Having first made a stir with their punk-influenced power-rock in 1983, Spear of Destiny emerged from the wreckage of iconic post-punk band Theatre of Hate. Formed by original duo Kirk Brandon and Stan Stammers, the band named themselves after the weapon used by Roman centurion Longinus as he pierced the body of Jesus as he hung on the cross.
Gaining traction in the UK, and with Melody Maker enthusing that “by this time next year, [Spear] should be huge”, their debut album ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ was released in 1983 on Epic Records. After releasing ‘One Eyed Jacks’ in 1984, and almost cracking the UK Top 10 with 1985’s ‘World Service’, Brandon disbanded the existing lineup and Spear of Destiny vanished for much of the next two years.
After bouncing back with a completely new lineup, Spear finally achieved the success that had evaded them for so long, with 1987’s ‘Outland’ spawning some of the band’s biggest hits to date including “Stranger In Our Town”, “Never Take Me Alive” and “Was That You”. They also toured with U2, eventually playing Wembley Stadium with the band that summer.
But, on the eve of a slot at Reading Festival and with their first American tour on the horizon, tragedy struck when Brandon was diagnosed with Reiter’s Syndrome. Over the following years Spear of Destiny struggled amidst Brandon’s diagnosis and legal problems that meant they were prohibited from using their own band’s name.
After finally reclaiming the Spear name in the late 1990s, Brandon and the band have worked consistently ever since: their ninth studio album ‘Morning Star’ was released in 2003, followed by ‘Loadestone’ and ‘Imperial Prototype’ in 2005 and 2007 respectively.
Now in 2023, the current Spear of Destiny lineup is the longest serving to date, featuring Adrian Portas (New Model Army/Sex Gang Children), Craig Adams (Sisters of Mercy/The Cult/The Mission) and Phil Martini (Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind), as well as Clive Osborne on saxophone and Steve Allen-Jones on keys.
Over recent years Brandon has supervised a major reissue campaign of the band’s back catalogue, and Spear have played sell-out shows at the likes of London’s iconic 100 Club and Roundhouse venues, Manchester’s Ritz and Oran Mor in Glasgow, as well as festival slots at Sign of the Times, Rebellion and Kubix.