|Origin||Larne, Northern Ireland|
|Genres||Alternative metal, alternative rock, punk rock, grunge, noise rock (early)|
|Labels||Wiiija, A&M, Ark 21, Spitfire, Blast Records|
|Past members||Fyfe Ewing
Therapy? are an alternative metal band from Larne, Northern Ireland. The band was formed in 1989 by guitarist–vocalist Andy Cairns from Ballyclare and drummer-vocalist Fyfe Ewing from Larne, Northern Ireland. The band initially recorded their first demo with Cairns filling in on bass guitar. To complete the lineup, the band recruited Larne bassist Michael McKeegan.
With keen pop sensibilities, a skewed sense of humour and a willingness to draw inspiration from diverse sources (notably punk rock), Therapy? came to attention in the early 1990s rise of alternative rock, but have endured for two decades since; critic Johnny Loftus writes:
"after a ten-plus year career that has seen them outlast competitors and outwit industry attempts at categorization... Therapy are still headbangers with their thinking caps screwed on tight."
Although now vanished from the charts and wide media attention, Therapy? continue to release material, gaining enough attention to enable them to tour and entertain a loyal following. Following the addition of Neil Cooper on drums, the band has enjoyed a stable lineup since 2004. Therapy? are currently signed to Blast Records, with worldwide distribution via Global Music. The band has sold over two million albums worldwide.
- 1 History
- 2 Discography
- 3 References
- 4 External links
The early years (1989–1992)
While attending a charity gig at the Jordanstown Polytechnic in early 1989, Andy Cairns noticed Fyfe Ewing playing drums in a punk covers band. The two spoke afterwards and agreed to meet for rehearsal in Fyfe's house in Larne with Andy playing a small practice amp and Fyfe playing his kit with brushes. In the summer they recorded a four track demo tape (Thirty Seconds of Silence) with Andy playing a bass guitar borrowed from Fyfe's classmate Michael McKeegan. Deciding to play live, they recruited McKeegan and played their debut gig at the Belfast Art College supporting Decadence Within on 20 August 1989. They followed this up with another four track demo tape (Meat Abstract). Their sound was becoming highly influenced by artists of the indie rock movement such as The Jesus Lizard, Big Black and The Membranes as well as new beat disco acts such as Belgian outfit Errotic Dissidents.
Therapy? released its first single, called Meat Abstract in July 1990. The single was limited to 1000 copies, and released on the bands' own Multifuckinational Records. During the summer of that year, the band made its first tour through the United Kingdom with The Beyond, catching the attention of influential DJ John Peel along the way. The band's early years followed the familiar pattern of hard graft on the local alternative music scene, with Cairns often putting in a full day at the Michelin tyre factory (where he worked as a quality controller), then speeding across Northern Ireland in order to make it to gigs. The band also took whatever support slot they could, opening for the likes of Loop, Ride, Teenage Fanclub, Inspiral Carpets, Tad, Fugazi and Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Therapy? quickly came to the attention of local music fans with their distinctively uncompromising style. Their use of guitar feedback as a "fourth instrument" and unconventional song structures, combined with a darkly original approach to lyrics and imaginative use of samples pulled from cult movies and obscure documentaries, led them to being spotted in 1990 by London-based independent label Wiiija Records. The move was helped by Lesley Rankine of Silverfish, who passed the band's first single on to Gary Walker of Wiiija.
The band's first album, July 1991's Babyteeth, and its January 1992 follow up, Pleasure Death, were successful enough to earn the band a major label deal with A&M Records. Both albums were underground successes, hitting number 1 in the UK Indie Charts. The attention led to support slots with both Babes In Toyland and Hole on their respective UK tours. A compilation of the two albums entitled Caucasian Psychosis was prepared for the North American market, and the band embarked on their first U.S. tour in October 1992.
Their debut A&M record, Nurse, made its way into UK's Top 40 Album Chart in November 1992, while lead single "Teethgrinder" became the band's first Top 40 single in both the UK and Ireland. The grunge revolution was in full swing, with US outfit Nirvana leading the way. Predictably, the media began to draw comparisons between the two bands. The heavy guitars and inventive drumming that was swiftly becoming Therapy?'s trademark led them more towards the grunge camp than away from it.
