|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2006)|
|Origin||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Punk rock Post-punk|
|Labels||Black Noise Records|
|Members||Bruno Wizard, Ben Harris, Tom Oakes, John Matthews, Charlie Sundown|
|Past members||Anton Hayman, Jim Welton, Joel Amie, James Belmonte, Glenn Clift, Dan Fatel|
The Rejects were formed in the bar of Goldsmith's College in South London in 1976, when ex-Sunderland art school students John Hazzard (real name: John Wilkins) and Glenn Hutchinson recruited Bruno Wizard (real name: Bruno McQuillan) to play drum for their nascent band. He in turn introduced them to Howard H, a well known drummer, and as rehearsals got under way Bruno took on the role of frontman and Glenn H was sidelined. Bruno then recruited Ian Kane, who added more songs to John Hazzard's original set of compositions, and to express his disquiet with the modern world and disappointment with his heroes of the 1960s "revolution maaan!" The Rejects did their first gig at The Roxy in January 1977, without a bass player, and supporting The Damned and The Vibrators. In the following five months, The Rejects played with Wire, Generation X (with a very young Billy Idol), The Jam, Eater, 999, and Sham 69 on multiple occasions, with Wizard becoming increasingly confrontational (though no more tuneful) to their audiences. Performances routinely descended into violence, with dates at the Albany Deptford and Barbarella's Birmingham confirming the band as a bad risk for PA hire companies.
In the summer of 1977, Hazzard was dropped from the band going on to form the proto thrash band Auto da Fe. Wizard recruited Jim Welton on bass for a new lineup of The Rejects. Included in this new lineup were David Dus on drums and occasional itinerant guitarists. David Dus was the drummer for Wayne County (later to become Jayne) during their 1977 tour of the UK. Bruno set up auditions to find a permanent guitarist, and after a series of metaphysical mishaps, Anton Hayman was recruited. Bruno Wizard needed a new name for this next stage of his creative outpourings.
The name "The Rejects" was too deeply embedded in what Wizard regarded as "the new conformity of Punk". For the new name, "Homo" equals men of the same sex; "rock" equals sexual; men of the same idea in ancient Greece discussing art, music, literature, astronomy, science equals The Homosexuals. David Dus, sensational drummer that he was, could not hack being in a band called The Homosexuals and duly left. Jim Welton, later to be immortalized as L. Voag, Amos, and Xentos, thought it better to call the band "The Non-Homosexuals" and stayed, and Anton Hayman agreed on the genius of the name. The band then lived in a series of squats, all the while making music and recording. Bruno Wizard refused to perform on "the circuit" and thus, The Homosexuals only ever did a handful of gigs. The band's work during this period would lead to their recognition as a pioneer of D.I.Y., along with such bands as This Heat, Desperate Bicycles, Swell Maps, et al.
Their angular guitars, complex melodies, and experimental leanings distanced them somewhat from the punk rock being created by their contemporaries and has cemented their reputation as a precursor to post-punk. They released very little during their lifetime, and most of what they did release was on small-run vinyl on obscure record labels. The members also recorded in various combinations under several different pseudonyms. These "side projects" included Ici la Bas, Amos & Sara, Sara Goes Pop, Amos & Crew, The Fear Merchants, Vic Serf & the Villains, The Just Measurers, Milk from Cheltenham, Sir Alick & The Phraser, George Harrasment and Nancy Sesay & The Melodaires. The only full length LP by the band, 1984's album The Homosexuals' Record was compiled and released by Recommended Records, and reissued as remastered on CD, with additional tracks, in 2004 as The Homosexuals' CD. Also released that year was Astral Glamour - a 3-CD set including the band's entire catalogue, unreleased songs, and work by several of the band's pseudonymous projects.
