|Origin||South Shields, England|
|Genres||Punk rock, Oi!|
|Labels||Warner Bros., EMI, Anagram Records, Picasso Records, Link Records, Razor Records, Captain Oi!|
|Members||Thomas 'Mensi' Mensforth|
Andy 'Sgt' Wilko
Ray 'Mond' Cowie
Gaz 'Geordie' Stoker
Angelic Upstarts are an English punk rock band formed in South Shields in 1977. Allmusic calls them "one of the period's most politically charged and thought-provoking groups". The band espoused an anti-fascist and socialist working class philosophy, and have been associated with the skinhead subcultureThough they ended up detesting and being detested by most skinheads.
The band released eight studio albums in their first decade. After a brief split they reformed in 1988, and a number of times subsequently, with new albums appearing in 1992, 2002, 2011, and 2016. More than two decades after its release, their debut single, "The Murder Of Liddle Towers", was included in Mojo magazine's list of the best punk rock singles of all time.
The band's original members were Thomas Mensforth (Mensi) on vocals, Ray Cowie (Mond) on guitar, Steve Forsten on bass guitar, and Derek "Decca" Wade on drums. Keith Bell was the manager until 1980, when he was jailed for four and a half years for arson.
Other former members include Ronnie Rocker and bassists Ronnie Wooden, Glyn Warren and Tony Feedback (now in Long Tall Shorty and Kiria's live band). Drummers have included Sticks Warrington (who later joined Cockney Rejects), Paul Thompson (ex-Roxy Music), Chris White, Evo (who has also played in The Blood, Major Accident and Warfare.
Wade rejoined the band for a few years before leaving again. Brian Hayes (also of Blaggers ITA, Long Tall Shorty) originally joined the band as second guitarist until Mond left, leaving Hayes as the only guitarist. Mensi was the only original member still in the band.
In August 2006, Mensi announced he was resigning, but requested that the band continue with Chris Wright (of the band Crashed Out) on vocals. The band's lineup became Wright on vocals, Dickie Hammond on guitar, Neil "Newts" Newton on guitar, Gaz "Geordie" Stoker on bass and Wade on drums. In the latter part of 2007, Mensi rejoined the band and the lineup became Mensi on vocals, Gaz "Geordie" Stoker on bass, Hammond on guitar, Newts on guitar and Brett Mulvaney (and later Jonnie Halling) on drums.
The current lineup is now Mensi on vocals, Newts Newton on guitar, GG Gates on bass and Sgt Wilko on drums.
Angelic Upstarts are regarded as pioneers of the Oi! punk subgenre. In 2001, Various Artists cover album We Are the People was released in tribute to the Upstarts, including tracks from bands such as Leatherface, The Oppressed, Red London and Red Alert. In 2009, punk-influenced singer-songwriter Jamie T sampled vocals from the album Angelic Upstarts Live on his song "The Man's Machine".