Various Short Articles

Following are some interesting snipets I had found while surfing deep in the Internet a few years ago:

Transvision Vamp: Several SF-themed songs, notably "Hanging Out with Halo Jones", about the character from the British comic "2000 AD"; the same song also has a reference to William Gibson's "Neuromancer".

One 1991 release that certainly didn't deserve to be neglected was Transvision Vamp's Little Magnets Vs. The Bubble of Babble, an eccentric and quirky effort drawing on both early-'80s new wave and '60s rock. Though the group sometimes inspires comparisons to outfits like the Divinyls and Siousxie & the Banshees, this obscure band has a sound and a vision all its own. Lead singer Wendy James doesn't have a great range, but she does have a lot of personality and a healthy sense of fun that serves her well on both the band's own material and an unorthodox version of Bob Dylan's "Crawl Out Your Window." The album may have been a victim of bad timing -- in the early '90s, corporate rockers like Poison, Bon Jovi and Warrant still reigned supreme, and major labels weren't rushing to sign and aggressively promote every alternative band they could get their hands on. Perhaps a few years later, it would have enjoyed the attention it deserved.

~ Alex Henderson, All-Music Guide

Despite almost universal critical hatred, Transvision Vamp briefly rose to the top of the U.K. charts in the late '80s, thanks largely to the media image of lead singer Wendy James, who fashioned herself as a sexually provocative, rebellious, fashion-conscious punk -- sort of a mixture of Madonna, Blondie's Deborah Harry, T. Rex, and the Clash. The musical backing by guitarist/songwriter Nick Christian Sayer, keyboardist Tex Axile, bassist Dave Parsons, and drummer Pol Burton tended to reflect the latter three bands as well. The singles "Tell That Girl to Shut Up" (originally by Holly and the Italians) and the Top Five "I Want Your Love" helped their debut album, Pop Art, reach the British Top Five, while the follow-up, Velveteen, hit the top, buoyed by the Top Three hit "Baby I Don't Care." The group's run halted when MCA initially refused to release Little Magnets Vs. the Bubble of Babble in the U.K.; it eventually appeared in 1991 to little attention.

~ Steve Huey, All-Music Guide

Transvision Vamp: If Looks Could Kill (1991)

OK, I know this is kind of a departure from the normal crap I review here, but watching this collection of videos and interview clips made me realize all the more just how damn fed up I am with this current crop of pathetically whiny "songstresses" who wail on and on about how it's OK to act like a psychotic, immature jerk just because you're a woman. Transvision Vamp's songs were catchy, fun little pop numbers and lead singer Wendy James managed to be tremendously sexy while still scaring the hell out of me (for all the right reasons). This collection includes videos for "I Just Wanna B With U," "Baby I Don't Care," the incredibly cool "I Want Your Love," "If Looks Could Kill" (featuring "voodoo and swamp imagery," according to Wendy) and TV's cover of Holly and the Italians' classic "Tell That Girl to Shut Up." The pure joy of wading through Wendy's dorky-yet-endearing interview (at one point while discussing their new tour, Wendy says she wants people to "feel like they're witnessing something slightly dangerous") made me long for the days when Chrissie Hynde, Pat Benatar and Dale Bozzio (OK, maybe not Dale Bozzio) were the standard-bearers for "women in rock." For cryin' out loud, even the absurdly wimpy "poetry" of Kate Bush's lyrics were a step above today's angry yowling. Anyway, Wendy and the boys didn't last long after this tape, and Wendy seems to have disappeared after her abysmal solo album (Elvis Costello wrote all the songs--unfortunately he wrote them with his butt). A damn shame, if you ask me. (MCA)

--Scott Phillips

An exerpt from August 1991 issue of Musician magazine:

Sinéad is in her dressing room with her friend Tex Axile from Transvision Vamp. There's almost two hours before Sinéad goes on and Tex convinces her the time would be well spent learning to juggle. Soon the contents of her complimentary fruit basket are bouncing around the room.

And finally, an article where Transvision Vamp was mentioned. I happen to love Voice of the Beehive, but disappointingly Tracey and Melissa didn't like the comparisions. From what U.K. fans have told me, this is pretty typical press for Wendy. Humorously annoying to me.

Pause & Play - The Music Column
The Year in Review, Part 1
By Gerry Galipault

In the environmentally conscious 1990s, Pause & Play does its part to recycle, processing unused quotes for the whole world to enjoy.

Each quote is measured on content, texture, wholesome goodness and lightly crisp humor. The final selections are made, then deodorized for a pleasant fresh scent. And, voila, there you have "Who Said What in 1996" - the first installment of a four-part "Year in Review," rolled and toasted to perfection.

(singer Tracey Bryn on how critics and fans used to confuse them with Transvision Vamp): "Let's not go there. We would be so frustrated with that. People who liked Transvision Vamp usually liked us and our audience probably had Transvision Vamp records, but I thought they (the band) were so appalling. She (Wendy James) was such a joke. ... We were kind of competing with them in a way. That's why Melissa (Belland) and I would say 'We're not going to sell sex,' because we were competing with Wendy James, who couldn't keep her top on. "We were like, 'Please, don't compare us, we're not the same. There's a big difference between us. We don't pout and we're not posers; we're credible songwriters.' We got venomous about them in the press, and she never did say anything about it, I don't think. Then she did a solo album and Elvis Costello helped her. That broke my heart. It's like, 'Elvis, what are you doing? My god!' "

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