UFX

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UFX
UFX band.jpg
UFX – L-R Johnny Volume, Ratfink, Chad Spandosa, Dunk Rock
Background information
Also known as Uncle Fester
Origin Blackpool, Lytham St Annes and Fleetwood, England
Genres Gothic Rock
Punk
Alternative
Psychobilly
rock and roll
Years active 2000–present
Labels Thundersqueak
Associated acts Alien Sex Fiend
Section 25
Zoo Boutique
Mockingbone
Shining Sons
Pink Torpedoes
Uncle Fester

The Crawlin' Hex'
Boneyard Zombies
Vince Ripper and the Rodent Show
Inner Temple
Puppet Master
Final Solution
Lucifer
Dog Food
Another Dimension
Urban Void
Members Dunk Rock
Rat Fink
Johnny Volume
Chad Spandosa
Past members Doc Virus

UFX are an Alternative Rock band formed in Blackpool, Lancashire in 2000.

History[edit]

Dunk Rock (Duncan Lewis Jowitt)[edit]

In 1977, Vi Brator (Stephen Rosser) and Duncan Disorderly (Jowitt) formed short-lived punk rock band Urban Void. Following the band's demise, Jowitt was invited to replace Phil Denton as guitarist in Section 25 just as the band were beginning to make their first live appearances. After they parted company in October 1978, Jowitt formed his own band Final Solution as vocalist/guitarist with David Foster on bass. Final Solution opened the show at the 1979 Blackpool charity concert organised by Section 25, which featured Joy Division and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and ultimately led to Section 25 being signed to Manchester's influential Factory record label. By 1980, after a series of line-up changes, the band had changed its original inflammatory name to Another Dimension and had settled around a core personnel of Jowitt and Foster with Steve Grice on drums.

In 1982, with the addition of John "Sid" Hayward on synthesisers and Bill Fogel on guitar, the band became Zoo Boutique, after the New York boutique called Zoo that was opened by Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits and Graham Gouldman (later of 10cc in 1969.[1] The name was misspelt as Zoo Bootique on their first release "Love Like a Clown", which was included on the compilation EP "A Drop in the Ocean" on Lightbeat Records.[2] With Fogel relaced by a second keyboard-player in Phil Denton of The Tins, who had released the DIY album "Buying In Bulk" to positive reviews in 1981, Zoo Boutique's sound became increasingly electronic rock and their debut single "Forgive and Forget"/"Happy Families"[3][4][5][6] (also on Lightbeat Records) received national UK prime-time airplay on BBC Radio 1 but failed to chart. This proved to be the height of Zoo Boutique's commercial success and without a record deal, the band persisted through further line-up changes before Jowitt finally folded the band in 1985 to form Gothic Rock/rockabilly band (Snakeman And The) Headhunters, with Mark Channing on bass, Paul Jepson on guitar and Hayward reverting to drums. In 2014, Zoo Boutique's singles and a number of previously unreleased recordings were compiled by Thundersqueak and released as the "Forgotten" album along with an album "Two Sane Men", which was recorded in 1985 and shelved for almost 30 years.

When Hayward left in 1988, Jowitt joined Pete Graham (guitar), Peter Terras (bass) and Alex Darbyshire (drums) to form Fleetwood's Shining Sons, adopting the stagename "Morax". Shining Sons split in 1992, having released only one six-track cassette "Limited Edition" in 1989, which was expanded and released as a self-titled album in 2014. Jowitt joined Blackpool punk band Pink Torpedoes in 1993, leaving in 1995 following a concert at the British Snowboarding Championships in the French Alps. Since 1994 he has released occasional solo material under the name Lucifer and Lewis "Cypher", many in limited editions deliberately designed to be unplayable without access to certain now-obsolete playback devices. These include a series of six groundbreaking[7][8] "Cyber Punk Rock" tracker module floppy disk EPs in 1994-95 playable only on Commodore Amiga computers, the first three volumes of which included the first full vocal songs to be released for playback on a computer,[9][10] and an (audio only) single on betamax videocassette. The recordings on the first "Cyber Punk Rock" disk were two full length cover versions of songs by the Ramones: "Beat on the Brat" and "I Don't Care", chosen because of the minimal lyrical variation between the verses. All the Lucifer floppy disk releases were reissued as "Cyber Punk"[11][12][13] album and a double album "Cyber Zone"[14] as Internet-only downloads alongside more recent recordings made under the name Lucifer[15][16]

