As the founding editor of the pioneering Sniffin' Glue fanzine, Mark Perry gained attention in the British punk scene. He formed the band whilst producing the fanzine, although eventually diverted his energies solely to this band.
Key members of the band were Mark P and Alex Fergusson, who described their music as "closest to Can and reggae-type rhythms," and were generally more innovative and experimental than what could be described as the wave of Sex Pistols clones which tended to dominate much of the punk scene at that time.
The band's debut single was "Love Lie Limp," a free flexidisc issued with the final edition of Perry's Sniffin' Glue fanzine. shortly afterwards they released "How Much Longer/ You Bastard" in December 1977. "How Much Longer" criticized youth culture apathy.
Soon thereafter, Mark Perry's chief collaborator Ferguson quit, causing a rift that almost ended the band.
A dub influenced single, "Life after Life," was released as well as a well-received album, The Image Has Cracked. The band's second album, Vibing Up the Senile Man saw the band take a more explicitly experimental direction however, which alienated many of their followers as well as the music press. The band shortly afterwards evolved into the avant-garde project the Good Missionaries.
There have been a number of ATV reunions over the years, and the band at one time toured with the Gong-family band Here and Now, documented on the jointly made live album What You See Is What You Are.