The success (1993–1995)
If there was one true "breakthrough" year in the band's history, it would almost certainly be 1993. The release of the Shortsharpshock EP catapulted Therapy? into the Top 40, peaking at nine, featuring the lead track Screamager. The single led to the first of several appearances on the venerable UK music show Top of the Pops. Two more UK Top 40 EPs Face the Strange and Opal Mantra followed, as the band toured heavily on the European festival circuit, made two separate jaunts to the United States in support of Kings X initially, and then both Helmet and The Jesus Lizard, and played their debut shows in Japan. Compilations of the three EP's were released in the U.S. and Japan (Hats Off to the Insane), and in Europe (Born in a Crash).
1994 saw the release of the commercially successful Troublegum album in February which earned the band appearances at a string of rock and indie festivals, including Reading (third consecutive appearance), Donington and Phoenix in the UK alone, as well as a clutch of Top 40 singles. It achieved a string of nominations in end-of-year polls, including a Mercury Music Prize nomination, and success at the Kerrang! Awards.
With impatience mounting for a new album, Infernal Love was released in June 1995. This time, the press reaction was lukewarm. The band had attempted to create a "cinematic" record with Belfast DJ David Holmes employed to link each tracks with "insanity", but in the eyes of many, had produced a disjointed piece over-subscribed with ballads. Despite a second consecutive Donington appearance at Metallica's request, and singles Stories and Loose charting in the UK earlier in the year, it was clear that Therapy? had changed direction. Although the string laden single Diane was a Top 10 hit in 15 European countries later in the year, much of the early momentum had gone.
Ewing quits / Four piece (1996–1998)
Fyfe Ewing left the band in January 1996. The band quickly recruited Graham Hopkins to replace Ewing as well as the permanent addition of guest cellist Martin McCarrick, and steadily toured throughout the US and Canada in 1996.
After the tour wound up in September 1996, Therapy? finally took a long break. They reconvened after a few months and spent most of 1997 writing, rehearsing and recording the follow-up to Infernal Love.
While the Church of Noise single in March 1998 failed commercially, it marked the return of the band following three years out of the spotlight. The Semi-Detached album transcended the trajectory of Troublegum and Infernal Love with their dark, broody atmosphere. However, promotion for the album was scant at best, due to problems at the A&M label, which culminated in the loss of their record deal with the company. Without label support, Cairns and McKeegan needed to finance the band's European tour in late 1998 themselves.
The turn of the millennium (1999–2003)
The band's sentiment towards newer alternative metal bands was expressed in the song Ten Year Plan from the band's uncompromising 1999 Ark21 album Suicide Pact - You First, which was packed full of vitriol, discontent and barely-repressed musical aggression. This album revealed a fuller-sound, yet was noticeably lacking in songs suitable of mainstream-radio airplay.
The following year saw the release of the So Much For The Ten Year Plan-A Retrospective 1990-2000 album which (in title at least) was a self-deprecating poke at the bands' difficulties with corporate rock in recent years. It also allowed the band to fulfill some outstanding obligations to Universal Music.
Therapy? recorded follow-up record Shameless in early 2001 in Seattle. The album, produced by the legendary Jack Endino, was delayed release by record company Ark21 until September. Graham Hopkins, who was unhappy with his musical limitation within the band, quit in December 2001. Following Hopkins' departure, the band yet again found themselves without a drummer and a record deal.
The band toured Europe in 2002 with ex-3 Colours Red drummer Keith Baxter. Hopkins was permanently replaced in Therapy? by ex-The Beyond/Cable/Gorilla drummer Neil Cooper, while the band signed a new record deal with Spitfire Records.
This line-up lasted one album, the commercially inclined High Anxiety. The bands’ first home video release, a DVD entitled Scopophobia was released shortly afterwards, consisting of a full concert recorded live at Belfast's Mandella Hall in June 2003, promo videos and other extras. The band completed a UK tour at the end of 2003 as a three piece, due to McCarrick leaving the tour midway through owing to a perforated eardrum.
