The Immortal Dead: A Christian anarcho-punk band living in Bradford

Thursday 1st November 1990

James Attlee met up with radical punk band THE IMMORTAL DEAD at the Harry Festival.

The Immortal Dead
The Immortal Dead

The man rejoicing in the name Titus Toilet Seat looks at me from under a fringe of dreadlocks. Half of his head is shaved. A gust of wind goosepimples a bare bicep tatooed with the words, "All the arms we need".

"I think if people have truly taken on the compassion of God," he is saying, "they will think about every aspect of their lives..."

The night before I'd watched his group, The Immortal Dead, play to an enthusiastic crowd at Harrogate showground - gathered for the radical Christian Arts Festival, Harry 90. The music was punk with thrash influences evident in the stop-start time signatures - the band call it "punk rhythmic noise" because it's "got more bop to it than punk, but then again it's quite noisy as well..."

Titus stood centre-stage doing the business on guitar and delivering the lyrics in a clearly audible declamatory style. Many of the targets in his sights have come under fire before: the media ("In Control"), materialism and the meaninglessness of much of western capitalist life ("Welcome To The West") and the poll tax ("You"). But the songs also speak of the band's faith in Christ and challenge their listeners not to conform to their anarcho-punk culture by rejecting the message of Jesus before they've found out what it's all about.

I began by asking Titus (real name Dave but "there's too many Daves about") how long the band had been together. "Me and the bass player, John Bass, have been going about two years," he told me.

"We played to a really cheap drum machine doing a tango beat for about a year and a half but we've had our latest drummer Jonno since Christmas Jane does our lighting and is part of the band as well. We play Bradford, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds - the small pubs and clubs-type venues. There's a clique of anarcho-punk clubs and we would like to keep ourselves within that scene because there's a lot that's good about it. It isn't after money, it isn't a profit-making thing. You need money to survive of course but we'd like to be able to get just enough money to live, to live our lives...near enough like in the book of Acts.

"The anarchist community is a bit like in Acts even without the Christianity side. There's different sorts of anarchy there's a really loving, peaceful sort of anarchy - we'd like to have Christianity at the forefront of that movement."

I wondered how receptive that community was to the band's Christian stance:

"Anarchy is generally totally against any kind of religion - but then again the word anarchy means that you should do what you want to do, what you really believe if you are hit by a supernatural experience then you wouldn't be obeying the word anarchy if you didn't follow through what you really believed inside.

"That's what we're really singing about - are you being hypocritical, denying Christianity before you even know if it's true or not? We ask, 'Are you listening to your heart or are you just conforming to the anarcho culture you're living in?

"The other anarcho bands around accept us really well - it's just the anarchy concept again really, that I should be allowed to live for what I believe as long as I don't hurt them. We've got a lot of contact with other bands - it took a long time and we had a few problems but they accept us as people."

Titus himself got "hit by a supernatural experience" two and a half years ago when he was already part of the anarcho scene.

"I was already a vegetarian and things but I was generally apathetic - I used to drink too much and do things I shouldn't have done. I wanted to be good - I'd already got to that stage - but I was too apathetic to follow things through. When I got hit by God it took a long time to get into my system but since then I'm so much more committed to everything because I know I'm doing it for a reason.

"I met someone who was a Christian who was a punk as well, and I found out from them that God had powers nowadays - I'd never heard of the Holy Spirit. I always saw God as a nice idea and a great thing to want, but something that wasn't true. But I did make the effort when I found these people were apparently having this wonderful relationship with God - when they were having supernatural things happening to them, seeing people healed and things - I did give it a go and I did pray. It was by myself in my bedroom, I virtually locked myself away for three weeks and saw no one.

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Reader Comments

Posted by jimmy brougher in eugene, oregon, usa @ 06:31 on Jan 21 2011

anyone know ANYTHING more about this band or it's members?? i really want to to with anyone involved!


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