Brand X

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Brand X
OriginLondon, England
GenresJazz fusion
Years active1975–1980, 1992–1999, 2016–present
LabelsCharisma, Passport
Associated actsPeter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Genesis, Atomic Rooster, Soft Machine, Fire Merchants, Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Liverpool Scene, Weather Report, Rod Argent, Phil Collins, Imperial Triumphant
Members

Brand X are a jazz fusion band formed in London in 1975. They were active until 1980, followed by a reformation between 1992–1999, and are currently active following a 2016 reunion. Members have included John Goodsall (guitar),[1] Percy Jones (bass), Robin Lumley (keyboards) and Phil Collins (drums). Goodsall and Jones were the sole constant members throughout the band's existence until October 2020, when Jones left the band.[2]

History[edit]

1975–1980: First incarnation[edit]

Brand X co-founder Percy Jones

In December 1974, Genesis drummer Phil Collins was invited to rehearsals with a developing five-piece instrumental jazz fusion group at Island Studios in London, which included Percy Jones on bass. They had secured a recording deal with Island Records and prepared tracks for a studio album which originally included vocals. However, the vocals were negatively received from Island management, leaving the group to write new material,[3] at the suggestion of Island A&R man Richard Williams.[4] After Collins left for Genesis commitments, the line-up changed from Jones, John Goodsall on guitar, Robin Lumley on keyboards and vocals, Pete Bonas on guitar, and John Dillon on drums and percussion, to a departing Bonas and Dillon, the latter replaced by Phil Spinelli for a short time before a newly available Collins took his place in April 1975.[4] The four recorded Unorthodox Behaviour in September and October 1975 at Trident Studios with Jack Lancaster on saxophone.[5] They were named Brand X after Island Records staffer Danny Wilding wrote down "Brand X" to keep track of their activity on the studio calendar, and the name stuck. In preparation for their upcoming gigs, the four were joined by Geoff Seopardi on percussion by December 1975.[6][7] Genesis manager Tony Smith became their manager.[4]

Brand X played their first gigs with a series of low key warm-up shows in November and December 1975. These were followed by a full-scale tour across the UK from February 1976, mainly on the college circuit. They had little funds, resorting to renting a synthesiser and PA system, operated with a small road crew, and often played support for the headlining act.[6] In December 1976, the band returned to Trident Studios to record their second album Moroccan Roll, by which time percussionist Morris Pert joined the band full-time. They had previously employed Gaspar Lawal,[8] Bill Bruford, and Preston Heyman for the position, but each operated in an unofficial capacity. Moroccan Roll was released in April 1977 and peaked at No. 37 in the UK[9] and No. 125 in the US. With Collins leaving the group for Genesis commitments, Kenwood Dennard of Pat Martino's group was recruited in New York City in time for their 32-date US tour in May and June 1977. Collins briefly returned later in 1977 for a series of dates, including a spot at the tenth Crystal Palace Garden Party in London and the Fête de l'Humanité in Paris on the same day on a specially chartered plane, the latter attended by an estimated 200,000 people.[10]

Following the completion of the two albums, Clark and Pert departed the band, and the remaining six members recorded another album, 1982's Is There Anything About?, which would be the final album to feature both Lumley and Collins, and which would not be released until two and a half years after the band's dissolution. Following the completion of the recording sessions, the band embarked on a world tour, following which Collins departed for the final time. Clark returned to the drum stool, and the band toured the UK in April and May 1980 (co-headlining with Bruford).[11]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

Live albums

  • 1977 Livestock - largely recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club Aug/Sept 76[12] - US No. 204
  • 1996 Live at the Roxy L.A. - recorded 23 September 1979 (taken from a band members' cassette from the venue's PA mixing desk)
  • 2000 Timeline - live concerts 16 November 1977 Chicago & 21 June 1993 NYC
  • 2017 But Wait... There's More! - LIVE 2017 - recorded on 6 January 2017 at the Sellersville Theatre, PA
  • 2018 Locked & Loaded - recorded live June 2017, Longs Park Amphitheater, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Compilation albums

  • 1986 Xtrax - tracks from first seven albums
  • 1992 The Plot Thins - A History of Brand X - tracks from the first four studio albums, plus Livestock
  • 1997 Missing Period - recorded 1975-1976, collection of lost session tapes
  • 1999 X-Files: A 20 Year Retrospective - compilation including side projects
  • 2003 Trilogy - Xcommunication + Manifest Destiny + live recording 27 September 1979 NYC
  • 2014 Nuclear Burn - 4-CD boxset containing Unorthodox Behaviour, Moroccan Roll, Livestock, Masques, Product, and Do They Hurt? in their entirety and four bonus tracks taken from unreleased BBC sessions
  • 2020 Livevox: The Official Bootleg

Related albums

Members[edit]

Current members

  • John Goodsall – guitar (1974–1980, 1992–1999, 2016–present)
  • Chris Clark – keyboards, synthesisers (2016–present)
  • Scott Weinberger – percussion (2016–present)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Band Approved Videos". youtube.com. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  2. ^ https://www.loudersound.com/news/percy-jones-quits-brand-x
  3. ^ Fudger, Dave (13 March 1976). "Which xciting, xtravagant, xtremely x-rated, xquisitely xtroverted band sends you into flights of xtasy?". Sounds. p. 43. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Welch, Chris (17 December 1977). "Brand X: This is a stick-up!". Melody Maker. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  5. ^ Unorthodox Behaviour (Media notes). Brand X. Charisma Records. 1976. CAS 1117.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ a b Johnson, Derek (6 December 1975). "Brand X: Genesis drummer debuts new group". New Musical Express. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  7. ^ Dallas, Karl (10 January 1976). "Collins cleans up with Brand X". Melody Maker. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Last.fm". Gasper Lawal – Discover music, concerts, stats, & pictures at Last.fm. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  9. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). Guinness World Records Limited. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  10. ^ Fudger, Dave (1 October 1977). "A gig too far". Sounds. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Percy Jones interview". December 2000. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Brand X Performances". Edensongs.com. Retrieved 19 May 2014.

External links[edit]