New Model Army

views updated Jun 08 2018

New Model Army

Punk rock group

For the Record

Selected discography


Firmly rooted in the punk era, New Model Army emerged on the British music scene in the 1980s, a period rife with governmental conservatism and civil disorder. The groups spirited, uncluttered brand of punk-folk musicoften compared to the classic British rock stylings of the Clash, the Who, and Billy Braggspoke of subjects ranging from concern for the environment to disdain for a culture stricken with materialism and greed. New Model Armys rebel chic, anti-establishment attitude attracted a sizable and fanatically loyal following of fans who shared the bands grievances toward the decades right-wing government policies.

This phenomenon paved the way for other like-minded groups, most notably the Levellers, named after the mid-1640s democratic political movement led by John Lilburne. Our following is the cream of the type of people that follow bands around, insisted New Model Armys vocalist and guitarist, Justin Slade the Leveller Sullivan, as quoted by New Musical Express writer Amrik Rai. They stay loyal and put themselves out for us because weve maintained from the start that were not a fad. We havent been hanging around in night

For the Record

Members include Jason Moose Harris (born in 1968; group member, 1985-90), bass, guitar, keyboards; Robert Robb Heaton (born in 1962 in Cheshire, England), drums, vocals, guitar; Stuart Morrow (left group, 1985), bass, guitar, vocals; Peter Nelson (joined group, 1990), bass, guitar, vocals, keyboards; Justin Slade the Leveller Sullivan (born in 1956 to a Quaker family in Buckinghamshire, England), lead vocals, songwriting, guitar, keyboards.

Formed in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, 1980; released full-length debut Vengeance, single The Price reached number two on U.K. independent chart, 1984; No Rest climbed to number 28 on U.K. singles chart, 1985; released Thunder and Consolation, 1989; released Raw Melody Men, 1991; released The Love of Hopeless Causes, 1993; after a prolonged absence, released Strange Brotherhood, 1998; released Eight, 2000.

Addresses: Record company EMI, 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 300, Los Angeles, CA 90036, phone: (213) 692-1100. Business New Model Army, P.O. Box 2736, Wincarton, BA8 0YF, U.K., phone: +44 (0)1274 660923. Website New Model Army Official Website:

clubs playing at pop stars, weve been around for these people and round and round.

Formed in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, in 1980, New Model Army outlined their objectives by naming themselves after the historical Thomas Fairfax/Oliver Cromwell revolutionary army that called for the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords. The founding members included Sullivan, born in 1956 to a Quaker family in Buckinghamshire, England; bassist and guitarist Stuart Morrow; and drummer and guitarist Robert Robb Heaton. At the time, citizens of Great Britain were being thrown off balance by the first blows of a conservative government headed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and New Model Army intended to stir up controversy. For instance, references to Thatcher as an ignorant peasant, cited in the Rai article, and other such terms by Sullivan during interviews were not uncommon.

After the release of a series of singles on the independent Abstract label, New Model Army made their album debut in 1984 with Vengeance, an outright assault on Thatcherism. It included the working-class tribute Small Town England and the ode to lost innocence A Liberal Education alongside militant songs such as the title track, an angry diatribe about seeking justice, and Spirit of the Falklands, which angered many who lost friends and family in the war in the Falkland Islands. But Sullivan, who believed in the possibility of a peaceful solution to the conflict, refused to apologize for his lyrics. Well, if anybody told me that they found it insulting because theyd had friends or relatives killed in the war, Id say I am very sorry but I still stand by every word of the song, he said to Melody Makers Barry Mcllheney. Because the song is, in fact, in sympathy with the people who died, not an insult to them. Its a straight political song against the politicians who sent those young guys out there. And I dont think that all war is wrong, just that particular one was bloody stupid. Im not a pacifist by any means.

Also in 1984, New Model Army enjoyed a surprise number-two British independent chart hit with the single The Price, leading to an unlikely relationship with the major label EMI. With Jason Moose Harris taking over the bass position, the band returned with the albums No Rest for the Wicked and The Ghost of Cain, released in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Because of an increased recording budget, New Model Army were able to explore a more experimental, though no less impassioned, musical direction. On both records, the band opted for a more lush, folk-influenced sound, resulting in a wider audience for the group. Beginning in 1985 with the single No Rest, which climbed to number 28 on the British singles chart, the group went on to claim an impressive run of hits through 1991.

