i was perusing Stylus Magazine's top videos list when i came upon images of lace, hairspray, crazy colored hair and layers of clashing clothes. an 80s video.
but i was a little off.
the list of videos was pretty pointless, but the review for We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It 's single, "Love is the Slug" totally hit me. take a purvew:
I learnt to dance in the indie clubs of Birmingham, and the main thing I learnt was this: don’t dance like nobody’s watching. Dance like everybody’s watching and you are, in fact, really good at dancing. The best way to do this is to make up a dance routine all of your very own for each individual song, including moves pertaining to the lyrics wherever possible. The video for “Love Is the Slug” takes this noble concept and bases an entire video around it, and films it in An Actual Indie Club In Birmingham In The Late 1980’s, resplendent with craply mirrored walls, a drunk guy who either isn’t with anyone or is with some people who have long since dissociated themselves from him, and first-hand evidence of what happens when you take STUDIO LINE hairspray and six-inch heels out of the hands of trained professionals. The high point: probably the bit where Fuzzbox illustrate “I feel emotion, I feel pain” by stumbling backward into a wall and going “Ow.”"
[William B. Swygart]
i thought this sounded great, i love the aspect of the 80s informed by both a sort of DIY and a love of pop.
Here is the video for "Love is the Slug":
"Love is the Slug" is an excellent song. the harmonies traded by Vickie Perks and Maggie Dunne are stupendous and remind me a little of Sleater-Kinney and the B-52s. In accordance to their name, they also use a fuzzbox and it sounds like the beats are being attacks by some determined hornets. Going back to the harmonies, the lyrics are pretty much from the view of a jilted girl talking about a guy and his new, possibly overpowering new girl. "i feel emotion / i feel pain" sounds ridiculous, but the whole package makes you want to believe. The vocals are super-serious, the dance moves home-grown, the hair super-ridiculous. beautiful.
Then i decided to do a little research.
Their beginnings are similar to the Go-Go's. Four girls decide, regardless of the fact that they don't know how to play anything, that they must be a band. The early days are full of the craziness of a indie/punk scene-inspired eclectic group of friends. they seemed to have fun. (Then on to total pop domination).
They had a run in the indie scene, had some great singles in the same fashion. (Fantastich videos for "Rules and Regulations" and "What's the Point" are at the bottom of this post). Their sense of humor had them name their first album "Bostin' Steve Austin". All of this around 1986.
But then they signed to a major and the producer of the Bangles and in 1989 released "Big Bang". It was a super slick dance pop record. The flip side to the 80s dancepop sound. one could say its devoid of anything real. you may not be completely wrong. in this period, its been alleged that the girls did not play their instruments. one thing thats clear is the DIY and edge are gone.
The vocal interplay and replaced by more traditional backup vocals. Vicki is put up front and apparently given a makeover into a sex symbol.
You can judge for yourself here with the video for "International Rescue", which plays tribute to the Thunderbirds show and Barbarella.
I find it a little embarassing that Jo Dunne (guitar) and Tina O'Neill (drums) are relegated to being the Thunderbirds marionettes and Vickie is all super-sexy up front.
The song is catchy as hell though, as corny as it is.
So I've come away from the experience with two songs constantly stuck in my head.
After that album, they broke up. Vickie tried a solo career as Vix, which i believe is still going on. and she's still rather fit. Here's her site: http://www.vix.uk.com/
and it was rumored that they may reunite after the recent release of a horrendously named Fuzzbox cd/dvd compilation called "Look at the Hits on That!" Vix has recently said "no".
Still, i'm glad i found out about this Fuzzbox. I had those moments of staying up late so i could hear a song (Love is the Slug or International Rescue) one more time.
early = "What's the Point"
late = "Self"
an really early punky one = "Rules and Regulations"
You can also check out this video they did with their (indie label) Vindaloo labelmates The Nightingales and Ted Chippington in this song "Rockin with Rita (Head to Toe)". Its like everything BBC 6 tells me that the indie scene in England was like. Fuzzbox does backing vocals and clown around.
Rockin with Rita:
In "Big Bang" they also cover a Yoko Ono song, which i thought was an odd choice with the slick direction, but perhaps they kept a little of their edge somewhere:
They attempted some sort of nostalgia comeback a few years ago..
a fan myspace site: http://www.myspace.com/fuzzboxsex