in this recording. We had a demo version of 4 minutes which was a good song I thought and I enjoyed playing it live. After recording, I asked several times in the studio to listen to the track but Lippy was reluctant and made excuses. I knew it was going to print and wanted to hear it beforehand which was a reasonable request. Eventually he let me listen and I was shocked as it was totally shit. Nowhere near as powerful as the demo. Slowed down and poorly produced. He’d autotuned the vocals, a sin in my opinion and the song arrangement had all changed.
The record was released but I would never perform that version of the song as I simply didn’t like it.

I think the band had two singers including you when got back together, but after a while you left the band around 2012. Could you tell me the reason of your leave?
And how was the band after the reunion? Did you have any goal (like releasing a record, touring the world etc.) from the beginning?

Pete: After rejoining the band and doing half a dozen gigs or so I left again. I wanted to continue but couldn’t. I honestly thought we would take out the expenses for the gig and share the rest at the end of the night. I was keen to do the new album and get a few gigs arranged. Lippy with support from Lawrence stated that they were taking control of the bands finances to self-fund tours to Japan and the US. Alarm bell were ringing so loud and how could I ever trust these two, especially with Lippys track record? A band always needs a little float to keep in existence and cover expenses but entrust it to them? I had so much fun at the gigs between 2011-12 and had met up with old and new friends and was really having a great time but the devious behaviour began to take its toll. As I say, I was having fun but had no support from any other band mate as they were all in awe of Lippy. Controlling, devious and the boss. If I ever spoke up about anything no one was going to side with me. Me and Tim traveled to London most weekends to practice and record and I thought we had become friends. I knew him from around 1985 but not very well. I would have a moan about things and try to garner support. It would all get back to Lippy and be used to conspire against me. No mates in this band for me apart from Joe, the new guy. I found him to be a nice person. A very good drummer and guitarist too. Punk ethos not lost on him.
Lippy on the other hand claims, “No Gods – No Masters”, but he must be the master at any cost.
I was disgusted as they counted the cash after gigs, rushing to find the promoter and the merch guy before anyone else did.

After I left I began downloading all the demo tracks that we’d recorded in 2011 and decided that I would release them for free on the internet to thwart Lippy’s plans of making more from a new album. This later became the Antisect Unofficial USB stick that had all the tracks on and all profit was donated to a charity which is a thing we would have done 30 years ago. Lippy had to go back to the drawing board as he now had no new songs for the album. Are you still wondering why Rising of the lights sounds so different? It is Lippys solo album branded under the Antisect name.

Many people all over the world had been expecting the new record by the reunion Antisect, but there were some changes in the line-up like your leave, other singers leave and so on. Then the band became 3-piece again as the bass player from the “Out from the Void” era John Bryson rejoined the band (I saw somewhere that Lippy said it was “natural” thing to be back to a 3-piece band). Then the new record released last year “The Rising of the Lights” was totally different and I can say it’s far odd from what I expect (probably for most people who like the 80’s Antisect both musically and lyrically).
I hesitated to buy the record but I finally bought it for this interview because some of my friend said it has a long statement by Lippy in it. So, I felt I need to read it to be “fair” to interview you.
I’m not sure if you have ever read it though, to be honest, the statement is not that important to read at least for me: it’s like his sort of “confession” but very vaguely and he just spoke (it’s rather colloquial than literary style) how his life had been, how things have changed in these past decades, some super basic stuff as a punk/anarchist point of view, while quoting some random lines from Ernst Fischer, Chomsky to Durkheim etc.… I think he wanted to say in the statement that Antisect is still an anarchist band and being individual is the most important thing which I remember is also mentioned in the “In Darkness” album.
What is your honest opinion on this new record? And I saw that picture which has shit on the album cover. And when I saw that picture and some posts related to current Antisect on Facebook, I felt something has been happening among the member of Antisect besides their total change of musical style. Could you explain what was all about? Like what actually happened, the story behind it etc..

Pete: My opinion of the new record is well documented on the unofficial fb page and I would say it’s mixed. People waited a long time for it and I wouldn’t want to take that away from anyone. The shit on the cover was not about the record itself, more the reason behind it. A cynical move to make money yet claim to be anarchist. That deserves dog shit.
We can make up slogans, sound bites but they are worthless if insincere. Most punks would never steal from their friends. They wouldn’t be able behave this way. It simply wouldn’t be in them to do anything like that. Ponce around like you’re important and never accept that other people have value. They wouldn’t do that either.
The record is very different but it would have to be as it’s a different band. All Lippy’s own work, just the way he likes it. I doubt if John or Joe had much input because they simply wouldn’t be allowed to. The album came out to a lot of controversy and was not well received as the musical style had changed drastically. Released on Rise Above Records and funded by Lee Doriann (of Napalm Death fame). Lee had always hero worshipped Lippy and has cited him as a major influence. Shame the same can’t be said for Lippys’ feelings towards him. He couldn’t fund the album himself, so be nice to someone who can. Remember he is desperate and devious. You can’t deny his perseverance though.

And they still play old songs from “In Darkness” album, and in their upcoming show in Japan this fall, they are supposed to have a set of “only 80’s songs”. What do you think?

Pete: If the songs were important why were they not already included in the set? Again, we argued about this. I would love to have played more of the old stuff. I wish we had dipped into our back catalogue a bit more as there were some decent songs. Resist & exist, Aftermath etc. “That’s not what were here for now, it’s not just punk rock anymore. That doesn’t sell the new album”. All things I was told.
If I go to see a band I like, I want to hear all the old stuff and not just the new that I may not know very well or heard much. It really makes a difference to how I would enjoy the gig.
Answer is, they plan to upsell and if that means playing the old stuff to hook them in, then play the old songs they will.

Are you in any band right now? In today’s UK Hardcore punk scene, many old bands are still active and sometimes I see flyers with full of “classic” line-ups which remind me as if I’m seeing some old flyers from the 80’s original period.
I hear some bands play for money to make their living and I don’t totally disagree with it as it might be the only option for some people in bands as they get old.

Pete: I’m not in any band now. I have no problem in bands making money, especially if it’s their only job.
I’ve loved going to see bands and always will. What I don’t like is some person thinking they are the only one worthy. This is the sad case with Antisect.