So its true, Poly Styrene is putting on her X-RAY SPEX again. Here we have a quick look at their history.
X-RAY SPEX SPECS
X-Ray Spex formed in London in 1976 with the original line up of Poly Styrene on vocals, Jak Airport on guitars, Paul Dean on bass, Paul B.P. on drums and Lora Logic on saxophone.
Poly Styrene found members by placing adverts in musical papers NME and Melody Maker.
The band existed between 1976 and 1979, releasing five singles (‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’, ‘Identity’, ‘The Day The World Turned Day-Glo’, ‘Germ Free Adolescents’ and ‘Highly Inflammable’) and one album ‘Germ Free Adolescents’.
Their music, although punk-based, was less centred on nihilism and anger and more around colourful wit and mockery.
The first gig they played was at The Roxy in Covent Garden after just six rehearsals. It was energetic and messy – as can be heard on the ‘Live At The Roxy’ album.
Single ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’, which was released by Virgin Records in 1977, has often been recognised as their best known song despite not hitting the charts.
Their lyrics often discussed rampant commercialism in an increasingly sterile and artificial world.
Poly Styrene refused to be seen as a sex symbol, stating that “If anyone tried to make me one I’d shave my head tomorrow”
Poly Styrene left the band in 1979 to release a solo album ‘Translucence’ before joining the Hare Krishna movement alongside Lora Logic who left the band in 1977 aged just 16.
The band reformed twice, once in 1991 sans-Poly playing a sell-out gig at the Brixton Academy and again in 1995 with Poly back in the frame.
Reforming without Poly was seen as a mistake by Lora Logic, who said “You can’t really have it without Poly”.
The second reformation led to the release of their second and last album, ‘Conscious Consumer’
The album was a commercial failure, mostly down to the lack of tour and promotion due to Poly being run over by a fire engine and breaking her pelvis.
Jak Airport died through cancer in 2004 after working for the BBC’s Corporate and Public Relations department.
The band is set to reform once again in September at the Roundhouse in Camden. The reunion will include original members Poly Styrene and bassist Paul Dean.
Lora's mother was born in Finland, where Lora is now known as "The Godmother of Punk".
Touring and promotional work for ‘Conscious Consumer’ was cut short when Poly was run over by a fire engine in central London, luckily escaping with only a fractured pelvis.
X-RAY SPEX play Londons Roundhouse on Sept 6th. Look out for a full interview with Polystyrene on Vivelepunk soon.