Buzzcocks in 2014
|Origin||Bolton, Greater Manchester, England|
|Members|| Steve Diggle |
|Past members|| Pete Shelley |
Buzzcocks are an English punk rock band formed in Bolton, England in 1976 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto.They are regarded as a seminal influence on the Manchester music scene, the independent record label movement, punk rock, power pop, and pop punk. They achieved commercial success with singles that fused pop craftsmanship with rapid-fire punk energy. These singles were collected on Singles Going Steady , described by critic Ned Raggett as a "punk masterpiece".
Devoto and Shelley chose the name "Buzzcocks" after reading the headline, "It's the Buzz, Cock!", in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The "buzz" is the excitement of playing on stage; "cock" is northern English slang meaning "friend". They thought it captured the excitement of the nascent punk scene, as well as having humorous sexual connotations following Peter Shelley's time working in a Bolton adult shop.Per the band, there is no "the" in Buzzcocks.
Devoto left the band in 1977, after which Pete Shelley became the principal singer-songwriter.Shelley died on 6 December 2018, but the band has remained active with guitarist and co-founding member Steve Diggle assuming lead vocal duties. They added a new guitarist Mani Perazzoli. They are still touring and draw in large crowds from around the world.
Howard Trafford, a student at Bolton Institute of Technology, placed a notice in the college looking for musicians sharing a liking for The Velvet Underground's song "Sister Ray".Peter McNeish, a fellow student at the institute, responded to the notice. Trafford had previously been involved in electronic music, while McNeish had played rock.
By late 1975, Trafford and McNeish had recruited a drummer and formed, in effect, an embryonic version of Buzzcocks. The band formed, officially, in February 1976; McNeish assumed the stage name Pete Shelley and Trafford named himself Howard Devoto.They performed live for the first time on 1 April 1976 at their college. Garth Davies played bass guitar and Mick Singleton played drums. Singleton also played in local band Black Cat Bone.
After reading an NME review of the Sex Pistols' first performance, Shelley and Devoto travelled to London together to see the Sex Pistols in February 1976. Shelley and Devoto were impressed by what they saw and arranged for the Sex Pistols to come and perform at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester, in June 1976. Buzzcocks intended to play at this concert, but the other musicians dropped out, and Shelley and Devoto were unable to recruit other musicians in time for the gig. Once they had recruited bass guitarist Steve Diggle and drummer John Maher, they made their debut opening for the Sex Pistols' second Manchester concert in July 1976. A brief clip of Devoto-era Buzzcocks performing The Troggs' "I Can't Control Myself" appears in the Punk: Attitude documentary directed by Don Letts. In September 1976 the band travelled to London to perform at the two-day 100 Club Punk Festival, organised by Malcolm McLaren. Other performers included: the Sex Pistols, Subway Sect, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, The Vibrators, The Damned and the French band Stinky Toys.
By the end of the year, Buzzcocks had recorded and released a four-track EP, Spiral Scratch , on their own New Hormones label, making them one of the first punk groups to establish an independent record label, trailing only The Saints' "(I'm) Stranded". Produced by Martin Hannett, the music was roughly recorded, insistently repetitive, and energetic. "Boredom" announced punk's rebellion against the status quo while templating a strident musical minimalism (the guitar solo consisting of two repeated notes). The demos recorded while Devoto was in the band were later issued officially as Time's Up . Long available as a bootleg, this album includes the alternative takes of all the tracks from the Spiral Scratch EP as well as early version of tracks that later appeared on the official debut Another Music in a Different Kitchen.
After a few months, Devoto left the group, expressing his dissatisfaction at the direction that punk was taking in his statement "what was once unhealthily fresh is now a clean old hat". He returned to college for a year, then formed Magazine. Pete Shelley took on the vocal duties; his high-pitched, melodic singing stood in stark contrast to the gruff pub rock vocal stylings of many punk contemporaries. Steve Diggle switched from bass to guitar, and Garth Davies (a.k.a. Garth Smith) rejoined on bass. While Davies appeared on the band's first Radio 1 Peel Session, in September 1977, his alleged unreliability led to his expulsion from the band. (He later joined New York band Dirty Looks.) Davies was replaced by Steve Garvey. This new line-up signed with United Artists Records – the signing itself was undertaken at Manchester's Electric Circus on 16 August 1977, the day Elvis Presley died.
Their first UA Buzzcocks single, "Orgasm Addict", was a playful examination of compulsive sexuality that was (and remains) uncommonly bold. The BBC refused to play the song, and the single did not sell well. Later, more ambiguous songs staked out a territory defined by Shelley's bisexuality and punk's aversion to serious examination of human sexuality. The next single, "What Do I Get?" reached the UK top 50 chart."Lipstick", the B-side to "Promises," shared the same ascending progression of notes in its chorus as Magazine's first single, "Shot By Both Sides," also released in 1978.
Their original career produced three LPs: Another Music in a Different Kitchen , Love Bites , and A Different Kind of Tension , each supported by extensive touring in Europe and the U.S.A. Their trademark sound was a marriage of catchy pop melodies with punk guitar energy, backed by an unusually tight and skilled rhythm section. They advanced drastically in musical and lyrical sophistication: by the end they were quoting USA writer William S. Burroughs ("A Different Kind of Tension"), declaiming their catechism in the anthem "I Believe", and tuning in to a fantasy radio station on which their songs could be heard ("Radio Nine"). In 1980, Liberty Records signed the band, and released three singles. The double 'A' side "Why She's A Girl From The Chainstore/Are Everything" made the Top 75.
In parallel with Buzzcocks, Pete Shelley formed a more experimental and post-punk band, The Tiller Boys, along with Eric Random and Francis Cookson, while Steve Garvey joined The Teardrops in 1978, along with The Fall's Tony Friel and Karl Burns; both bands were releasing material in late 1970s and broke up at the same time as Buzzcocks.
After recording demos for a fourth album the group disbanded in 1981, when Shelley took up a solo career. Diggle and Maher formed Flag of Convenience, who released several singles between 1982 and 1989. Garvey formed Motivation and joined Blue Orchids, moving to New York, shortly afterwards, to continue with the first band. Maher had joined Wah! by the time Buzzcocks broke up. Shelley and Devoto teamed up in 2002 for the first time since 1976, producing the album Buzzkunst , 'Kunst' being the German word for 'Art'. The album was a mix of electronic music and punk.
John Maher now owns and runs John Maher Racing, a vintage Volkswagen performance tuning workshop located on the Isle of Harris, Scotland. [ citation needed ]He has built and raced several Volkswagen Beetles. In 2005, Shelley re-recorded "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" with an all-star group, including Roger Daltrey, David Gilmour, Peter Hook, Elton John, Robert Plant and several contemporary bands, as a tribute to John Peel. Proceeds went to Amnesty International. Shelley also performed the song live, with Plant, Daltrey, Gilmour, Hook and Jeff Beck at the 2005 UK Music Hall of Fame.
Buzzcocks have reformed several times since 1989, featuring Shelley and Diggle with other musicians; initially with Maher and Garvey for a world tour, then briefly replacing Maher with Smiths drummer Mike Joyce. In 1992, Tony Barber joined on bass and Phil Barker on drums. This line-up toured on one of Nirvana's last tours in 1994. Buzzcocks toured as support for Pearl Jam in 2003. In April 2006, Barker left and was replaced by Danny Farrant. In March 2006, the band released their eighth studio album, Flat-Pack Philosophy , on Cooking Vinyl Records, the supporting tour found them playing on a leg of the mid-2006 Vans Warped Tour.
They made an appearance for Maxïmo Park's homecoming gig in Newcastle upon Tyne on 15 December 2007.
In April 2008, Barber left and was replaced by Chris Remington.
In January 2009 the band embarked on a UK and European tour, the "Another Bites Tour", in which they played their first two albums in full, as well as an encore of their other hits.
In July 2009, Buzzcocks played in Serbia for the second time, at the EXIT festival in Novi Sad. Their song, "Why Can't I Touch It" was played in the second episode of the sixth season of TV series Entourage . On 9 November 2009, Buzzcocks gave a very rare performance on a small balcony overlooking Dame Street in Dublin, for the music viral show BalconyTV.
In December 2009, they played as the main support act for The Courteeners.In August 2011, they headlined the first night of The Rhythm Festival in Bedfordshire.
In November 2011, it was announced they would be playing two shows in 2012 that would feature the original line-up, as well as the classic line-up of the band reunited for the first time in many years; these shows took place on 25 May 2012 in Manchester at the O2 Apollo and on 26 May in Brixton at the O2 Academy. It was announced on 26 May 2012 that, for the first time, they would headline Thursday night in the Empress Ballroom at the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, sharing the stage with Rancid, Public Image Limited and Social Distortion.
On 1 May 2014, Buzzcocks released the album The Way via PledgeMusic. On 13 September 2014 Buzzcocks played "a brief but triumphant set" at Riot Fest 2014 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.In October 2014 Buzzcocks toured the U.K. for three weeks with The Dollyrots as main support.
In 2016, the band embarked on their 40th-anniversary tour (dubbed "Buzzcocks 40"). In 2017, "Why Can't I Touch It" was featured in the opening segment of the Telltale game ' Guardians of the Galaxy .
Pete Shelley died on 6 December 2018 from a suspected heart attack at his home in Tallinn, Estonia.
In June 2019, Buzzcocks performed with a number of guest vocalists as a tribute to Shelley. The concert had been planned before Shelley's passing.
Steve Diggle has said that Buzzcocks will continue with the post-Shelley Buzzcocks being a 'new era'.
Buzzcocks' name was combined with the title of the Sex Pistols album Never Mind the Bollocks to create the title of the long-running UK comedy TV panel game show Never Mind the Buzzcocks . Diggle claimed in his autobiography that he and Shelley had only granted the BBC use of their name under the impression that it would be a one-off, probably unsuccessful pilot, and that they are now mildly disgruntled that the name is more readily associated in Britain with the TV series than with their band. [ citation needed ]Shelley himself appeared on the programme in 2000, where host Mark Lamarr introduced Shelley by saying that without Buzzcocks 'there'd be no Smiths or Radiohead, and this show would be called Never Mind Joan Armatrading!'"
Magazine were an English post-punk band active from 1977 to 1981, then again from 2009 to 2011. The band was formed by Howard Devoto after leaving punk band Buzzcocks in early 1977. Devoto had decided to create a more progressive and less "traditional" rock band.
Howard Devoto is an English singer and songwriter, who began his career as the frontman for the punk rock band Buzzcocks, but then left to form Magazine, one of the first post-punk bands. After Magazine, he went solo and later formed indie band Luxuria.
Pete Shelley was an English singer, songwriter and guitarist. He formed early punk band Buzzcocks with Howard Devoto in 1976, and became the lead singer and guitarist in 1977 when Devoto left. The group released their biggest hit "Ever Fallen in Love " in 1978. The band broke up in 1981 and reformed at the end of the decade. Shelley also had a solo career; his song "Homosapien" charted in the US in 1981.
Noko is an English multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer, has formed and/or played with a number of bands primarily as a guitarist or bassist. In chronological order they were: Alvin the Aardvark and the Fuzzy Ants, The Umbrella, The Pete Shelley Group, The Cure, Luxuria, Apollo 440, Stealth Sonic Soul, Fast, Maximum Roach, James Maker and Noko 440, Magazine, Raw Chimp, Levyathan, SCISM, Am I Dead Yet? and Buzzcocks.