Back to a three piece (2004–2009)
McCarrick left the band permanently in March 2004, and the band were now slimmed down to a permanent three piece again for the first time since 1995. Never Apologise Never Explain was released in September 2004 to an audience re-acquainted with the three-piece Therapy? and was reminiscent of the claustrophobic sound of their earlier material.
The following album One Cure Fits All was released in April 2006. The album, produced by Pedro Ferreira, was a return to the melodic tendencies of High Anxiety and again divided opinion among the band's fans.
On 19 September 2006, Therapy? performed an exclusive studio show of songs chosen by fans who had voted for their three favourite tracks from a lengthy list on the band's website. These votes were counted and the twelve tracks with the most votes were then performed and recorded (both as audio and video). In early 2007, these tracks became available to buy from the band's official website. The Webgig is no longer available to purchase. In addition to this release, the band received some attention from their old record company Universal Records (who own the rights to the bands material recorded on A&M Records) who released both a DVD of old promo clips (Gold) and a double-CD compilation of BBC sessions (Music Through A Cheap Transistor) in 2007. On the touring front, Therapy? focused on markets they hadn't usually played, including a slot at the NXNE festival in Canada, festival dates in Europe (one of which was as a late replacement for Helmet at the Nova Rock Festival) and a tour through countries such as Romania, Croatia and Serbia, even playing two gigs on Reunion Island, off the East African coast. The band ended 2007 by supporting New Model Army at their Christmas gig in Köln.
Therapy? were a last minute replacement for Biffy Clyro on the Jägermeister Rock Liga tour of Germany which lasted five dates in February 2008. These dates were the only gigs played in 2008 as the band focused their energies exclusively on recording the new record. Therapy? began recording the new album in late July at Blast Studios in Newcastle and finished recording by late August. It was produced by Andy Gill. Video of rehearsals surfaced on Therapy?'s website offering previews of the new work, showcasing a more rythmetic jazz-influenced direction (Rehearsal), alongside a rough track typical of newer Therapy? output (Clowns Galore). The album, entitled Crooked Timber, was released on 23 March 2009 via Blast Records/Global Music. The band performed the new album in its entirety on selected live dates in May, played various European festivals throughout the summer (including a debut appearance at Oxegen in Ireland and a second outing at England's Download) and toured Europe extensively from October to December.
Twentieth anniversary (2010 – present)
To mark the 20th anniversary of their debut commercial recording release, Therapy? performed for three consecutive nights at London's Monto Water Rats in March which were recorded for the bands' first official live album entitled We're Here To The End, released in November. A deluxe gold edition of 2009's Crooked Timber album was released on 19 July. Therapy? also appeared at European festivals in the summer, including at Knebworth Sonisphere on 31 July when the band performed the Troublegum album in its entirety. Later in 2010, the band performed several "Troublegum & more" sets throughout Europe as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations.
In December 2010, the band began recording their thirteenth studio album, entitled A Brief Crack of Light, in Newcastle's Blast Studio. The album recording was completed in February 2011 and mixing began in March. In late May 2011, the group announced a change of plan for the new album; another recording session was planned for June in order to record new songs that had emerged. Those songs were mixed in July 2011 and included, along with songs from the first session, for the new album. The album was released in February 2012. A preceding single and video entitled Living in the Shadow of the Terrible Thing was released in January 2012.
In May 2013, Cairns embarked on his first ever solo acoustic tour of the UK, as well as some dates in Europe. To especially mark the tour, he released a CD of acoustic material for sale exclusively at the shows, comprising 12 Therapy? songs, 6 original tracks freshly written for the tour and a cover version, all recorded in late April in Newcastle's Blast Studios
The Gemil Box was released on 18 November 2013; a career-spanning box set of rare and unreleased material. Contents included remastered versions of Nurse, Troublegum, Infernal Love and Semi-Detached, 3 CD's of rare and unreleased tracks, a DVD of the bands' 2010 Sonisphere performance of the Troublegum album, official bootlegs of London ULU '91 and London Mean Fiddler '92, a 12" vinyl of their early demo releases and a cassette of a live recording from Dublin '90.