Despite the popular success, New Model Army never softened their stance for commercial benefit. In addition to their often argumentative lyrics, the band welcomed confrontation, as when they wore T-shirts for the Top of the Pops television program bearing the slogan Only Stupid Bastards Use Heroin to express their anti-drug stance. Drugs reflect a failing in your own self to cope, Sullivan explained to Rai. Id rather have a good game of football if somethings weighing on my mind. I dont need to escape and drugs are escapism, pure and simple. The television stint was met with ridicule from some traditional punk-rockers, including the band Conflict, who fought back with their own motto: Only Stupid Bastards Help EMI.

In 1989, following the 1988 release of Radio Sessions, New Model Army returned with the emotional and majestic Thunder and Consolation. Here, according to critics, the band achieved a perfect balance between the personal and political with memorable tracks such as the all-out rage Stupid Questions and the violinladen Vagabonds. Thereafter, Harris left the group and was replaced by former Brotherhood of Lizards bassist Peter Nelson. The stabilized trio then entered the studio to record the tough 1990 album Impurity. The following year saw the release of the double-live set Raw Melody Men, the title an anagram of the groups name.

A compromise between rawness and clarity and addressing social issues as well as love and loss, The Love of Hopeless Causes followed in 1993 on Epic Records. Featuring the blasting single Here Comes the War, the ballad Living in the Rose, and the acoustic number These Words, the album garnered favorable reviews, as did the 1994 collection B-Sides and Abandoned Tracks. That same year, New Model Army also reworked the dance version of Vengeance, issued in protest of Britains Criminal Justice Bill.

For several years thereafter, New Model Army was seen only occasionally playing the odd show, and many assumed they had disbanded. However, the group reconvened for 1998s Strange Brotherhood, showing themselves still in the business of rebellion. Although more relaxed than previous efforts, the album, released on Eagle Records, received praises for its poignant lyrics and rousing choruses. In 2000, New Model Army released Eight, featuring the live favorite Snelsmore Wood and the radio hit You Werent There. History: The Best of New Model Army, containing the groups early singles, was issued by EMI in 2001.

Selected discography

Vengeance, Abstract, 1984.

No Rest for the Wicked, EMI, 1985.

The Ghost of Cain, EMI, 1986.

Radio Sessions, Abstract, 1988.

Thunder and Consolation, EMI, 1989.

Impurity, EMI, 1990.

Raw Melody Men, EMI, 1991.

History: The Singles 85-91, EMI, 1992.

The Love of Hopeless Causes, Epic, 1993.

BBC Radio One Live in Concert, Windsong, 1993.

B-Sides and Abandoned Tracks, EMI, 1994.

Strange Brotherhood, Eagle, 1998.

All of This: Live Rarities, EMI, 1999.

Eight, Trade, 2000.

History: The Best of New Model Army, EMI, 2001.



Buckley, John, editor, Rock: The Rough Guide, Rough Guides, 1999.

Robbins, Ira A., editor, The Trouser Press Guide to 90s Rock, Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1997.


Melody Maker, April 28, 1983; July 28, 1984.

New Musical Express, March 23, 1985.

Sounds, June 16, 1984; April 27, 1985.


New Model ArmyBiography, Yahoo! Music, (December 6, 2001).

Laura Hightower

New Model Army

views updated Jun 08 2018

New Model Army. Created by the Long Parliament early in 1645 out of the three existing armies of Essex, Manchester, and Sir William Waller. Although run on administratively similar lines, the new army represented the triumph of Oliver Cromwell in his political struggle against Essex and Manchester. Purged of the old aristocratic and parliamentary leadership, the New Model, under the excellent generalship of Sir Thomas Fairfax, vanquished the king's forces at Naseby (June 1645). This battle was followed by an unbroken chain of victories ending in the surrender of the king in June 1646. There then ensued a political struggle with Parliament, now under the sway of the presbyterian peace party of Denzil Holles and Essex. This conflict, interrupted by the second civil war, culminated in the army's purging of Parliament (6 December 1648), and the subsequent trial of Charles I by a court dominated by New Model Army officers and their parliamentary allies. Having established undisputed mastery in England, the army went on to invade and eventually conquer Ireland (1649) and Scotland (1650).

Ian Gentles

New Model Army

views updated May 17 2018

New Model Army Reformed parliamentary army in the English Civil War. Formed in 1645 by Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax, it was better organized, trained, and disciplined than any Royalist force. After victory at Naseby (1645), the army emerged as a political force and were responsible for Pride's purge (1648) of the Long Parliament. The radical Levellers within the army were suppressed by Cromwell.

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New Model Army