Gang of Four (with John “Gaoler” Sterry, left, and Andy Gill) plays The Chapel this week. (Courtesy photo)

After four decades, Gang of Four’s feeling happy now

This year, iconoclastic British punk outfit Gang of Four is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its landmark debut “Entertainment!” But band leader Andy Gill is more interested in touting the group’s latest, the upcoming “Happy Now,” in which his new lineup featuring vocalist John “Gaoler” Sterry really hits its slinky stride, waxing political in the process. “The Gang of Four tactic has always been to not pick up on current affairs, but once Trump got into office and Brexit happened, some of these songs just wrote themselves,” he says of edgy material like “Ivanka.”

You just turned 63?

And it feels rather disappointing. F—-g hell — I’m a lot closer to the end than to the beginning now. But that’s life. That’s mortality. The choices we make, how we spend our time, what do we do with it, and how do we make enough money to actually live on? I think these are the things that really concern people as they mature.

What secrets have you discovered to survival?

One of the most fun times was at the very beginning of Gang of Four, and as a student, you’re surrounded by other people, and you can pick and choose. You learn so much, and you have this really active social life. Back then I lived in Leeds, where you could walk to the pub and meet your friends. But I’m in London now, where I can’t see anyone unless I’ve made an appointment two, three weeks in advance. It’s ridiculous.

What’s the alternative? Do you and the missus just stay home instead?

Yeah. We do stay home quite a lot. And we’ve both become slightly food obsessive, and it’s a little thing that’s bonded us. When we first got together, I used to do all the cooking. But my wife got fed up with waiting until 11 p.m. to eat because I’d be trying this, trying that, having a glass of wine and thinking about it. Then she turned into this amazing super cook, trying these adventurous dishes I’ve never even seen before.

And your wife Catherine Mayer formed the Women’s Equality Party in Britain?

I was on tour a few years ago, and she phoned me and said, “I’ve just thought of a new political party!” She’d been to the WOW Festival, for Women of the World, and everybody was talking about wage inequality and gender discrimination, until she got up and said, “Look, I’m fed up, and I’m going to do something. And everybody who’s interested, meet me in the bar across the street.” And people came streaming in. Now she’s the party president, and they’ve picked up some local seats and very nearly some in Parliament. But change takes time.

IF YOU GO
Gang of Four
Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Feb. 9
Tickets: $35 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.thechapelsf.com

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