August 3rd, 1959. Nuneaton, England
Drums & Percussion 1979/80 & 1982-85
After a short succession of drummers Atkins finally joined PiL in September 1979; in order to complete sessions for 'Metal Box' (he was their 6th drummer in 18 months). His audition for the band is the studio recording of 'Bad Baby' as included on 'Metal Box'.
Atkins twice previously tried to join PiL: I tried to join
when John first left the Pistols. I came down from Durham for the auditions,
but I had to go back early and so I fluffed that one. I tried again
when Richard Dudanski joined. Then when he left, I called Keith who
said come along. It was just me pestering them really…"
Atkins is probably PiL's best known drummer, and also regarded by many as their best. He had three separate stints with the band 1979-85 and contributed to 'Flowers of Romance', 'Commercial Zone' and 'This is What You Want...'. His live debut was the 'Paris Au Printemps' live album in 1980. He also toured 1982/3 and 1984/5 before leaving in June 1985. Atkins later claimed Lydon wrote 'FFF' directly about his departure: "Farewell my fairweather friend…"
Prior to PiL, Atkins had played in local covers band's in the North of England. He then moved to London forming The Hots along with (future PiL bassist) Pete Jones. Previous to Atkins first departure from PiL in June 1980 he formed his own band Brian Brain – again with bassist Pete Jones – which would continue in various forms until 1987: releasing two albums and several singles.
Post PiL, Atkins set up his own Plaid Records to release Brian Brain records. He then decided to quit the music business and start a construction company in New York. However, he soon returned to music and 1987 saw him found Invisible Records in Chicago. The label continues to the present day releasing Atkins own projects; along with a variety of industrial and experimental bands. Spring 2002 also saw him found Underground Inc, a network of independent record labels which runs in conjunction with Invisible.
Since Atkins disbanded Brian Brain in 1987 he has played in a variety
of groups including Killing Joke, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Revolting Cocks
and Murder Inc. He also fronts his own ever-changing industrial band Pigface.
In 1999/2000 he teamed up with former PiL colleague Jah Wobble to form the short lived "supergroup" The Damage Manual; along with long term collaborator Chris Connelly and Killing Joke's Geordie Walker. The band released a self-titled album preceded by an EP via Invisible. The line-up also toured the UK in summer 2000. However, tensions simmered over Atkins proposed US Tour schedule – and his mixing of the album – and the line-up acrimoniously split…
In 2007 Atkins published his own book on touring entitled 'Tour:Smart'. He now teaches college classes on the music business; and conducts seminars around the world. Atkins is also still involved in the creative side of the business releasing Pigface records and producing Invisible / Underground Inc artists.
Collaborations Discography (Damage Manual, Brian Brain etc)
Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
Martin Atkins; circa 1983 © unknown