Forty years into a career as arguably Ireland’s best-known punk act, Paranoid Visions are in the mood for celebration, and a little bit of nostalgia. It is, after all, forty years of change that the sometimes-abrasive act have endured and explored, commenting, in their distinctive style, on whatever social issues were prominent at the time. 

Their latest incarnation, closely linked to punk icons Crass through collaboration with their vocalist Steve Ignorant, are still producing cutting, snarling music at a spectacular rate.

“Back when we started, punk was a confused, angry, and volatile beast, with bands like The Sex Pistols, and The Clash sowing the seeds of young protest, and revolution,” vocalist Declan Dachau recalls, “but it hadn’t really discovered which political direction it was aligning itself with, as both the far right, and the far left wings recruited from the vast pool of disgruntled and disaffected youth of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was through bands like TRB [Tom Robinson Band] and Crass that punks found their voice, and direction, as a left leaning movement.”

“Punk is a voice for young disillusioned kids to try and reclaim their lives and voices,” he continues, “and make some difference in their own world, and it is always changing, and evolving, and that is why we have stuck with it, and grown with it. All the old barriers, and sacred cows, have been challenged and broken down, and this has made gigs and gatherings a safe and peaceful environment for getting to know new people, and swapping ideas.”

The band have always sat firmly outside of the mainstream, something that they’re aware of, but not overly concerned by. “Punk has always been a persona non grata within the Irish media,” guitarist PA Jones says. “It’s always been misunderstood. We have always been treated like a substandard band from a substandard genre.” 

“One media personality described us as being the Scunthorpe United of the Irish rock industry. To be honest, that’s been a blessing. We‘ve never been this year’s thing, we’ve never pandered to it or tried to seek mainstream success because it simply doesn’t interest us.”

And yet, with shows like their sold out Button Factory 40th year celebration, and regular trips to the US and UK, the band have found substantial success in their own niche.

“The recent high was definitely getting the definitive Paranoid Visions line up together after 35 years,” PA Jones says. “TJ Qra, Jay Bagnall, Aoife Destruction, Steo and Danny are the longest stable line up we’ve ever had, after a revolving door of members, part members and unstable constructs. It shows in our live performances and the quality of the material we have been turning out.”

“We have always said we would continue until we run out of ideas or lose the impetus to record and create, so that’s where it comes from. For the 40th anniversary, we have just recorded a new track and re-recorded tracks from the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and 10’s to sit alongside a double CD of our own favourite tracks, one from each release. That will come with extensive sleeve notes and a large booklet.”

“We are not a retro band, so we don’t do Greatest Hits gigs,” Deko says, “and we have our current set list, which we update all the time. It includes songs from all our eras, with the emphasis on going forwards, so we’ll be adding new ones as we write them, and pushing older songs out the door. It’s always been the way!”


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