We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It

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We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It!!
We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It 01.jpg
At the Underground, Croydon - 1986
Background information
Also known as Fuzzbox
Origin Birmingham, England
Genres Alternative rock, pop punk
Years active 1985–1990, 2010–2011
Labels Vindaloo, Geffen, Warner Bros., Cherry Red, Gotham
Associated acts ViX n the Kix
Past members Vix (Vickie Perks)
Maggie Dunne
Jo Dunne
Tina O'Neill

We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It!! or simply Fuzzbox were an English alternative rock group. Formed in Birmingham in 1985, the all-female quartet originally consisted of Vix (Vickie Perks), Magz (Maggie Dunne), Jo Dunne and Tina O'Neill. The band's name was shortened to Fuzzbox for the U.S. release of their first album. They disbanded in 1990 after releasing two studio albums, and reunited in 2010 for a series of concerts.

Biography[edit]

Hailing from Moseley, Sheldon and Acocks Green, Birmingham, Fuzzbox came together in 1985.[1] Their name was chosen after they bought a distortion pedal for their guitars and Maggie Dunne stated "We've got a fuzzbox and we're gonna use it!".[2]

Their first release, in March 1986, was a single of "XX Sex" and "Rules And Regulations", with the fuzzbox featuring prominently, which reached No. 41 in the UK charts.[1] This proved a huge success for the girls; despite not reaching the Top 40, the Vindaloo Records release remained in the Indie chart for twenty-five weeks.[3] This led to tours of the UK and Europe and, in December that year, their debut album, Bostin' Steve Austin, was released (Geffen re-titled the album We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It upon its US release). This album spawned the band's first Top 40 hit, "Love Is The Slug" and the minor hit "What's The Point".

In the summer of 1986 the band teamed up with their Vindaloo Records labelmates, The Nightingales and Ted Chippington to record a single "Rocking With Rita (Head To Toe)". The single, credited to the Vindaloo Summer Special, featured Fuzzbox tackling such classics as "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" on the b-side.[2] Further discussions led to their cover of Norman Greenbaum's hit "Spirit in the Sky", with vocals provided by Magz (Maggie).

The band signed to WEA and for their next album, Big Bang! (1989), they made an abrupt change and reinvented themselves as a slick dance-pop vocal group, with Vickie Perks being cast centre stage as a sex symbol. The songs "Pink Sunshine", "Fast Forward Futurama" and "International Rescue" were all co-written by Liam Sternberg. The first three singles from the album, "International Rescue" (UK No. 11), "Pink Sunshine" (UK No. 14) and "Self!" (UK No. 24) all reached the UK Top 30, although a fourth single released from the album, a cover of Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice", peaked at No. 76.[4] "Self!" also became the group's only charting single in the United States when it peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and number 35 on Billboard's Dance Music Club Play chart.[5]

In 1990, they began work on a new album entitled "Out Of This World", but the project was halted after the release of the first single "Your Loss, My Gain" due to 'musical differences'. Perks decided to continue a solo career under the name of Vix whilst the other 3 members left the music industry.[1] A reunion found its way in 2008 and an appearance at the UK's Birmingham's Gay Pride festival paved the way for the old-school fans to re-embrace the latter days of Fuzzbox's height of success. Releases of previously unreleased material surfaced under the titles of Fuzz and Nonsense and From Rules and Regulations to Pink Sunshine featuring tracks originally slated for Out Of This World. An album was later released of their two radio sessions for the late John Peel and sessions for Janice Long's show, entitled Love Is A Slug: Complete BBC Sessions. Peel show listeners voted "Rules and Regulations" into number 31 in the Festive Fifty in 1986.[6]

In October 2004 a compilation of Fuzzbox singles and alternative mixes entitled Look At The Hits On That was released complete with a DVD of their promotional videos - most of which were publicly unavailable up until that release.

Reunion[edit]

Early in 2010, Fuzzbox announced their reunion, returning as a quintet without drummer Tina O'Neill, and with the addition of bass player Sarah Firebrand and drummer Karen Milne. A 13-date UK tour took place in May, along with a new single and video, a cover of M's "Pop Muzik", released through Gotham Records and iTunes on 17 May.

On 25 September 2010, Fuzzbox headlined at the Shifnal Festival and played at the Whitby Gothic Weekend on 25 March 2011.[7] The latter was the reunion's swansong, the project disbanding shortly afterwards.

