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Act Annie Anxiety / Little Annie

Little Annie Anxiety
Little Annie Anxiety (Photo: Phil Nichols)

On-U Sound hasn't had many headline female performers come in through it's doors over the years. The multi-media artist and post-modern cabaret queen Little Annie Anxiety is very much one of the exceptions:

Little Annie, a.k.a. Annie Anxiety, born Annie Bandez, is an adventuress, chanteuse/lyricist and artist with a long, illustrious and eclectic recording career. Born in New York, with no intention of a career in the arts, she pursued numerous jobs, criss-crossed the continent "earning her poetic license" until she found herself on stage at the legendary Max's Kansas City, fronting the atonal, savage dance rhymed band the Asexuals at the sneak-in-the-back-door age of 16. Annie, in a November 2002 interview, recalls the era:

"Well it was so much fun down here because I lived in this neighbourhood on 5th Street and you couldn't pay anybody to live down here then - in the 70s, so it was cheap and it was funky and you had Max's Kansas City up the street and it was all the leftover Warhol crew and the Belmore Cafeteria at night and it was funky, dangerous - but funky, and I was little kid, so it was wonderfully glamorous. That was until the 80s came and everyone dropped dead, you know what I mean?"

After meeting Steve Ignorant from the band Crass on her doorstep a year later, she went to the United Kingdom for a two-week visit and stayed over a decade.

"[Steve and I] ...started writing and I was just going to go to London to visit. Basically I was here - I was dancing - you know none of us were really doing anything - we were just running around being fabulous. We weren't making a living, but it was good then in New York because you didn't have to make much to get by. So I went to visit and then right away started working ... it just seemed like the place I should be because I was working."

The 'Soul Possession' LP
The "Soul Possession" LP

In the UK she made the first of her many recordings, the still avant-garde "Barbed Wire Halo", a collaboration with Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud for Crass Records. Her musical path took the first of many sharp turns when she met Adrian Sherwood and his partner of the time Kishi Yamamoto. The trio crafted Annie's first LP for Corpus Christi Records, "Soul Possession" (ON-U LP 29) and a long and exciting collaboration was forged. Annie recalls the times working with On.U:

"It was great ... I did my first album with Adrian Sherwood and with all the Jamaicans and we'd be up for 2 or 3 days and there'd be different people coming in, they'd leave and we'd take one multi track off and then we'd work on a Prince Far I multi-track and Sherwood was around - there were so many characters in those days. We'd be living on Guinness and cheese sandwiches. I learned a lot and it was also a lot of fun."

So were there any plans to re-release "Soul Possession"?

"I would love to - the problem is this guy John Loder from Southern Studios has it held hostage right now. I was making these records at 17 years old - I didn't know anything so I was sort of an easy mark. He's got the tapes, which is a shame because it's kind of sitting there rotting ... I'd love to have that one back. I've had so many companies approach me for that album it's silly..."

The 'I Think Of You' single
The "I Think Of You" single

After a short stint with the American-owned major Atco Records she started working with the moniker Little Annie and released the LP "Short And Sweet" (ON-U LP 60), an EP and two ten-inchers again for On-U Sound. This including the widely acclaimed "I Think Of You" (ON-U DP 21) which despite being a 'single of the week' in the UK music paper Melody Maker was sadly never promoted to its full worth.

Through the years and numerous other collaborations, including Wolfgang Press, Paul Oakenfold, Kid Congo Powers, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, the late Bim Sherman, Coil, Finitribe, and Collapsed Lung, she has refused to be restricted by labels and genres, spanning jazz, reggae, hip hop, torch and avant-garde styles. Having taken part in so much musical activity, does she like recording?

"...out of everything to do, being in the studio is my least favourite, because you're locked in. I've worked on albums where I've gone in in the spring and then come out and the leaves were changing and I'm like 'what the hell happened?' I really like playing live."

Music aside, Annie has written her autobiography, three volumes of prose, appeared in numerous plays, theatre pieces and films, and continues to tour extensively from her base in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. It was a long wait, but 2011 finally saw the re-issuing of "Soul Possession" at the same time as several other of her early albums.

(Compiled from Annie's official biography at: and also an article formally at

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Adrian Sherwood
African Head Charge
Andy Fairley
Annie Anxiety / Little Annie
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