Gene Loves Jezebel
|Gene Loves Jezebel|
|Labels||Blessmomma Records/Track Records|
|Members||Jay Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel
Michael Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel
|Past members||James Chater
Gene Loves Jezebel are an alternative band formed in the early 1980s, now two separate bands of the same name, founded by identical twin brothers, Jay Aston (born John Peter Aston) and Michael. Gene Loves Jezebel's best-known songs include "Desire (Come and Get It)" (1986), "The Motion of Love" (1988) and "Jealous" (1990).
Early years: 1980-1989
Originally called Slav Aryan, Gene Loves Jezebel was formed in 1980 with the Aston brothers, guitarist Ian Hudson, bassist Stephen Davis and drummer Snowy White. The Astons grew up in Cornelly, Wales, making the move to London in 1981. With a new home, and shortly thereafter, the new name, the trio with bassist Steve Radwall and drummer James Chater (left in 1982/3 and was replaced by Richard Hawkins), played several live shows and were signed by Situation Two. Gene Loves Jezebel underwent numerous line-up changes between 1981–1985. In May 1982, the label released Gene Loves Jezebel's demo single "Shaving My Neck". The band then added bassist Julianne Regan followed, briefly, by a keyboardist, Jean-Marc Lederman. Regan left within a year to form All About Eve, leaving Ian Hudson briefly playing bass and Albie DeLuca being the guitar player until Stephen Marshall joined. This line up went on to perform some 100 gigs and recorded the first album Promise, along with their first John Peel session and the B-side "Stephen". Peter Rizzo joined in 1984.
The band released two more singles in 1983 before Promise peaked at number 8 in the UK Indie Chart. In 1984, the group recorded a John Peel radio session for the BBC and toured America with fellow Welsh artist John Cale. Their second album, Immigrant, was released in mid-1985. However, during an agonizing American tour for Immigrant, founding member Ian Hudson left the band and was replaced by former Generation X and Chelsea guitarist James Stevenson (who later also played rhythm guitar on tour with The Cult).
During 1986, the group moved its contract to Situation Two's parent company, Beggar's Banquet Records and distribution rights in the U.S. to Geffen Records. The subsequent promotion increased pop-chart success for the group. The single "Sweetest Thing" briefly hit the Top 75 in UK and the album Discover reached number 32 in the UK Albums Chart. At this time, the group also found heavy rotation on college and countercultural radio stations across America. The band had slowly turned their attention to dance music. The slick and catchy guitar hooks of singles "Desire" and "Heartache" leapt to #6 and #72, respectively, on Los Angeles' New Wave station, KROQ-FM. Later that year, former Spear of Destiny and Thompson Twins member Chris Bell became the band's fifth drummer.
Gene Loves Jezebel's fourth album, The House of Dolls, was released in 1988 and yielded the singles, "20 Killer Hurts" and "The Motion of Love", which grazed the U.S. pop charts. "Motion of Love" was the band's biggest UK hit single, reaching number 56. The third single from The House of Dolls, "Suspicion", for the first time surfaced on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite rising mainstream success, the new pop-oriented direction proved to be too polished and commercial for Michael Aston, who left during the recording of the album and only appears on two songs, leaving Jay Aston as the main songwriter.
Split and brief reunion: 1990–1997
While Michael went solo, the rest of the band continued as Gene Loves Jezebel  and recorded two albums, Kiss of Life in 1989, followed by Heavenly Bodies. The band's highest-charting American single emerged in August 1990 when "Jealous", the major single from Kiss of Life, reached #68 on the Billboard's Hot 100 and #1 on its Modern Rock chart. Three years later, Jay Aston and company released Heavenly Bodies, which did well in Europe and on American college radio. Unfortunately, the group's American label folded one year later and, after a few more live shows, so did Gene Loves Jezebel.
While Jay performed occasional acoustic shows under his own name, Michael played with members of Scenic, then formed a new band called the Immigrants (renamed Edith Grove) and later released a primarily acoustic solo album, Why Me, Why This, Why Now. Michael and Jay began working together again that same year, and recorded two songs with Stevenson, Bell and Rizzo for a Best-Of compilation, released in September 1995.
The brothers were reconciled in the mid-1990s, writing some new songs together, and sharing a house in Los Angeles. They initially used Michael's band from the Why Me album era to back them up. In 1997, a tour was organized for the brothers under the name The Pre-Raphaelite Brothers; the idea being to perform Gene Loves Jezebel material and material from each of the brothers' solo careers, with a new set of musicians, although the financial incentives of touring under the band identity meant that they performed under the Gene Loves Jezebel name. A new Gene Loves Jezebel album was planned, but Jay asked that the other members of the band from prior to the tour were involved rather than the LA musicians, which Michael agreed to.