Guitarist Jo Dunne died on 26 October 2012, after a short illness.[8]

Solo work[edit]

Fuzzbox lead singer Vix joined Ginger of the Wildhearts' supergroup Ginger & The Sonic Circus along with guitarist/ producer Jason Edwards (Wolfsbane), Jon Poole (The Wildhearts/Cardiacs) and Conny Bloom (Hanoi Rocks). They headlined the Gibson/MySpace stage at the 2006 Download festival and did several dates in the U.S and Japan as well as a couple of UK tours before The Wildhearts eventually reformed, putting further plans on hold.

Vix also released an 11 track album in 2008, LovePower and Peace on Damage Control Music. The album features nine original tracks along with re-workings of two Fuzzbox songs, "Your Loss, My Gain" and "You", and was co-written and produced by Robin George.

Vix recorded a further EP called "Seduction Songs" on Fierce Kitten Records with Robin George, Pete Haycock (Climax Blues Band), Mark Sheppard (the Offering), Mel Collins (Bryan Ferry/ King Crimson/ Meatloaf), Jacquie Williams (Sister Sledge), Joy Shannon (Joy Shannon and the Beauty Marks, The Birmingham Women in Music and the LovePower & Peace Kids Choir in 2013).

Vix released a gospel-tinged pop single called "Believe Me" with the Offering on Fierce Kitten Records in 2014.

ViX n The Kix[edit]

ViX n The Kix was a musical project initiated in 2007 by Vix.[9] Ruckus magazine described ViX n The Kix's music as "a retro lashing of slick Fifties glamour and flirty burlesque...alternates between fun, punk-inspired blasts of guitar-powered pop to lush, emotive ballads - influences taking in everything from No Doubt through Garbage to Roxy Music and The Pretenders."[10] The project ended when Vix announced the reunion of Fuzzbox in 2010.

In late 2011, following the end of ViX n The Kix and the Fuzzbox reunion, Vix - reverting to her real name, Victoria Perks - announced the formation of her new Americana / New Country project, The Victoria Perks Band.

Personnel[edit]

  • Vix - born Victoria Perks (born 9 October 1968, Birmingham, England) - Vocalist, violin
  • Maggie Dunne (born 5 June 1964, Solihull, England) - vocals, percussion, keyboards, guitar, violin
  • Jo Dunne (born 12 November 1968, Birmingham, England - died 26 October 2012[8]) - Bass guitar, guitar, drums, piano
  • Tina O'Neill (born 20 January 1969, Birmingham, England) - drums, percussion, saxophone

[1][2]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Bostin' Steve Austin (Vindaloo Records) (1986)
  • We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It (Geffen Records) (1987) - Reissue of the first 12 songs on Bostin' Steve Austin
  • Big Bang (Warner Bros. Records) (1989) UK No. 5[1]

Compilations[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

Year Single Peak positions Album
UK
[11]
IRE US Dance
[12]
US Altern.
[13]
1986 "Rules And Regulations" 1 41 Bostin' Steve Austin
"Rockin' With Rita (Head To Toe)" (as part of The Vindaloo Summer Special) 56 single only
"Love Is The Slug" 31 Bostin' Steve Austin
1987 "What's The Point" 2 51
1989 "International Rescue" 11 20 Big Bang!
"Pink Sunshine" 14 24
"Self!" 24 35 16
"Walking on Thin Ice" 76
1990 "Your Loss My Gain" 3 100 singles only
2010 "Pop Muzik" (digital only)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Strong, Martin C (1999) The Great Alternative & Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 0-86241-913-1
  2. ^ a b c Larkin, Colin (1992) The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music, Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  3. ^ a b Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4
  4. ^ We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It, ChartStats
  5. ^ Allmusic Billboard Charts & Awards: Fuzzbox
  6. ^ We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It, at the BBC's Keeping It Peel site
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ a b "Fuzzbox bass guitarist Jo Dunne, 43, dies after cancer battle". BBC NEWS. 27 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Get yourself a Vix fix", BBC, 17 February 2009
  10. ^ BeeBee, Steve (October 2008). "ViX n The Kix". Ruckus. Archived from the original on Feb 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Official Charts Company: Fuzzbox". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  12. ^ "Fuzzbox - US Dance Club Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  13. ^ "Fuzzbox - US Alternative Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  14. ^ Fuzzbox, ChartStats

External links[edit]