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About this item
Released on vinyl for RSD 2022 and now available on CD. The original Not About To Die was an illegal /bootleg, released at some point in the early 80s, by the dubiously named Amnesia Records. The album was made up of selections from demos recorded by the group for their second and third albums: Chairs Missing and 154. These demos had been recorded for EMI, with cassette copies circulated amongst record company employees. However, they were never intended for release. A typically shoddy cash-in, the songs on Not About To Die were taken from a second or possibly third generation cassette, with the album housed in a grainy green and red photo-copied sleeve. Compared with the high standards of production and design Wire have always been known for, it was something of an insult to band and fans alike.
Now, in a classic act of Wire perversity, the group have decided to redress the balance and reclaim one of the shadier moments of its history, by giving Not About To Die its first official release. All the tracks have been properly remastered, with the relevant recording details in place. As for the sleeve artwork, whilst it strongly references the original, it is decidedly more artful in its execution. Not About To Die emerges as a fascinating snapshot of Wire in transition with embryonic versions of classic songs such as ‘French Film (Blurred)’, ‘Used To’ and ‘Being Sucked In Again’, that the group would develop considerably for their epochal 1978 album Chairs Missing. Later demos such as ‘Once Is Enough’, ‘On Returning’ and ‘Two People In A Room’ would surface in radically altered form on 1979’s 154. Some songs, such as ‘The Other Window’, are virtually unrecognisable from their later iterations but the biggest prizes here may well be the tracks that were omitted from Wire's later studio albums... Highlights include ‘Motive’, which has an undeniable power.
Robert Grey’s drumming is crisp and minimal, and Graham Lewis’s bass runs are particularly ear-catching. Despite its distinctly un-Wire title, ‘Love Ain't Polite’ is also something of a gem. Meanwhile, the track which gives the album its title Not About To Die (officially known as ‘Stepping Off Too Quick’) possesses what Newman half jokingly calls “The best intro to any song ever”. The intro is so good in fact, that it takes up a third of the song’s entire time frame. These properly mastered tracks have never been available on vinyl before, and they provide an opportunity to hear Wire at a point in their development when they were bursting with fresh ideas and a will to communicate them. This is post-punk at its very finest.
Oh No Not So (Save The Bullet 4th Demo
Culture Vultures 4th Demo
It's The Motive 4th Demo
Love Ain’t Polite 4th Demo
French Film (Blurred) 4th Demo
Underwater Experiences 4th Demo
Stalemate 4th Demo
Options R 4th Demo
Indirect Enquiries V1 5th Demo
Chairs Missing (Used To) 5th Demo
Being Sucked In Again 5th Demo
Ignorance No Plea (I Should Have Known Better) 6th Demo
Once Is Enough 6th Demo
The Other Window 6th Demo
Stepping Off Too Quick (Not About To Die) 6th Demo
On Returning 6th Demo / Former Airline 6th Demo
Two People In A Room 6th Demo