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Political Asylum - Punk from United Kingdom - Biography & Full Album Download MP3

Political Asylum

Punk Band from United Kingdom

Political Asylum was a Scottish anarcho-punk band formed in Stirling in 1982 and active until 1993. One of the most popular bands within that scene, they played hundreds of gigs across the U.K., Europe and America and "were an integral part of the fiercely independent underground that existed at the time."


The band was formed in early 1982 by 15-year-old Stirling High School pupils Ramsey Kanaan (vocals & bass) and Stephen "Cheesy" Brown (guitar). The two began writing songs together despite the fact that Kanaan was an anarchist punk rocker who admired The Mob, Zounds, Amebix, Black Flag and Hüsker Dü, while Brown sported long hair and denim and preferred hard rock bands such as Saxon, Black Sabbath, Rush and Dire Straits. Originally named Distraught, they tried out several potential drummers before settling on schoolmate Chris "Spike" Low, two years their junior, and changing their name to Political Asylum at his suggestion. Low's simple, tom-heavy drumming contributed to an emergent post-punk sound as they worked up a live set and began organising DIY gigs around the Stirling area. These were mostly multi-band benefit gigs held in non-commercial venues, with the proceeds going to the kind of social, left-wing and radical causes espoused in the band's lyrics, as would continue to be the case throughout their existence. In the years to come, most of their releases would also be fund-raisers.By early 1983 the band had an album's worth of material and began looking for a budget studio in which to record it. Finding nothing nearby, they settled on Black Gold Studios, 25 miles away in Blanefield, north of Glasgow, owned by Ian McCredie of 1970s pop group Middle of the Road. Here, in two days, they produced their first release, the 15-track Fresh Hate. Self-released and home-duplicated on cassette, it eventually sold over 6000 copies, mainly through fanzines, gigs and tape trading networks. Kanaan soon decided to concentrate solely on vocals and a couple of bass players came and went before the arrival of classmate Norman Thomson in late 1983. Low left the band the following year, going on to play for The Apostles and Oi Polloi, while Kanaan, Brown and Thomson relocated to Edinburgh to go to university. This was also the home of their new drummer, Tam Francis, a denizen of the city's Gracemount suburb. Their second cassette release, Valium For The Masses, was recorded in Edinburgh in June and revealed an increasingly heavy metal-influenced guitar style, as well as setting a precedent for future releases by mixing studio and live recordings. By now the band were playing gigs further afield, including a trip to Belfast to support Subhumans and Conflict, where they were spotted by Tim Bennett of the Bristol-based Children Of The Revolution label. This led to their first vinyl release, the 7-inch EP Winter, which featured new versions of three Fresh Hate songs and a 5-piece lineup which added Francis' Gracemount friend Pete Barnett on rhythm guitar. All 3000 copies were sold within a year of its release. Despite this success and a couple of short UK tours, personality clashes led to the departure of Francis and Barnett in the autumn of 1985.Reverting to a 4-piece, the band recruited drummer Keith Burns, a university friend of Brown's from Buckhaven, Fife and recorded the five studio tracks featured on the Walls Have Ears cassette. The new songs highlighted Brown's increasingly technical guitar playing along with faster tempos and more intricate, rock-influenced rhythms and arrangements. The band continued to gig constantly, but Thomson decided to leave in the spring of 1986 and was replaced on bass by Ewan Hunt, a school friend of Burns' from Leven, Fife, who had a more virtuosic and melodic style. This lineup played all over the UK and recorded the Someday mini-LP for the Edinburgh label Big Noise Records, run by Paddy O'Connell. It featured two new songs, along with re-recordings of three tracks from Walls and two from Valium and was co-released by the German punk label We Bite. Following its release, the band played their first European tour in the summer of 1987, the German leg of which was named the 'Seeing Red Tour' by its organisers and co-headliners, the Lübeck-based band Pissed Boys. However, musical differences, which had been brewing for a while, led to Brown's departure after the tour, and he went on to form a hard rock/heavy metal band, also named Seeing Red. They released a single, "Angel", in 1991 and an album, T.V. Degeneration, in 1993 (re-released as Keep The Fire Burning in 2017.)Brown was replaced by Edinburgh guitarist Stevie Dewar, formerly of Sad Society, who had a simpler and more direct style. The new lineup gigged extensively, including a second, much longer, European tour in the summer of 1988, sharing bills with the likes of NOFX and Christ on Parade, and a lengthy UK tour in early 1989 with Thatcher On Acid and Chumbawamba's Danbert Nobacon. All of the money raised on the latter went to help local anti-Poll Tax groups. A live recording made on this tour formed the basis of the Window On The World LP, which included two new songs plus studio re-workings of the Someday material with Dewar on guitar. However, running out of steam, the band split up following a short American tour that summer and Dewar moved to Rotterdam, Netherlands, while Kanaan concentrated on his nascent radical distribution and publishing house, AK Press, and Burns switched to guitar to form the alternative rock trio Nectar 3.In 1991, Kanaan and Dewar revived the band with Rotterdam musicians Leo van Setten on bass and Kees de Greef on drums. They recorded the new song "I've Got A Name" and played a short European tour, for which Burns temporarily returned to play drums as De Greef was unable to travel. Marcel van Buren then replaced Van Setten on bass and the band recorded two of Burns' songs from 1989. The three new songs, along with a live acoustic radio session featuring Van Setten on acoustic guitar, were released the following year as How The West Was Won, a 10-inch mini-LP on the American graphic artist John Yates' Allied Recordings label. Dewar then moved to Göttingen, Germany, and began working with the rhythm section of local band Nancy And I. However, with Kanaan still based in Edinburgh, it became increasingly difficult for them to keep the band going and the last tour was in 1993, with the final gig in Göttingen.


