Actifed (c’80-’86) – Dave Rogers (lead guitar), John Bristow (bass), Rob Ryan (?), Al Burton (?) and Weasel (vocals).
Originally called The What? and based in and around Guildford – Burton was from Jacobs Well – the band is listed as being from Hounslow around ’83 onwards when the ‘classic’ line-up was cemented. A tape of an early rehearsal also featured vocals by Phraser from Crisis, Weasel and Alan Smith (aka Alan/Gary ChChing).
The band rehearsed for a short time, and only if the electric was on, in the basement of a squat on Epsom Road, Guildford. Their first outing was a wedding reception in 1980 with Smith and Weasel on vocals. Smith was dropped shortly after that. They gigged extensively in London through ‘81-’82, including supporting Killing Joke and The Dance Society at the Lyceum on 24 October ’81; the Basement Bar at Clarendon Hotel, Hammersmith supporting Paradise of Pain with The Solicitors and The Pests on Christmas Eve ’81; The Greyhound on 12 February ’82 with UK Subs; Skunx on 24 March ’82 supporting Urban Dissidents; and 100 Club on 30 July ’82 with Erazerhead which was recorded and issued as a ‘Boots Tape’. The band were also regularly on stage at Klub Foot at the Clarendon in the latter half on ’82: on 12 August supporting UK Subs with Chaos; 2 September supporting Scars with New Model Army; 30 September supporting Sex Gang Children with Brigandage; 21 October ’82 supporting Erazerhead along with Escalators. They built an extensive following leading to a picture of Actifed gracing the cover of Sounds, despite having not released a single thing, and an interview in early ’82. This ultimately lead to 3 Sounds awards at the end of the year: “Prettiest Faces And The Weirdest Cover of Sound Ever”, “In And Out” and “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”.
A contract with John Curd, of record label WXYZ (same at Anti-Nowhere League) and bad advice (and selective hearing on the bands part) from the Human League & Stray Cats’ solicitor, tied Actifed up. Then the owner of Actifed, the drug, shouted ‘cease’ and the group did; but on a brighter note for the band it scared off Curd. The case was eventually settled in the bands favor.
On 1 March ’83 Weasel was asked to leave and Rogers took on vocals. That same year saw the release of the Tony James (ex Generation-X) produced 12 inch EP, “Dawn of a Legion” on Jungle (JUNG 7) with “Creation” and “Prophecy” on the A-side and “Innocent” and “Exit” on the back. Ira Robbins of Trouser Press said “Actifed pounds out powerful semi-bleak rock with dense guitar noise on this four-song 12-inch. Neither awesome nor awful…is muscular but undistinguished.” Later that year, just prior to a 31 date tour with the UK Subs – which included a gig at the Natural Disasters night held every Wednesday at Brannigans, Leeds on 23 November ’83 – they were interviewed for issue 11 (the last) of Punk Lives.
Tony James also produced 1984’s “Crucifixion” 12” single on Jungle Records (JUNG 11), with “Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys” on the B-side. It reached #11 in the Indie Chart where it lived for 5 weeks. Shortly after the release of “Crucifiction”, Actifed were interviewed by Pat Sharp for The Sky-Fi Music Show. Their track “Prophecy” also appeared on the compilation “UK Tape 1984” put out by Pleasantly Surprised (PS003) along with Primal Scream, Cocteau Twins and 21 other bands. ’84 was also the year the band returned ‘home’ for a gig at the Kavern Club, The Royal, Guilford on 6 June and The Old Schoolhouse, Woking on 14 June. Four days later they were playing Heaven, Charing Cross along with Rubella Ballet, In Excelsis, and Bone Orchard. At some point in the mid-80’s the band split.
Actifed reformed in late 2008. In 2009 they released the 14 track “Chains No More” album via Revelation (REV 507430), followed two years later (1 April 2011) by the 12 track “Rhythms of Mass Destruction” (REV 060606). By 2018, self proclaimed ‘reformed characters”: Stuart Hemphill , Mick White, Clinton Grace, and Rogers were banging out dub punk reggae under the Actifed UK moniker.