Friday, January 30, 2009

Siouxsie and the Banshees

I'll start with an anecdote, then get to the news.

While at Iowa, one of my closest pals and fellow musical geeks was a chap named James. We were also neighbors, and countless nights were spent at my apartment getting sloshed and listening to oodles of music. From the getgo, we bonded over garage rock, the Talking Heads, Gary Numan, Zappa, etc.

One night [after a sweltering summer day, and I had no a/c at the time], James and I watched Frank Zappa's Baby Snakes. After enjoying that and downing quite a few mojitos, James pulled out a VHS tape of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the visual companion to their first singles collection, Once Upon a Time.

I admit I was hesitant. As far as I knew, this was "goth" music. I didn't like "goth" music. My college roommate listened to that stuff constantly. But I humored James, and we popped it in.

And I was shocked.

First of all, as later conversations with he and other folks brought out, Siouxsie and the Banshees are really not a "goth" band. They're heavily influenced by punk (see The Scream LP) and new wave, so-called alternative, and a number of other styles. However, Siouxsie's persona is decidedly of the goth ilk, and her persona has superseded their music in popular culture. So I was pleasantly surprised in hearing songs like "Hong Kong Garden," "Christine" and this, which is probably my favorite Siouxsie track:

I'm not even sure why (but I'm guessing it was based on my reaction to the Siouxsie video), but at some point James made me a tape (yes a tape!) of what can broadly be labeled as British alternative of the 1970s-1980s.

As a genre, I admit that this is something I've come to with age. Earlier, I couldn't get much into bands like The Cure. Too whiny for me at the time, I think. But in late college I very superficially revisited some of that material, and warmed up to it quite a bit.

But anyway, this tape (and the volumes that followed) did much to reintroduce to this music, as well as introducing me for the first time. Siouxsie, Simple Minds (pre-Breakfast Club), Chris & Cosey, etc. I was definitely most taken with Siouxsie, and bought most of the reissues that were available.

I threw on the Once Upon a Time album tonight while doing some work, and thought "will they ever reissue the rest of the Siouxsie albums? Is this going to be another Madonna situation where the first three discs get reissued, but the rest of the catalog sits idle?"

Lo and behold, on the official Siouxsie and the Banshees MySpace page, the following blog post:

The next set of Siouxsie & The Banshees albums to be remastered, 'A Kiss In The Dreamhouse', 'Nocturne', 'Hyaena' and 'Tinderbox' are set to be released on 6th April 2009. Watch this space.

Score! And another post indicated that the band is in talks with Universal to put out a DVD of their videos (finally!).

So I'm pretty excited for these reissues, so that I may explore the Banshees' catalog further. I'm particularly looking forward to Hyaena, purely for "Dazzle," which is one of the most gorgeous songs I've ever heard:


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you found your way to Siouxie. I hadn't listened to her in ages until recently, when Activision released three of their songs for Rock Band ("Hong Kong Garden," "Kiss Them For Me" and "Killing Jar"). I got into them through old roommates, so I don't own any CDs except a used copy of The Rapture. It's nice to know I'll be able to own Hyaena soon!

Gonzo said...

Oh wow, I had no idea that there were Siouxsie songs on Rock Band! The Wii Rock Band store only opened a few weeks ago, but hopefully those make it in - I'd love to rock out to "Hong Kong Garden!"

Aslesha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aslesha said...

I wouldn't have made it through my adolescence without Siouxie Sue. From the early years I love: cascade, bring me the head of the preacherman, melt and THIS wasn't easy living as teenage girls in a muslim country. So 'this unrest' was the musical expression of our political and sexual angst vis-a-vis alcohol binges.

Anonymous said...

just for the record, the term "alternative" is a term coined for music in 90s AMERICA, and was an incorporation of industrial, punk, gothic, ethereal, new wave, ska, new romantic, rockabilly, shock rock, garage rock and, yes even grunge--in other words, any subgenre that made up the "underground" was eventually thrown into the category of "alternative" so americans can eat it up the 80s, it was not cool to listen to the Cure or Bauhaus or got your ass kicked if you did, so when i hear the Banshees being called "alternative" it frustrates me to no can't describe the Banshees and to just lump them in that category is just about blasphemous!
---but regardless, into that category they've been thrown...but just for the record, there was never a "british alternative", 'cuz all of that music was the norm on the other side of the world already, just not in America..the Cure, the Banshees, and even Pixies for that matter were already in all the papers and selling out all of their shows in Greece, the UK, Italy, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, even South America...we only had full access to the sugar sweet side of "new wave" and the onslaught of metal and rap were at their peaks....just thought that needed to be written down somewhere, 'cuz people have completely forgotten that.....thx

Anonymous said...

...and people who claim to be Banshees fans and still misspell Siouxsie, Siouxsie Sioux or Siouxsie & the Banshees, just haven't gotten it yet!