Kanaan continued to promote the ideals of the band through his AK Press imprint, moving his base to Oakland, California in 1994 and eventually founding another imprint there: PM Press. He also continued to sing, in local radically inclined folk group Folk This! and with the South African-inspired Vukani Mawethu choir. Dewar also gravitated towards folk music and in 1998 formed The Assassenachs, a Celtic-inspired acoustic trio based in the Netherlands, who continue to the present day. Nectar 3 released the EP Lost in 1993 and Burns switched instruments again after the band split in 1995, establishing himself as a bass guitarist, although he also returned to drumming for a while, co-founding the alt-metal trio Zapruder with Oi Polloi bassist Roland Wagstaff. They released an album, Obsessive/Compulsive, in 2000.In 1997, the San Francisco label Broken Rekids released a 21-track CD compilation of Political Asylum's work called Rock, You Sucker. Beginning in 2004, the Finnish label Passing Bells (via Boss Tuneage) re-released almost all of their studio material across four CDs, adding live recordings from 1987 and 1989.The band's longest serving bass player, Ewan Hunt, who emigrated to Sydney, Australia in the mid-1990s, died of leukemia in December 2015, aged 49.

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Band Members :   Steven Dewar, Stephen Brown, Keith Burns, Ramsey Kanaan, Marcel van Buren, Ronnie Aitkenhead, Norman Thomson, Ulli B, Sönksen, Leo Van Setten, Kees de Greef, Pete Barnett, Tam Francis, Ewan Hunt, Chris Low

- Biography -

16 albums

Political Asylum - Live 4/7/1983

Live 4/7/1983

2012 - United Kingdom
Cassette Album14 Tracks
Social Napalm

Political Asylum - Winter


2004 - United Kingdom
CD Album Compilation24 Tracks
Passing Bells

Political Asylum - Rock, You Sucker

Rock, You Sucker

1997 - United Kingdom
CD Album Compilation21 Tracks
Broken Rekids

Political Asylum - Live At Berkeley

Live At Berkeley

1992 - United Kingdom
Cassette Album26 Tracks
Klappstuhl Records

Political Asylum - How The West Was Won

How The West Was Won

1992 - United Kingdom
Punk, Alternative Rock
Vinyl 10"7 Tracks
Allied Recordings

Political Asylum - Solitary


1990 - United Kingdom
Vinyl 7"3 Tracks
Off The Disk Records

Political Asylum - Window On The World

Window On The World

1990 - United Kingdom
Vinyl LP13 Tracks
Loony Tunes Records

Political Asylum - Live Glasgow Fury Murry

Live Glasgow Fury Murry's 17.05.88

1988 - United Kingdom
Cassette Album21 Tracks
Pampers Für Alle! Productions

Political Asylum - Seeing Red

Seeing Red

1987 - United Kingdom
Vinyl 7"4 Tracks
Fuck Your Brain Records

Political Asylum - Someday


1987 - United Kingdom
Vinyl LP7 Tracks
We Bite Records

Political Asylum - When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide

1986 - United Kingdom
Cassette Album19 Tracks
96 Tapes

Political Asylum - Walls Have Ears

Walls Have Ears

1986 - United Kingdom
Cassette Album20 Tracks
Lethal Dose Tapes

Political Asylum - At The Stars & Stripes

At The Stars & Stripes

1985 - United Kingdom
Cassette Album11 Tracks

Political Asylum - Valium For The Masses

Valium For The Masses

1984 - United Kingdom
Cassette Album17 Tracks
Not On Label (political Asylum Self-released)

Political Asylum - Fresh Hate

Fresh Hate

1983 - United Kingdom
Cassette Album15 Tracks
Not On Label (political Asylum Self-released)

Political Asylum - Live En Soutien A L

Live En Soutien A L' ECA

- United Kingdom
Cassette Album27 Tracks

- Videos Political Asylum -

10 Videos