Danielle Dax

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Danielle Dax
Dax in 1989
Dax in 1989
Background information
Born (1958-09-23) 23 September 1958 (age 63)
Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England
OriginUnited Kingdom
GenresExperimental
Occupation(s)Musician, music producer
LabelsSire/Warner Bros. Records
Websitedanielledax.com

Danielle Dax (born 23 September 1958)[1] is an English experimental musician and producer most active from the late-1970s to the mid-1990s.

Biography[edit]

She was born Danielle Gardner, in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England.[2] Dax's first performance on stage in London was when she was a pre-teen. She sang in Benjamin Britten's opera, Noye's Fludde (Noah's Flood), at the Royal Albert Hall. Preceding this, the first time Dax appeared on stage was at the age of three as an orange Jelly Baby on the Southend bandstand.

After a short modelling career (she won the "Miss Evening Echo" competition in 1976),[3] Dax made her 'pop' musical debut in 1979, within three weeks of joining the group Amii Toytal and the Croixroads - this was a pseudonym for the Lemon Kittens[2] - as keyboardist, flautist and saxophonist. It was their first gig and took place at Reading University's Student Union 'Airport' Bar. Karl Blake from the Lemon Kittens had met her some three weeks earlier after he read an article about her in a local newspaper. Blake was in urgent need of an artist, so he attended the next meeting of Dax's arts group and was introduced to her. Upon learning that she could also play saxophone and flute, he immediately recruited her for the band; in addition, he also got her to agree to do the cover artwork for the planned release. She ended up doing the cover artwork for all of Lemon Kittens releases.

During Dax's time in the avant-garde new wave music band Lemon Kittens, she was included on Robert Fripp's The League of Gentlemen's 1981 eponymous album, performing vocals (credited as "Hamsprachtmusic") on the song "Minor Man". However, that song was not included on the album when it was released on the CD compilation entitled God Save The King. Her artwork was retained for the cover.[2] She also painted the cover for Robert Fripp's solo album, Let the Power Fall. Dax supplied vocals to an unreleased track by the Bombay Ducks in which she sang a duet with Robert Wyatt, although they never met. The duet was done in studio, separately.

In early 1982, after the Lemon Kittens went into "extended hibernation", Dax embarked on her solo career, recording and producing the albums Pop-Eyes (1983) wherein she played all the instruments herself,[2] initially released on the IRC [Initial Recording Company] label with her own art cover, and re-released on Awesome Records with a Holly Warburton cover. On the mini-album that followed Jesus Egg That Wept (1984),[2] she was aided on some tracks by Karl Blake or David Knight. Her third album Inky Bloaters (1987), cemented her collaborative recording work with David Knight; this as well as various EPs, up to that time, were released on the label Awesome Records.[2] In 1988, she signed with Sire Records, which released her album Dark Adapted Eye, which contained material from her previous recordings.[2]

In 1984, she made her first film appearance as the Wolfgirl (a non-speaking role) in The Company of Wolves by Neil Jordan. In 1988, her film credits came to include writing music for the short avant-garde film Axel by Nigel Wingrove.[4]

In 1989, Dax appeared on the Channel 4 show Star Test, where she was interviewed for 30 minutes by "computer".

In 1990, she released her one major-label studio album, Blast the Human Flower, produced by Stephen Street, except for the tracks "Bayou" and "Daisy", which they produced together.[2] The album's single, "Tomorrow Never Knows", joined "Blue Christmas" (her cover of an Elvis Presley tune), "Kites" by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound (during the Lemon Kittens period) and "Hate on Sight", a track by Shock Headed Peters (included on her Comatose etc. release) as an addition to her covers of other artists' work. Her last two album releases were in 1995 and consisted of a career retrospective double-album entitled Comatose Non-Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax and an EP of new avant-garde and almost completely instrumental material called Timber Tongue (both on her own Biter of Thorpe label). Dax's career in the music business then went on indefinite hiatus and is often referred to as a 'retirement'.

Since 1996, she has worked in interior design and has appeared several times on the BBC interior design show Homefront, where she won the Designer of the Year Award.[2]

In 2017, Dax performed at London's Cafe Oto as part of UnicaZürn with David Knight, David J. Smith and Stephen Thrower.[5][6] She had previously contributed lyrics, vocals and artwork for the group's 2009 album Temporal Bends.[7]

Discography[edit]

with Lemon Kittens[edit]

  • Spoonfed & Writhing (cover art only)
  • We Buy a Hammer for Daddy (multi-instrumentalist, vocals)
  • Cake Beast (three track 12" EP)
  • (...those that bite the hand that feeds them sooner or later must meet...) The Big Dentist (multi-instrumentalist, vocals)

Solo[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details UK Indie Chart Peak[8]
Pop-Eyes
  • Released: 22 April 1983
  • Label: The Initial Recording Company
Jesus Egg That Wept
  • Released: October 1984
  • Label: Awesome
10
Inky Bloaters
  • Released: 1 April 1987
  • Label: Awesome
9
Blast the Human Flower
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or that the album was not released on that market.

EPs[edit]

Title Album details UK Indie Chart Peak[8]
The Janice Long Session
  • Released: 1988
  • Label: Awesome
24
Timber Tongue
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Biter of Thorpe
?
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or that the album was not released on that market.

Compilations[edit]

Title Album details
Up Amongst the Golden Spires
  • Released: 1986 (Japan)
  • Label: Vap Inc.
The Chemical Wedding
  • Released: 1987 (Japan)
  • Label: Vap Inc.
Dark Adapted Eye
  • Released: 1988
  • Label: Sire
Comatose-Non-Reaction
(The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax)
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Biter of Thorpe

Singles[edit]

Title Year UK Indie Chart[8] US Alt Album
"Yummer Yummer Man" 1985 7 Inky Bloaters
"Where the Flies Are" 1986 14
"Big Hollow Man" 1987 4
"Inky Bloaters" (Japan Promo)
"Cat-House" 1988 3 Dark Adapted Eye
"Whistling for His Love" (U.S. Promo)
"White Knuckle Ride" 1989 5
"Cat-House" (U.S. Release) 19
"Tomorrow Never Knows" 1990 5 Blast the Human Flower
"Big Blue '82'"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or that the single was not released on that market.

Cover versions[edit]

  • In 1989, the Finnish model and artist Kata Kärkkäinen recorded a version of the single "Cat House" for her Your Love album.
  • The Damned also included "Cat House" occasionally in their live repertoire.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Danielle Dax | Biography, Albums, & Streaming Radio". AllMusic. 23 September 1958. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 144/5. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
  3. ^ "Danielle Dax | Discover music on NTS". NTS Radio. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  4. ^ Harmony Ridge Music. "Comatose-Non-Reaction". Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  5. ^ Cafe Oto. "TOUCH PRESENTS...UNICAZÜRN + CHARLES BULLEN event listing". Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  6. ^ Michael Rodham-Heaps. "Live Review: UnicaZürn / Charles Bullen (live at Café OTO)". Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Discogs: UnicaZürn = Temporal Bends". Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  8. ^ a b c Lazell, Barry (1997). UK Indie Hits 'D'. Cherry Red Books. Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2020.

External links[edit]