In 1996, Jowitt's Mockingbone studio project with Shaun Vincent Gair also self-released two limited edition CD albums "Mockingbone" and "A Mix Bag".[17] and the compilation "A Very Mixed Bag Indeed" in 1997. Mockingbone's "musics" were remastered, repackaged and re-released in 2014 as five separate EPs and albums: "Mockingbone", "Trance", "Mentell", "EnTrance" and "Song Cycle".[18]

Rat Fink (Andrew Wilson)[edit]

A fan club member of gothic rock band Alien Sex Fiend, Wilson first met singer Nik Fiend when Lytham St Annes band The Turnpike Cruisers landed a support slot with the band. By 1986 he was drumming for the Turnpikes when they supported Alien Sex Fiend in Hammersmith, London and shortly afterwards Nik Fiend asked him to join the band. Fiend gave Wilson the stage name Rat Fink Jr. when he joined as drummer and guitarist and he subsequently toured and recorded with them until 1992. Rat's time with Alien Sex Fiend along with frank and honest details of his personal life is thoroughly documented in the book "Once Upon a Fiend".[19]

He subsequently returned to Blackpool and played with United States of Mind, a band which also featured future Earthling Society drummer Jon Blacow on percussion. Wilson would spend the rest of the 1990s awaiting a recall from Fiend and sitting in on drums with various bands.

In 1996, Wilson and Jowitt met when both were employed as actors for the first season of Blackpool's interactive horror show Pasaje Del Terror, where Rat played the role of Dracula.

Guitarist Johnny Volume and bassist Chad Spandosa (Nick Turner)[edit]

In 1983, 19 year old bassist Chad Spandosa formed Skreem with drummer Kim Sweeney, British marathon drumming champion (59 hours 30 minutes & 32 seconds) from 2004 to 2008. Spandosa then joined Johnny Thunders/Ron Asheton/Stooges-inspired guitarist Johnny Volume and Iggy Pop-obsessed singer "The Blay" (Colin Blaylock) in Blackpool’s Dog Food who, with a succession of different drummers, were a permanent fixture on the Blackpool music scene throughout the rest of the 1980s and most of the 1990s including touring with Dunk Rock's Headhunters in 1986. Dog Food were joined by Rat Fink on drums shortly before the band split permanently in 1998.

1999–2005 – The Uncle Fester years[edit]

Drummer Rat Fink and guitarist Johnny Volume band first got together in 1999 with the idea of playing "junk rock" (a term coined by Kerrang! magazine to describe classic bands like The Stooges, New York Dolls and MC5 and newer bands like Buckcherry, Nashville Pussy and Sweden's Backyard Babies). Jowitt was recruited on vocals (the name Dunk Rock was given to him at the first rehearsal by Volume) and Doc Virus completed the line-up on bass. In June 2000, Virus was replaced by Spandosa.

Adopting the name Uncle Fester, the band released debut album "Frump Experiments" in 2000 as a limited pressing. This was sold only to fans at the band's gigs. The band's first full release was "Total Sonic Mayhem" on the Thundersqueak label in 2002. TSM consisted half of remastered songs from Frump Experiments alongside several newly written tracks. It was deleted the following year as soon as the initial pressing had sold out. The 2004 album/EP "Offensive" consisted of four new songs and four previously released songs, including live favourite "Idiot", as bonus tracks.

