A League of Their Own: The anarchic Anti-Nowhere League sounds off on its “American Tour”

Anti-Nowhere League, Image courtesy of Anti-Nowhere League

The Anti-Nowhere League (ANWL) has been dedicated to the performance of noisy, obnoxious, unbearable, violent punk since the 1980s. The group’s first performance, and subsequent arrest, was at the 1980 carnival in Tunbridge Wells in its native England. ANWL has since formed followings of vehement haters and supporters among the public and “musicians.” The band–who’s also developed an independent record label, Nowhere Records–is currently in the middle of its “American Tour.” On April 8th, the guys play at Reggies Rock Club. Lead singer Animal, one of the original founders, talked to the Chicago Weekly about ANWL over the past twenty-five years, the band’s upcoming show at Reggies and its informal (but apt) title: the “bastard sons of punk.”

Q: How has Anti-Nowhere League changed since the 1980s, aside from new members and new songs?
A: No pressure anymore…no record company planning our lives…we have our own label and can do exactly as we please.

Q: ANWL has lost and gained members over the years but now consists of Animal, Shady, Jez and Nato–this will be the group playing Reggies?
A: Yes this is the band…we have always come and gone over the years…always an open door.

Q: Has the public response changed since the early days of banning or do you still meet resistance?
A: It’s more fun now…when we started we were front runners of the ‘grunge’ sound… “bastard sons of punk” we like to be known as…now things do not shock as much.

Q: How has your music evolved over the past 25 years?
A: I don’t think ‘evolved’ is the right word…more…sharper!

Q: What is it like to be out touring–have your audiences changed considerably over the years?
A: Touring has always been a way of life…[I’ve] always been a bit of a gypsy….even when I rode with bike gangs… wherever I lay my hat…[I] never look at it too deeply. As for the audience… it’s back to a good mixture… I got worried a few years ago when all the audience seemed to be was bald old men but that soon passed.

Q: You are called the Anti-Nowhere League. Do you believe that your music, your movement, has gone nowhere, anywhere, somewhere over the years?
A: It’s gone exactly where I want it…uncommercial, real and exciting…riding Harleys, playing punk…life don’t get better than that, mate.

Q: For this tour and your show at Reggies do you plan on mainly playing songs from [latest album] “The Road to Rampton,” new songs, classics, covers?
A: Classic and new…until we drop.

Q: Do you think it is even more important to keep up the noise and dissonance than when you started considering the current political regime, the war, the general state of society?
A: This world has and always will be run by shit-heads…we can’t stop it, but we can enjoy the ride.

Q: Is there anything you want to say to the younger generations–the teens, the college-aged, the twentysomethings?
A: You are what you are…a unique, one-off…don’t blow it!

Reggies Rock Club, 2109 S. State St. April 8. Thursday, 8pm. www.reggieslive.com