Josef K

Josef K were a Scottish post-punk band, active between 1979 and 1982, who released singles on the Postcard Records label. The band was named after the protagonist of Franz Kafka's novel The Trial. Although they released just one album while together and achieved only moderate success, they have since proved influential on many bands that followed. The band was formed in 1979 originally as TV Art by Paul Haig (vocals, guitar) and Ronnie Torrance (drums), later joined by Malcolm Ross (guitar, keyboards), with Gary McCormack added on bass guitar, who soon left (later joining The Exploited) with David Weddell replacing him.

(For further information please see Wikipedia.)

Links To Peel

Peel played Josef K's material often in the late 70s and early 80s, including two sessions, as well as less frequently after their split, into the 21st century. Although officially listed as a session, the group's first outing for the DJ was actually composed of tracks recorded for an intended debut album that the band chose not to put out. The scrapped recordings eventually saw an official release in 1990 under the title 'Sorry For Laughing'.

While the Edinburgh band are often associated with the influential Postcard indie label, based in Glasgow, Peel had already given airtime to their debut single on the Absolute imprint of Orange Juice drummer Steven Daly before they came under the "Sound Of Young Scotland" banner. The final Josef K single, also played by Peel, was released by Les Disques Du Crépescule in Belgium, a label with close links to Factory Records.[1]

According to one story, Josef K frontman Paul Haig wrote to the DJ to express gratitude for his support but was not at home when Peel phoned the musician up in return, leaving the radio presenter to thank Haig's mother instead.[2]

After Josef K's early demise, Ronnie Torrance joined Peel session band Boots for Dancing, while Malcolm Ross played with former Postcard labelmates Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, as well as others including Barry Adamson[2] and 90s Peel session mainstays Nectarine No. 9.[3] Both former JK musicians and ex-bandmate David Weddell also featured in 4AD band Happy Family(2),[4] with Nick Currie (aka Momus).

In 2012, two Paul Haig solo albums were among the first 100 LPs by artists beginning with H when details of Peel's record collection were first released online.[3]

Peel-played performers seen as influenced by Joseph K include the Wedding Present and June Brides,[4] as well as self-proclaimed fan Johnny Marr of the Smiths, plus a fresh generation of "indie revival" bands in the new century such as Rapture, Franz Ferdinand and the Futureheads.[5]

Festive Fifty Entries


1. Private tape, unknown recording date. First broadcast 24 March 1981, repeated 04 May 1981, 09 September 1982

  • Pictures / Chance Meeting / No Glory / Endless Soul.

2. Recorded 15th June 1981. First broadcast 22 June 1981, repeated 13 July 1981, 29 December 1981, 08 January 1985, 03 April 1985. Available The Only Fun In Town 2xLP (reissue), 2019, Les Disques Du Crépuscule TWI052   'Heaven Sent', 'The Missionary' and 'Applebush' available on Entomology (Domino REWIGCD30). 'Heaven Sent' and Heart Of Song' available on Young And Stupid (Supreme International Editions)

  • Heart Of Song / Heaven Sent / Applebush / The Missionary.

Other Shows Played

Josef K - Sorry for Laughing

Josef K - Sorry for Laughing

Paul Haig solo
Happy Family


(The list below was compiled only from the Cover Versions page of this site. Please add more information if known.)

Artist | Track | First Known Play

External Links


  1. Writer Paul Morley later described Josef K as "a Manchester band who'd been dislocated to Edinburgh".[1]
  2. Ex-Magazine, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, etc.
  3. Led by former Fire Engines frontman David Henderson.
  4. Not the band of the same name on the 50 Gazillion Watts label of Half Japanese that Peel played in the early 1990s.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.