UK Punk pioneers X-Ray Spex formed in 1976, as deliberate underachievers; a shambling musical mess of Rebellion and fashion, as main muse ‘Poly Styrene’ danced to her punchy “buzz saw ‘n’ biscuit-tin’ band,” whilst trying to fight off Saxophonist Lora Logic.
Not conventionally attractive, Styrene wore thick braces on her teeth, and once stated that “I am not a sex symbol, and if somebody tried to make me one, I’d shave my head tomorrow” - Which she later did at John Lydon’s apartment, prior to the ‘Rock Against Racism’ concert in Victoria Park, Hackney in 1977. Lydon’s close friend and bassist for his post-punk venture PiL described Styrene as “a very strange girl, who often talked about hallucinating. She freaked John out.”
X-Ray Spex later went on to record two live sessions for John Peel, at BBC Radio 1, their profile further enhanced by a fortnightly residency at CBGB’s, even though their debut album “Germ Free Adolescent’s,” was not released in America until late 1992.
However after releasing the album in the UK, along with a number of singles, including the notorious “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” - a track often confused with the riot girl movement some fifteen years later, the band split up in 1979, when Styrene left the band to record a solo album and join the Hare Krishna movement.
The band had several failed reconciliation attempts, before finally reforming more successfully in 1995 to release a new album “Conscious Consumer.” Although heralded as the first in a trilogy, the album was not a commercial success, Styrene later explained that touring and promotional work came to an abrupt halt, when she was run over by a fire engine in central London. The group disbanded, but subsequent releases include a compilation of the group’s early records, a live album, and an anthology of all the aforementioned.
Members include Jak Airport (born Jack Stafford), guitar; Paul Dean, bass; John Gun (joined in 1979), saxophone; B.P. Hurding, drums; Laura Logic (born Susan Whitby; left band in 1977; returned in 1995), saxophone; Poly Styrene (born Marion Elliot), vocals; Rudi Thompson (joined band in 1977), saxophone.
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