Danielle Dax

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Danielle Dax
Danielle Dax.jpg
Background information
Genres Experimental
Labels Sire/Warner Bros. Records
Website www.danielledax.com

Danielle Dax (born 23 September 1958[1]) is an experimental musician and producer most active from the late-1970s to the mid-1990s. She was born in Southend-on-Sea, Essex England.

Biography[edit]

Dax's first performance on stage in London was when she was a pre-teen. She sang in Benjamin Britten's opera, Noye's Fludde (Noah's Flood), at the Royal Albert Hall. Preceding this, the first time Dax appeared on stage was at the age of three as an Orange Jelly Baby on the Southend Bandstand.

Dax was to make her 'pop' musical debut in 1979 just three weeks of joining the group Amii Toytal and the Croixroads - this was a pseudonym for the Lemon Kittens - as keyboardist, flautist and saxophonist. It was their first gig and took place at Reading University's Student Union 'Airport' Bar; apparently, this was a concert that local musical legend Mike Cooper was instrumental in helping to put on. Karl Blake from the Lemon Kittens had met her some three weeks earlier after he read an article about her in a local newspaper, the Reading Evening Post, in which she was trying to drum up support for a local fledgling arts group by pavement drawing. Blake was in urgent need of an artist as he had just been told that Step Forward wanted to put a record out, so he attended the next meeting of Dax's arts group and was introduced to her. Upon learning that she could also play saxophone and flute, he immediately recruited her for the band; in addition, he also got her to agree to do the cover artwork for the planned release. She ended up doing the cover artwork for all of Lemon Kittens releases.

During Dax's time in the avant-garde new wave music band Lemon Kittens, she was included on Robert Fripp's League of Gentlemen's 1981 eponymous album, performing vocals (credited as "Hamsprachtmusic") on the song "Minor Man". However, that song was not included on the album when it was released on CD (entitled God Save The King). Her artwork was retained for the cover. She also painted the cover for Robert Fripp's solo album, Let the Power Fall. Dax supplied vocals to an unreleased track by the Bombay Ducks in which she sang a duet with Robert Wyatt, although they never met. The duet was done in studio, separately.

In early 1982, after the Lemon Kittens went into "extended hibernation", Dax embarked on her solo career, recording and producing the albums Pop-Eyes (1983) wherein she played all the instruments herself, initially released on the IRC [Initial Recording Company] label with her own art cover, and rereleased on Awesome Records with a Holly Warburton cover. On the mini-album that followed Jesus Egg That Wept (1984) she was aided on some tracks by Karl Blake or David Knight. Her third album Inky Bloaters (1987), cemented her collaborative recording work with David Knight; this as well as various EPs, up to that time, were released on the label Awesome Records. In 1988, she signed with Sire Records, which released her album Dark Adapted Eye, which contained material from her previous recordings, such as the well-known song "Big Hollow Man", and songs that were only previously available on singles such as "Cat-House", "White Knuckle Ride", "When I Was Young", "House Cat", "Whistling for His Love", and "Touch Piggy's Eyes".

In 1984, she made her first film appearance as the Wolfgirl (a non-speaking role) in The Company of Wolves by Neil Jordan. In 1988, her film credits came to include writing music for the short avant-garde film Axel by Nigel Wingrove.[2]

In 1989, Dax appeared on the Channel 4 show Star Test, where she was interviewed for 30 minutes by computer.

In 1990, she released her one major-label studio album, Blast the Human Flower, produced by Stephen Street, except for the tracks "Bayou" and "Daisy", which they produced together. The album's single, "Tomorrow Never Knows", joined "Blue Christmas" (her cover of an Elvis Presley tune), "Kites" by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound (during the Lemon Kittens period) and "Hate On Sight", a track by Shock Headed Peters (included on her Comatose etc. release) as an addition to her covers of other artists' work. Her last two album releases were in 1995 and consisted of a career retrospective double-album entitled Comatose Non-Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax and an EP of new avant-garde and almost completely instrumental material called Timber Tongue (both on her own Biter Of Thorpe label). Dax's career in the music business then went on indefinite hiatus and is often referred to as a 'retirement'.

Since 1996, she has worked in interior design and has appeared several times on the BBC interior design show Homefront, where she won their Designer of the Year Award. She is also a qualified garden designer and has worked on numerous projects in that field.

According to her official MySpace page (maintained by long-time friend and former bandmate, Karl Blake), she has done spoken-word performances of her old material in the United Kingdom and in mainland Europe, with backing music written especially for these by herself and long-term musical collaborator David Knight. There is also some talk of new material being written. In the 1990s, her first three albums were re-released on CD by her own label, Biter of Thorpe.

Dax's visual art repertoire, aside from stage set design, costumes, logos and customised instruments, also includes the original artwork (a collage of surgical photographs) for her album Pop-Eyes. The artwork was later pulled from the album after its first run, after some record stores cited it as "grotesque". The replacement cover art, which itself was later replaced by the original art, was done by Holly Warburton, who subsequently did the cover-art for Dax's albums Jesus Egg That Wept, Inky Bloaters and Dark Adapted Eye. Dax also supplied artwork for two Shock Headed Peters releases, the 12" EPs "The Kissing Of Gods", and "Life Extinguisher", as well as covers for the group Bombay Ducks (Dance music) and The Reflections (Slugs and Toads). In 2009, she supplied the cover for the CD Temporal Bends by Unica Zurn [a two piece group featuring the aforementioned David Knight plus Steven Thrower], for which she also supplied lyrics and vocals for one track ("Jack Sorrow").

Discography[edit]

with Lemon Kittens[edit]

  • Spoonfed & Writhing (cover art only)
  • We Buy a Hammer for Daddy (multi-instrumentalist, vocals)
  • Cake Beast (three track 12" EP)
  • (...those that bite the hand that feeds them sooner or later must meet...) The Big Dentist (multi-instrumentalist, vocals)

Also - on cassettes on her Daark Inc. label - see the entry for Karl Blake.

Solo[edit]

Compilations[edit]

Cover version[edit]

In 1989, the Finnish model and artist Kata Kärkkäinen recorded a version of the single "Cat House" for her Your Love album.

The Damned also included "Cat House" very occasionally in their live repertoire.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/danielle-dax-mn0000953875
  2. ^ Harmony Ridge Music. "Comatose-Non-Reaction". Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2011-10-15.