The band was a pioneer in the underground music community and known for their unusual song styles, instrumentation and lyrical content within the rock genre. The shows attracted many celebrated members of the New York arts scene including the Pop Art era photographer Billy Name. The portmanteau Agitpop is derived from agitprop and is a conjugation of ‘agitation pop’, a now well defined label that describes how popular music asserts political ideas and views. The band members were enamored with the idea and the origins of the word from the Russian Revolution and used the repetition and philosophy of it within pop culture. Agitpop as a term can be applied to the name of the band itself, but also translates well into the character of the songs themselves. Agitpop members have often described there approach to music as ‘a unique brand of fractured pop, derived from the dismantling of rock as we knew it.
At the time Agitpop was making their first records, the description worked as a default definition of the approach to music the band was taking. Keeping with description and adhering to the needs of the times to re define rock music, they were consequent and therefore no one else sounded like them. The live shows were a natural extension of the philosophy of the band. Agitpop's performances were very confrontational.
They alienated the audience or drew them in. In a review of one of the shows in the mid 1980s, Agitpop's unique stylistic approach to rock music was described with the phrase ‘Free your mind…and your ass will follow'. The review gesture followed them continually around throughout the band's existence. Whether they are put into the music categories of the times or not, they have had a strong influence on many younger bands having diverse styles due to their willingness ‘in dismantling’, or emancipating rock by boldly moving away from standard instrumentations and song styles into a resultant provocative amalgam with strong melodic hooks and poignant lyrics. Bands that influenced Agitpop in terms of song writing style, instrumentation and delivery in performance have been noted to be Gang of Four, The Red Krayola, The Clash, Captain Beefheart, and Wire. To this list one might add The Slits, whose repetitive and fragmented melodic lines tend to remind one of the clarinet.
melodica, and glockenspiel lines in many Agitpop songs. Agitpop's popularity was drawn mainly from college radio, musicians, hardcore audiophiles and along with extensive touring made them one of the essential ingredients in changing the idea of what popular music was to become. It was pre-Nirvana times and along with their touring partners (The Smashing Pumpkins, The Minutemen, GWAR, 10,000 Maniacs, Soul Asylum, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, Dead Kennedys, Mercury Rev, The Pixies etc.), the band members were happy to be a part of it. Agitpop disbanded in 1989. They continued in various formation until just after the turn of the decade. The last official show was is often stated as the reason for their disbanding.
The band was scheduled to play a show at The Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri. The previous day the bass player, Rick Crescini was diagnosed with tinnitus. He was sent home due to reasons of health and out of frustration with touring, band member conflicts and, he stayed there. The band honored their contract with the Blue Note by playing that night, albeit with their road manager playing electric bass.
As a dedication to Crescini's years of playing, deVries and LaFalce sent a song out as a dedication to him. The song picked "Sleepless Nights" by The Mekons. Agitpop did play that show that night, what was probably one of the final shows Agitpop ever played. During the time that Agitpop was disbanded several new band formations ensued. Agitpop regrouped in 2006 and are coming out with a new album this year (2007). They have started to tour again and are on the move with revival and survival tactics in line with punk and politics in sweep with the general guitar band revival being felt today (2007) internationally. Line Up John deVries, vocals, guitars, clarinet, various toys & percussion Rick Crescini, electric bass, Glockenspiel, melodica Mark LaFalce, drums and percussion, guitars, backup vocals Recordings Feast of the Sunfish (Community 3) 1985 Back at the Plain of Jars (Community 3/Rough Trade) 1986 Open Seasons (TwinTone) 1988 Po-Town Tea Party EP (TwinTone) 1989 Stick It! (TwinTone) 1989 Agitpop' (18 Acres) 2007 Read more on Last.fm.
User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more