|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
|Labels||Buckyball Records, Charisma, Passport Records.|
|Associated acts||Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Atomic Rooster, Soft Machine, Fire Merchants, Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Liverpool Scene, Weather Report, Rod Argent|
|Past members||Former members|
Brand X was a jazz fusion band active between 1975–1980 and 1992–1999. Noted members included John Goodsall (guitar), Percy Jones (bass), Robin Lumley (keyboards), and Phil Collins (drums). Goodsall and Jones were the sole constant members throughout the band's existence.
Brand X started in 1975 as a "jam" band signed by Island Records' Richard Williams. Williams A&R man Danny Wilding wrote down the name "Brand X" to keep track of their activity on the studio calendar and the name stuck. The initial lineup consisted of Goodsall, Jones and Lumley, along with guitarist Pete Bonas and drummer John Dylan. Shortly after the band's formation, Dylan was replaced by Phil Spinelli, who left Brand X shortly thereafter along with Bonas. During this time the band made several unreleased studio recordings at Island Records' Basing Street studio.
Genesis drummer Phil Collins replaced Spinelli and in early 1976 Unorthodox Behaviour was released to coincide with an extensive UK tour. Collins had previously taken over lead vocals from Peter Gabriel in Genesis starting with the 1976 album A Trick of the Tail. Due to Genesis schedules conflicting with those of Brand X, Collins would depart the band on several occasions, before departing permanently in 1979.
Percussionist Morris Pert was added to the lineup later for the follow-up Moroccan Roll (1977). The band had previously employed other percussionists, including Gaspar Lawal, Bill Bruford and Preston Heyman, all of whom had operated in an unofficial capacity within the band. Also in 1976 the album Marscape was released by Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley featuring Jones, Goodsall & Collins of Brand X. In early 1977, Brand X needed a replacement drummer for Collins due to conflicting schedules with Genesis (although Collins would rejoin the band later in the year) and Kenwood Dennard of Pat Martino's group was recruited in New York, making his debut on the band's US tour (a 32-date affair in May and June 1977) and appearing on part of the live album Livestock (1977). Collins came back to the fold for a series of dates in September 1977 including two appearances on the same day in London (Crystal Palace garden party) and Paris (Fete de l’Humanite) where they played 2nd to last before an audience numbering over 230,000. This was the first time a band ever played two open-air shows in different countries on the same day. A second US tour followed late in the year, again with Dennard replacing Collins on drums. The following year saw the departure of Lumley and Dennard, the band recruited keyboardist J. Peter Robinson and drummer Chuck Burgi, following which they recorded their third album, Masques (1978). In late July 1978, Goodsall contracted tendonitis. As a result, the band played without a guitarist for the rest of the year, though he did play one or two shows with them later in the year.
In 1979, following the departure of Burgi, both Lumley and Collins returned to the group, along with bassist John Giblin and drummer Mike Clark. The band then commenced a series of recording sessions in April 1979, which would generate enough material for two albums, 1979's Product and 1980's Do They Hurt?. These took place at Startling Studios, located in Ringo Starr's countryside home (formerly owned by John Lennon), with two distinct line-ups made up of the eight band members operating in alternation. As Percy Jones later explained: "Our record and management companies were both complaining about poor record sales and telling us we had to make the music more accessible. Some of the guys agreed to go along with this, but I felt, that to do this would not generate a new audience but would probably just alienate the one that we already had. The only solution was to have two bands, one being more accessible and the other being more experimental. For my stuff the lineup was Robinson, Clark, Goodsall and me; for the other direction it was Lumley, Collins and Goodsall with John Giblin on bass. We recorded in shifts, ours was 8pm to 4am and the others, 10am to 6pm".
Following the completion of the two albums, Clark and Pert departed the band, and the remaining six members recorded another album, 1982's Is There Anything About?, which would be the final album to feature both Lumley and Collins, and which would not be released until two and a half years after the band's dissolution. Following the completion of the recording sessions, the band embarked on a world tour, following which Collins departed for the final time. Clark returned to the drum stool, and the band toured the UK in April and May 1980 (co-headlining with Bruford). Following this tour, the band dissolved.
After Brand X's 1979 world tour, Goodsall had moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session musician, and as a member of the band Zoo Drive (1980–1987), which included Doug Lunn, Paul Delph and Spinal Tap drummer Ric Parnell. Goodsall and Ric Parnell have created music together for many years. Parnell was instrumental in helping Goodsall get beyond the London/UK music scene. Some notable recordings from this time include the Atomic Rooster album Nice 'n' Greasy in 1973. Goodsall has also performed and/or recorded with Bill Bruford, Desmond Dekker, Peter Gabriel, Billy Idol, Bryan Adams, Toni Basil and Mark Isham. Goodsall released two albums with his band Fire Merchants, before reforming with Brand X and recording Xcommunication (1992) and Manifest Destiny (1997).
Goodsall and Jones reformed Brand X with drummer Frank Katz in 1992. To make up for the lack of a keyboard player, Goodsall used a Gibson Max MIDI-guitar system to trigger synths, samples and keyboard sounds along with his guitars. This line-up went on to record Xcommunication (1992). In 1996, following the inclusions of Frank Pusch (bass/keyboards/percussion), Marc Wagnon (bass/synthesisers/percussion) and Danny Wilding (flute), the band recorded Manifest Destiny (1997). The following year, following Katz's departure and his subsequent replacement with drummer Pierre Moerlen (formerly of Gong) and keyboardist Kris Sjobring, the band toured Japan and Europe. Brand X dissolved again in 1999.
In recent years, Goodsall has recorded with Franz Pusch and performed regular solo concerts with guest musicians. Jones, Katz and Wagnon formed Tunnels with guitarist Van Manakas during the 1990s. Goodsall played guitar on three tracks on Tunnels album Progressivity (2002).
- 1976 Unorthodox Behaviour - US No. 191
- 1977 Moroccan Roll - UK #37 US No. 125
- 1978 Masques
- 1979 Product - US No. 165
- 1980 Do They Hurt? - US No. 204
- 1982 Is There Anything About? UK #93
- 1992 Xcommunication
- 1997 Manifest Destiny
- 1977 Livestock - largely recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club Aug/Sept 76 - US No. 204
- 1996 Live at the Roxy L.A. - recorded 23 September 1979 (one of many existing audience recordings, all poor quality, all unauthorised)
- 2000 Timeline - live concerts 16 November 1977 Chicago & 21 June 1993 NYC
- 1986 Xtrax - tracks from first seven albums
- 1997 Missing Period - recorded 1975-1976, collection of lost session tapes
- 1999 X-Files: A 20 Year Retrospective - compilation including side projects
- 2003 Trilogy - Xcommunication + Manifest Destiny + live recording 27 September 1979 NYC
- 2014 Nuclear Burn - 4-CD boxset contains Unorthodox Behaviour (1975), Moroccan Roll (1977), Masques (1978), Product (1979), Do They Hurt? (1980) and some bonus tracks, some of them are taken from unreleased BBC sessions.
- "Band Approved Videos". youtube.com. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- "Last.fm". Gasper Lawal – Discover music, concerts, stats, & pictures at Last.fm. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- "Percy Jones interview". December 2000. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 76. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Brand X Performances". Edensongs.com. Retrieved 2014-05-19.