In 2005 Uncle Fester appeared performing "Top Down" (from 2005’s "Offensive") in the independent Ten:10 movie by Northwest Films and were also filmed performing live for Channel 4’s Bed and Bardsley TV series (a spin off of the successful Wife Swap series featuring the family of Lizzy Bardsley). The band had previously appeared opposite Amanda Holden and James Bradshaw as a gang of punk rockers in the ultimate scene (set in a punk rock club) of the final episode of the third and last series of The Grimleys, Granada Television’s popular comedy show in 2001 in which Ratfink played the character Gordon Bates and Johnny Volume played the part of the punk DJ.[20]

2006 onwards – UFX[edit]

In 2006, the band changed its name to UFX and released the album "Crack", the band's first since 2002 to consist entirely of new material.[21] The album’s cover art featured the work of Parisien photographer Gui Brigaudiot.[22] The band simultaneously made all their recordings released as Uncle Fester available as free mp3 downloads on the band's website.

In 2009 UFX released "Sick Sick Sex", another album of entirely original material, which featured Nick Gribbon (who had been a member of Blackpool's The Rockin' Vickers in 1964-65 at the same time as Lemmy of Hawkwind and Motörhead)), on harmonica on "Rattlesnake" (a song which had been first recorded with an entirely different backing in 1989 by Shining Sons).

UFX recorded 12 original tracks intended for their sixth album shortly before the band went on extended hiatus in October 2011 with the album still awaiting completion. The break was ostensibly to allow members of the band the opportunity to pursue other interests: Ratfink with Vince Ripper and The Rodent Show[23] - a Live Show combining a DJ set of classic 50/60's Garage Rock n Roll with live instrumentation, Chad with his Inner Temple side project[24] and Dunk with guitarist Tony Mitchell, previously of Kiss of the Gypsy in Gothic rock/Psychobilly band Boneyard Zombies,[25] which also featured Andy "Wild Dice" Wilkinson and Tommy Couch, the rhythm section of hardcore punk band One Way System. This followed an earlier studio collaboration with Mitchell in Puppetmaster, which had resulted in one EP released in 2011. In 2012, Boneyard Zombies released the album "Death Rattle and Roll".

In 2013, mixing of the UFX tracks recorded in 2011 was finally completed and the album released as "Reverse Engineering (Exits Exist)". There are no plans for the band to reconvene to promote the album as Volume has announced that he has "retired". A controversial video using allegedly hoax footage from Alternative 3, the Roswell alien autopsy and footage of Nazi flying saucers was released to accompany the title track of the album.

Despite the group's live inactivity since 2011, UFX (along with Mockingbone and Puppetmaster) have remained in the Top Five chart on Internet station Mohawk Radio Show,[26] the main radio station for the Punk, Psychobilly, Hardcore, Alternative Community, since 2008.

All of the Uncle Fester and UFX albums were remastered and re-released as Internet downloads in March 2014.[27]

In June 2014, Spandosa and Rock joined Fred Laird and Jon Blacow of Earthling Society to form rock n roll band The Crawlin' Hex.[28]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • 2000 – Uncle Fester - Frump Experiments
  • 2002 – Uncle Fester - Total Sonic Mayhem
  • 2004 – Uncle Fester - Offensive
  • 2006 – UFX - Crack
  • 2009 – UFX - Sick Sick Sex
  • 2013 – UFX - Reverse Engineering (Exits Exist)

Various Artist Compilations[edit]

  • The Ugly Truth About Blackpool Volume 1 2005[29][30]
  • Conform Or Die 2005[31]
  • The Ugly Truth About Blackpool Volume 2 2006[29]
  • Misery of Sound 2007[32]

Recent Side Project Releases[edit]

