Pink Hair andAll Good Round Sauce. It must be Fuzzbox!

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We've_Got_a_Fuzzbox_and_We're_Gonna_Use_It_03Somewhere back in the early to mid Eighties, (no one exactly knows when) four dizzy school girls got together and decided to do something with their lives in Birmingham rather than be destined to grace the checkouts in their local Tesco’s.

Sisters Jo and Maggie Dunne (four years older) were eagerly learning to play lead guitar and bass respectively whilst Vickie Perks only had eyes for being a front lady with microphone in hand and petite, blonde Tina O’Neill, already had drumsticks in her tiny grip ready for her first lesson. Not really coming up with any great ideas for a band name, one of them came up with the idea of playing around with one of the instruments they were now rehearsing with. A ‘Fuzzbox,’ to describe it in his entirety, is a guitar pedal used to create a distorted sound. It was first used by Jimi Hendrix and was an essential item to create a surround sound of blurred or ’fuzzy’ noises in rock music predominately. It also was and still is, a certain piece of equipment used by many punk groups around at the time to give the very essence to a punk rock sound. Thus ‘We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It’ was born…

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Although with their brightly coloured rags and market off cuts image that was more Barbie than pure punk, they were appealing, but albeit out of date. Gracing the Indie charts was about as good as they could get in their early days. Too clean and well made up for anything along side The Slits, they took their place next to fellow extreme make up appliers, Strawberry Switchblade in the quest for pouts, powder, ribbons and vacant expressions. Now well equipped and fully all lessoned up on their respective instruments, they were ready to release their first single.

Looking back on this band, we wonder if it could have been possible for this band to have kept going. Leaving the scene on such a creative high, it always seems such a shame that band’s depart company when to appears that they could have had so much more to say. We had watched Fuzzbox grow and we grew with them, from their messy, embarrassing and over coloured take on punk they were, only briefly mind, to punk what the Cheeky Girls were to pop music; but they broke away, rather glamorously from all that and became the most sort after girly group in the late Eighties, if only for a couple of years – they were the ultimate girl power band.

Spice girls? You ain’t a patch on Fuzzbox…

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The Birth Of The Goth In Me Part 1

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goth-2166338__340Back in the 80’s, teenagers I think experimented a lot more with their looks and music a lot more than the youth of today. By the time 1983 came around, Goths were already taking a hold in school.

Over the last two years or so, I had noticed the amount of back combing which had sprung out of nowhere in the girls toilets coupled with a heavy smell of Ellnet hairspray which clung to the walls in the corridors.

My secondary school at the time was a rough pit of thugs and loose girls. Most of us had been on detention at least once that week. Most of us smoked, drank and stayed out late. We ate chips each lunchtime and stood at the bottom of the playground sharing a cigarette between 9 of us. I guess it was about that time when I started to become ‘disillusioned with life’ if there is such a thing when you’re 12.

New Romantics where hitting the music scene but none of that had trickled into school yet. Hard music was for the boys with many of them trying out loafers and drainpipes for the first time a al Madness. Us girls where listening to Madonna’s Like A Virgin and very little else. Music had been in two phases around that time – you either loved the sweetness of Five Star or you were trying to listen to Bad Manners backwards for hidden messages. Guys wearing lip gloss was still for wimps. It hadn’t hit our rough neck school yet.

I think the only outlet there is these days is Cosplay – something me and my son take part in when the big events are on at the NEC or the ExCel. But that isn’t music related. Inn the 80’s, heros were bands, singers and musicians. There were video games but you couldn’t dress like Pac Man. You wanted to look like Robert Smith (with bad make up) or Stevie Nicks (if you moved closer to whimsical rather than Bat Cave girl.) They sang your thoughts, your feelings and were a visual tool in how you wanted to look. Music was everything.

And I’m sorry Sisters of Mercy – as much as you don’t want to be associated with Goth, the last time I saw you in concert was at Bristol 2016. The whole auditorium was a sea of Goths with pale faces. These are your fan base. They buy your records. They have made you rich. Get over it.