Alien Sex Fiend
Writer Profile: Alien Sex Fiend
Getting their start at the Batcave club in London in 1982, Alien Sex Fiend quickly became known in the gothic scene for their psychobilly, dark electronic, industrial sound, heavy samples and loops and manic vocals.
Like contemporaries the Cramps, Alien Sex Fiend used a tongue in cheek style of horror film-inspired imagery, setting them apart from many other gothic rock bands who offer similar theatrics without a glimmer of irony. Unlike the Cramps' blend of comic-book rockabilly, Alien Sex Fiend base their musical style on a blend of boisterous punk rock and synthesizer driven dance music, looking to forward change.
In the early 80's they were regulars on the Indie Chart and their album, Maximum Security made the UK Chart in October 1985.
Throughout the 1990s, Alien Sex Fiend continued to break out on new fronts, grafting their dance sensibilities onto the terrain of computers and cyberspace. In 1994, the group released the first ever soundtrack for a CD Rom computer game called “Inferno-The Odyssey Continues”. The spaced-out flavour of the soundtrack prefaced the dramatic new direction Alien Sex Fiend's music took after the formation of their own label, 13th Moon Records, in 1995. Bearing almost no resemblance to the band's formative efforts (bar the shock-factor) the notable 1997 release Nocturnal Emissions was, in Fasolino's words, "a cybernetic jamboree, opening with 1996's groundbreaking single "Evolution," a dance floor juggernaut full of otherworldly blips, bleeps, and bastard beats Nocturnal Emissions will take you on a journey farther out than any previous trek in the band's fabled, frenetic career."
In spite of the Fiends' embracing of all things electronic, Nik Fiend has continued to produce work in a much more time-honoured medium-oil painting. The self-taught Fiend applied the same irreverence in his painting as in Alien Sex Fiend's music and his work has been used consistently for the group's album covers and stage backdrops. In 1996, Fiend's horrific works, dating back to 1982, were given their own exhibition at the Sussex Art Club in Brighton, England, but the singer showed no sign of conceding to art gallery decorum. "I like to challenge whatever is acceptable," Fiend told Chryste Hall in an online interview. "When I started to work with oils, the first thing I read in an art book was "do not use black," so of course I ran out and got a load of black paint!" Fiend has truly established himself as a multimedia rebel.
Made up of the married couple Nik Fiend and Mrs Fiend, the band has put out a long discography over the years. Switching up easily from heavy industrial to ambient experimental styles, fans of Alien Sex Fiend are always wondering what the next album is going to entail.
Alien Sex Fiend will be playing 25 anniversary shows in Spain in May 2008 (May 9 in Madrid, May 10 in Valencia and May 11 in Barcelona).
Writer Profile: Lawrence
Lawrence is probably best known and most revered as the enigmatic song smith behind the seminal British indie band Felt for who he also sang & played guitar.
The first Felt single 'Index' was produced by Lawrence at home in Birmingham in 1979. The track attracted the attention of the British music press and Lawrence soon put a band together that included Maurice Deebank on guitar, Nick Gilbert on bass and Gary Ainge on drums. The band signed to Cherry Red Records in 1981 and released their first album 'Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty'. They would go on to record and release another five LPs on Cherry Red before moving to Creation in 1986 where they stayed until 1989 before returning to Cherry Red's El Records to record their final album 'Me & A Monkey On The Moon' that same year.
Lawrence was the only constant member of Felt from its inception in 1979 to its dissolution in 1989 after which he took a three year break before returning in 1992 with a new album 'Back In Denim'. The sound of Lawrence's new outfit 'Denim' leant much more towards seventies Glam Rock while his lyrics took on a more satirical twist. A second Denim album 'Denim On Ice' followed in 1996 & though work began on third, that album has yet to ever see the light of day.