  • 2010 - Puppetmaster - My Name is Death (EP)[33]
  • 2012 - Boneyard Zombies - Death Rattle and Roll[33]
  • 2012 - Various - Blackout Crypthology (features tracks by both Boneyard Zombies and Vince Ripper and the Rodent Show)[34]
  • 2013 - Vince Ripper and the Rodent Show - Live From The Boneyard (DVD)[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-adv/marketing/WBIG/noone.html
  2. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Various-A-Drop-In-The-Ocean/release/2324237 | A Drop in the Ocean EP on Discogs.com
  3. ^ Zoo Boutique – Forgive And Forget (Vinyl) at Discogs. Discogs.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  4. ^ http://www.fade2grey.com/rip-it-up/zoo-boutique/ Review at fade2grey.com
  5. ^ http://www.hyped2death.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=556 record description at hyped2death.com
  6. ^ Zoo Boutique – Forgive and Forget – Listening & stats at. Last.fm (2009-02-11). Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  7. ^ "Cyber Punk Rock Vol.2". CU Amiga: 113. December 1994. 
  8. ^ "Music - Cyber Punk Rock". Amiga Pro. February 1995. 
  9. ^ http://www.longridgenews.co.uk/what-s-on/music/dunk-rock-and-co-rewind-1-6500079 - Longridge and Ribble Valley News
  10. ^ http://www.discogs.com/artist/Lucifer%7CLucifer/Lewis "Cypher" on Discogs.com
  11. ^ http://www.open.spotify.com/album/24gzMpN8HpL1eO3P9QKZUL | Cyber Punk album on Spotify
  12. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cyber-punk/id834511109 | Cyber Punk album on i-Tunes
  13. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cyber-Punk-Lucifer/dp/B00J3GRNZM | Cyber Punk album on Amazon
  14. ^ http://www.open.spotify.com/album/24gzMpN8HpL1eO3P9QKZUL | Cyber Zone album on Spotify
  15. ^ http://www.lep.co.uk/what-s-on/music/dunk-rock-and-co-rewind-1-6500079 | "Those and other floppy-only releases from 1994-96 have been compiled into the Cyber Punk Rock album and a double album Cyber Zone." - Lancashire Evening Post article 15 March 2014
  16. ^ https://play.google.com/store/music/artist/Lucifer?id=A54qcoqgomfthxq26jdrnfarv6m | Cyber Punk and Cyber Zone albums and Trick or Treat and Lost Symphonies EPs on Google play
  17. ^ http://www.discogs.com/artist/Mockingbone | Mockingbone on Discogs.com
  18. ^ http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/what-s-on/music-dance/duncan-s-feeding-us-with-new-songs-from-the-zoo-1-6616122
  19. ^ Pete McKenna; Ratfink (1 October 2000). Once Upon a Fiend. Noir. ISBN 978-0-9536564-1-7. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  20. ^ UFX biography, Last FM
  21. ^ Review of Crack album on punkoiuk.co.uk
  22. ^ The photography of Gui Brigaudiot. Viciousart.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  23. ^ Vince Ripper and The Rodent Show on Reverb Nation
  24. ^ Inner Temple on Reverb Nation
  25. ^ Boneyard Zombies on Reverb Nation
  26. ^ UFX, Mockingbone and Puppetmaster in top 5 chart of Mohawk Radio
  27. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Fester-UFX/dp/B00IO0ZCJM Uncle Fester and UFX on Amazon
  28. ^ http://www.reverbnation.com/thecrawlinhex
  29. ^ a b The Ugly Truth About Blackpool Volumes 1 and 2. JSNTGM.com Retrieved on 2013-07-03.
  30. ^ The Ugly Truth About Blackpool Volume 1 cd compilation. sick56.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-25.
  31. ^ Square Peg Releases. Thesquarepeg.co.uk. Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  32. ^ misery of sound cd compilation. Miseryofsound.co.uk. Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  33. ^ a b Boneyard Zombies - Death Rattle and Roll 2012 and Puppetmaster - My Name is Death 2010. X-Gypsy.com. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  34. ^ Blackout Crypthology CD track-listing. Must Die Records.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  35. ^ DVD release 2013 by Globegig. Globegig.com. Retrieved 2013-07-03

External links[edit]