This new version of “Natural’s Not In It“is the first single from the album The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four, set for release in May 2021. It’s a double album of tracks written by Andy Gill and Gang of Four, all newly reinterpreted and recorded by artists whose own unique contributions to music were enriched by listening to Gang of Four. The album features songs from across Gang of Four’s 40-plus year career, each individually chosen by the artists who covered them.
“Andy loved what Tom and Serj did with this song, the fierceness of their attack and the jet-engine scream of feedback” says Gill’s widow, Catherine Mayer. “This was a track Andy always enjoyed performing. He said their version brilliantly captured all the explosive, danceable energy Natural’s Not In It can create in live performance.”
The single, like many on the forthcoming album, first appeared on the band’s extraordinary 1979 debut long player, Entertainment!, an album universally heralded as a classic and as “the fifth best punk album of all time” by Rolling Stone. In 2006, the track gained new audiences when writer-director Sofia Coppola used it for the opening of her film Marie Antoinette.
Says of the single, Tom Morello:
“Andy Gill was one of a handful of artists in history who changed the way guitars are played. His band Gang of Four were just incendiary and completely groundbreaking with Andy’s confrontational, unnerving and sublime playing at the forefront. His jagged plague-disco raptor-attack industrial-funk deconstructed guitar anti-hero sonics and fierce poetic radical intellect were hugely influential to me.”
Further, Serj Tankian says:
“It was a real pleasure to work on this track with Tom and honor the legacy of Andy and Gang of Four at the same time.”
When Gang of Four’s co-founder and only lifelong member Andy Gill, died unexpectedly on February 1, 2020, the world lost one of its most influential and emulated guitarists and musical trailblazers. In May 2021, the world gets a new way to enjoy his genius and the lasting brilliance of the band he co-founded.
Andy Gill originally conceived of the album to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Entertainment! in 2019. Catherine Mayer explains that this plan had already changed by the time of Andy’s death after some artists chose tracks from different albums and periods. His dedication to the project was such that he delayed the ambulance that took him to intensive care while Mayer fetched his laptop. Installed in hospital, he asked her to bring noise-cancelling headphones too so he could listen and make notes on the incoming mixes. He worked on the music for ten more days. Then doctors put him on a ventilator to try to save his life. They were surprised by his rapid deterioration and later came to suspect he was among Europe’s first victims of COVID.
“Andy was massively excited about this project,” Mayer says. “It wasn’t of course conceived as a tribute album, but it’s comforting to me that he lived to see artists he hugely admired enthusiastically agreeing to participate, signaling that the admiration was mutual.”
The album’s brilliant artwork was created by artist DamienHirst, a long-term Gang of Four aficionado.
Details of all of the artists who have contributed to the album and the full track listing will be made available on January 14, 2021.
The album is being released in a variety of different vinyl, CD and cassette formats featuring different versions of the artwork from Damien Hirst. All formats are available to pre-order now from gangoffour.uk/store, with the strictly limited edition “Dogluxe” double gatefold vinyl version exclusively available there.