The album VII was recorded and a US tour undertaken to support it, but the brothers' reconciliation was short-lived. Towards the end of the tour, a dispute over how the profits from the tour would be shared out led to a fight between the two brothers and the tour was finished without Michael.
Two Gene Loves Jezebels: 1997–present
Although Michael had again left the band, he began performing with the band from the earlier US tour using the Gene Loves Jezebel name. According to Michael, he refused to be pushed out of the band after all of the work he put into the reunion. When Jay and the band returned to the UK, they released VII without the three tracks that Michael had sung on.
In October 1997, Jay sued Michael over rights to the name "Gene Loves Jezebel", and after a protracted court battle, Jay eventually dropped the lawsuit, because it was causing great distress to their ill mother. Jay Aston, along with Stevenson, Rizzo and Bell, then continued using the name, and Michael subsequently trademarked the "Gene Loves Jezebel" name in the United States, while Jay, Stevenson and Rizzo own the UK trademark.
Since the late 90's, there have been two versions of Gene Loves Jezebel, causing confusion among fans. Michael leads the US version of the band and has toured both the US and the UK supporting releases such as Love Lies Bleeding (1999), Giving Up the Ghost (2001) and Exploding Girls (2003). Jay Aston leads the UK version of the band, also featuring James Stevenson and Pete Rizzo, and has toured both the US and the UK extensively as well to support releases such as Accept No Substitutes (2002),The Thornfield Sessions (2003) and The Anthology, Vols. 1-2 (2006).
On February 15, 2008, a lawsuit was filed by Michael Aston in California's Central District Court, against Chris Bell, James Stevenson, Jay Aston, John Aston, Libertalia Entertainment and others" for trademark infringement. In a posting on their Myspace page on 25 September 2009, Jay Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel announced that an agreement had been reached with Michael Aston regarding the use of the name "Gene Loves Jezebel": Jay Aston's band is now known as "Gene Loves Jezebel" in the UK and "Jay Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel" within the US; Michael Aston's band is now known as "Gene Loves Jezebel" in the US and "Michael Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel" in the UK. The settlement agreement has been posted on Michael's Gene Loves Jezebel website.
Jay Aston contributed vocals on the cover of Rolling Stones' "Midnight Mile" on the 2010 album Small Distortions, by the Belgian music-project La Femme Verte, assembled by ex-Kid Montana member Jean-Marc Lederman.
On November 16, 2011, Jay Aston and James Stevenson appeared on stage at the Brixton Academy London with the Smashing Pumpkins to perform the song "Stephen", from the Immigrant album.
|Year||Title||UK Indie Chart Position||UK Albums Chart|
|October||1988||The House Of Dolls||#81|
|July||1990||Kiss Of Life²|
|November||1995||In the Afterglow (live)|
|1999||Love Lies Bleeding¹|
|2001||Giving Up The Ghost¹|
|2003||The Thornfield Sessions²|
|Year||Title||UK Indie||UK||US||US Alt. Rock|
|May||1982||"Shaving My Neck"|
|May||1983||"Screaming for Emmalene"||#18|
|June||1984||"Shame (Whole Heart Howl)"||#14|
|October||1986||"Desire (Come and Get It)"|
|August||1987||"The Motion Of Love"||#56|
|January||1988||"Every Door" (withdrawn)|
|January||1988||"The Motion of Love"||#87|
|December||1990||"Tangled Up In You"²|
|1999||Survive This EP (promo only)¹|
- ¹ Michael Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel
- ² Jay Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel
- Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography. Canongate. ISBN 0-86241-913-1.
- Jo-Ann Greene (January 1999). "Gene Loves Jezebel: From Celtic hums and Gothic drones to sibling rivalry, it's a twin thing...". Goldmine. Retrieved 9 April 2008.
- Owen, Daniel (2005) "Over The Rooftops", Zero Magazine, November 2005.
- "Jay Aston biography". BBC Wales. BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2008.[dead link]
- Schild, Matt (June 2000). "Interview With Gene Loves Jezebel". Aversion.com. Retrieved 9 April 2008.
- "Michael Aston V Jay Aston et al.". Retrieved 3 July 2010.
- "Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release". Michael Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel website. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 224. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.
- Gene Loves Jezebel. "Gene Loves Jezebel - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
- (Jay Aston's) Gene Loves Jezebel Site
- (Michael Aston's) Gene Loves Jezebel Official Site
- Jay Aston Official Site
- Gene Loves Jezebel New Official Myspace Page
- James Stevenson official site
- Interview with Michael Aston @ Legends
- Gene Loves Jezebel at Allmusic
- Gene Loves Jezebel discography at MusicBrainz
- Gene Loves Jezebel discography at Discogs