Nick Christian Sayer was a songwriter searching for a singer. From
the begining he had been looking for a foreign girl from Scandinavia
or Europe, and had actually met one beautiful Danish girl, but she
couldn't sing very well. The real story of Transvision Vamp
began on the night of November 4, 1983. Wendy James was singing
vocals to the backing beats of Patti Smith in an after-hours drinking
club to earn some extra cash. Nick Sayer was also there that night
in the run-down basement club. He was captivated by Wendy's magical
voice, and later he asked her if she would be willing to team up
and sing the songs he'd written. Wendy, who was a drama school student
at the time, decided to drop out and follow her fate, hooking up
with Nick to go off and write some rock music.
Nick and Wendy were on the dole, they spent most of their money
on guitar strings and tapes for Nick's 4-track Teac 144 tape recorder.
Over the next eighteen months, Nick and Wendy worked hard, recording
a tape of 6 songs which included: "We Travel", "Space Junk", "Sky
High", "I'll Do Anything", "Rocket To Me", and "Satellite Boy."
The songs were intended to be a soundtrack for a film they wanted
to make called 'Saturn 5', based upon their love of Sci-Fi movies.
The film was to be about a futuristic planet inhabited only by young
people. They had even gone so far as having the costumes designed
with the help of a girl from Brightons Art College. In their bedroom
Nick and Wendy had also come up with a name for the band, a name
that suggested "Worldwide re-excitement, revamping the music scene"
- Transvision Vamp.
After two years of hard work and dedicated writing, recording and
refining themselves, Nick and Wendy moved to London with the intention
of finding a record label to sign them. Full of confidence, they
told everyone that they were the most brilliant new band in the
world. How could anyone refuse to give them a record deal? The search
for a band manager was on. They met Steve O'Rourke, the manager
of Pink Floyd (who introduced them to engineer/producer Duncan Bridgeman),
who didn't end up managing Nick and Wendy, but they all became good
friends. Gary Kerferst, a bigshot from the states who "discovered"
the Talking Heads and the B52's, seemed like a good choice for a
manager, but Gary had so many other things going that Nick and Wendy
didn't think they would get the time they needed devoted to them.
Nick and Wendy took their demo tape to Brian Carr (the lawyer who
won Jonny Rotten's legal battles), who in turn gave it to Dave Ambrose
of MCA, who finally signed the band in the winter of 1986. On December
8th Transvision Vamp became reality.
Nick and Wendy
began recording, but needed a few more musicians to make up Transvision
Vamp. They gained a bassist after meeting Dave Parsons in
a pub. Tex Axile, who was living in New York at the time, just happened
to have a flat in London a door down from where the band had started
recording. Tex went over to investigate, everyone hit it off nicely,
and Tex became both the keyboardist and drummer for the band.
Vamp had their first album shooting out singles in the UK to great
success in 1988. "Pop Art" contained their famous tracks "I Want
Your Love" and "Tell That Girl To Shut Up" which were clearly indicitive
of the surging guitars and power drums listeners would be treated
to with this band. They also had the hit singles "Revolution Baby"
and "Sister Moon". If you inspect a copy of "Pop Art", you will
notice a chap named Pol Burton depicted as the drummer. Well, we
know Tex was the drummer and keyboardist during recording, but obviously
he couldn't do double duty when they played live. Pol was the "live"
drummer, but he ended up only lasting two months, after which the
band felt it was best to keep all video and television appearances
to a four-piece.
Transvision Vamp's smash follow up album, "Velveteen", hit #1 in
the UK and produced their most popular and successful single, "Baby
I Don't Care", along with five other hit songs, making 1989 a lucrative
year for them. "Velveteen" is prime TVamp with the band belting
out intense backing for Wendy James' screaming lyrics. "The Only
One", "Landslide Of Love", "Born To Be Sold", "Bad Valentine" and
"Velveteen" were the other hit singles that helped establish Transvision
Vamp as a household name in British Pop Culture. For the Velveteen
live tour, Jazz (James Piper) and Mallet (Martin Hallet) were hired
to play guitar and drums live, while Tex watched over the complex
sequencer set-up and played keyboards.
The Trannies shifted gears for their third album, going for what
they call a more swampy and mystical feel. "Little Magnets Versus
the Bubble of Babble" gave us some hooking melodies in "If Looks
Could Kill" and "Ain't No Rules" along with the hit single in the
United States, "I Just Wanna B With U". Strangely enough "Little
Magnets" was never released in the UK (until just recently), although
Transvision Vamp could sell out countless shows for 50,000 back
home. During the course of their existence, the band also had three
tours in Australia, and finally played L.A. and N.Y.C. in the States
to support their third album. Jazz and Mallet stuck with the band
to support live performances.
Transvision Vamp did not get near the exposure and attention that
they had grown accustomed to on their first two albums, and poor
sales on "Little Magnets" began the demise of the band. Transvision
Vamp soon broke up. Check out the band members own pages to see
what they have been up to in the meantime. Notably, Tex, Dave and
Wendy have all continued with their love of music and are still
in "the business" reaching new plateaus for their individual musical