In 1999 a reinvented Lawrence emerged again in the form of Go-Kart Mozart. His sound now exploring the quirkier synthesized edges of indie-pop & his lyrics more comic and satirical than he had ever ventured before. The title he gave that album was 'Tearing Up The Album Charts' - a sarcastic nod to the commercial success that had eluded his highly regarded career through the decades.
A decade on & what is the ever elusive Lawrence up to in 2009...?
Fans & music lovers will be delighted to hear he is currently working on a brand new album which we're told is very nearly finished. Our ears burning with anticipation, we hope & wait...
Writer Profile: Laurel Aitken
Cherry Red Songs are proud to represent the complete popular works of "the Godfather of Ska", Laurel Aitken.
Born in Cuba in 1927 and moving to his fathers homeland of Jamaica eleven years later, Laurel Aitken first began performing calypso songs at the dockside for the arriving tourists. Later he became a popular nightclub performer around Kingston until commencing his recording career in 1957 with the release of the R&B/Calypso spiritual 'Roll Jordan Roll', produced by Stanley Motta's Carribean Recording Company.
A year later, Aitken joined Chris Blackwell's fledgling Island Records and gained the accolade of having the first release on this Ska/Reggae pioneering label. The double A-sided 'Little Sheila'/'Boogie In My Bones' was one of the earliest Ska records and became a massive hit in Jamaica before going on to become the country's first record to be released in the U.K. Further hits then followed with 'Judgement Day' (1959) and 'Boogie Rock' (1960).
As the rhythms of Ska became increasingly popular around the U.K., a move to the heavily West Indian populated London suberb of Brixton found Aitken recording for the specialist Blue Beat label who catered specifically for the tastes of migrating Jamaican's. Here he recorded 15 singles and enjoyed ever increasing popularity that far exceeded that which he enjoyed in Jamaica. However, Aitken would return to Jamaica in '63 to record further material which was often backed by the Skatelites. Songs such as, 'Weary Wanderer' (1962) and 'Zion' (1963) were produced by Duke Reid, a principal figure in the rise of Jamaican music.
Aitken's most enduring works would be recorded for the Pama labels during the late 60's. Songs such as 'Skinhead Train' (1969), 'Woppi King' (1969), 'Pussy Price' (1969), 'Jesse James' (1969), 'Landlords And Tenants' (1970), 'Rise & Fall' (1970) and 'It's Too Late' (1971) became popular U.K. records and broadened his appeal still further.
The rise of Bob Marley during the 70's tended to eclipse the material of Jamaica's musical founders and Aitken semi-retired from recording although remained in England, moving to Leicester. The Two Tone ska revival of the late 70's/early 80's would make the Aitken's style popular again and upon returning to the studio to record 'Rudy Got Married' (1980), he enjoyed his first-ever U.K. chart single.
Aitken continued to tour the U.K. at regular intervals during the 80's and UB40's cover of 'Guilty' in 1983 on their hit album Labour Of Love and his appearance with David Bowie in the film Absolute Beginners further enhanced Aitken's image and popularity. Still active as a performer into the new millenium, Aitken's reign as the 'Godfather of Ska' came to an end following his death in 2005.
Laurel Aitken still enjoys immense popularity amongst followers of the Ska and Reggae fraternity and musicians and fans remain inspired by one of Jamaica's greatest musical founding fathers.
Writer Profile: Martin Newell
The Wild Man of Wivenhoe, as Newell is affectionately known, is, among many other things, a songwriter, musician, poet and author. Popular home and away, his fans include Syd Barrett and Ray Davies and his fanbase extends as far as Japan, where he was mobbed in the early 1990s. At one stage Newell was the 'most frequently published living poet' as he described himself, having a number of poems published every week in the Independant newspaper.
Martin's vast range of styles vary greatly; he has written many pop songs and a light jazz album. He can write in a number of different genres on request or whenever it takes his fancy! He also has a large back catalogue of songs that can be used in many different audiovisual scenarios.
For more information on Martin Newell please visit Martin Newell's website.