UK punk rock band Blaggers ITA made an immediate impact in 1993 with a raw, if untutored, debut album that was banned in Germany because of the burning swastika depicted on the cover. Two subsequent singles entered the UK Top 50 and a tour with the Manic Street Preachers and Credit To The Nation saw them take their confrontational politics on the road. Then came an after-concert fight with a journalist. Though vehemently anti-fascist, spokesperson Matty ‘Blag’ (b. Matthew Roberts, 1964, Oswestry, Shropshire, England, d. 22 February 2000, London, England; vocals) had candidly revealed that in his past, an ill-informed and impoverished working-class background, he had briefly held Nazi sympathies. They were dropped from the Reading Festival bill, while the expected Top Of The Pops appearances and magazine coverage dried up. Matty was found not guilty of assault at a hearing by Leeds magistrates on 4 April 1995, the case dismissed on legal technicalities. He was then expelled from the band in the summer. Blaggers ITA split into two factions, lost their contract with Parlophone Records and interest in their fortunes disappeared. Matty Blag died of a drug overdose in February 2000.
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