Barely six months after the demise of Theatre of Hate, Kirk Brandon was braving it on stage in Manchester with a new band, a new name and a new repertoire. To say his audience were slightly perplexed by Spear of Destiny’s brassier tribal Goth-Dub would be putting it mildly . . .
Their much-anticipated debut album, Grapes Of Wrath, disappointed critics and James and Bell left the band in short order. They were replaced by Neil Pyzer (keyboards) and Dolphin Taylor (drums), and joined by ex-Theatre of Hate saxophonist John ‘Boy’ Lennard.
The line-up shuffling continued with Lennard shortly replaced by Mickey Donnelly and second guitarist Alan St Claire joining the group.
Their 1984 album, One Eyed Jacks, was critically acclaimed, signalling Spear Of Destiny had reached its creative peak. A mix of rock anthems and soulful ballads the LP achieved healthy sales, although the singles from the album – Prisoner Of Love and Liberator – did not fare as well.
Touring consistently throughout 1984 and 1985, the group earned a reputation as one of the finest live outfits around, and on World Service (1985) they managed to capture this intensity, resulting in the album reaching number 11 on the charts.
Unfortunately, clashes with their label (CBS) ended acrimoniously and the group disbanded. Brandon re-formed the band in 1986 with a completely new line-up.
The new personnel created their first Top 20 hit single, Never Take Me Alive, in 1987. Sell-out shows followed, along with a successful album (Outland).
They repeated the success in 1988 with their single So In Love, from the album The Price.
Brandon, who was suffering from a rare blood disorder, then split the band once more.
After a failed crack at a career in the US, lawsuits with Culture Club‘s Boy George and eventual bankruptcy, Brandon formed the band again in the 1990s, and since that time has toured on and off as either Spear Of Destiny or Theatre of Hate – sometimes interchangeably – with fluid line-ups.
John ‘Boy’ Lennard
Alan St Claire