» Switchblade Symphony Biography
by Marion Phillips - January 5, 2004
The Switchbalde Symphony was a very creative two-women band that unfortunately had a short life. Mixing the Nina Hagen-like vocals of Tina Root and all kinds of sounds, from minuet to trip hop, from Susan Wallace's keyboards, it left an important mark in the goth rock history.
In A Flash
Tina and Susan met when they were both looking for musicians to work with, but Susan was already acquainted with Tina's
brother. They talked through hours on the phone, noticed that they had much in common and were opposites in many things as well, and started to play together.
The Switchblade Symphony was formed in San Francisco, in 1989 by them. After years of playing in the underground scene of SF and distributing independent cassettes, they finally signed with Cleopatra Records and recorded the album Serpentine Gallery in 1995, which had the participation of guitarist Robin Jacobs.
This album has songs that were part of previous independent releases like the EPs Fable and Elegy and one of its most interesting songs is Mine Eyes, that has a gregorian chant-like vocal and heavy drums.
The year of 1996 was spent on tour, in which they were accompanied by the guitarist George Earth and the drummer Eric Gebow and traveled with the bands Christian Death and Big Electric Cat. Little by little, they started to be noticed by the alternative media as one of the best dark eletronic bands of the 90's.
In 1997, they released an EP, Scrapbook, in 1500 copies, which was made for their fans with material that had only been recorded in demos. They continued to tour and this EP was sold in their shows.
Switchblade Symphony's second album, Bread And Jam For Frances, was released in September 1997, and it had a more experimental sound, with mixtures of trip hop and drum n' bass. It was much praised by the press.
They were working on their third album, in 1998, when the legendary singer Gary Numan asked them to open his three-month tour.
For this reason, The Three Calamities album was only released in 1999, with new changes in their sound, which this time was more "atmospheric".
In this same year, the band's ephemeral career got to an end and the musicians went on in their solo projects. Tina Root has her band Tré Lux and George Earth has the band Candymachine88. George and Tina collaborated in some songs, including Mr. Self Destruct in a tribute album to Nine Inch Nails.
The band's last breaths - until this moment - were a collection released in 2001 and a live DVD released in 2003.
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Copyright © 2004 Marion Phillips