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Thread: After The Fire

  1. #1
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    After The Fire

    My wife was looking for the song Der Kommissar and asked me if I had it on CD. I told her maybe, but it'd be in deep storage. So I went to YT to look it up for her. In doing so, I stumbled across an album from '78 called Signs Of Change, a proggy album in the vein of ELP (in fact, it reminded me of Triumvirate in places). Anyone else ever hear of this album, from this band of all bands.
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    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    I own it, and I need to spin it. Been a while.

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've got it. I might even have 2, I can't remember.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    My wife was looking for the song Der Kommissar and asked me if I had it on CD. I told her maybe, but it'd be in deep storage. So I went to YT to look it up for her. In doing so, I stumbled across an album from '78 called Signs Of Change, a proggy album in the vein of ELP (in fact, it reminded me of Triumvirate in places). Anyone else ever hear of this album, from this band of all bands.
    I’ve had this for a while. The “born again” lyrics are a bit of a drag, but it’s pretty swell Anglo-prog, rather along the lines of England or Strange Days (I’d say a bit better than the latter, but nowhere near the quality of the former).

    They got better with their CBS records, though, when they pushed the religious lyrical content in the background and resurfaced as something akin to the UK answer to The Cars. I have a 2 CD set of all their CBS/Epic recordings, and it’s excellent, tuneful stuff. “Der Kommissar” was actually one of the last things they ever recorded, after their third LP Batteries Not Included. I understand they broke up just before it started racing up the charts. D’oh! (It’s also the only cover version I know of that they ever did.)

    If you’re interested, their keyboardist Peter “Memory” Banks (not that one) had been in a Christian folk-prog band earlier called Narnia, who released just the one album: Aslan Is Not a Tame Lion.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    If you’re interested, their keyboardist Peter “Memory” Banks (not that one) had been in a Christian folk-prog band earlier called Narnia, who released just the one album: Aslan Is Not a Tame Lion.
    This is actually a pretty good album. Despite the obvious religious aspect, I don’t get a terribly preachy vibe from it and they manage to combine the more electric moments of 70’s Steeleye Span/Fairport Convention with some symphonic prog interludes. Here’s one of the best tracks imo.

  7. #7
    One of my favourite groups in the late 70s/early 80s. Excellent synth-based pop (they supported Queen in Europe I think). Saw them in London on their Laser Love tour. 'One Rule For You' should have been massive. As said above they broke up around the time that the record company released Der Kommissar. Vocalist Andy Piercy (who went on to become a Minister and hymn-writer I believe) recorded a solo single (8 Ball In the top pocket) which was released (I have it) but the subsequent album was sadly shelved. ATF have played a few gigs in recent years at Christian festivals with a new vocalist. The Seeds of Change vinyl album used to go for mega-bucks on ebay (over 100).

  8. #8
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    that’s a fun one! AtF were subliminally huge in germany because their instrumental tune “1980-F” had been employed as the intro for various TV and radio programmes over the years. visit a 1980s nostalgia do or book a retro/oldies type DJ here and you are bound to come across it. it’s all but a mass media classic here. this one and “der kommissar” (originally by austrian pop icon FALCO and a huge neue deutsche welle / new german punk/pop wave hit) are obviously their main calling cards. hardly anyone here knows that they are a CCM group with neo-proggy overtones. i had their first two albums for a while and never ever encountered any overt bible bashing on them. very quirky, clever pop/prog for me.


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by iguana View Post
    “der kommissar” (originally by austrian pop icon FALCO and a huge neue deutsche welle / new german punk/pop wave hit)
    Yeah, I remember at the time, seeing both the After The Fire and Falco versions on MTV, and I couldn't figure out what the deal was at first. Then I read about how it was originally done by Falco, in German, of course, and then ATF recorded the English version (the lyrics of which, I'm told, have nothing to do with the original German lyrics). It was years later, though, I heard that the band was already kaput by the time their version of Der Kommissar was a hit.

    Of course, Falco is more famous, at least Stateside, for his subsequent hit Rock Me Amadeus. I gather he had a bunch of other hits in Europe. Was he the first person to rap in German?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, I remember at the time, seeing both the After The Fire and Falco versions on MTV, and I couldn't figure out what the deal was at first. Then I read about how it was originally done by Falco, in German, of course, and then ATF recorded the English version (the lyrics of which, I'm told, have nothing to do with the original German lyrics). It was years later, though, I heard that the band was already kaput by the time their version of Der Kommissar was a hit.
    And theirs wasn’t even the first English-language cover version of it. There’s also this, which has even LESS to do with the original lyrics!



    It makes sense that Laura Branigan got to it, since her first three big hits were covers of European songs.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post

    It makes sense that Laura Branigan got to it, since her first three big hits were covers of European songs.
    I had to look it up on Wikipedia, because I couldn't remember what her other hits were besides Gloria, and I find that on her second album she covered....Squeeze Box?! Really?! Of all the Pete Townshend compositions you could choose to cover, you pick the stupid novelty song about an accordion player?! Oy!

  12. #12
    The Enemy God
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    Peter Banks has a recent YouTube channel called Banksy Boy where he talks through his Yamaha CS80 and Multi Moog ATF settings, annotations etc, he also started doing a YT live is great for memories of how the band nearly went really big . Saw them in 1979 at Lancaster University. signs of Change has some great playing esp if you like Moog. The drummer Ivor Twidell left after the first CBS album Laser Love and became a Police Officer , rising up the ranks in Reading/Thames Valley.

  13. #13
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    You know, I listened to the album on Google Play and started to notice the christian lyrics. Didn't pick up on that at first. It's not terrible but there was one song that did swing for the pearly gates. Anyway, I'd probably pick up a CD copy of it if it existed (and cheap), but it's not like some long lost prog Holy grail.

  14. #14
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    I'd forgotten about Falco. I remember hearing his German version right around the time Rock Me Amadeus was making its rounds - gadzukes what a shitty song. Some of the dance clubs would play the even more insipid, gag inducing extended version of the song. Unc unc unc uncle uncle, unc unc unc uncle uncle; susususuperstar, susususuperstar.

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    My wife also saw them in London on the Laser Love tour - it was her first ever gig and she has good memories of it to this day. Apparently it was at the Rainbow, Finsbury Park. I've been buying one CD a month during the lockdown, preferably directly from the band, and having listened to a chunk of ATF's "Signs of Change" that could well be the next one I go for ...

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Perry View Post
    My wife also saw them in London on the Laser Love tour - it was her first ever gig and she has good memories of it to this day. Apparently it was at the Rainbow, Finsbury Park. I've been buying one CD a month during the lockdown, preferably directly from the band, and having listened to a chunk of ATF's "Signs of Change" that could well be the next one I go for ...
    That Rainbow concert was recorded by the BBC in Concert series and appears on The CBS recordings double CD , those live tracks are fantastic .

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaco View Post
    That Rainbow concert was recorded by the BBC in Concert series and appears on The CBS recordings double CD , those live tracks are fantastic .
    They had a reputation as a spectacular live act, they even toured the USA as Van Halen’s opening act before they had even released anything here. What I have seen (just TV clips here and there) justifies that reputation.
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  18. #18
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    So ... I've just heard Signs of Change and must say that I really love it - a good fun listen. Can't believe that it only gets 2.67 on ProgArchives.

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