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The Business
Background information
OriginLewisham, South London, England
GenresPunk rock, oi![1]
Years active1979–1988, 1992–2016
LabelsSyndicate, Secret, Dojo, Link, Taang!, Epitaph, Captain Oi!, Bad Dog
Past membersMicky Fitz
Steve Kent
Martin Smith
Nick Cunningham
Steve Whale
Mark Brennan
John Fisher
Micky Fairbairn
Lol Proctor
Graham Ball
Kev Boyce
Micky Fairbairn

The Business were an English punk band formed in 1979 in Lewisham, South London, England. The band lasted for four decades until their frontman Micky Fitz died from cancer in December 2016.


The band was formed in 1979 by school friends Steven ('Steve') Kent (guitar), Michael Fitzsimons ('Micky Fitz') (vocals), Nicholas ('Nick') Cunningham (drums) and Martin Smith (bass).[2] They played their first gig in front of friends in February 1980, and after taking on Lol Pryor as manager, began performing more often. The band's first release was the song "Out in the Cold" on the A Sudden Surge of Sound compilation album.[2] They played their first Oi! concert in 1981, supporting The 4-Skins, and they became closely associated with the Oi! scene from then on.[2] While the Oi! movement was labelled as far right and racist (despite the fact that several Oi! bands played at Rock Against Racism concerts), The Business took a stance against political extremism with their Oi Against Racism and Political Extremism ...But Still Against The System tour.[3] Despite standing apart from the far-right, the band also criticized communists in songs like "Suburban Rebels." [4]

In November 1981, they released their debut single, "Harry May", which spent over three months in the UK Indie Chart, reaching No. 13. The initial line-up split up in late 1981, with Kent, Cunningham, and Smith forming Q-Bow, but Fitz carried on with Pryor, recruiting Graham Ball on guitar, Mark Brennan and Steve Whale from The Blackout, and John Fisher on drums.[2] The new line-up made their live debut in January 1982, after which Ball and Fisher departed, leaving the band as a four-piece, with Kev Boyce of The Blackout on drums.[2] The new line-up recorded the Smash the Discos EP, which was a No. 3 indie hit, and after a short tour, they recorded their debut album, which was to be called Loud, Proud, and Punk. The master tapes for the album went missing after disagreements between the band's label and the studio, forcing them to re-record the album, which was released as Suburban Rebels in May 1983.[2] The album was remixed by their label, Secret, without them knowing, and Secret's financial difficulties limited promotion of the album. Frustrated by this, the band split up, with The Business members forming short-lived bands Chapter and Sabre Dance.[2]

Pryor issued a retrospective album consisting of demos and live tracks on his Syndicate label, the success of which prompted the band to reform and record a what was to be marketed as a live album, Loud, Proud, and Punk. It was recorded in a studio, with crowd noise dubbed in later.[2] Pryor renamed his record label Wonderful World and issued several Business albums in late 1985, with the Drinking and Driving tour following. The name of the tour caused controversy, with tabloid journalists accusing the band of condoning drunk-driving, although the title was tongue-in-cheek.[2]

In late 1986, Brennan and Pryor founded Link Records, and with Brennan becoming increasingly busy running the label, the band split up again. In 1992, Fitz performed a few songs guesting with The Elite and he reformed the band to play a benefit concert for Bobby Moore, who had recently died of cancer. Brennan later started a new record label, Captain Oi! Records and did not join the reformed band. The band's line-up then became Micky Fitz (singer), Steve Whale (guitar), Lol Proctor (bass) and Micky Fairbairn (drums). The band released a new single "Anywhere But Here" and new album Keep The Faith in 1994. After a number of tours in Western Europe, the band played their first gigs in America in August 1994. In 1997 The Business released The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth which was produced by Lars Frederiksen from Rancid. In 2000, the band joined together with Dropkick Murphys to release Mob Mentality. The band's final studio album, No Mercy For You was released in 2001. Their biggest hit song in recent times, "England 5 - Germany 1", (based on the result of a World Cup Qualifying match in 2001), became a football anthem for England and even appeared in the 2004 teen comedy EuroTrip. Despite various line-up changes, the band's popularity continued to grow.

