||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (August 2012)|
Johnny Dean, Photographed by Gen Williams 2013
|Origin||Camden Town, London, England|
|Years active||1994–1998, 2013–2014|
|Labels||London Records, Polydor|
|Past members||Chris Gentry
Darren "Tud" Tudgay
Menswear (sometimes written "Menswe@r") are a Britpop band formed in October 1994 from Camden in London. They released a number of singles and an album, Nuisance on London Records. They recorded a second album which was released in Japan only and broke up in 1998.
Formation and Overnight Success: 1993-1996
The beginnings of the band were a feature in a Select article about a supposed London mod revival led by Graham Coxon. Two individuals closely associated with the burgeoning Britpop scene, Chris Gentry and Johnny Dean, made references to a "top new unsigned band" (Menswear), an act which did not yet exist. They later appeared on the cover of Melody Maker before they had released any material. Their dress sense was Mod (tight fitting suits etc.) whilst their music was influenced by both Blur's second album Modern Life Is Rubbish and Elastica. Gentry and Dean had a single song - called "Daydreamer" - but soon recruited friend Simon White, who contributed "I'll Manage Somehow" to add to the setlist necessary for their upcoming debut gig at a Britpop-oriented club on Regent Street called Smashing. The music press reviewed their performance enthusiastically, with the NME comparing them to a "Tarantino film... totally derivative but totally brilliant", increasing the record labels' interest.
After a frantic race between record companies, they signed to London Records for £90,000 and a lucrative 18.5% gross revenues after just their fifth gig. Shortly afterwards, they signed a £500,000 publishing deal despite having just seven songs in their repertoire - working out at around £70,000 per song.
They appeared on Top of the Pops a week before their first single had even been released. Their first single was "I'll Manage Somehow". Their second single "Daydreamer" peaked at number 14 in the UK Singles Chart but saw the band accused of plagiarising Wire, with Allmusic describing the track as sounding "more like Wire than Elastica, only funnier, even if it may be unintentional".
The band released their debut album Nuisance in 1995, described by Allmusic as "the perfect product from a band that is better known for being seen than being heard". Menswear played at the Glastonbury Festival in June 1995 at the peak of Britpop's popularity. A further three singles were released from the Nuisance album, the last "Being Brave" (released in early 1996) gave the band their first and only top ten hit.
Another single, "We Love you", was released in the summer of 1996, it stalled at number 22 in UK charts and marked a change in the bands musical direction.
Break Up & Personal projects 1997 - 2013
In 1997 they parted company with London Records after delivering their country-rock tinged second album Hay Tiempo!. The record was released in Japan in 1998 but did not get a release anywhere else in the world. They played their last live show at London's Camden Palace the same year. Hints at causes towards the break up have been mentioned recently in Johnny Dean's blog.
Stuart Black formed a new band, Messiah, that lasted until 2000. Guitarist Chris Gentry went on to play with the band, Vatican DC. Simon White played as a touring and studio musician for various artists including Finley Quaye. Drummer Matt Everitt was fired in 1996 and later joined The Montrose Avenue, he now works on the news team at Radio station 6Music. Drummer Todd Parmenter left the band to play in his main band Heck. He went on to play with Lungleg, The Beal, Evan Dando and The Beatings. Stuart Black is now in the band Bella Echoes with former Messiah member Barnsey.
Lead singer Johnny Dean was finally diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2008 and has started campaigning on behalf of the National Autistic Society. In recent interviews Dean has expressed the torment he experienced before his diagnosis and his desire to raise awareness of the Autistic syndrome spectrum. On Friday 7 June 2013 Dean made his first sold out live appearance in 15 years with the Nuis@nce Band performing the songs of David Bowie which raised thousands of pounds for The National Autistic Society in London.
Menswe@r v3.0, 2013 - present
A new Menswear line up played their first show in 15 years on 16 August 2013. Original member Johnny Dean was joined by members of The Nuisance Band as a different Menswear line up. The sold out event was in aid of the mental health charity PMA Sport's Academy and #TimeToChange campaign which Johnny Dean was invited to promote alongside The Saturdays' Frankie Sandford, Uri Geller and Ruby Wax.
On March 26th 2014 the new line-up of Menswear performed their first sold-out gig at London's Bush Hall debuting the new single 'Crash' amongst the set-list which was released May 26th via Nuisance Recordings & POST/POP Records on limited edition 7" single & cassette as well as download. The record did not chart and the band has subsequently broken up again.
|Year||Album details||Chart positions||BPI Certifications
|1995||"I'll Manage Somehow"||49||Nuisance|
|"We Love You"||22||—|
- Johnny Dean - vocals (1994-1998, 2013–2014)
- Chris Gentry - guitar (1994-1998)
- Simon White - guitar (1994-1998)
- Stuart Black - bass (1994-1998)
- Todd Parmenter - drums (1994)
- Matt Everitt - drums (1994-1996)
- Darren "Tud" Tudgay - drums (1996-1998)
- Steve Horry - guitar (2013-2014)
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p.865-866
- Harris, John (2003) The Last Party, Harper Perennial, ISBN 0-00-713473-8, p. 207-208
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas "Menswear Biography", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
- Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0231-3, p.273-274
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas "Nuisance Review", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
- Damas, Jason "Hay Tiempo! Review", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
- Johnny Dean Official Blog Retrieved 25 August 2013
- "Matt Everitt Biography". BBC. Archived from the original on 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
- Palmer-Violet, Jennifer (2013). Music News "Dean there, done that", 10 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- Doyle, Wesley (2013). The Quietus "Moonage Daydreamer: Johnny Dean Interviewed", 7 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- Baker, Jamie (2013). Soundsphere "Exclusive Interview: Johnny Dean", 15 May 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- Lipski, Luke (2013). Art Rocker "Tonight Matthew, Johnny Dean of Menswe@r is…David Bowie", 5 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- NME.com, 16 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- Gosling, Emily (2013). "Time to Talk - Stuart Semple's designs for mental health", 20 August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- Official Stuart Semple Website
- Betts, Colin (2004) Collins Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004, Collins, ISBN 978-0007179312, p. 540