For The Dead
Gene was a British indie/rock quartet formed in 1993 in London. They were popularly labelled as a Britpop band and often drew somewhat superficial comparisons to The Smiths, if only because of their slightly Morrissey-esque lead singer. Despite this comparison, there is a lot more to Gene’s music than met the eyes of their critics. Their music takes influence from punk-rockers The Jam, blues riffs from the Small Faces, all mixed in with the soulful sound of motown.
The roots of Gene lay in a band called Spin, which featured guitarist Steve Mason and drummer Matt James. Despite Spin’s split, Mason and James continued playing together, recruiting bassist Kevin Miles. The trio eventually met vocalist Martin Rossiter, and they formed Gene in 1993. Soon after forming, the quartet began to write songs, and had performed a number of shows by the end of the year. They were later signed to Costermonger, a label set up by two journalists, through which they released their debut single, ‘For The Dead’ in 1994.
After their next single ‘Be My Light, Be My Guide’ reached number one in the indie charts, the band signed to Polydor. In 1995, following this, they were named Best New Act at NME’s Brat Awards.
Early in 1996, ‘To See the Lights’, a collection of B-sides and BBC sessions, was released in England. A new single, ‘Fighting Fit’ was shortly released as a teaser from their new album, and entered into the top ten. However, the album that followed ‘Drawn to the Deep End’ did not follow in the single’s success.
By 2000, the band was without a label. They founded, and issued the live set ‘Rising for Sunset: Live at the Troubadour’, but this went almost unnoticed among the indie scene. However, in mid-summer 2002, Gene emerged with ‘Libertine’, their strongest material since Olympian. A tour followed, but the band went their separate ways in 2003.
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