|Origin||Lewisham, South London, England, U.K.|
|Labels||Syndicate, Secret, Dojo, Link, Taang!, Epitaph, Captain Oi!, Bad Dog|
The band was formed in 1979 by school friends Steven ('Steve') Kent (guitar), Michael Fitzsimons ('Micky Fitz') (vocals), Nicholas ('Nick') Cunningham (drums) and Martin Smith (bass). They played their first gig in front of friends in February 1980, and after taking on Lol Pryor as manager, began performing more often. The band's first release was the song "Out in the Cold" on the A Sudden Surge of Sound compilation album. They played their first Oi! concert in 1981, supporting The 4-Skins, and they became closely associated with the Oi! scene from then on. While the Oi! movement was labelled as far right and racist (despite the fact that several Oi! bands played at Rock Against Racism concerts), The Business took a stance against political extremism with their Oi Against Racism and Political Extremism ...But Still Against The System tour.
In November 1981, they released their debut single, "Harry May", which spent over three months in the UK Indie Chart, reaching No. 13. The initial line-up split up in late 1981, with Kent, Cunningham, and Smith forming Q-Bow, but Fitz carried on with Pryor, recruiting Graham Ball on guitar, Mark Brennan and Steve Whale from The Blackout, and John Fisher on drums. The new line-up made their live debut in January 1982, after which Ball and Fisher departed, leaving the band as a four-piece, with Kev Boyce of The Blackout on drums. The new line-up recorded the Smash the Discos EP, which was a No. 3 indie hit, and after a short tour, they recorded their debut album, which was to be called Loud, Proud, and Punk. The master tapes for the album went missing after disagreements between the band's label and the studio, forcing them to re-record the album, which was released as Suburban Rebels in May 1983. The album was remixed by their label, Secret, without them knowing, and Secret's financial difficulties limited promotion of the album. Frustrated by this, the band split up, with The Business members forming short-lived bands Chapter and Sabre Dance.
Pryor issued a retrospective album consisting of demos and live tracks on his Syndicate label, the success of which prompted the band to reform and record a what was to be marketed as a live album, Loud, Proud, and Punk. It was actually recorded in a studio, with crowd noise dubbed in later. Pryor renamed his record label Wonderful World and issued several Business albums in late 1985, with the Drinking and Driving tour following. The name of the tour caused controversy, with tabloid journalists accusing the band of condoning drunk-driving, although the title was tongue-in-cheek.
In late 1986, Brennan and Pryor founded Link Records, and with Brennan becoming increasingly busy running the label, the band split up again. In 1992, Fitz performed a few songs guesting with The Elite and he reformed the band to play a benefit concert for Bobby Moore, who had recently died of cancer. Brennan later started a new record label, Captain Oi! Records and did not join the reformed band. The band's line-up then became Micky Fitz (singer), Steve Whale (guitar), Lol Proctor (bass) and Micky Fairbairn (drums). The band released a new single "Anywhere But Here" and new album Keep The Faith in 1994. After a number of tours in Western Europe, the band played their first gigs in America in August 1994. In 1997 The Business released The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth which was produced by Lars Frederiksen from Rancid. In 2000, the band joined together with Dropkick Murphys to release Mob Mentality. The band's final studio album, No Mercy For You was released in 2001. Their biggest hit song in recent times, "England 5 - Germany 1", (based on the result of a World Cup Qualifying match in 2001), became a football anthem for England and even appeared in the 2004 teen comedy EuroTrip. Despite various line-up changes, the band's popularity continued to grow.
By 2006 Micky had rebuilt his band after overcoming his alcoholism, this year saw the band take on a 2-month tour of the US with the line-up Micky Fitz (singer), Robin Guy (drums), Daniel (guitar) and what would become long serving Trots (bass). In September 2006 Micky recruited long time friend Tosh (of Section 5) to play guitar, shortly followed by Bundie on drums. The band took to the studio in Berlin and recorded three covers, this session featured Mitch Harris of Napalm Death guesting to record the title track 'Mean Girl', originally by one of Micky's favourite bands Status Quo. This was released by Bad Dog records as an EP, the B side being a live set recorded at the legendary Marquee Club in London from 1982.
