Hard to believe we know but it is true, Kirk Brandon has now been leading punk rock icons Spear Of Destiny for almost 35 years. Spear’s last album, 2014’s, ‘31’ gained huge critical acclaim with Jules Holland claiming it was “possibly [Spear of Destiny’s] best album in 20 years”. Damian Robinson caught up with Kirk to talk about 31’s follow up album, his forthcoming tour and his new autobiography.
Hi Kirt, we’ve heard the new ‘Tontine’ and think it’s brilliant. Was it hard to follow up, ‘31’, given how critically well received it had been?
Thanks for your feedback about Tontine, I’ve not had too much back from anyone as yet to be honest. The last album had some really nice things written about it but it wasn’t too hard to write more songs to be honest. I don’t really ever create a plan to write new material it just tends come to me when it’s ready. It’s more like a Ouija board style of writing with different pieces coming to me at different times (laughing).
So you didn’t feel any pressure at all with the writing?
None, I don’t think over thinking things help. I’m really pleased with the album, and we approached it by trying not to write any song by design.
‘Enigma’ was a personal favourite, but I couldn’t quiet work out who, or what, the Enigma was.
Interesting choice, that’s one of the most personal songs on the album. The Enigma in question is my dad. He served in the war but he never really let the family know what he did until just before he died. The end of World War 2, particularly in Britain, was a funny time where seemingly almost anything went and Britain became almost like a mini wild-west. My dad kept all of his war time experiences to himself, some of which I think he felt were uncomfortable truths. So although we knew dad, he remained an enigma of sorts until the end of his life.
Did your dad’s revelation have a profound impact on you?
It did, funnily enough I’ve just finished writing about my dad in my book which is almost finished and ready to go. The tales will make interesting reading.
And tell us about ‘MK Ultra’, another personal favourite on the album
The song is written about the CIA mind-control project of the same name. I’ve been watching some tv shows on this recently and it’s fascinating to see the alleged tactics the CIA used in how it operated against John Lennon and president Reagan.
You’ve gone for some dark concepts seemingly on the album
Not all songs, maybe just the two you’ve mentioned. What I find most interesting, and which I feel inspired to write about, is the fact that very often with some of these huge issues there’s never any atonement. Things are often just written into history and no one is ever held to account or held to task. Why should people get away with things just because they’re in power?
Agreed, I think that was always a driver of Spear of Destiny, the desire to have 3 chords and the truth.
You’re out on a solo tour and then a Spear tour with the album soon
That’s right, it’s a very active year for us this one and it’ll be great to get out on the road and play. We used to have a guitarist from the North East, Micky, he introduced me to stotties. I can’t wait to get back up and have one.
‘Tontine’ is released Friday 6th April. Spear of Destiny will play Newcastle o2 Academy 25th May