Rubella Ballet playing at the Clarendon Club, London, Christmas Eve 1985
|Years active||1979–1991, 2000–present|
|Associated acts||Fatal Microbes|
|Past members||Gem Stone
The band was formed by drummer Sid Truelove (Sid Ation) (born John Grant Carroll, 18 April 1960, Sutton Coldfield, later also the drummer with Flux of Pink Indians featured 'Tube Disaster' and wrote the music for the b.side tracks 'Background to Malfunction and Sick Butchers' on the EP 'Nu Smell' on Crass records) and former Fatal Microbes Pete Fender (Dan Sansom, guitar), Gem Stone (Gemma Sansom, bass) and It (Quentin North, also bass), with vocalists Annie Anxiety and Womble, . Annie, Womble and It were involved only initially, left and were replaced by vocalist Zillah Minx (born Zillah Elaine Ashworth, 31 March 1961, Birkenhead). Fender and Stone were the son and daughter of Poison Girls singer Vi Subversa. The band used Poison Girls equipment to jam and write songs and their first performance was when they took to the stage at a Crass/Poison Girls concert. They had originally been called Rubella Babies. The band's first proper gig was a fundraiser for the Theatre Royal in Stratford, which ended in a riot, and the band played frequently, often asking audience members to put them up after gigs.
Zillah Minx and Sid were known for wearing brightly coloured dayglo clothes on stage as a contrast to the black combat style of clothing everyone else was wearing and Zillah Minx has been a huge inspiration for British designer "Louise Gray' who was quoted in Elle magazine saying she "loves Zillah Minx".
The band released one album on cassette tape, entitled Ballet Bag (1981) and a 4 track 7" EP, Ballet Dance (1982), both for Poison Girls' XNTRIX Records, after rejecting the opportunity to put out a record on the Crass label. Adrian Thrills, reviewing the single in the NME stated "the Ballet have an appealing sharp edge to their claustrophobic punk thrash, a poppy surge and even a discernable funk readjustment...of course, they could always just be taking the piss". After releasing the 42f single on Jungle Records ( Pete Fender left at the end of 1982 replaced by Sean) the band started their own Ubiquitous label. Rubella Ballet toured extensively with Poison Girls and Crass, and recorded two John Peel sessions for BBC Radio. In 1984 they embarked on an ill-fated tour of Italy to promote 42F. The band had only been given single airline tickets and after a week of playing without getting paid, they returned to England by train.
The band's line-up underwent several changes before their next release, "Money Talks" (1985); Sean and Gem had left, to be replaced by Adam and Rachel Minx (Zillah's younger sister Rachel Irene Jane Ashworth), and Adam himself has replaced by Steve Cachman prior to the recording of the debut album At Last, It's Playtime, the same year, an album that has been described as "chugging mid-paced stuff, many of the tracks dominated by Zillah's steamroller-flat vox". The line-up stabilized over the next few years, the band recording a second album and their best to date, If... in 1986. A compilation and a double live album followed, but it would be 1990 before the next studio album, At the End of the Rainbow. The band split up shortly after its release, Sid already playing in the dance band Xenophobia.
In 2000, the band reformed for a performance at the European Gathering festival in Milton Keynes, and have continued on and off since, with the core members Sid and Zillah joined by a varying line-up including original guitarist Fender. A retrospective covering the first half of the band's career, Anarchy in the U.V., including Ballet Bag, Ballet Dance, At Last It's Play Time, the 12-inch version of "Money Talks", and two previously unreleased tracks, was released in December 2008. A second album 'Nevermind the Day Glo'was released in 2010, containing the remaining tracks from the band's back-catalogue.
In 2014 the band release the best album so far 'Planet Punk' written & performed by founder member Sid Truelove with Zillah Minx and her trade mark siren song. The LP is on green vinyl with 12 tracks with a cd enclosed with 15 tracks and a 20 page full colour lyric booklet released on the 31st of March 2014 on Overground records. Sid and Zillah gave out badges and freebies with the albums all signed for collectors. The album has received critical acclaim by many mainstream magazines and has proved that Sid was always the driving force behind the band. There aren't many bands that can cross the punk/goth divide but Rubella Ballet have always shown their diversity musically and have been accepted in both scenes for many years. The band are booked to play Rebellion and the Alt Fest and will be playing Scotland with Steve Ignorant and Paranoid Visions & the Mob in Glasgow and Aberdeen see press and Facebook for dates.
This has been written and updated by founder and current member Sid Truelove 2/5/14 and is the correct version.
- Ballet Dance EP (1982), XNTRIX (#6)
- "42f" (1984), Jungle, JUNG12 (12") - (#10)
- "Money Talks" (1985), Ubiquitous, DayGlo1
- "Arctic Flowers" (1986), Ubiquitous, DayGlo3 (12")
- Ballet Bag (1981), XNTRIX (cassette only, with booklet and badge)
- At Last Its Playtime (1985), Ubiquitous, DayGlo2
- IF (1986), Ubiquitous, DayGlo 4
- At The End Of The Rainbow (1990), Brave/One Little Indian BND2LP
- Planet Punk. (2014), Overground
Compilations, live albums, remixes
- Cocktail Mix (1987), Ubiquitous, DayGlo5 (Ballet Bag + Ballet Dance)
- The Ballet's Birthday Box (double LP) (1988), Ubiquitous, DayGlo6 - (two lps with badge, poster, cut-out doll, sticker & booklet)
- Greatest Trips (1990), Brave/One Little Indian BND3CD
- Death Rock Daze (2007), UVP Productions UVP001 (Limited Edition) Rubella Ballet's tracks mixed by Sidation
- Anarchy in the U.V. (2008), Overground/Voiceprint
- Nevermind the Day-Glo. (2010), Overground
- Freak Box (1984), Ubiquitous - Live concert, 60 min, VHS.
- Glasper, Ian (2006) The Day the Country Died: A History of Anarcho Punk 1980 - 1984, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 978-1-901447-70-5, p. 58-65
- Gimarc, George (2005) Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock 1970-1982, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-848-6, p. 651
- Rubella Ballet at the BBC's Keeping it Peel site
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Rubella Ballet", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
- "Rubella Ballet: Anarchy In The UV", Selby Times, December 13, 2008
- Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.