Author: Thee Faction

Thee Faction - blistering, visceral socialist R&B with an explicit political agenda. Formed in Reigate in the late 70s by four schoolmates (Billy Brentford, The Hard Man, Nylons and Dai Nasty), and subsequently joined in the early 80s by Dai's cousin from Wales, teenage runaway Baby Face. Thee Faction eschewed the traditional routes to musical fame and fortune, refusing to play gigs in the usual venues or talk to the music press. Instead they built up a massive following by playing squat gigs and benefits. Devoting as much time to political activity and propaganda as to their music, they were open in their pursuit of global revolution through the medium of music. Thee Faction believed in the redemptive power of rock'n'roll, but understood that it could not, in itself, effect change. So they used their unique brand of Socialist R&B to re-engineer false consciousness, to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies, and to exhort the workers of the world to unite and throw off their chains. The songs themselves spoke for themselves, as a manifesto for change and as a critique of capitalism. But in case anyone was in any doubt of the message, it was rammed home between songs by Baby Face, who would launch into vitriolic polemic that would often go on longer than the songs themselves. At their peak, during the miners' strike, Thee Faction were attracting two to three thousand people to gigs in reclaimed halls and other unorthodox venues. But they refused ever to release records through corporate labels or give interviews to any publications owned by private shareholders. Yet the word spread, and in any list of the most influential people on the left in Britain between 1981 and 1985, Thee Faction always appeared in the top five, often above union leaders, politicians and opinion formers. In 1985, at the peak of their influence in Britain, the left was in tatters, and Thee Faction were seen by many as the last hope in the vacuum of working class leadership. And just at the moment that everyone expected them to step up and lead from the vanguard, they announced that they were off to tour on the other side of the 'Iron Curtain'. That May they set off on a tour, starting in Poland and culminating in the USSR. And they were never seen again in the UK. No one knew why Thee Faction never returned. There were rumours of them acting as a conduit between the left opposition in the East and the left in the UK. Others simply assumed they had defected. Those who kept track of them in the East realised that the band never stopped moving. They performed hundreds of shows throughout the Eastern Bloc, and by the time of the fall of Stalinism they just kept moving, to each state that still professed allegiance to actually existing socialism. In Yugoslavia, at the turn of the 90s, Thee Faction suddenly became a 7-piece. The tight knit street-gang of revolutionaries, who had never let anyone come within yards of them since their inception, had recruited two new members. Billy Brentford and Baby Face were working on pirate radio in Belgrade when they found two singers who shared Thee Faction's unique commitment not just to Marxism-Leninism but also to socialist R&B. Krystina-Prystina Engels and Kassandra Krossing immediately became full members of the band, and added a soulful, but aggressive approach to backing vocals whih added a new edge to Thee Faction's sound. Thee Faction continued to tour Moldova, Transnistria and beyond, but eventually returned to Britain, devoting themselves purely to political activity. But in early 2010 rumours began to circulate that they were going to perform again, for the first time since their legendary show in Ebbw Vale 25 years earlier. Thee Faction's story is not over.

Warmed up yet?

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Playing Glastonbury Left Field last weekend was a blast: huge thanks to Billy Bragg for inviting us, a big top full of muddy lefties for singing along with us, and Charlotte Church for partying heartily with us.

But name-dropping is bourgeois. And our trip to the West country served one important purpose: to warm us up for the proper festivals we’re playing at in the next couple of weeks. Namely:

The Matchwomen Festival – Camden, this Saturday 4th July

and

The Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – Sunday 19 July, opening slot

See you there!

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Make sure you’ve got a copy of our new album, Reading Writing Revolution, to hand so you can sing along with us:

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Reading Writing Revolution £7
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Reading Writing Revolution & Good Politics £10
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 [if these links don’t work it might be because you’ve come to this page via theefaction.org Come back to this page via this link and all should be well]

Every order gets an “I Did Not Vote Tory” badge (and if you order the Three Rs/Good Politics bundle you’ll get an extra Thee Faction badge of some kind too). While stocks last.

