Posts Tagged ‘Siouxsie and the Banshees’

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PunkRock/goth four piece Siouxsie and the Banshees were formed in 1976: Siouxsie Sioux (nee Susan Ballion) (vocals) and Steve Severin (bass) were the constant members of an aggregation that in its best-remembered line-up included John McKay (guitar) and Kenny Morris (drums). Siouxsie had been one of the hangers-on present during the Sex Pistols interview with Bill Grundy. Into this abnormally chaotic adolescence came the Sex Pistols. She latched on to the nascent punk movement and was one of the most visible members of the Bromley Contingent (along with future collaborator Steve Severin) and one of the first people visibly affected by the wave of energy emanating from punk.

Just a few months before this notorious TV appearance, Malcolm Maclaren prompted her to get The Banshees together with Severin on bass, Marco Pirroni (soon to be an Ant) on guitars and a young, John Ritchie (soon to be Sid Vicious) on drums. Apart from Pirroni, who was already a competent song writer and a good guitarist, it was a case of ‘God help us if there’s a war’ as they played a 20-minute improvised version of the Lord’s Prayer at the 100 Club. But 12 months after the Today appearance, everything had changed. With Pirroni departed to join Merrick, Terry, Lee, Gary Tibbs and his truly and Vicious already enjoying short tenure with the Pistols, the line-up settled around Sioux/Severin and John McKay on guitar and Kenny Morris on drums.

In a matter of months they’d gone from being the kind of band who “didn’t know which way up to hold a guitar or how to plug it in” to being a serrated yet sensuous attack unit. Their first Peel Session (‘Love In A Void’, ‘Mirage’, ‘Metal Postcard’, ‘Suburban Relapse’) shows a band who still had trace elements of glam rock, were strangely psychedelic, tribal and stentorian. This was assured, self-contained, original, startling and lots of other things that you would never normally associate with scenesterism.

Siouxsie said of the process like of recording a Peel Session back then, I think for us especially, we worked very quickly, mainly because we’d only played live before and partially it was dependant on who you had doing the session and some of it was about trying out different instruments and different sounds but they were all sessions that were done during the day and I really like them for that. And we always approached our B-sides like that and for me they are a side of the band that a lot of people don’t really get. But this is my favourite side of the band. I like seeing us working in a more spontaneous environment.

The Banshees changed musical direction in the early 80s after recruiting Budgie (drums) and one guitarist was the Cure’s Robert Smith. Siouxsie’s spiky hairdo and black make-up fixed the image of what a gothic band should be years ahead of its time, and album and single releases proved equally successful. John Peel was instrumental in kick-starting their career after producer John Walters had seen them at the Greyhound in Croydon. He gave them a session prior to their even having a recording contract, Peel played their debut release, “Hong Kong Garden”, at the top of his show every night for a week, and shamelessly plugged their first two LPs. Eventually, he tired of their material, the first signs of this being a luke warm response to the mid 1980 release of Kaleidoscope. He later stated a clear dislike for their cover of the Beatles “Dear Prudence”, and said on Peeling Back The Years in 1987 that “the stuff the Banshees do now doesn’t please me as much as the first things they did…I think the Banshees have become, not exactly predictable, but at the same time, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’s going to sound like.”

In a 1982 Smash Hits Radio 1 feature Peel cited Siouxsie & The Banshees as being an example of a group he championed, but who then, turn their backs on him. They did two sessions for the programme before they had a recording contract and now Siouxsie says her favourite DJ’s is Kid Jensen, he added. Siouxsie sat in as guest presenter on the Peel show on 20th October 2004, when Peel was on holiday in Peru.

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 29th November 1977 for the John Peel show and broadcast on 5th December 1977. Recorded at the BBC Studios in Maida Vale, London, England . None of the songs had been released prior to the broadcast.

Tracklist:

1. Love In A Void
2. Mirage
3. Metal Postcard
4. Suburban Relapse

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 6th February 1978 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 23rd of that month. recorded at the BBC Studios in Maida Vale.

None of the songs had been released prior to the broadcast. The version of “Hong Kong Garden” is the only early studio recording on which the oriental hook is played on glockenspiel. The session also includes a version of “Overground” featuring a Hammond organ motif.

