Wayne County & the Electric Chairs
Wayne County & the Electric Chairs
|Associated acts||The Police|
|Past members||Jayne County|
Wayne County & the Electric Chairs were part of the first wave of punk bands from the 1970s. The band was headed by Georgia-born singer Wayne County, who later transitioned to female and changed her name to Jayne County. They are best known for the 1977 single "Fuck Off."
Wayne County had originally begun performing in New York with a band called Queen Elizabeth, followed by Wayne County and The Backstreet Boys which was documented on Rhino's DIY: Blank Generation compilation album with an early single, "Max's Kansas City 1976". Upon moving to London, England, with Greg Van Cook, a member of the Backstreet Boys, she recruited a new drummer and bassist to form "The Electric Chairs", with the band comprising Van Cook (guitar), Val Haller (bass) and Chris Dust (drums). The band became known for their campy and foul-mouthed ballads, Glam punk inspired songs, and image which was heavily influenced by Jackie Curtis and the Theatre of the Ridiculous.
Jools Holland had his first studio session with the group in 1976.
None of County's albums were ever released in her native country of the United States, except for three songs on the very early punk compilation, Max's Kansas City.
Wayne County and the Electric Chairs were supported by The Police during their 1977 tour of Holland. Dust, a Czechoslovakian, was deported during the band's return to the United Kingdom following a tour, when the authorities discovered that his visa had expired over a year ago. He was replaced by J. J. Johnson, and the band recorded their first album, The Electric Chairs. In order to recreate the sound of the album live, the band needed another guitarist, and so recruited Henry Padovani, of former tourmates the Police, on rhythm guitar.
This new five-piece lineup toured extensively, but County ultimately fired Greg Van Cook due to his rampant drug abuse, and replaced him with Elliot Michaels, another former member of the Backstreet Boys. Producer Martin Birch exerted a great deal of creative control over the band's second album, Storm the Gates of Heaven, and Padovani later commented in his memoir that the album "wasn't bad, but it wasn't the Chairs as we wanted it to be." Their third album, Things Your Mother Never Told You, was produced by David Cunningham, whose musical inclinations were more in synch with those of the band. After a few more tours, Wayne County & the Electric Chairs split in two, with Elliot Michaels following County in his solo career. Padovani, Haller, and Johnson recorded a final single, "So Many Ways", as simply The Electric Chairs, before management problems forced them to disband completely. During this period, Padovani and Haller took turns on lead vocals.
Wayne County played 'Lounge Lizard" in the first punk rock film, Derek Jarman's Jubilee, and the band performed "Paranoia Paradise", which also appeared on the Jubilee Soundtrack album, released by Polydor UK in 1978. County is featured in the 2013 film CBGB, and the Wayne County and the Electric Chairs track "Out Of Control" appears on the CBGB film soundtrack, released in the US by Omnivore Records.
The much bootlegged 'live' appearance of Wayne County & the Electric Chairs in 1978 on the German TV show Rockpalast was released as a DVD/CD double pack by Repertoire Records UK in December 2014; the concert happened while the band were touring their second album, Storm The Gates Of Heaven.
- The Electric Chairs (Safari, February 1978)
- Storm The Gates Of Heaven (also released as Man Enough To Be A Woman) (Safari, August 1978)
- Things Your Mother Never Told You (Safari, May 1979)
- Best of Jayne/Wayne County and the Electric Chairs (Safari, 1982)
- Rock 'n' Roll Cleopatra (RPM, 1993)
- Let Your Backbone Slip! (RPM, 1995)
- Safari Years Box (Captain Trip, 2011)
Singles and EPs
- Max's Kansas City: New York New Wave EP (1975)
- "Fuck Off" / "On The Crest" (Sweet FA Records, Nov 1977)
- "Thunder When She Walks" / "What You Got" (Illegal, 1977)
- "Eddie & Sheena" / "Rock'n'Roll Cleopatra" (Safari, February 1978)
- "Stuck On You" / "Paranoia Paradise" / "The Last Time" (Illegal, June 1978)
- "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" / "Fuck Off" (Safari, 1978)
- Blatantly Offenzive E.P. (Safari, 1978)
- "Trying To Get On The Radio" / "Evil Minded Mama" (Safari, August 1978)
- "Berlin" / "Waiting For The Marines" (Safari, June 1979)
- "So Many Ways" / "J'Attends Les Marines" (Illegal, 1979)
- 1976 The Blank Generation directed by Ivan Kral and Amos Poe
- 1977 Jubilee directed by Derek Jarman
- 1978 The Punk Rock Movie directed by Don Letts
- 1983 The City of Lost Souls directed by Rosa von Praunheim
- 2013 CBGB
- Sutcliffe, Phil & Fielder, Hugh (1981). L'Historia Bandido. London and New York: Proteus Books. ISBN 0-906071-66-6. Pages 42 and 54.
- Padovani, Henry (2009). Secret Police Man. Pen Press. pp. 90–97. ISBN 978-1-907172-83-0.
- Padovani, Henry (2009). Secret Police Man. Pen Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-907172-83-0.
- Marko, Paul (16 January 2001). "JJ Johnson: Drummer Electric Chairs". www.punk77.co.uk. Retrieved 1 August 2010.