IT'S been a quarter of a century since the release of Spear Of Destiny’s celebrated album One Eyed Jacks and to mark the occasion the band are hitting the road.

They will call in at Darwen Library Theatre next Friday and will appear at Manchester Academy 3 on Saturday.

The band was formed by singer-songwriter Kirk Brandon with bassist Stan Stammers in 1983 from the ashes of post-punk rockers Theatre Of Hate. Their first album Grapes Of Wrath entered the lower reaches of the charts and resulted in a brace of charting singles with Flying Scotsman and The Wheel.

This paved the way for One Eyed Jacks, which reached number 22 in the album charts and gave us the hits Prisoner Of Love and Liberator.

Kirk is puzzled as to why the album is so revered.

“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “In a way, One Eyed Jacks is the first Spear Of Destiny album.

“Grapes Of Wrath was really a cross-over between Theatre Of Hate and Spear Of Destiny. Jacks is quite far removed from it and it made quite a dent at the time.

“The tours were sold out and it became a benchmark album.”

The album’s appeal may have been in the lyrical content.

“The song Young Men dealt with the Falklands War and its aftermath,” said Brandon. “It was a protest song really. In those days a protest song was more acceptable.”

Many people have cited One Eyed Jacks as the best Spear Of Destiny album.

“I would have to disagree,” said Brandon. “From a personal standpoint I like the more recent Imperial Prototype (2007) and Loadestone (2005). But if you go back, Jacks was so new and fresh. It had social comment and no love songs. It was a sign of the times.”

More albums followed; World Service and Outland (which both charted higher than One Eyed Jacks) and The Price You Pay.

Outland also gave the band their highest singles chart placing at number 14 with Never Take Me Alive.

The band then suffered a setback as Kirk was diagnosed with Reitter Syndrome, a condition where the joints swell and fill with liquid causing severe pain.

“There’s a one in 60,000 chance of getting it,” he said, “I didn’t walk for over a year and I practically had to learn to walk again.

“I’m OK at the moment, but you can never get rid of it.”

Subsequent albums failed to regain the band’s momentum, something that Kirk isn’t too surprised about.

“The whole industry has changed. It’s now all based on the X Factor culture which is destructive towards music.”

It’s not all gloom and doom, though.

The band are hitting the road, performing a number of gigs celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of One Eyed Jacks.

“We’ll be playing the whole of the Jacks album on the tour,” said Brandon. “Also some of the old classics from Theatre Of Hate might get played."

After the tour the future looks rosy for the band.

“I’m currently writing some new songs and we’re hoping to record a new album before the end of the year. In fact, it’s 99 per cent certain that will happen," said Brandon.

l Spear Of Destiny will be at Darwen’s Library Theatre in Friday, May 8 (01254 706006) and Manchester’s Academy 3 on Saturday 9th May (0161 832 1111).