Classic albums: ‘We’ve Got the Power’ by Red Alert (1983)

If you were assembling a track by track feature on classic Oi/punk albums, then Red Alert’s We’ve Got The Power (No Future) would be high on anyone’s shortlist.  A literal document of life in the North East in the early 80s, living up to their label’s name for sure, the LP packs an urgent vocal delivery and wall of sound production feats.  

The dole, Soviet missiles, police brutality, even the influence of hairy rockers UFO, it’s all on there as lyrical content. Still belting them out live after the band’s 40th anniversary in 2019, vocalist Steve ‘Cast Iron’ Smith was on hand to dust off his slab of vinyl and talk us through each of the tracks.

Andrew Stevens

You were something of a singles band after you signed to No Future, how long did it take to write the album?

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Couldn’t give a fuck, where’s me beer? An Interview with Steve Smith of Red Alert

redalertThe punk rock firmament glowed brighter on Wearside than most other English conurbations during the 1980s, with Red Alert, Red London and the Toy Dolls all sharing beers, band members and basslines on Oi compilations during its heyday. Sharpened by the experience of growing up amid the closure (or “managed decline”) of its shipyards during the Thatcher era, Red Alert saw themselves as Sunderland’s answer to the deserted Docklands’ Cockney Rejects and released a steady stream of EPs on No Future Records, calling it quits after their standout 1983 album We’ve Got The Power. By 1989 the band had reunited, though line-up changes inevitably followed over the years (bringing in the likes of Lainey from Sunderland punks Leatherface), as did a split LP with The Templars following a New York tour.
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