Gothic / Darklands 1979 – 1987

 

1979 - 1983

 

1 BAUHAUS / Bela Lugosi’s Dead / Single A Side August 1979

2 ADAM AND THE ANTS / Kick! / Single B Side March 1980

3 KILLING JOKE / Wardance / Single A Side March 1980

4 BAUHAUS / Double Dare / In The Flat Field October 1980

5 THE CRAMPS / Goo Goo Muck / Single A Side May 1981

6 SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES / Halloween / Ju Ju June 1981

7 BIRTHDAY PARTY / Release The Bats / Single A Side August 1981

8 NICO / Vegas / Single B Side September 1981

9 THEATRE OF HATE / Do You Believe In The Westworld? / Westworld February 1982

10 VIRGIN PRUNES / Pagan Love Song / Single A Side April 1982

11 BAUHAUS / Spirit / Single A Side June 1982

12 DANSE SOCIETY / Danse - Move / Seduction August 1982

13 UK DECAY / Testament / Rising From The Dread EP August 1982

14 PLAY DEAD / Propoganda / Single A Side November 1982

15 SEX GANG CHILDREN / Draconian Dream / Song And Legend March 1983

16 BRIGANDAGE / Hide And Seek / The Whip Compilation May 1983

17 MARC AND THE MAMBAS / Black Heart / Single A Side June 1983

18 SPECIMEN / Stand Up, Stand Out / Originally Unreleased Recorded July 1983 

19 SISTERS OF MERCY / Temple Of Love / Single A Side October 1983

20 BONE ORCHARD / Kicking Up The Sawdust / Stuffed To The Gills November 1983

 

1984 - 1987

 

1 THE CULT / Spiritwalker / Single A Side May 1984

2 FLESH FOR LULU / Subterraneans / Single A Side May 1984

3 MARCH VIOLETS / Walk Into The Sun / Single A Side July 1984

4 ANDI SEX GANG / Les Amants D’un Jour / Single A Side September 1984

5 GESCHLECHT AKT / The Temptress / Foreplay EP September 1984

6 SKELETAL FAMILY / Promised Land / Single A Side February 1985

7 AUSGANG / Hunt Ya Down / Single A Side February 1985

8 THE CULT / She Sells Sanctuary / Single A Side May 1985

9 ALIEN SEX FIEND / Maximum Security Twilight Home / Maximum Security September 1985

10 DANIELLE DAX / Yummer Yummer Man / Single A Side October 1985

11 THE CULT / Revolution / Love October 1985

12 GENE LOVES JEZEBEL / Desire (Come And Get It) / Single A Side November 1985

13 RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY / Walking On Hands / Paint Your Wagon February 1986

14 ALL ABOUT EVE / In The Clouds / Single A Side April 1986

15 THE MISSION / Serpents Kiss / Single A Side May 1986

16 ROSE OF AVALANCHE / Velveteen / Always There September 1986

17 THE MISSION / Wasteland / God’s Own Medicine November 1986

18 FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM / Preacher Man / Single A Side March 1987

19 SISTERS OF MERCY / Lucretia My Reflection / Floodland November 1987

 

   By 1978 punk was already spinning into amphetamine-stoked freefall and when the crash finally came the lost children of the failed revolution were left desperately searching for some meaning amongst the ruins. New trends came and went with alarming regularity but those seeking the very essence of their original inspiration were left with no place to go but the puritanical anarcho Crass collective, a stark, bleak, sexless ethic which carried with it the unmistakable whiff of hippie. The darker side developed as the antithesis of all those values, inspired by Adam’s ‘Antmusic for Sexpeople’, a further reaction to punk’s empty promises, a kind of Native American ghost dance in the face of defeat. The Ants possessed some of Gothic rocks future hallmarks, but when Adam turned to children’s storybook imagery, his original fans defected to Bauhaus, whose ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ is regarded as Goth ground zero, and later, Theatre Of Hate, led by Kirk Brandon looking like a poster boy for Aryan supremacy. Siouxie And The Banshees, The Cramps, Birthday Party and Killing Joke also offered something entirely different. We wanted the excitement of punk without the mundane bits and fuelled by cheap drugs, lager snakebites and sex, all these bands promised a flight from the crushing boredom of everyday life into a common wildness of ritual and ceremony, magic and mystery.

   Fans began to cling onto individual bands, following them around the country, show after show, night after night. The Futurama festivals in particular became a significant gathering place for the emerging tribe. Another vortex of the early scene was The Batcave, a Soho nightclub started by Specimen in July 1982, where on any given night you could rub shoulders with Marc Almond, Robert Smith, Steve Severin, Nick Cave or Gary Glitter. ‘Absolutely No Funk’ Batcave flyers vowed. Instead the soundtrack featured classic glam, rockabilly and cabaret or resident bands Alien Sex Fiend, Sex Gang Children, Marc and his Mamba’s or Specimen, their ‘Stand Up Stand Out’ the unifying anthem.

   The crucial moment for Goths emergence came during the winter of 1982/83 when the New Musical Express proclaimed the arrival of ‘positive punk’, a manipulative attempt to forge a new scene which tied together new rising bands like Virgin Prunes, Danse Society, UK Decay, Sex Gang Children, Brigandage and Specimen. The frighteningly hip, Ian Astbury led, Southern Death Cult resonated most with the disenchanted young. And yet, despite selling vast numbers of records and packing out venues, they proved all style and no content. only becoming a credible musical force midway through 1983 when Astbury teamed up with Theatre Of Hate’s Billy Duffy as The Cult. By then goth was legion, the Sisters Of Mercy’s ‘Temple Of Love’, the single of the year, guaranteed to get the chicken dancers on the floor. Other young bands Play Dead, Bone Orchard, Flesh For Lulu, March Violets, Gene Loves Jezebel, Skeletal Family, Ausgang and scores of others swarmed across the live circuit and Independent charts.

   Musically early Goth tended to share the post punk mindset of the Banshees, rock’n’roll was something to be discarded. The Sisters Of Mercy changed that dynamic, being defiantly rockist while still retaining an aura of adventure and quest, Andrew Eldrich admiring, then embracing heavy metals stupidity and relentlessness. The result was an ultra stylised approach, sunglasses after dark and speed emaciated bodies wrapped in black. Ex Sister Wayne Hussey’s Mission, All About Eve, the last truly big Goth band Fields Of The Nephilim, and even lesser lights like Rose Of Avalanche followed. The Cult too referenced late sixties and early seventies vintage rock, ‘Revolution’, paving the way for Billy Duffy’s rock god aspirations. Wave those lighters in the air, yeah!

   Much like heavy metal, outsiders always ridiculed Goth, unable to get past the kitsch horror leanings, death obsession and funereal clothing. I was far too close to pass judgement. Maybe in the end it did all get a little silly and awfully distorted but that always happens. Punk, glam, psychedelia and even Rock’n’Roll itself hardly remained pristine either and yet their influence remains, forming the building blocks of all that passes for rock music today. Gothic Rock is as vital a part of that as any and remains a magnificent all-abiding memory of my past.   

 

June 2006