Mensi (Angelic Upstarts) RIPWe are sorry to hear of the death of legendary singer from the Angelic Upstarts, Mensi.

He finally succumbed to the Covid that he had been fighting in hospital for the last couple if weeks. The charismatic singer wore his heart on his sleeve and his band dotted punks second wave with a series of classic singles. With a combination of terrace anthems, a genuine raucous spirt, street politics and an unexpected pop nous their music stood out in punk’s second phase.

Mensi had the conviction and the charisma and a genuine heart that made him a great on stage presence but also a total diamond off stage. I have many memories of great gigs but also a totally warm and kind hearted person who was a joy to share festival stage with and helped to contribute to his folk hero status. 

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.

56 COMMENTS

  1. Loved the upstarts… saw them a fair few times back in the day, the mayflower, osborne & the tower club in oldham spring to mind… lovely fella… me & browny bumped into him in wood green on the morning of the roses gig at ally pally back in the day… never had nothing is on my funeral tape for when its my time !!!. RIP TOMMY

    • I went to the Osborne gig but missed the Upstarts because I was beaten up outside by a big gang of casuals. For various reasons it took me a couple of decades to see them but so glad I did eventually.

      I practically wore out my copy of Teenage Warning when I got it aged 16, and still get a lump in my throat every time I hear Liddle Towers.

      He was a great entertainer with massive stage presence. Such sad news.

  2. So sorry to hear this love the band and follow the band on many gigs up and down the country RIP mensi keep putting the tories to the sword brother

  3. Devastating news for the loss of a great fighter against the tyranny of racism and creating great musical artwork such as the Teenage Warning album.

  4. Absolutely gutted. A man I listened to, saw and aspired to. An absolute legend who lived every conviction. Tears tonight but sympathy for the family. Sleep well and rest easy✌️

  5. He wouldn’t want us to be sad, there’d be a Geordie nutter in a flat cap screaming indescribably sweary Northern gibberish at us along the lines of “Whaeey-Aye Mun, wuuts you crying faww???!!”. Let us dance, drink a few dry sherries and remember the great times. Rest in Power!

  6. Absolutely gutted. A man I listened to, saw and aspired to. An absolute legend who lived every conviction. Tears tonight but sympathy for the family. Sleep well and rest easy

  7. Sad day, Mensi was a great entertainer, his banter with the crowd and band was always fun to hear. Thanks for the great memories Mensi. R.I.P.

  8. What an absolute star. One of the best live acts I have ever seen. RIP Mensi and best wishes to all family and friends. Who killed Liddle?

  9. I chatted to Mensi a lot a few years back. Genuinely nice man and still as angry at the wrongs of society as ever. The truest punk. R.I.P. Big Fella

  10. so sad to have lost a good friend, a lovely funny guy, who it has been an honour to have been able to spend so much time with, rest in peace my friend

  11. Terrible news John a very charismatic and politically aware performer. Never met him but liked his public persona and lots of people i know that have met him speak highly

  12. The times were good, Mensi was great, songs fantastic. The Media might love him for just one day, but we will always love him. RIP. Rammy/Outlane

  13. Really gutted to hear about this. Seen them loadsa times all over the UK. The one I recall most was when I jibbed the train up to Manchester, bus to Oldham, gig at Oddies. Helped them load their gear, and they gave me a lift back to Junction 10 of the M6. A 6 mile walk home from there, rest of the day in bed, and I had bragging rights in the pub that night.
    RIP Mensi and Tony Feedback, who was playing guitar that night.

  14. A man I was proud to call a friend. I organised gigs and events for Rock Against Racism and the ANL in the late 70’s – 80’s. Mensi and the Upstarts were always first in line offering their services and support free of charge. RIP Tommy, the world’s a poorer place without you✊

  15. “Mensi and the Angelic Upstarts” were more than a punk band, they were part of a resistance and FIGHT – BACK against this corrupt Capitalist system that has taken the working class back to austerity and a society of division . We need to unite more than ever now….to ” Smash this right wing Tory government!!
    Ian Watson

  16. Saw the Upstarts many times in London back in the early eighties. Supported them twice at 100 Club.
    Mensi was a unique blend of good humour and political belief. It wasn’t easy being Anti-Fascist in those days.
    RIP Big man, from your cockney brethren.

  17. What a front man to have had in your band. Saw them several times, so charismatic and hilarious on stage. Last time i saw them i blagged my way back stage to chat to the great man, only to very shortly be thrown out for being an imposter. May you rest in peace mensi

  18. Very sad, saw the Upstarts at Bolingbroke Hall a couple of times back in the day. Fantastic front man. Last time I seen them was at Butlins Skeggie when they played twice cos Bad Manners didn’t show, again proper punk. RIP Mensi from a Jarra lad.

  19. Ride easy Big Fella , the AntiFascist movement has lost a great champion What you saw was what you got, a true man of the people who wore his colours on his chest like a badge of honour.
    R.I.P. Menz

  20. Fantastic band and by all accounts a wonderful guy, had the privilege of seeing them and used to chat with him often online. Total legend, R.I.P.

  21. I’m an Upstart and Teenage Warnng were a couple of my early singles, bought plenty more by the Upstarts right through the 80’s and Liddle is still one of my favourite ever songs. Great band and Mensi was a great frontman, saw ’em a good few times. Once in ’84, went with my elder brother and his pal who was a miner and got to talk to Mensi. He was well impressed with my brother and his pal who was on strike and their hatred of Thatcher and invited us to the next night’s gig and a drink afterwards. Unfortunately the car we were in broke down and we couldn’t go. Shame but there you go. RIP Mensi

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