About The Meteors
The Meteors are an English psychobilly band formed in 1980. Originally from London, England, they are often credited with giving the psychobilly subgenre—which fuses punk rock with rockabilly—its distinctive sound and style. Though the origins of psychobilly are debated, The Meteors are the first band to self-identify as psychobilly, and are often credited with the distinction of being the only "pure" psychobilly band among fans of the subgenre.
Fans of the band are known to use the slogan "Only The Meteors are Pure Psychobilly",
About.com calls the Meteors "the first true psychobilly band," noting their blend of the "themes of horror, punk and rockabilly". They were the first band to use the term 'Psychobilly' as a description of their music. Formed in South London in 1980, they are considered the first verifiable psychobilly band. Their albums In Heaven and Wreckin' Crew are considered landmarks of the early years of the genre. "Starting in the neo-rockabilly scene, the Meteors were initially shunned for being too different. Excuses for exclusion from rockabilly concerts varied from the band having too extreme of a sound to their drummer having green hair." The Meteors blended elements of punk rock, rockabilly, and horror film themes in their music. The Meteors articulated psychobilly's apolitical stance, a reaction to the right- and left-wing political attitudes which divided other British youth cultures. Fans of the Meteors, known as "the Crazies", are often attributed with inventing the style of slam dancing known as "wrecking", which became synonymous with the psychobilly.
The Meteors were started in 1980 by P. Paul Fenech , Nigel Lewis and vocals), and Mark Robertson . Fenech and Lewis had played in rockabilly bands before, but left their former band, Raw Deal, in order to experiment with a new sound that mixed horror and science fiction lyrics with a punk rock / rockabilly crossover . This sound would later be called psychobilly. What made them unique was that Fenech and Lewis each sang lead vocals on their own tracks.
The Meteors played their first show during Rockabilly Night at The Sparrow Hawk in north London, but, after being heckled due to their cross between rockabilly and punk attitudes, decided to begin playing shows beyond just rockabilly clubs. They developed a loyal following known as "the Crazies" or "Zorchmen", who invented their own dance style then called "going mental," a cross between fighting, dancing, and moshing. This would later be renamed "wrecking," and is still a staple of the psychobilly scene. This, coupled with Fenech's ritual of spitting blood during performances, led many clubs into believing the band was dangerous and refusing to book them. The band began playing at punk rock clubs alongside UK punk bands such as The Clash, The Damned, and later Anti-Nowhere League and the UK Subs. However, unlike many punk bands, The Meteors would insist that their shows be "a politics and religion free zone" in order to focus on having a good time instead of allowing disputes between fans to break out.
The band made their first TV appearance on Thames TV afternoon show White Light in late 1980. Due to their large cult following, The Meteors made a short film in late 1980 with comedian Keith Allen called Meteor Madness. It was released as a double feature with 2 Tone ska film Dance Craze in March 1981. The movie featured four songs, which made it onto the band's first vinyl single first issued on Ace Records and later on Big Beat. To date, the film Meteor Madness has never been released on video or DVD, although over the last few years poor quality copies have appeared on YouTube. The tracks were also issued as a rare 12" mini-album called The Meteors Meet Screaming Lord Sutch. Soon after that, they issued the double A-side anthems "Radioactive Kid" and "Graveyard Stomp". A session was recorded for the John Peel BBC radio show in June 1981. Again, to date, these tracks have never been officially released. In August 1981, the band were signed to Island Records and recorded their first full-length album, The Case Of The Meteors In Heaven, and 7" single, "The Crazed". The band were interviewed by No Class fanzine at The Marquee on the night of the live-recording of the track In Heaven. The original line-up also recorded an EP although, due to contract restraints, it was issued under the pseudonym of Clapham-South Escalators, which featured two vocal tracks by Lewis: "Get Me To The World On Time" and "Cardboard Cutouts"; plus one by Fenech: "Leave Me Alone". Not long after this, Mark Robertson left the band after an invitation to join Theatre Of Hate . He was replaced by longtime Meteors fan/roadie Woodie. This line-up also recorded a single in early 1982 under another pseudonym; this time "The Tall Boys" was used. The single featured two vocal tracks from Lewis: "Another Half Hour Till Sunrise" and "Island Of Lost Souls". This was to be the last recording featuring Fenech and Lewis together as both Nigel and Woodie left soon after. Lewis later took part in The Escalators, The Tall Boys, The Johnson Family, and the Zorchmen.
The Meteors have gone through many line-up changes since, with Fenech being the only original member today. The current line-up includes Hendrik Corleone on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann on drums. They have 25 official albums, countless singles, and numerous re-issues and compilation appearances. They continue to record using their own In Heaven recording studios, based in an old church—Fenech is a fully qualified sound engineer and producer—and also Maddog Studios tower in Germany), both professional studios used by many bands from around the world. The Meteors have extensively toured Japan, Europe and Scandinavia, South America, USA, and Canada. At the time of writing, they have completed well over 5500 live shows .
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