Tracklist:

1. Hong Kong Garden
2. Overground
3. Carcass
4. Helter Skelter

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 9th April 1979 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 16th of that month.

Tracklist:

1. Placebo Effect
2. Playground Twist
3. Regal Zone
4. Poppy Day

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 10th February 1981 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 18th of that month.

Tracklist:

1. Halloween
2. Voodoo Dolly
3. But Not Them
4. Into The Light

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 28th January 1986 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 3rd February 1986.

Tracklist:

1. Candy Man
2. Cannons
3. Land’s End

All Five sessions. All are available on “Voices On The Air” – The Peel Sessions and “At The BBC” CD set.

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The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 6th February 1978 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 23rd of that month. This was the second session in the February wrapping up the key elements of the group’s early repertoire, a dry run (and in some places, superior blueprint) for what would become their debut album, The Scream. An indication of the speed at which the Banshees were developing.

Siouxsie Sioux (nee Susan Ballion) (vocals) and Steve Severin (bass) were the constant members of an aggregation that in its best-remembered line-up included John McKay (guitar) and Kenny Morris (drums). Siouxsie had been one of the hangers-on present during the Sex Pistols interview with Bill Grundy.

Tracklist:

1. Hong Kong Garden (0:07)
2. Overground (2:48)
3. Carcass (6:00)
4. Helter Skelter (9:45)

The Band 

Siouxsie (Lead Vocals) Kenny Morris (Drums) Steve Severin (Bass) John Mckay (Guitar)

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Vocals: Siouxsie Sioux
Guitar: John McGeoch
Bass: Steven Severin
Drums: Budgie

Complete Banshees gig from Rockpalast on  German TV, 1981.  It’s interesting to compare the opener “Israel” on this video the opening track, with John McGeoch’s thick chorused, guitar sound while Robert Smith’s  sound is more waspish/spidery! certainly John McGeoch was one of the best guitar players I experienced a Scottish guitarist who played with several bands of the post-punk era, including Magazine, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Visage and Public Image Ltd.  He was described as “one of the most influential guitarists of his generation  and he was also considered “the new wave Jimmy Page. 

He played guitar on the Banshees albums Kaleidoscope (1980), Juju (1981), and A Kiss in the Dreamhouse (1982). The Banshees’ hit singles of this era featured some of McGeoch’s greatest work, particularly 1980’s “Happy House“, “Christine” and “Israel“, and 1981’s “Spellbound” and “Arabian Knights“. McGeoch’s contribution to the band was important in terms of sounds and style. Singer Siouxsie Sioux later honoured him:

John McGeoch was my favourite guitarist of all time. He was into sound in an almost abstract way. I loved the fact that I could say, “I want this to sound like a horse falling off a cliff”, and he would know exactly what I meant. He was easily, without a shadow of a doubt, the most creative guitarist the Banshees ever had.

In 1996, he was listed by Mojo in their “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” for his work on the Siouxsie and the Banshees song especially on the Spellbound.However, McGeoch suffered a nervous breakdown due to the stresses of touring and drinking and collapsed on stage at a Madrid concert. This marked the end of his membership in Siouxsie and the Banshees

This fabulous archive of the German TV show “Rockpalast,” this time for a full, 75-minute concert by the inimitable Siouxsie and the Banshees, filmed on July 19, 1981, in Colgone, Germany, just weeks after the release of the band’s fourth studio album, Juju”. Check out the full show in the player above, and we’ve got the setlist posted below as well.

Setlist: Siouxsie and the Banshees, Satory Saal, Cologne, Germany, 7/19/81

1. “Israel”, 2. “Halloween”, 3. “Regal Zone”, 4. “Spellbound”, 5. “Arabian Knights”, 6. “Switch”, 7. “Pulled To Bits”
8. “Head Cut”, 9. “Tenant”, 10. “Night Shift”, 11. “Sin In My Heart”, 12. “But Not Them”, 13. “Voodoo Dolly”
14. “Hong Kong Garden”, 15. “Eve White Eve Black”, 16. “Happy House”, 17. “Skin”