Jim Welton went on to play with Die Trip Computer Die, while Bruno Wizard resurfaced in his role as spirit guide to The Homosexuals in late 2003, playing with an assortment of young musicians from around the world, notably three young Russians who shall remain anonymous for the moment due to their parents' murky KGB background. In 2004 this version of The Homosexuals, along with former member Susan Vida, launched Astral Glamour on Hyped2Death at Cobden's Art Club in Notting Hill Gate. This coincided with a major art exhibition of Susan Vida's work at the same venue. It was around this time that Wizard met Ben Harris, who was playing with one of his bands, The Affectionate Punch, at Nambucca, Holloway Road. After discussing their musical backgrounds and approaches, Harris was enlisted to play bass at their next gig five days later. Harris became a permanent feature in the European lineup ever since. In the true tradition of The Homosexuals, Bruno Wizard metamorphosed various lineups, and after 3 shows with Hayman back on guitar, headed west again to his spiritual homeland of New York (which he had been visiting since 1986 in preparation for the new coming), and worked with Imaginary Icons as his backing band.
Wizard put together another lineup of The Homosexuals in late 2007, with Mike Dos Santos of Apache Beat on bass. Mike, who also played with Brendan Benson and The Realistics, introduced Wizard to a couple of hired guns to play drums and guitar. The drummer Travis Harrison is the owner of label Serious Business Records. The group's fierce live performances, a combination of classic and new material, paired with experimental explorations and free improvisational pieces, seemed to herald a new era for The Homosexuals.
In 2008, a fresh body of work was recorded at Serious Business' Soho studio, some of which has been documented on the limited edition Love Guns? EP. A new 2009 release titled Important If True was suspended whilst negotiations took place between Wizard and Harrison. During the recording of this material, Harrison was being courted by The Orchard, a digital distribution and licensing company for his label's catalogue. At the time, The Orchard already handled the digital distribution for The Homosexuals' CD and Astral Glamour, an agreement which ended 30 June 2009, and were keen to secure the rights to the material being worked on with Wizard and Serious Business. To this effect, Wizard performed some of the new material at The Orchard's office in Manhattan, and Harrison and Serious Business signed their current catalogue to The Orchard, but unfortunately there was never any legal agreement between Bruno Wizard and Travis Harrison for any of this material to be assigned anywhere. This matter is still to be resolved.
Given Bruno Wizard's inherent distrust and loathing of "the traditional music industry", the situation between him and Harrison meant that Harrison's drumming position in the band was untenable. His exit from the band was swiftly followed by that of the guitarist, Dave Siegel, a childhood friend of Harrison. Within three days, their replacements, Julian Bennett Holmes and Jonathan Edelstein of Brooklyn band Fiasco, were on the road to Boston as The Homosexuals to play alongside King Khan and the Shrines. This lineup also played at Club Europa New York with Monotonix before Wizard's return to London to meet his UK and European playing and recording commitments. While in London, Wizard is working on a whole host of new songs, some of which are a collaboration with Anton Hayman, his original co-writer with The Homosexuals of such classics as "Hearts in Exile", "Neutron Lover", "Astral Glamour", and "Walk before Imitate".
- Hearts in Exile (song)|Hearts in Exile 7" (1978, Lorelei)
- Bigger Than the Number...Yet Missing the Dot 7" (1979?, Black Noise)
- The Homosexuals EP 12" (1979?, Black Noise)
- Ici La Bas 12" (1980, Black Noise)
- Venceremos cassette (1983?, Black Noise)
- The Homosexuals' Record LP (1984, Recommended Records)
- The Homosexuals' CD re-issue (January 2004, Recommended Records/Morphius Records)
- Astral Glamour 3-CD boxset (June 2004, Hyped to Death/Messthetics)
- Love Guns? 10" EP (November 2008, Serious Business Records)
- review of The Homosexuals' CD on Pitchfork Media
- review of Astral Glamour on Pitchfork Media
- review of Astral Glamour in the Village Voice
- review of Astral Glamour in Dusted Magazine
- reviews in Forced Exposure