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It contains this remarkable single:

  • And this one too:

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    Thee Faction to play Glastonbury’s Leftfield stage, Sat 27 June

    We’re hugely excited to announce that Comrade Billy Bragg has asked us to take a Saturday night slot on this year’s Leftfield stage at Glastonbury. In his words, “We all need to recharge our activism this year, so come on down and join the debate about the way forward. The fight-back starts here!”

    Anyone know where we can buy some leopard print wellies?

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    Orgreave Justice CD featuring Thee Faction – out now

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    Thee Faction are honoured to be included in the Orgreave Justice CD produced by Philosophy Football. All profits to the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign, so please buy as many copies as you can afford.

    How’s this for a line up:

    Matt Abbott, Attila the Stockbroker, Banner Theatre, Billy Bragg, The Black Lamps, Blaggers ITA, Blossoms, Cambodia, Chris Evans Collective, Chris T-T, Chumbawamba, Steve Drewett, Paul Heaton, The Hurriers, Jethro Platts, Joe Solo, Robb Johnson, Jon Langford, Louise Distras, The Movement, New Model Army, The Oppressed, Grace Petrie, Pitman Poet, Quiet Loner, Sleaford Mods, TV Smith, Terry and Dead, Thee Concerned Citizens, Thee Faction, Tony Walsh, Steve White and the Protest Family and Wilde Sammon.

    Get yours, with or without a T-shirt, here.

    KICK OUT THE TORIES! Chris T-T, Grace Petrie, and Thee Faction at the 100 Club – 22 April 2015

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    22 April 2015 – at the legendary 100 Club, 100 Oxford Street, London

    A week before the UK General Election, we urge you to gather at the 100 Club with all those who seek to KICK OUT THE TORIES … a pre-election pep rally.

    Come and shake your pom-poms with:

    Christ T-T and the Hoodrats

    Grace Petrie and the Benefits Culture

    Thee Faction

    Plus DJs

    Doors 19:30

    Tickets £6 in advance from http://www.wegottickets.com/100club/event/309330

    or £8 on the door

    REGISTER YOUR ATTENDANCE HERE – https://www.facebook.com/events/833635750084497/

    3 Things you need to know about Thee Faction

    1. There’s a new album coming VERY soon, and it’s our best yet. It’s called Reading Writing Revolution. Here’s a sneak preview of the cover in progress.
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    2. Our next gig will be in London on 22 April, at a very special ‘Kick out the Tories’ night at The 100 Club, with some massively exciting names on the bill. More on that soon.

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    3. Our products and services available on Bandcamp now includes t-shirts, and three of our albums – At Ebbw Vale, Up the Workers! and Singing Down the Government. The more stuff we sell, the more stuff we can create.

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    The Socialist RnB Top 20 Album Chart is in! We’re not in it much.

    The latest album chart is in from Socialist RnB!  It’s full to bursting with new entries, with Darren Hayman’s just-released indiepop hymnal Chants for Socialists making the Top 5 on the strength of pre-orders alone. chart

    Anti-Tory/UKIP band of the year Sleaford Mods have clearly resonated with the Socialist RnB audience since the chart was last compiled, and quality new albums from stalwarts SmithJohnson and Petrie make a strong showing, competing with the back catalogue of ultra-left folkie David Rovics and a box set reissue from sarky Marxist C86-sters McCarthy.

    A strong showing for home-grown queercore this time too, with “the one-man-punk-Soft-Cell” Ste McCabe’s Cockroaches and transgender riot grrrls Not Right’s Tory Scum pushing demand for their respective albums into the Top 10.

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    But the real news here is the Socialist RnB chart breakthrough of Steve White & the Protest Family, East London’s premier percussion-phobic agit-folkers. Putting the fallout from the 2012 Bookmarks Payola scandal behind them, The Family produced their best album yet in 2014, and were apparently beaten to the top spot only by a sudden UK demand surge for Bambu’s brand of deeply conscious Filipino hip hop.

    Will Thee Faction, Lone Groover and Hurriers get their new albums out in time for the next chart? Stay tuned!