Claude Bessy (singer)

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Claude Bessy (1945 – 2 October 1999), also known as "Kickboy Face," was noted as an iconic founder of the Los Angeles punk scene in the mid 1970s[1] and in British post-punk in the 1980s.


Born in Normandy, France, Bessy moved to the US in 1966 and later to California where he worked as a waiter among many other jobs and founded Angeleno Dread, L.A.'s first reggae fanzine.[2][3]

In May 1977 he helped Steve Samiof launch the monthly punk rock magazine Slash, which he edited until it ceased publication in 1980. [4][5]

As Kickboy Face (a pen name adopted from a Jamaican dub artist), Bessy was the lead singer for the band Catholic Discipline and featured prominently in the film The Decline of Western Civilization.

Bessy left the United States in November 1980.[6] moving with his lifelong partner Philomena Winstanley to England where he landed a job as a press officer at Rough Trade record label, where he championed American groups such as Gun Club[3] and Panther Burns.

In 1982 Bessy was hired as the resident VJ at The Haçienda in Manchester. He went on to produce music videos and films for The Virgin Prunes, The Fall and William S. Burroughs,[3] and work with Factory Records' Ikon FCL video label, producing a Christmas Factory Records video trailer Bessy Talks Turkey.[4][7]

Bessy returned to London where he worked for Forbidden Planet and wrote record sleeve notes. He contributed vocals to records by Sonic Youth, Howard Devoto, Wire's Graham Lewis and trumpeter Marc Cunningham.[3]

In 1987 Bessy moved to Barcelona, Spain where he took to painting and earned a living teaching English. He died of lung cancer in 1999.[3]


  1. ^ Heylin, Clinton, From the Velvets to the Voidoids: A Pre-Punk History for a Post-Punk World. Penguin Books, 1993.
  2. ^ The Dead Musician Directory: Claude Bessy/Kickboy Face
  3. ^ a b c d e Thomas, Richard (22 October 1999). "Claude Bessy". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Mullen, Brendan. "'Thees Ees Zee Reel Shit!' Remembering Claude Bessy, a.k.a. Kickboy Face/" L A Weekly, 22–28 October 1999.
  6. ^ Young, Rob. Rough Trade: Labels Unlimited. Black Dog Publishing Ltd., 2006.
  7. ^

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