Antifolk Hero


According to Wikipedia New York’s Anti-Folk movement started in the  early 1980s when a booker at Folk City told singer-songwriter Lach that his music was “too punk” for a gig there. Lach started an after-hours club of his own on the Lower East Side called The Fort – and since its opening coincided with the city’s Folk Festival, Lach dubbed his event “The New York Antifolk Festival”.

Antifolk has since become an international art and music movement and – as its founder – Lach has been a major influence on the likes of Jeffrey Lewis, Beck, The Moldy Peaches/Adam Green, Michelle Shocked and Regina Spektor among many others.

We’ll be playing his new single Stunned this weekend on my Saturday show. Having newly relocated to Edinburgh, Lach kicks off a tour of England and Wales this week. “Here’s a poem from the early Antifolk daze” he says: “I wanted to write more. I wanted to write about the strength of radio and the power of songs and how both reach out of the darkness to light one’s soul. But I gotta pack!!!”

IN 82″ by Lach
In 82 I was in the West Village getting kicked out of folk music clubs for playing my acoustic too fast and too true
In 82 I was a bar back at high fashion disco with unknown Bruce Willis as doorman and after-hours coke parties with Boy George
In 82 I pined for LA girl who promised to return and to this day still hasn’t
In 82 I was less than zero in the bright lights of the big city.
In 82 I wrote Coffee Black the first cut of my ’99 CD Blang!
In 82 black pointy shoes and tight black pants and a white T-shirt with the word FOLK circled in red with a slash through it.
In 82 I spied strange cartoon chalk stories in subway while tagging cars with my name. A year later Keith Haring ate fame.
In 82 I was gonna make it anysecondnow
In 82 I lived in mafia sublet at $180 a month on Bleeker and Mcdougal until landlady one day said to me, after long baleful pause…”You’re not Italian”.
In 82, before aids, I still used condoms from baby fears of age and suburbia.
In 82 I cooked spaghetti in apartment kitchen and ate in hot claw foot freestanding tub while neighbors talked across alley windows and I played VINYL records of Sinatra and Lou Reed.
In 82 I was electric in the last days of Pompeii.

April 10: LEEDS – Nation of Shopkeepers
April 11: CARDIFF – The Full Moon
April 12: PORTH, Wales – The Factory
April 14: SWANSEA – The Garage
April 15: NEWQUAY – Cafe Irie
April 19: LONDON – Ballyhoo
April 20: HEBDEN BRIDGE – The Trades Club

Lach’s new album Ramshackle Heart is available from Edinburgh’s legendary Song By Toad Records on, as he puts it, “Glorious Vinyl” – with a free download thrown in for good measure. His website is at

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...

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