» Siouxsie & The Banshees Biography
by Marion Phillips - July 5, 2003
The Siouxsie & The Banshees can both be considered the band that took some mystique and elegance to the Punk movement and the first Gothic band that created the base of the structure that would be built in the next years by other wonderful bands.
And First There Was "The Lord"
Everything started 1976 when Susan Ballion (Siouxsie) and Steven Bailey (Severin) along with two other friends including Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, played at the Punk festival at London's 100 Club. A detail of their presentation: they played "The Lord's prayer" for 20 minutes!
By this time both Siouxsie and Severin were totally punks, she used even to step on-stage in a daring topless and tight vinyl clothes. In 1977 they made their first garage recording, which later would be released as "Track Rehearsals 77".
In 1978, they signed with Polydor and their first album "The Scream" was released with surrealistic songs like "Jigsaw Feeling" and "Mirage", the first song went to the Top 10 chart, and in early 1979 they went on tour outside the country for the first time.
There's a story about this period that says that Siouxsie was slapped on the face by a Frenchman because she was walking topless on the streets of Paris. It seems she enjoyed doing so, because it wouldn't be the last time that she would appear topless in public…
The following year, they released the album "Join Hands" in which a version of the "Lord's Prayer" is featured. In this same year the drummer Budgie joined them after an abrupt leaving of two members of the band right before a show. Apart from him, the one who took the guitar was Robert Smith, frontman of The Cure, who would work with them for a long time.
The album "Kaleidoscope" was released in 1980 and two of its songs are still famous: "Happy House" and "Christine", both of them reached the Top 20 charts. In 1981 was released "Ju-Ju", the album that some consider as the Siouxsie & The Banshees' definitive breakthrough from their Punk roots, and taking of new unique ones that would mark their career up to the end. In this year Siouxsie and Budgie also started the Creatures parallel project, by releasing the EP "Wild Thing".
In 1982, the album "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" was released and after their guitarist John McGeogh collapsed and was hospitalized in Madrid, Spain, Robert Smith took over the guitar again and stayed for some time. Following the tour, there was a break which was used by Siouxsie and Budgie to release the Creatures album "The Feast" and by Severin to start with Robert Smith his first project The Glove.
The Beatles' cover "Dear Prudence" was released in 1983 and reached nº 3 in the UK charts. In this same year, they put on their own label "Wonderland" and released the video and live album "Nocturne".
The Kings (and Queen) Among Kings
In early 1984, the Siouxsie & The Banshees had consolidated its position in the world rock scene and was one of the greatest Gothic bands. That was when Robert Smith decided that he couldn't keep on with his work
with his own band and his work with them and chose to leave, heading for his own great success with The Cure, which became another main band of the 80's.
The album "Hyaena" released that year was the penultimate album in which Robert played with them, as later on, he would take part in the band's 1987 album. This album has some of the best songs of their career as "Burn the House Down", "Swimming Horses", "Dazzle" and the already mentioned "Dear Prudence".
In 1986, was released the album "Tinderbox", the most popular record of the Siouxsie & The Banshees, which features "Cities in Dust" that up to this day it's their only song that some Rock radios play.
In early 1987, "Through The Looking Glass" was released. It was an album only of covers of several bands and singers like Television, Kraftwerk, Bob Dylan and there's even a Disney and a Billy Holliday song! But don't fear, their versions are wonderful, and I think that
they can even be considered better than some of the originals.
If you're wondering at the diversity of genres in the songs chosen by them to this album, know that all of them have very varied tastes in music that range from Astor Piazolla (tango), to Bossa Nova, etc.
After a break of one year, the
Siouxsie & The Banshees was back with Peepshow, which has the success "Peek-A-Boo". In 1989 the Creatures released the album Boomerang and another break of two years followed.
1991 was the year of "Superstition", the album that features "Kiss Them For Me", that to me is one of the "popiest" songs they ever released.
Between 1992 and 1995 Siouxsie did a duet with Morrisey in the single "Interlude", and their song "Face to Face" was part of the Batman Returns soundtrack. Check out its video, it's one of their best!
Then in 1995, their swan-song came with "Rapture", one of the Siouxsie & The Banshees' best albums ever. With the most fascinating dark songs like "Rapture", "Not Forgotten" and the criticizing song dressed in "pop" rhythm "Oh Baby".
Their very last song was Showgirl's movie soundtrack "New Skin" and then an announcement was released by the Siouxsie & The Banshees, saying that because the music-industry "proceeded to sign anything with a safety-pin that could spit" it was time for them to say good-bye.
However last year (2002), they got back together for a few shows in the US, so it seems that anything can happen in the future. Siouxsie and Budgie go on with The Creatures and Severin released recently the album "Visions", which is only available on the internet.
If you want to know more about them:
Copyright © 2003 Marion Phillips