The Fanatics – Return to the Punk, New Wave and Indie Scene

The Fanatics emerged from the melting pot of the late seventies Punk, New Wave, and Indie scene. Playing high energy, angular pop with heartfelt lyrics, they soon built a loyal, local following and gigged extensively in London and the southeast. The band comprised of Mike Simister on guitar and vocals, Clint Golding on guitar and vocals, Richard Pacitti on bass and keyboards and Martin ‘Spanner’ Hannaford on drums.

On 10th August 1980 they recorded their single ‘Total Confusion’ with ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ as the ‘B’ side at Village Way Studio. The ‘B’ side was a live take, with just a snare drum overdub. The band always felt that this performance captured the essence of the Fanatics more that the ‘A’ side did. The single got some limited airplay, including the obligatory couple of spins by John Peel, but plans for a follow-up record never came to fruition.

The band feature in a new film called ‘Are They Hostile’ which documents the Punk, New Wave and Indie scene in Croydon in the late 70s and early 80s and contribute two tracks to the LP/CD of the same name on Damaged Goods Records. Both will be available in September 2022.

The Fanatics recently rehearsed together for the first time in 40 years and are planning gigs for later in the year, So we caught up with them in an exclusive interview

On 10th August 1980 the fanatics recorded their first single ‘Total Confusion’ It had limited air play including being featured by John Peel but plans for a follow-up record never came to fruition. What happened?

We weren’t ever that keen on the production of Total Confusion and preferred the B-side, When The Sun Goes Down, which sounded more like a live performance. There was an avalanche of new music in 1980/1981 and I guess we thought that the New Wave pop thing we were doing had had its day. We wrote and rehearsed new material and there were some line-up changes, at one stage we even had a Sax player, but nothing really gelled.

Each member of the band went on to have their own separate careers in music. Tell us about it and what each band member got up to once the fanatics came to an end?

Mike and Richard continued as a duo called It’s Tuesday and recorded a demo which featured some of the later Fanatics’ material. Mike then joined Kau Tau as the singer, which featured Steve Harley’s brother, Ian, on keyboards. Andy Scott (The Sweet) produced their early demos they toured the UK extensively throughout the 80s. Clint formed the short lived Scenes In The City to explore his love of Northern Soul and Motown. He was joined by Richard on keyboards. Their demos have recently been released on Firestation Records. Clint left to join the Friday Club who were signed to Two Tone records. They toured with Madness and were part of the Red Wedge tours of 1985 appearing with Billy Bragg, Paul Weller and The Beat. Their single, Window Shopping, was the last ever release on Two Tone. Following the demise of Scenes In The City Richard continued to write and perform with his own band Red Money.The only member who moved away from music was drummer Spanner, who became a successful ski instructor

Who are the fanatics and tell us about their history and the story behind their formation?

The Fanatics were formed by Mike in 1979. The original line-up had a bass player and drummer recruited via ads in the music press. One day Mike bumped into Clint who’d he’d been at school with and invited him to watch his new band rehearse. Clint had been in a couple of punk by numbers bands and was looking for something new. He was impressed with the songs and Mike’s performance but not by the bass player or drummer. Mike invited Clint to join on guitar and they set out to find a new rhythm section. Bass player Richard was discovered, ironically via the sacked drummer, and Spanner was recruited from one of Clint’s previous bands.

How would you describe the band’s sound and what genre would you place the Band?

Looking back we would describe it as high energy new wave pop with a big nod to the Jam initially, but we were also listening to older stuff like the Small Faces and The Kinks. There was such an amazing explosion of new music at that time so we were also listening to bands like Magazine, The Cure and Echo and The Bunnymen. Bits of those types of bands definitely crept into the sound.

Why did you decide to Reform the band after 40 years?

It’s all been a bit of a happy accident. Clint and Richard were contacted by Ian ‘Griff’ Griffiths, former Bad Actors drummer, asking if The Fanatics would like to be part of the ‘Are They Hostile’ documentary and compilation. They hadn’t seen Mike for over 20 years, and had no idea how to find him. A couple of weeks later on Clint’s birthday Mike popped up on his Facebook feed. Clint was like, ‘you’re not going to believe this but… we’ve been looking for you’. We decided it would be fun to get together and play a few of the old songs. So here we are!

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The band feature in a new film called ‘Are They Hostile’ and feature on a compilation of the same name. Tell us more about that in more detail?

The film was made by Ian ‘Griff’ Griffiths and Mark Williams and documents the punk/new wave scene of the late 70s and early 80s in Croydon, South East London. Spurred on by early punk heroes The Damned and Johnny Moped, both from Croydon, a host of bands emerged including The Bad Actors, Case, The Marines, The Daleks and The Heroes. We gigged together and supported each other. It was an exciting time and scene to be around. We’re all looking forward to seeing the film at it’s premier on September 2nd.

Can we expect to see the band continue, release new music and gig across the country?

We’re currently rehearsing for a short, acoustic gig to promote the film and compilation at Sounds Of The Suburbs records in Ruislip on Saturday, October 29th. It will be the first time we’ve played in front of an audience for 40 years. We’re also discussing remodelling some of the songs to reflect different influences, also we can’t play them anything like as fast as could 40 years ago! We may consider arranging a couple of small gigs but we don’t think we’ll be jumping in the Lear Jet to the States just yet.

Please let us know anything you’d like to mention or promote?

Fanatics appear first time in 42 years live at The Sound of The Suburbs record store Ruislip Saturday 29th October 2pm. Join our Facebook group for updates and exclusives HERE

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