Tony Van Frater, Guitarist for Oi! Punk Band Red Alert

Red Alert “In Britain”

Tony Van Frater was lead guitarist for Red Alert, a punk band from Sunderland in the Northeast of England. The band formed as a quartet in 1979. It recorded one album, “We’ve Got the Power,” in 1983 for label No Future. (It turned out to be a prophetic name, as the label went bankrupt and left the band high and dry.)

Excerpt from “Sex, Drugs and HIV”

After the demise of No Future, the band drifted apart, but reformed in 1990, recording “Blood, Sweat ‘n’ Beers” (love that title!) in 1992. Van Frater was associated with a number of other bands, both as a guitarist and bassist. He played with the Angelic Upstarts and Cockney Rejects, whose drummer, Keith “Stix” Warrington, had played with Red Alert.

Cockney Rejects “East End Babylon” Trailer

Red Alert, Cockney Rejects and Angelic Upstarts are all examples of oi! punk, a subgenre that sought to reclaim punk’s working-class roots, fearing that the university crowd was appropriating and intellectualizing it. (I wonder if hip-hop artists felt the same way about Beastie Boys?)