Saturday, November 15, 2008


A few things you may or may not know about Siouxsie & the Banshees........

In 1976 Siouxsie formed Siouxsie and the Banshees with fellow Bromley Contingent member Steven Severin on bass guitar (the two of them being the bands only constant members. The band was originally formed to fill an empty space on a bill at the first UK based "international punk rock festival". This show was organised by Malcolm McLaren at the 100 Club on London's Oxford Street on September 20, 1976. Other bands on the bill for the night's performances included Subway Sect, The Clash and the Sex Pistols.

The initial line up consisted of "Bromley Contingent" members Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Marco Pirroni and John Simon Ritchie, later famous as Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, on drums. On this occasion their set consisted of a lengthy and chaotic improvisation based around "The Lord's Prayer", which also included lines from songs such as "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles", "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", "Smoke on the Water" and "Twist and Shout". Vicious and Pirroni left the band after that performance. Pirroni would then go on to join The Models (who recorded the single, Freeze, in 1977) and then Rema Rema, whose "Wheel in The Roses" EP appeared on the 4AD record label the following year. He then teamed up with a then little-known punk outfit - Adam & the Ants – in 1979 and within a year the band was on the brink of worldwide acclaim.

Siouxsie & the Banshees were also known as Janet and the Icebergs. Siouxsie Soux was born Susan Janet Ballion on 27 May 1957 in Bromley, London, the youngest of three children.

Steven Severin was born Steven John Bailey, on 25 September 1955, in London), his name is sometimes written as Steve Severin.

The very first appearance by the band was the semi legendary 100 Club gig where he and Siouxsie Sioux (billed as Suzi Sue), together with Marco Pirroni and a pre Sid Vicious John Ritchie on drums, assaulted a medley of songs around the framework of The Lords Prayer.

Siouxsie Soux work outside of Siouxsie & The Banshees has included recording a duet with Morrissey in 1994, they both sang on the single "Interlude", a track that was initially performed by a female torch singer of the sixties. In 1995, she released the song "The Lighthouse" on the French producer Hector Zazou's album Chansons des mers froides (Songs from the Cold Seas). Sioux and Zazou adapted an excerpt of the poem "Flannan Isle" by English poet Wilfred Wilson Gibson into lyrics. The song included the incantations of a female Nanai shaman recorded in Siberia, and musical performers included Budgie and Mark Isham and later in 2003, Siouxsie was asked to compose and sing the title track to Basement Jaxx's album Kish Kash. One year later, she toured for the first time as a solo act combining Banshees and Creatures songs : a live DVD called Dreamshow captured the last London concert of September 2004 performed with the Millennia Ensemble. Released in August 2005, this DVD reached the number one position in the UK music DVD charts. Due to that success, Universal signed her on the W14 label.

Steven Severin is married to Arban Ornelas, a musician and actress, the ceremony took place on 2nd October 2002. Their son Cage is named after the avant-garde composer.

The most well known side project of Severin's outside of Siouxsie & The Banshees is probably The Glove, his side project with The Cure's (and then current Banshee guitarist) Robert Smith. This led to the release of the album Blue Sunshine and two attendant singles. The album reached number 35 in the UK charts in 1983 and the single "Like an Animal" peaked just outside the UK top 50. The next single from the album, "Punish Me with Kisses", only just made it into the top 100. Though Smith did sing on a few tracks, the featured vocalist is Jeanette Landray - a friend of Banshee drummer Budgie; who was at the time involved in progressing a musical relationship with Sioux under The Creatures banner. The album is noted for its low level musical interludes between tracks.

As a producer Severin produced The Altered Images' first two singles "Dead Pop Stars" and "A Days Wait". He also produced the majority of the album Happy Birthday (all 1981). The only track not produced by him was the title track (which also formed the intro and outro), which became the band's breakthrough hit. The Altered Images had toured as a support act for the Banshees. In 1982 he produced, and played bass on, the Lydia Lunch EP The Agony Is the Ecstasy and in 1983 co-wrote the song "Torment" with Marc Almond on the latter's LP Torment and Toreros (by Marc and the Mambas).

The act probably must people know of being associated with Siouxsie & The Banshees is The Creatures. The Creatures were formed in 1981 as a side-project for Siouxsie & the Banshees members Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie their first EP was "Wild Things" in 1981, introducing a much more primitive and drum-driven Banshees sound. With the dissolution of Siouxsie & the Banshees in 1996, The Creatures (who had released only 2 albums in 15 years) graduated from an occasional side project to a full-time concern. Early in 1999, The Creatures released their first studio album in just under a decade Anima Animus. Its cold and hard electronica sound was a slight departure from Boomerang 's very organic atmosphere and pleased as many as it upset. It reached a very modest #79 on the UK album chart.

Late 1999 saw the remix album Hybrids, which featured remixes of tracks from Anima Animus and the Eraser Cut EP reworked by Howie B, Paul Thomas, John Roome, Doug Hart & Paul Freegood, Ollie Brown & Sam Britton, The Black Dog, Tony Justice & Danny Endemic, The Beloved, Jonn Jo Key, Tom Stephan and A1 People. It did not chart. Neither did the two-track single "Take Mine" or the live single "Murdering Mouth" released in June and September 2000. A compilation of unreleased Anima Animus-era tracks was released as U.S Retrace 2000 to happy fans. Rocket Ship and Red Wrapping Paper were released to fan club members in 2001.

Siouxsie and Budgie returned with a full-length album Hai! in 2003, reaching #153 on the UK album chart. Recording began less than 24 hours after the Banshees had completed their reunion tour Seven Year Itch, when Budgie got to fulfil a lifelong ambition to work with Leonard Eto, the basis of the album being a spontaneous drum duet between the two. The cover photo is called "The Shinto Bride" by Kimiko Yoshida. It was recorded in Japan, yet, other than through titles such as "Godzilla!" and "Imagoro" (Japanese for "About This Time"), the music does not really reflect this. Critics' reviews have been generally favourable. It was re-released over the following years in special forms. An album of the instrumentals was also made available.

The Banshee's Drummer Budgie born Peter Edward Clarke on 21 August 1957, in St Helens, Lancashire began his career with the the Spitfire Boys and Big in Japan before briefly playing with The Slits, recording the album Cut. Budgie joined Siouxsie & the Banshees in 1979. Initially he was intended to be a temporary replacement for Kenny Morris, who had left the band two days into a tour, but he remained with the group, from the album Kaleidoscope, until they split up. He also formed the band The Creatures, together with Siouxsie Sioux, whilst with the Banshees. Budgie married Siouxsie Sioux in 1991 but they divorced in 2007.

Siouxsie & The Banshees' first single "Hong Kong Garden" takes its name from Hong Kong Garden Chinese takeaway in Chislehurst High Street and is in reference to the racist activities of skinheads visiting the takeaway. The song was released as a stand-alone single and hit number seven in the UK singles chart. When the Banshees' debut album The Scream was released later in the year, "Hong Kong Garden" was not included. It later surfaced on the singles compilation album Once Upon a Time: The Singles. When The Scream was re-mastered and re-issued in 2005 with bonus material, "Hong Kong Garden" was included in the package.

No comments: