|Genres||Gothic rock, post-punk, alternative rock, darkwave|
|Years active||1976–1998, 2019–present|
|Labels|| Cleopatra Records |
Minority / One Records
|Associated acts|| miserylab |
|Past members|| Porl King |
Rosetta Stone are an English gothic rock band formed in the mid-1980s by Porl King (guitar/vocals/keyboards) and Karl North (bass), plus their drum machine and synthesizer rack nicknamed "Madame Razor".
The band is named after the Rosetta Stone, an Egyptian historical artifact, and the band used much ancient mythological imagery, especially in their earlier work.
Their early style and first album reflected the jangly-guitar sounds of 1980s gothic rock,and their first big break came after live gigs supporting the then already well-established band The Mission. The band then moved to a more electronic sound before disbanding in 1998.
After time spent on different music projects, new Rosetta Stone material appeared in 2019 and 2020.
After playing live gigs around Liverpool and then nationally from 1988 onwards and releasing several independently produced singles to increasing popularity, Rosetta Stone recorded their first full-length album, An Eye for the Main Chance, releasing it in 1991. They also recruited Porl Young as a second guitarist and toured extensively to promote the album.
Following on from this, the band released their most successful single, the 12" Adrenaline. Porl Young subsequently left the band to produce Children on Stun whilst Porl King and Karl North released a cover version of The Rattles' 1970 hit The Witch which took the band into the UK top 40 singles chart.
The band went on to sign a US record and distribution deal with Cleopatra Records who released much of their early cassette and vinyl singles and EPs in 1993 as an album under the title Foundation Stones, and a CD album Adrenaline which, along with the title track, also featuring earlier singles such as An Eye for the Main Chance and The Witch. In the UK they released a CD album (on Minority One) entitled On The Side Of Angels, compiling previous vinyl singles and their various remixes.
Using the advance money for 1995's The Tyranny of Inaction, Porl King purchased an Alesis ADAT multi-track digital recorder, the use of which substantially changed Rosetta Stone's sound. That album and most subsequent work featured a much more industrial/electronic sound, with extensive use of sampling.
Following an accident in late 1997, Porl King lost part of his left little finger, which changed his guitar style considerably.
The band split in 1998 after releasing Chemical Emissions and a radical remix of Tyranny as a limited release CD gENDER cONFUSION and playing a final headlining live performance at the Whitby Gothic Weekend festival in October that year. Karl North went on to join the already-established UK band, the Dream Disciples (their next album Asphyxia notably featuring Karl's Rosetta-sounding bass), and their subsequent live performances attracted much of Rosetta Stone's most ardent UK fanbase.
Porl King produced one more album (contractually) of 80s new romantic cover versions under the name Rosetta Stone for Cleopatra Records. He then went on to work on other projects. Rosetta Stone was presumed to have finished as a band.
In May 2019, Rosetta Stone, still consisting solely of Porl King, released a new album Seems Like Forever on Cleopatra Records,which included some new material plus songs previously released under Porl's Miserylab project re-recorded with more of Rosetta's signature guitar sound. The album was mixed by Jurgen Engler of Die Krupps. A video was released to promote the track "Tomorrow For Us".
A further full length album, Cryptology, was released in August 2020. Comprising of completely new material, it continued the social commentary of Seems Like Forever, tackling issues such as Brexit, racism and austerity in the UK.
Porl King wrote and produced his own music throughout the 2000s and early 2010s under the name Miserylab.King also operated as a remixer and producer, working for the likes of the Mercury Music Award -nominated Elbow and the Fluke side-project Syntax.
In the 2010s, King worked on the solo project In Death It Ends.The dark, foreboding nature of this project abandons prior interest in politics, and is connected with the witch house scene. Porl returned to release a new album under the Rosetta Stone name in 2019.
The Dream Disciples (Karl North) ceased to be active after their performance at Whitby Gothic Weekend in April 2004.
Young was resident DJ at Heaven in London. He is co-owner of the Tuff Twins label, and has produced and mixed several club tunes.
Rosetta Stone were one of the biggest names in the 1990s UK goth live circuit, due both to frequent and extensive early touring and to the successful independent promotion and sales of their records. Porl King was one of the few well-known goth musicians to contribute actively to online discussions with fans, for example on Usenet's uk.people.gothic newsgroup. Their dedication, successive tours and live appearances have gained them a solid fanbase - the most loyal followers became known as "Quarriers".
as Complicity (featuring members of Vendemmian, Altered States with production and keys/additional vocals from Rosetta Stone under the moniker wHATEver pRODUCTIONS)Playing God (17 March 1997; CD album; UK, Grave News Limited - Catalog# FETISH 16)
Bow Wow Wow are an English new wave band, created by manager Malcolm McLaren in 1980. McLaren recruited members of Adam and the Ants to form the band behind 13-year-old Annabella Lwin on vocals. They released their debut EP Your Cassette Pet in 1980, and had their first UK top 10 hit with "Go Wild in the Country" in 1982. The band's music was characterized by a danceable new wave sound that drew on a Burundi beat provided by Dave Barbarossa on drums, as well as the suggestive lyrics squealed into the mic by their teenage lead vocalist.
Wish is the ninth studio album by British alternative rock band The Cure, released on 21 April 1992 through record label Fiction in the UK and Elektra in the US. Upon its release, Wish was the Cure's overall highest charting album, and most commercially successful in the band's career, given its debut at number one in the UK and number two in the United States, where it sold more than 1.2 million copies.
Switchblade Symphony was an American dark wave band from San Francisco, California. Their music combined orchestral sounds with heavy synth sequences and ethereal vocals to create a union of classical music and gothic rock.
Kill Switch...Klick, also known as KsK and Kill Switch is the name of an American industrial rock band. The band is best known for its releases on Cleopatra Records and Go-Kustom Rekords. KsK was formed in 1991 by D.A. Sebasstian, a writer, film maker, musician and artist who had relocated from San Bernardino, California, to Seattle, Washington, late in 1989 where he currently resides.
Spahn Ranch was an electro-industrial group from Los Angeles. Active from 1992 to 2000, the band played a subgenre of industrial music with its fusion of electronic dance, industrial and gothic music.
A maxi single or maxi-single is a music single release with more than the usual two tracks of an A-side song and a B-side song.
The March Violets are an English post-punk/gothic rock band formed in 1981 in Leeds, incorporating singers of both sexes, drum machine rhythms and echo-laden electric guitar, much in the style of fellow Leeds band the Sisters of Mercy. Seven March Violets singles reached the UK Indie Chart; the Natural History collection also was an indie hit.
Comin' Atcha! is the debut album of English girl group Cleopatra, released on 30 June 1998 by WEA. The album rose to No. 20 on the UK Albums chart. Comin' Atcha! has also been certified Silver in the UK by the BPI.
Annabella Lwin is an English-Burmese singer, songwriter and record producer best known as the lead singer of Bow Wow Wow.
Running in the Family is the seventh studio album by British band Level 42, released in 1987. It features the UK hit singles: "Lessons in Love", "Running in the Family", "To Be with You Again", "It's Over" and "Children Say". All five singles peaked in the Top 10 in the Netherlands. "Lessons in Love" peaked at #1 in Germany, South Africa, Switzerland and Denmark. This was the last Level 42 album of the 1980s to feature brothers Phil (drums) and Rowland 'Boon' Gould (guitar), who had cited dissatisfaction with the musical direction of the band and exhaustion as departure reasons.
Cleopatra Records is a Los Angeles-based independent record label founded in 1992 by entrepreneur and music fan Brian Perera. It has since grown into a family of labels, including Hypnotic Records, Purple Pyramid Records, Deadline Music Records; and X-Ray Records, encompassing a variety of genres with emphasis on unique and experimental artists.
"Close to Me" is a song by English rock band the Cure, released in September 1985 as the second and final single from their sixth album, The Head on the Door.
The Wake is an American gothic rock band from Columbus, Ohio. Formed in 1986 by vocalist Troy Payne and guitarist Richard Witherspoon in Columbus, Ohio USA – The Wake made its first studio recording Procession using session musicians on drums and bass in 1987. Bassist James Tramel and electronic drummer Scott Rozanski were recruited later the same year. This lineup quickly recorded first versions of tracks like: "Burial", "Shelia", and "Locomotive Age", creating a rough template for what would become The Wake's signature sound.
Audra is an Arizona-based post-punk band formed in 1991 in Mesa, Arizona by brothers Bret & Bart Helm, Audra broke out onto the national scene in 2000 when they signed with indie label Projekt Records. They have since released 4 full-length albums with the most recent released in 2019.
Children on Stun is the name of a gothic rock band from England. Formed in 1991, the original line-up consisted of Neil Ash, Simon Manning, and Simon Treen
Miserylab is a music project of Porl King, formed in the late 1990s after the disbanding of Rosetta Stone in 1998.
The Green Pajamas are a musical group from Seattle, Washington. They formed in the spring of 1984 when Jeff Kelly and Joe Ross recorded and released their first album, Summer Of Lust. They are probably best known for the regional hit single "Kim the Waitress".
George Earth is an American musician, guitarist, songwriter, composer, music producer, comic book artist, and talk show host from Echo Park, California. He is perhaps best known as the lead guitarist for both World Entertainment War and Switchblade Symphony, later touring and recording with Angel Corpus Christi, Stolen Babies, and other bands before forming Los Angeles-based Small Halo in 2008. He publishes a semi-regular comic book series and hosts a regular talk show, The Talk Show, in which he also leads The Talk Show Band.
Die Laughing are a female-fronted English goth band formed in 1986 by John Berry.
Spiders & Snakes is a Los Angeles-based glam rock band fronted by ex-London co-founder Lizzie Grey until his death, and by former London drummer Tim Yasui. The band draws heavily from British glam rock of the 1970s and performs regularly on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood and throughout the Los Angeles club scene.