SPEAR OF DESTINY est.1983 + Guests
7:30pm Friday 15th December, Bedford Esquires
Set to mark forty years since their formation this year, Spear of Destiny have been making a stir with their punk-influenced power-rock since 1983. Emerging from the wreckage of iconic post-punk band Theatre Of Hate, the original duo — Kirk Brandon and Stan Stammers — named themselves after the weapon used by Roman centurion Longinus as he pierced the body of Jesus as he hung on the cross.
Gaining traction in the UK, and with Melody Maker enthusing that “by this time next year, [Spear] should be huge”, their debut album ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ was released in 1983 on Epic Records and they toured relentlessly across the next few years. After releasing ‘One Eyed Jacks’ in 1984, and almost cracking the UK Top 10 with 1985’s ‘World Service’, Brandon disbanded the existing lineup and Spear of Destiny vanished for much of the next two years.
After bouncing back with a completely new lineup, Spear finally achieved the success that had evaded them for so long, with 1987’s ‘Outland’ spawning some of the band’s biggest hits to date including “Stranger In Our Town”, “Never Take Me Alive” and “Was That You”. They also toured with U2, eventually playing Wembley Stadium with the band that summer.
But, on the eve of a slot at Reading Festival and with their first American tour on the horizon, tragedy struck when Brandon was diagnosed with Reiter’s Syndrome. Over the following years Spear of Destiny struggled amidst Brandon’s diagnosis and legal problems that meant they were prohibited from using their own band’s name.
After finally reclaiming the Spear name in the late 1990s, Brandon and the band have worked consistently ever since: their ninth studio album ‘Morning Star’ was released in 2003, followed by ‘Loadestone’ and ‘Imperial Prototype’ in 2005 and 2007 respectively.
Now in 2023, the current Spear of Destiny lineup is the longest serving to date, featuring Adrian Portas (New Model Army/Sex Gang Children), Craig Adams (Sisters of Mercy/The Cult/The Mission) and Phil Martini (Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind), as well as Clive Osborne on saxophone and Steve Allen-Jones on keys.
Over recent years Brandon has supervised a major reissue campaign of the band’s back catalogue, restoring Spear’s early albums and stacking out releases with previously unheard bonus tracks. They’ve also played sell-out shows at London’s iconic 100 Club, Manchester’s Ritz and Oran Mor in Glasgow, as well as festival slots at Sign of the Times, Rebellion and Kubix.
Heralding an array of positive reviews for both their live shows and studio material, MOJO enthused “Kirk Brandon is one of the UK’s best kept secrets”, while Jeremy Vine says Spear’s ringleader is “one of our greatest musical geniuses”. With BBC Radio’s Jools Holland dubbing their 2014 album ‘31’ as “possibly [Spear’s] best album in 20 years,” their recent efforts see the band at their professional peak, with Louder Than War awarding the record 9/10 and commending: “Brandon puts his all into every song with epic bombast, coming across as a tragic rock n roll anti-hero.”
Still continuing to look toward the future, Brandon has penned fourteen new tracks for the latest Spear of Destiny album ‘Ghost Population’. Both fan forums and music journalists alike have heralded the release of ‘Ghost Population’. May 2023 will see the full commercial release of the album into the shops on Brandon’s own Eastersnow recording Company via Code 7 Distribution.
Spear of Destiny play 38 shows across the UK in April, May and June 2023, some as Special Guests to long term friends Big Country others as headline shows in their own right.
Tickets priced £20 are on sale now from Esquires Bar and Slide Record Shop in person (booking fee free) and online from Seetickets