"It's a folk singer's job to comfort disturbed people and to disturb comfortable people" - Woody Guthrie
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Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Happy Birthday Siouxsie
Happy Birthday Siouxsie, born on this day in 1957. It's hard to imagine that back in 1976 Siouxsie and Steven Sevrin thought after appearing at The Punk Rock Festival at the 100 Club 0n 20th September that they would split up after one gig. That "gig" featured Marco Pirroni on guitar and Sid Vicious on drums and in essence was a 20 minute improvised version of 'The Lord's Prayer' - Part One, Part Two*, (that would end up on their second album 'Join Hands').
(*The recording is pretty rough but it's amazing that such a thing is available at all!) Being asked to play again though meant that they need to put together a proper band and so Kenny Morris on Drums and Peter Fenton on Guitar were the first real line up (Fenton was replaced by John McKay early 1977 because he was deemed a "real rock guitarist!"). As the band continued to grow and play live, often selling out venues, their stock with regard to a record deal was at an all time low. It seemed everyone was getting signed except them, and mysteriously 'Sign the Banshees' graffiti began appearing on walls outside Record Companies in London. I saw them a few times prior to eventual signing to Polydor Records and they were really a force to be reckoned with. An ever expanding setlist with songs like 'Love in a Void', 'Make Up To Break Up/'Metal', 'Suburban Relapse', 'Carcass', 'Nicotine', 'Captain Scarlet', 'Mirage' and a fantastic cover of 'Helter Skelter' it was most puzzling why they did not have a deal. What we didn't know was they wanted "Creative Control" and finally Polydor Records gave in to them.
Of all the records most eagerly anticipated in 1978, surely the number one single was the debut from Siouxsie and the Banshees. I can remember bunking off school on the 18th August just to be at the Record Shop for opening time to get my hands on it. The single of course would sky rocket to #7 on the charts and be the launch of a very long a pretty successful career.
The song was not unknown to fans of the band as they had recorded it for their second John Peel Session (that also included 'Overground', 'Carcass' and 'Helter Skelter') back in February 1978. They did a great peel session in in September 1977 that included 'Love in a Void', 'Mirage', 'Metal Postcard' and 'Suburban Relapse'. I was thinking of extending this a little but I don't have time today (maybe when I get some time I can do a more indepth look at the band and their music), so it's just a short reflection on a great band from way back when. Happy Birthday again Siouxsie.