|~~Many thanks to our own Justin Whyte for this rare gem!~~|
This is POP: raucous, rebellious, rocking. The guitars are revved up and ready, the vocals command and come-on. This is ART: heartfelt, provocative, sexy and smart. With one sharp eye on the past and another on the future of the artist's own making. This is POP ART, the new album by Transvision Vamp.
THE SOUND: London bred, glam tinged, with it roots in all the best of rocks three decades. Especially Bolan, Bowie and Blondie.
THE VISION: A world gone wild on teen dreams of freedom and fun. An undying belief in the transcendant power of the ultimate pop song -- songs like TRANSVISION VAMP'S "Revolution Baby", "Sister Moon", "I Want Your Love", and "Tell That Girl To Shut Up".
ABOUT THE BAND
The year is 1984, in the British seaside town of Brighton. Wendy James is singing Patti Smith songs over a beatbox and backing tapes. Nick Sayer listens, laughs, is duly impressed. They share telephone numbers and tastes: Dylan, Patti, Bolan, the first wave of New York and British punk.
The next two years are spent messing around on Nick's portastudio and writing a screenplay for a futuristic youth-rebellion picture, working title SATURN 5. By Christmas '86, TRANSVISION VAMP are signed to MCA Records U.K., and Nick and Wendy are searching for bandmates whose ideals and commitment will match their own. But there's no magic in a MELODY MAKER ad. Where to turn now? Strolling down London's Ladbroke Grove 'round midnight, Wendy and Nick spot three youths graffiti-ing a wall under the Westway with the legend, " 'White Roddy' is a police informer!" Here's an advertising team after the Vamp's own heart, and the three vandals are approached with a view to hiring their services. The ensuing discussion reveals that Dave Parsons, Pol Burton, and Tex Axile play bass guitar, drums, keyboards-- magic spray cans are stashed, rehearsals begin... TRANSVISION VAMP is a band!!
Summer '87, and the first single is out. "Revolution," says RECORD MIRROR, is "quite wonderful," with "a guitar riff straight off Marc Bolan's 'Get It On (Bang A Gong), and a great sweeping chorus that Phil Spector would be proud of." The sleeve is by Jamie Reid, mad-genius graphics man for the Sex Pistols, who says he did it because TRANSVISION VAMP "are the first band that excited me since the Sex Pistols." The follow-up single, "Tell That Girl to Shut Up," revives the adamant Holly & The Italians rocker to potent effect and more critical adulation.
"Holly Beth Vincent is one of those New York females I've always admired, "says Wendy, "like Patti Smith or Joan Jett-- all very attractive, but also intelligent, independent women. And there are very few of those around in 1988.
"There's no scam or grand plan behind TRANSVISION VAMP, " Wendy insists. "We're simply writing rock and roll songs, playing gigs, making records. If our music's good enough, we'll last as long as we make good records and play good gigs. That's something you don't associate with the one-hit wonders of the U.K."
ABOUT THE ALBUM
POP ART was produced by Duncan Bridgemand and dance-rock wizard Zues B. Held. Zues was behind some of Dead Or Alive's biggest. POP ART's ten tracks include nine group originals plus "Tell That Girl To Shut Up."
"Andy Warhol," with its velvety guitar sound and Nico-esque vocal is, Wendy cheerfully admits, "The Velvets' sound, a definite homage. "Sister Moon," well, "that's the famous 'Louie Louie' progression, our attempt at a classic three-chord pop/rock ballad. The best songs are the simplest ones."
'Revolution' is about individual change, not armed conflict--about the need for people to look inside themselves and see where they're going. Soapbox rock bands only delude themselves and everybody else."
Vital Vamp listening, says Wendy, includes "Prince, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Sinead O'connor, Nick Cave, The Pogues. But we don't copy or steal from the past, and I don't see the point in rehashing what's been done. A great band should acknowledge its influences, the strive to make something original out of them."
From Easy Rider to Star Wars... From light shows to videos... from fuzz box to hi-tech... the "megasonic groove" of TRANSVISION VAMP is here, now, on UNI Records, Compact Discs, and Cassettes.