Led by a reinvigorated Micky Fitz the band continued to tour incessantly and broke new ground as the first British Oi! band to play in Chile in 2008, they also visited Australia and New Zealand alongside extensive European and US tours. As well as their touring they also returned to the studio and put out a split 7" with Control. The Mean Girl recordings and Marquee Tapes were combined with the split and a recording from Full Force Festival to make the US mini album 'Doing The Business'
In 2010 Tosh departed the band and after a short stint with rocker Johny Skullknuckles the band's final line-up was completed with Fish (of The Skeptix, Discharge and Demon) taking over on six string duties. Around this time the band had taken to the studio to record what would be their last release, 'Back in The Day', it saw the studio return of original guitarist and principal songwriter Steve Kent who performed guitar and backing vocals on the recording. The 7" was eventually released on Randale Records and Sailors Grave Records in 2014.
The band continued on their way, returning to South America to play São Paulo, taking on a headline tour of Australia and New Zealand, (with visits to Singapore and Bangkok along the way) and made a triumphant return to Japan in 2014, with a quick visit to South Korea while they were in the area!
In the summer of 2015 Micky was diagnosed with cancer, as with his life he met the challenge head on and refused to let the public know of his diagnosis until after he had completed the final run of shows. This last run in Europe were classic Business concerts, with Micky relentlessly defying his condition to give the fans 100%
The band performed what would be their final show in October 2015 in Badalona, Spain.
In April 2019, the band will reunite with original founding members Steve Whale, Steve Kent and Micky Fairbairn to perform at the Punk and Disorderly festival in Berlin. Al Barr (Dropkick Murphys), Jeff Turner (Cockney Rejects) and Roi Pearce (The Last Resort) will appear as guest singers. This marks the first time The Business will perform without Micky Fitz.
In late 2015, Micky Fitz was diagnosed with cancer on the lymph gland and underwent radiotherapy. On 1 December 2016 it was announced that Fitz had died.
|Suburban Rebels||1983||Secret Records|
|Saturday's Heroes||1985||Harry May|
|Welcome To The Real World||1988||Link|
|Keep The Faith||1994||Century Media|
|The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth||1997||Taang! Records|
|No Mercy For You||2001||Burning Heart Records|
|"Harry May"||1981||Secret||Charted #13|
|Smash the Discos EP||1982||Secret||Charted #3|
|"Out of Business"||1983||Secret||(withdrawn)|
|"Get Out of My House"||1985||Wonderful World|
|"Drinking and Driving"||1985||Diamond||Charted #27|
|"Do a Runner"||1988||Link|
|"Anywhere But Here"||1994||Walzwerk|
|"Death II Dance"||1996||Taang!|
|"One Common Voice"||1997||Taang!|
|"Hell 2 Pay"||2002||TKO Records|
|Mean Girl EP||2008||Bad Dog|
|Back In The Day EP||2014||Sailor's Grave|
|1980-81 - Official Bootleg||1983||Syndicate||Charted #17|
|Loud, Proud & Punk - Live||1984||Syndicate||Charted #22|
|Back To Back||1985||Wonderful World|
|Back To Back Volume 2||1985||Wonderful World|
|Live & Loud||1989||Link|
|In and Out of Business||1990||Link||(mail-order only, reissued on CD 1998 by Mog)|
|The Business 1979-1989||1991||Blackout Records|
|The Best of The Business: 28 Classic Oi Anthems...||1992||Link|
|The Complete Business Singles Collection||1995||Anagram|
|Harry May - The Singles Collection||1996||Taang!|
|Loud, Proud and Oi!||1996||Dojo Records|
|The Business Live||1998||Pinhead Records|
|Mob Mentality||2000||Taang!||(split with Dropkick Murphys)|
|Hardcore Hooligan||2003||Burning Heart|
|Under The Influence||2003||Rhythm Vicar|
|Doing The Business||2010||Sailor's Grave|
Along with The Business and Cock Sparrer, the 4-Skins were the most culturally important of the Oi! Bands, their sound influencing a new host of new American bands such as Rancid and Anti-Heroes.