The Republic

The Republic were a twelve-piece band that I got involved with at the beginning of the 80s. A South African actor whom I'd known from Stratford-on-Avon whilst I was at drama college and he was at the RSC, called John Matchikiza, had joined the band to help put it together, and he started writing lyrics for the songs. He and I eventually became the co-singers, sometimes duetting and sometimes singing solo. John then went back to South Africa and became a successful actor/writer/director and I became the lead singer.

We were signed to Charlie Gillet's Oval Records and recorded an EP called Three Songs By The Republic which included a song called One Chance and another, criticising the Falklands War called Don't Believe.

An American DJ came across another song from this EP called, One Chance, in a club, loved it and recently contacted me. The Republic made it to the front cover of Melody Maker, NME and City Limits, we had a documentary made about us by Granada TV and we were destined for success.

Alas, we were deemed too political by radio, and after a couple of years the band gave up the ghost. Some of us joined the radical big band, The Happy End and Tim Fienburgh, one of the main writers for The Republic formed a band called, 3 Mustapha's 3 along with Ben Mandelson (Orchestra Jazzira and later Billy Bragg and The Blokes) and Lu Edmonds (later to be in PIL and Billy Bragg's Blokes along with my main and current co-writer Martyn Barker).

Alas, Tim Fienburgh died of a heart attack in May 2008 and will be greatly missed. He was a bit of a musical genius.

Click here for an appreciation of Tim Fienburgh by Ben Mandelson >

In September 2008 John Matshikiza died aged 54 following a heart attack.

Click here to view an obituary in The Guardian >

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