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> Calvert performed with ICU from time to time in the early '80s and
also did one record with them,
named Ersatz under the name

The Imperial Pompadours.

Why the change of the name?
ERSATZ is certainly the weirdest record this band has ever recorded - and, really, I wouldn't call ANY of their albums 'normal / mainstream-ish' - and if you want to know WHY this album turned into a particularly weird direction...
Get the details from ICU's guitarist
Steve Pond:
"This album was the idea of Graphic Designer Barney Bubbles, (You may know him from the classic early Hawkwind sleeves or his work with Elvis Costello and F-Beat records).

He chose all of the cover versions on side one and after recording the originals onto a cheap cassette recorder he took them to the band, here's the catch: he only let them hear the songs -once- ...cue various members scribbling down chords/lyrics/etc.. then the band had to re-assemble the songs from these scraps of information... this expalins why this is the -weirdest- damn album you'll ever hear...
Insolence Across The Nation is the story of one Mr. Hitler it's basically acted readings from his book Mein Kampf set to the music of Wagner... "Its heavy man.."

...sounds strange doesn't it? - well it IS heavy - and to prove it >
> LISTEN   to a short excerpt of INSOLENCE ACROSS THE NATION - featuring Mr. Calvert performing a quote from Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'...
NEW: the full lyrics/text-montage of INSOLENCE ACROSS THE NATION

ICU's debut: Passout ICU was also the main band in which Nik Turner, co-founder of Hawkwind played in, after he left Hawkwind in 1976.
ICU played quite an anarchic mixture of psychedelic-punk'roll - and especially in their early-80''s punk heyday became quite successful on the club circus - with singles appearing in the Indie charts.
Especially Nik Turner employed his entire, charismatic and funny showmanship, while the band was happy also to cover (and thrash) a wide song-spectrum from The Doors to Glenn Miller's 'In the Mood' - the latter one in a sort of speedcore-jazz version...

This was also the time when Calvert appeared more or less regularly as a guest at their gigs, with the band playing various of his solo-works and songs he did with Hawkwind.

Steve Pond Steve Pond: "The tour was a big success.. so much so they did another one! ..by now another Hawkwind alumini Robert Calvert was guesting regularly and the band was building up quite a large cult following... Riots in Manchester... chosen to play with Hüsker Dü on that bands UK debut to ensure a full house (ICU *KILLED* Hüsker Dü that night.. I have video proof!)"

ICU, co-founded in 1979 by Nik Turner, went on for a number of years, releasing bulk of albums and singles, undergoing frequent line-up changes....the band disbanded - I couldn't find out when.
However, 1997 sees a new ICU album hit the market - mainly recorded by "'Judge" Trev Thoms, the bands first guitarist.
At a recent free open-air festival in Hamburg (June '97) he apeared for a surprise gig with
Nik Turner - performing a "INNER CITY UNIT - UNPLUGGED gig.
One of the strangest and most amusing sets I've witnessed for a long time....

You'll find the history, the complete discography, pics and a lot more infos on ICU on the pages linked below - and not to forget a small page on Calvert's live album, recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in '86, backed by Steve Pond and Fred Reeves - former ICU members.

LINKS - More on Inner City Unit:
  • the Inner City Unit site
    This site is actually maintained by Steve Pond, former guitarist of ICU - and just recently stylishly revamped. Congratulations, Steve.

  • Read Steve Ponds memories of his time & collaborations with Calvert. Amusing and offering quite a few insights...