Pop Quiz: Gang of Four

Aidin Vaziri | Gang of Four may have arrived at the tail end of the British punk explosion, but the movement’s message wasn’t lost on them. Some copies of the group’s first album of new material in 16 years, “Content” – a self-funded effort that saw founding members Andy Gill and Jon King soliciting fans for donations to make it – come packaged with vials of their own blood. “It’s like, what do you want? Blood?” explains Gill, who spoke to us while the band was rehearsing for its current tour. Gang of Four, whose politically charged tunes inspired everyone from R.E.M. to Bloc Party, headlines Feb. 19 at the Fillmore.


Andy Gill of Gang of Four
Q: You’re indirectly responsible for a lot of terrible bands. Are there any Gang of Four disciples you like?
A: Mea culpa. Michael Stipe very graciously said, “I stole a lot from Gang of Four.” The Chili Peppers, a lot of stuff they’ve done I’ve liked. Nine Inch Nails I really like. And Nirvana. Many Bloc Party songs. Some of the poppier Franz Ferdinand songs.
Q: You made this CD without a label, offering fans incentives to help fund it – including a helicopter ride with the band to Glastonbury and samples of your blood.
A: t’s our Kiss moment. I sometimes think making the album is the easy bit. We’re in a world where paid-for CD releases are such a small part of how music is consumed. All kinds of interesting ideas are being thrown up all the time. The Pledge Music concept, which is the band-direct-to-fan arrangement, definitely helps. You need the support services that go with that. If you press some records up and nobody hears them, then you’ve wasted your time. There’s no point in putting something out if nobody knows about it.
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