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"We wanna make something...maybe a little weirder. And alienate everybody!"
--Chris Hrasky (Explosions in the Sky)
Wire (June.06 issue) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fred Mills   
ImageWire: Not About to Die

It's sometime in late '77 or early '78 and yours truly is toiling away at the distribution center for North Carolina record store chain The Record Bar. One day a friend of mine and I spot several cartons containing promotional copies of Wire's debut Pink Flag; fascinated by the record sleeve's striking pink and blue art, we each liberate a handful of LPs.

We also can't resist cracking open a copy and playing it over the in-house stereo. The looks of horror and outright hostility that warehouse personnel - rangy hippies and blue-collar types -- shoot in our direction suggest we're onto something. I flash a "V" for "Victory" (or is it "Vendetta"?) back at my co-workers and my instincts tell me that elsewhere in the American heartland, as this very same moment, similar scenes are unfolding.

As Colin Newman dryly puts it now, when I recount my initial brush with his band all those years ago, "We weren't immediately lauded [in America] as the best thing since sliced bread."

In 2006, though, Newman's eager to make sure that America "gets" Wire once and for all. To that end, Wire's label Pink Flag, established several years ago by Newman, bassist Graham Lewis, guitarist Bruce Gilbert and drummer Robert Gotobed, has launched Pink Flag America and issued remastered editions of the band's first three albums. Each replicates the original LPs' tracklisting (no spurious bonus tracks), is housed in a deluxe digipak, and features new liner notes authored by Newman himself. Concurrently available is a limited edition, mail order only 5-CD box set, Wire: 1977 - 1979. It contains three studio albums plus a pair of previously unreleased live discs, Live at the Roxy, London - April 1st & 2nd 1977 and Live at CBGB Theatre, New York - July 18, 1978. The discs come in mini-LP sleeves and there's a 60-page booklet with lyrics and additional liners.

I spoke to Newman from his home in England and found him to be extraordinarily forthcoming with his responses, not to mention charming and outgoing as a conversationalist. Here's some of what was on his mind....

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