Question mark suffix
Much has been made over the years of the unusual question mark suffix to the band's name. In early interviews the band said that the name was "really deep" and intended to raise the question "do you need therapy?", but in a 1992 interview guitarist Andy Cairns admitted that it was a chance design when he was working on band's first record sleeve. Working with Letraset transfers, Cairns misaligned the band's name, and used the "?" icon to fill the space to the right. "And then we thought, well maybe we can bluff our way through when people start reading into it."
Collaborations and other appearances
Therapy? collaborated with the short-lived rap group Fatal (part of the Soul Assassin camp, not to be confused with the hip hop artist Fatal) on the track "Come and Die" from the soundtrack to the 1993 film Judgment Night.
Andy Cairns has contributed vocals to various recordings with different bands throughout the years – "Jonestown Mind" (1994) by The Almighty, "Rehab" (2000) by UK band Manchild, "Radio" (2001) by UK band Dog Toffee (although this version remains unreleased), "Gleason" (2002) by Northern Irish band Throat, "Get Your Groove On" (2003) by The Wildhearts, "F8" (2005) by This Is Menace, "The Second Triumvirate of Lavonia" (2009) by Italian band Inferno.
"Screamager" and "Nowhere" are heard on the first series of the BBC sitcom Game On.
- Babyteeth (1991)
- Pleasure Death (1992)
- Nurse (1992)
- Troublegum (1994)
- Infernal Love (1995)
- Semi-Detached (1998)
- Suicide Pact – You First (1999)
- Shameless (2001)
- High Anxiety (2003)
- Never Apologise Never Explain (2004)
- One Cure Fits All (2006)
- Crooked Timber (2009)
- A Brief Crack of Light (2012)
- So Much for the Ten Year Plan: A Retrospective 1990-2000 (2000)
- Music Through a Cheap Transistor: The BBC Sessions (2007)
- The Gemil Box (2013)
- We're Here to the End (2010)
- "Meat Abstract" (1990)
- "Teethgrinder" (1992)
- "Shortsharpshock" (E.P.) (1993)
- "Face the Strange" (E.P.) (1993)
- "Opal Mantra" (1993)
- "Nowhere" (1994)
- "Trigger Inside" (1994)
- "Die Laughing" (1994)
- "Isolation" (1994)
- "Femtex" (1994)
- "Stories" (1995)
- "Loose" (1995)
- "Diane" (1995)
- "Stories" (1996 re-release)
- "Bad Mother" (1996)
- "Church of Noise" (1998)
- "Lonely, Cryin', Only" (1998)
- "Hate Kill Destroy" (2000)
- "Bad Karma Follows You Around" (2000)
- "Gimme Back My Brain" (2001)
- "I Am the Money" (2001)
- "If It Kills Me/Rust" (2003)
- "My Voodoo Doll" (2003)
- "Polar Bear/Rock You Monkeys" (2005)
- "Rain Hits Concrete" (E.P.) (2006)
- "Crooked Timber" (2009)
- "Exiles" (2010)
- "Living in the Shadow of the Terrible Thing" (2012)
- Thirty Seconds of Silence (1989) - Demo tape
- Meat Abstract (1989) - Demo tape
- Caucasian Psychosis (1992) - a US compilation of the first two mini-albums
- Have a Merry Fucking Christmas (1992) - a 7" given away at Dublin and Belfast gigs
- Born in a Crash (1993) - a European only mini-album
- Hats Off to the Insane (1993) - a UK, US and Japan only mini-album
- Live in Japan (Fan Club Edition) (1994) - a fan-club only cassette recorded live in Tokyo in October 1993
- Official Fan Club 1996 (1996) - a fan-club only CD recorded live in Arnhem in July 1995
- Scopophobia (2003) - a DVD release recorded live in Belfast's Mandela Hall in June 2003, plus promo video clips and extras
- Gold (2007) - a DVD release featuring promo video clips 1992-1998
- Webgig (2007) - a live studio video/audio download from the official website, recorded in September 2006
- Meat Abstract (1991) - Directed by Fyfe Ewing
- Innocent X (1991) - Directed by Fyfe Ewing
- Teethgrinder (1992) - Directed by Jon Klein
- Nausea (1992) - Directed by Jon Klein
- Screamager (1993) - Directed by Jon Klein
- Turn (1993) - Directed by Julie Hermelin
- Opal Mantra (1993) - Directed by Benjamin Stokes
- Nowhere (1993) - Directed by Nico Beyer
- Trigger Inside (1994) - Directed by ?
