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Gang of Four bleed for fans

Post-punk legends sell their own blood to fund new album

  • 07/04/2010
  • Ian Youngs
Gang of Four

Post-punk band Gang of Four are selling vials of their blood and other unusual merchandise to fund their new album.

A £45 box set will contain a pot of diluted blood, their own scratch 'n' sniff book and the band's art depicting the last 40 years of world history.

Guitarist Andy Gill said: "We're having discussions with health and safety to find out what percentage of our actual blood we're allowed to put in there."

The group are hoping to cover the costs of the album via the Pledge Music site.

Other items on offer include a cassette with a recording of their first gig in 1977 on one side and the new album, titled Content, on the other.

It will come in a Walkman decorated by Gill and singer Jon King and will cost £175.

Fans can also pay to catch a helicopter to Glastonbury with the band, or for Gill to remix one of their tracks.

"They'll give you a very small royalty, they'll own the copyright and they want to take income from every aspect of everything you do... the only way forward is to self-release."

Andy Gill on major labels

"These things are a gamble - there's no certainty in this at all," Gill told 6 Music.

"The target's whatever you get but, I think they stuck up £50,000, which would basically pay for the campaign without much change."

Gang of Four emerged in the wake of punk, combining the raw style with dance and funk influences and strong artistic and political sensibilities.

The "ultimate Content can" box set will include the new album as well as other items such as the scratch 'n' sniff book.

"That contains various smells, from sweat to money to sex," Gill explained. "There's another booklet and you open it up and it's got pictures of the band's emotions. So there will be a picture of Thomas looking jealous. And there might be a picture of Jon looking angry."

The tape of the first gig, at the Cellar Bar at Leeds Corn Exchange, will be a copy of one recently unearthed by King in his loft.

"He was looking for something and came across this cassette," Gill said. "We didn't want to actually stick it in a cassette machine because old tapes, sometimes the oxide literally comes straight off and you can't play it.

"So we got it to Abbey Road [studios] and they very carefully unwound it and played it back and there it was. And it sounds all right. They digitised it.

"Someone came up with the bright idea of sticking them in old-school Walkmen. I used to have a Walkman and I drew all over it and stuck things on it, so we're going to do the same thing with these ones."

Asking fans to pay for the recording and release of the album was a risk, but was a better option than signing a traditional deal with a major label, Gill said.

"If you go to them, they'll give you a very small royalty, they'll own the copyright and they want to take income from every aspect of everything you do. And who wants to do that?

"The only way forward is to self-release."

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