By 2006 Fitz had rebuilt his band after overcoming his alcoholism, this year saw the band take on a 2-month tour of the US with the line-up of Fitz (singer), Robin Guy (drums), Daniel (guitar) and what would become long serving Trots (bass). In September 2006, Fitz recruited long time friend Tosh (of Section 5) to play guitar, shortly followed by Bundie on drums. The band took to the studio in Berlin and recorded three covers, this session featured Mitch Harris of Napalm Death guesting to record the title track 'Mean Girl', originally by one of Fitz's favourite bands Status Quo. This was released by Bad Dog records as an EP, the B side being a live set recorded at the Marquee Club in London from 1982.

In April 2019, some of the classic line up (Steve Whale, Steve Kent and Micky Fairbairn) joined by JJ Pearce on bass (the Last Resort) performed at the Punk and Disorderly festival in Berlin. Roi Pearce (The Last Resort) Sebi (Stomper 98) and Mike Brands (Arch Rivals) appeared as guest singers. This marked the first time former members of The Business had performed without Micky Fitz playing The Business songs. The same line up, joined by Beki Bondage (Vice Squad) performed at Rebellion 2019. A toast was raised to Fitz's memory at both shows.[5]

Death of Micky Fitz

In late 2015, Micky Fitz was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph gland and underwent radiotherapy. On 1 December 2016 it was announced that Fitz had died.[6]


Chart placings shown are from the UK Indie Chart.[7]

Studio albums

Title Year Label
Suburban Rebels 1983 Secret Records
Saturday's Heroes 1985 Harry May
Welcome To The Real World 1988 Link
Keep The Faith 1994 Century Media
The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth 1997 Taang! Records
No Mercy For You 2001 Burning Heart Records


Title Year Label Notes
"Harry May" 1981 Secret Charted #13
Smash the Discos EP 1982 Secret Charted #3
"Out of Business" 1983 Secret (withdrawn)
"Get Out of My House" 1985 Wonderful World
"Drinking and Driving" 1985 Diamond Charted #27
"Do a Runner" 1988 Link
"Anywhere But Here" 1994 Walzwerk
"Death II Dance" 1996 Taang!
"One Common Voice" 1997 Taang!
"Hell 2 Pay" 2002 TKO Records
Mean Girl EP 2008 Bad Dog
Back In The Day EP 2014 Sailor's Grave

Compilation and live albums

Title Year Label Notes
1980-81 - Official Bootleg 1983 Syndicate Charted #17
Loud, Proud & Punk - Live 1984 Syndicate Charted #22
Back To Back 1985 Wonderful World
Back To Back Volume 2 1985 Wonderful World
Singalongabusiness 1986 Dojo Records
Live & Loud 1989 Link
In and Out of Business 1990 Link (mail-order only, reissued on CD 1998 by Mog)
The Business 1979-1989 1991 Blackout Records
The Best of The Business: 28 Classic Oi Anthems... 1992 Link
The Complete Business Singles Collection 1995 Anagram
Harry May - The Singles Collection 1996 Taang!
Loud, Proud and Oi! 1996 Dojo Records
The Business Live 1998 Pinhead Records
Mob Mentality 2000 Taang! (split with Dropkick Murphys)
Hardcore Hooligan 2003 Burning Heart
Under The Influence 2003 Rhythm Vicar
Doing The Business 2010 Sailor's Grave

Compilation appearances


  1. ^ Smith, Oshindele-Smith, Bobby, Margaret (2007). One Love Two Colours: The Unlikely Marriage of a Punk Rocker and His African Queen. Troubador Publishing Ltd. p. 85. ISBN 1906221391. Along with The Business and Cock Sparrer, the 4-Skins were the most culturally important of the Oi! Bands, their sound influencing a new host of new American bands such as Rancid and Anti-Heroes.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Glasper, Ian (2004) Burning Britain: The History of UK Punk 1980-1984, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 1-901447-24-3
  3. ^ Marshall, George (1991). Spirit of '69 - A Skinhead Bible. Dunoon, Scotland: S.T. Publishing. ISBN 1-898927-10-3
  4. ^ "Oi! Oi! Oi!: Class, Locality, and British Punk | Twentieth Century British History | Oxford Academic". 20 March 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Al Barr (@neverfal_)". 13 March 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  6. ^ "The Business Frontman Micky Fitz Dies After Battle With Cancer". 1 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  7. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.