- Die Laughing (1994) - Directed by Matt Mahurin
- Isolation (1994) - Directed by Michelle Spillane (version 1)
- Isolation (1994) - Directed by ? (version 2)
- Stories (1995) - Directed by Peter Christopherson (version 1)
- Stories (1995) - Directed by Thomas Napper (version 2)
- Loose (1995) - Directed by W.I.Z.
- Loose (Photek Remix) (1995) - Directed by W.I.Z.
- Diane (1995) - Directed by W.I.Z.
- Church of Noise (1998) - Directed by John Hillcoat
- Lonely, Cryin', Only (1998) - Directed by John Hillcoat
- Little Tongues First (1999) - Directed by Nigel Rolfe
- Bad Karma Follows You Around (2000) - Directed by ?
- Gimme Back My Brain (2001) - Directed by ?
- If It Kills Me (2003) - Directed by ?
- Rise Up (Make Yourself Well) (2004) - Directed by ?
- Rock You Monkeys (2005) - Directed by Andre Thyret
- Crooked Timber (2009) - Directed by 'Sitcom Soldiers'
- Living in the Shadow of the Terrible Thing (2011) - Directed by 'Sitcom Soldiers'
- Before You, With You, After You (2012) - Directed by 'Giftedlive.com'
- Peter Buckley The Rough Guide to Rock 2003 p2102 "THERAPY? Formed Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1987. u n 1988 Andy Cairns took a copy of the first self-financed single by his power trio, Therapy?, to a Revolting Cocks gig. He handed it over to the support band, Silverfish, and they ..."
- Loftus, Johnny High Anxiety review from Allmusic.com
- "Pixelsurgeon interview 2001".
- "Band Biography (1989) by Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (1990) by Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (1991) by Andy Cairns".
- "UK Top 40 Chart History".
- "Irish Top 40 Chart History".
- "Band Biography (1992) by Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (1993) by Andy Cairns".
- "Critical Junctions review of Troublegum".
- "Band Biography (1994) by Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (1995) by Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (1996) by Andy Cairns".
- "EP Magazine interview with Michael McKeegan".
- "Band Biography (1997) by Andy Cairns".
- "Dotmusic interview with Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (1998) by Andy Cairns".
- "Knac.com interview with Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (1999) by Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (2000) by Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (2001) by Andy Cairns".
- "Band Biography (2002) by Andy Cairns".
- "The Metal Forge interview with Andy Cairns".
- "Therapy? Webgig Youtube Trailer".
- "June 2008 rehearsal".
- "March 2008 - Clowns Galore".
- "Official Discography - Crooked Timber".
- "Edwin McFee Blog".
- "Therapy? confirmed for UK Sonisphere Festival 2010".
- "State interview with Andy Cairns, July 2011".
- "New album mixing".
- "Official Discography - A Brief Crack Of Light".
- "Living in the Shadow of the Terrible Thing video".
- "Andy Cairns Solo Tour Exclusive CD".
- ""The Gemil Box" Official Site News".
- "Troublegum & Infernal Love Deluxe Editions".
- "NME Interview – Happiness Is a Worn Gum".
- "Michaels message board post regarding Iron Man".
- Official web site
- Official Facebook page
- Stressed Sumo Records – The label Neil co-runs
- Interview with Michael McKeegan and Neil Cooper from Hard Rock Hell Festival 2011
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