Another Music in a Different Kitchen is the first studio album by the English punk rock band Buzzcocks. It was released in March 1978 by the United Artists record label. This was the third line-up of Buzzcocks, with the guitarist Pete Shelley singing following the departure of the original vocalist Howard Devoto and then the firing of the bass guitarist Garth Smith. The album includes the single "I Don't Mind", which reached number 55 in the UK Singles Chart in May 1978.
Singles Going Steady is a compilation album by English punk rock band Buzzcocks, first released on I.R.S. Records in the United States on 25 September 1979.
The Invisible Girls were a British rock band, formed in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1978, to provide a musical backdrop to the recorded output of Salford punk poet John Cooper Clarke. The band's nucleus was Joy Division and New Order producer Martin Hannett and keyboardist Steve Hopkins, with contributions from, amongst others, Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks and Bill Nelson of Be-Bop Deluxe. The band also played on the first solo album by Pauline Murray, the eponymous Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls and some singles, and later with Nico for the single "Procession".
All Set is the fifth studio album by English pop punk band Buzzcocks. After standardising their line-up of vocalists and guitarists Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, bassist Tony Barber, and drummer Phil Barker for the band's previous album Trade Test Transmissions (1993), the band's first record since their reunion in 1989, the band toured relentlessly which inspired the band–especially Shelley–to create a new album. Hiring longtime punk rock producer Neil King to produce and engineer All Set, the band recorded in Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California, a studio where then-huge pop punk bands like Green Day, to whom Buzzcocks had been a big influence, had recently recorded music engineered by King.
Modern is the sixth studio album by English pop punk band Buzzcocks. After the critical success of the band's previous album All Set (1996), the band became disillusioned with trying to be a rock band and set out to become more "modern," thus birthing the project. Recording the album in Chipping Barnet with the band's bassist Tony Barber producing, Modern sees a strong electronic music influence, with electronic instruments and drum machines featuring on the songs, especially those written by Steve Diggle, who wrote five of the album's songs whilst Pete Shelley wrote the other eight songs.
Stephen E Diggle is an English guitarist and vocalist in the punk band Buzzcocks.
Buzzcocks is the seventh studio album by English pop punk band Buzzcocks. It was released on 18 March 2003 by record label Merge.
Love Bites is the second studio album by English punk rock band Buzzcocks. It was released on 22 September 1978, through United Artists Records.
A Different Kind of Tension is the third studio album by English punk rock band Buzzcocks. It was released in September 1979 by record label United Artists.
Operators Manual: Buzzcocks Best is a compilation album by English punk rock band Buzzcocks, released in 1991 by I.R.S. Records.
Spiral Scratch is an EP and the first release by the English punk rock band Buzzcocks. It was released on 29 January 1977. It is one of the earliest releases by a British punk band. The EP is the only Buzzcocks studio release with original singer Howard Devoto, who left shortly after its release to form one of the first post-punk bands, Magazine.
"Orgasm Addict'" is a song by the English punk rock band Buzzcocks. It was the A-side of the Buzzcocks' first single, with "Whatever Happened To...?" as the B-side, which was released on 4 November 1977 by record label United Artists.
Stephen Garvey is a musician who is known for being the bass guitarist of the punk band Buzzcocks, forming part of the classic line-up of the group, from 1977 to 1981, and, again, from 1989 to 1992.
John Maher is a British musician who was part of the punk and new wave scenes in Manchester, England, most notably as the drummer with Buzzcocks.
Garth Smith and sometimes credited as Garth, was known for being one of the bassists of the Bolton formed punk rock band, Buzzcocks.
50 Years of Comparative Wealth E.P. was a 1981 7" EP released by Steve Diggle of Buzzcocks. This was his first disc released in his solo career and without Buzzcocks, who by those days were disbanding. Shortly afterwards Garvey dedicated to his proper projects, with his band Motivation, while Diggle and Maher formed punk band Flag of Convenience, but Maher also left Diggle after some releases.
On top of the social impact, Buzzcocks' wiry pop toned punk influenced new genres like power pop and even emo, which shares similar soaring riffs and emotional lyrics.
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