Howard Devoto

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Howard Devoto
Howard devoto.jpg
Background information
Birth name Howard Andrew Trafford
Also known as Howard Devoto
Born (1952-03-15) 15 March 1952 (age 62)
Origin Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England
Genres Punk rock, post-punk, synthpop, new wave, electronic
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, guitars
Years active 1976–present
Labels New Hormones, Virgin, I.R.S., EMI
Associated acts Buzzcocks, Magazine, Luxuria, ShelleyDevoto, Mansun

Howard Devoto (born Howard Andrew Trafford[1] 15 March 1952[2] in Scunthorpe)[3][4] is an English singer-songwriter, who began his career as the frontman for the punk rock band Buzzcocks, but then left to form Magazine, one of the first post-punk bands. After Magazine, he went solo and later formed indie band Luxuria.

His singing has been characterized as a "speak-sing voice that veered between amused croon and panicked yelp."[5]

Biography[edit]

Born in Scunthorpe, Devoto grew up in Nuneaton, Warwickshire[6] and Moortown, Leeds,[7] where he attended Leeds Grammar School and met and befriended future Buzzcocks manager Richard Boon.[8] In 1972, he went to Bolton Institute of Technology (now the University of Bolton) to study psychology, and, later, humanities. During these college years, he met his future bandmates Pete Shelley and Ben Mandelson.

Buzzcocks[edit]

Inspired by the Sex Pistols, Devoto co-formed Buzzcocks with singer/guitarist Pete Shelley in 1975. He left the band in February 1977 after only one record (the Spiral Scratch EP)[4] and a small number of performances.

Magazine[edit]

Devoto afterwards formed the influential[9] post-punk band Magazine in 1977. They released several critically acclaimed albums, which met with moderate commercial success, as well as minor hits such as "Shot by Both Sides" and "A Song from Under the Floorboards". Magazine reformed in February 2009, initially performing on a tour of five dates, and subsequently continued playing live and began to record new material. A studio album, No Thyself, was released in October 2011.

Solo years[edit]

After Magazine split in 1981 Devoto spent two years putting together a solo album with former Magazine keyboard player Dave Formula. Though reviews of Jerky Versions of the Dream was mixed, the single "Rainy Season" was consistently picked as a stand-out track.[citation needed] Jerky Versions of the Dream, which reached #57 in the UK Albums Chart in August 1983,[10] was reissued in 2007 by Virgin/EMI, featuring several tracks of bonus material.

Collaborations[edit]

A collaboration (three songs) with Bernard Szajner on the Brute Reason LP was released on Island Records in 1983. This was followed by a rendering of Big Star's "Holocaust" for the loose collective This Mortal Coil. The album It'll End in Tears contained contributions from many of the 4AD label's best artists, Devoto's presence being somewhat atypical.

In 1997, Devoto wrote the lyrics to the Mansun track, "Everyone Must Win", which appeared on the Closed for Business EP. A year later, he collaborated again with the band, writing lyrics for and singing on "Railings", a B-side for Being a Girl (Part One).

Luxuria[edit]

One of his next projects was a 1988 collaboration with Liverpool multi-instrumentalist Noko. As Luxuria they released two albums and a music video for the single "Redneck".

Life after popular music[edit]

For most of the 1990s, Devoto was little involved in music, earning his living by working for a photo agency.[11]

In 2001, Devoto teamed up for the first time in twenty-five years with Buzzcocks Pete Shelley and released the much-anticipated Buzzkunst under the name ShelleyDevoto. Reviews were mixed.

In 2002, Devoto had a small part in the movie 24 Hour Party People, a film about Manchester's Factory Records. In his brief cameo appearance, Devoto appears as a janitor cleaning a men's toilet while actor Martin Hancock portrays Devoto having a tryst with the wife of promoter/journalist Tony Wilson. The real-life Devoto breaks the fourth wall by addressing the camera and stating in deadpan, "I definitely don't remember this happening".

In February 2009 Magazine reformed, with former Luxuria partner Noko replacing the deceased John McGeoch on guitar.

On 9 July 2009, Devoto was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bolton for his contribution to music.

Reunion with Buzzcocks[edit]

In November 2011 it was announced he would be returning to the stage with the Buzzcocks for two special shows as part of the Buzzcocks "Back to Front" tour on 25 and 26 May 2012. These took place at the O2 Apollo in Manchester and the O2 Academy in Brixton [12]

Tributes, references and cover songs[edit]

A number of bands continue to be influenced by his work. Momus recorded the tribute song "The Most Important Man Alive" for the Bungalow Records compilation Suite 98 in 1988. Mansun have covered "Shot by Both Sides" live, and it was recorded in their fourth and final album Kleptomania. Also Radiohead and Jarvis Cocker have both covered "Shot by Both Sides". Both Ministry and Peter Murphy have covered Magazine's "The Light Pours Out of Me", whilst Morrissey has covered Magazine's "A Song from Under the Floorboards".

Discography[edit]

For Magazine and Luxuria, see Discography of Magazine and Discography of Luxuria. This is from his solo career:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Search general register office (GRO)birth records 1761-2006 | Fully indexed birth records". Findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  2. ^ "Enciclopedia della musica rock", Cesare Rizzi. HOWARD DEVOTO (HOWARD TRAFFORD) (15 marzo 1952): voce
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Event Review: An Evening with Buzzcocks, Urbis Manchester 12 Aug 2005". Aidan.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  5. ^ Dave Simpson. "Magazine: No Thyself – review | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  6. ^ Graham Johnston. "Clicks and Klangs". Beefheart.com. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Dave Simpson (12 December 2008). "Howard Devoto on why it's the right time for a Magazine reunion | Music". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Savage, John. England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond, Pg. 153, St. Martin's Griffin, 2001. ISBN 0-312-28822-0, ISBN 978-0-312-28822-8 "I'd known Howard from Leeds Grammar School (...)", Richard Boon
  9. ^ "A classic debut single, 'Shot by Both Sides' established Magazine’s post-punk credentials, its stark, uncompromising approach and lyrical despair paving the way for countless gaggles of miserable young men in trenchcoats." Strong, M.C. (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 95. ISBN 1-84195-335-0.
  10. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 153. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  11. ^ "PopMatters Music Interview | Howard Devoto: Interview with a Resurfacing Should-Have-Been Musical Legend". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "Announcement of Back To Front tour". ents24.com. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 

External links[edit]