|Birth name||Katrina Jane Garside|
|Born||8 July 1968|
Buckrose, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
|Years active||1989–1994, 1999–present|
Katrina Jane Garside (born 8 July 1968) is an English singer, songwriter, visual artist, and poet. She is known for her dynamic musical projects, which have ranged in style from noise rock to acoustic folk-influenced, and featured vocals ranging from childlike whispers to harsh scream singing. The daughter of a father in the British Army, Garside had an itinerant childhood, growing up in several places in England, and spending a significant portion of her adolescence aboard a yacht. She rose to prominence as the lead vocalist of the indie noise rock band Daisy Chainsaw, which she formed in 1989 in London with guitarist Crispin Gray.
After quitting Daisy Chainsaw in 1993, Garside went into seclusion for several years before reuniting with Gray in 1999 to form the rock band Queenadreena, with whom she released four studio albums between 2000 and 2008. In both Daisy Chainsaw and Queenadreena, Garside received critical attention for her alternately harsh and childlike vocals, manic onstage behaviour, and raucous live concerts.
Garside self-released a solo album, Lullabies in a Glass Wilderness, in 2007. The same year, she began writing and releasing material with her project Ruby Throat, an acoustic collaboration with her partner, American guitarist Chris Whittingham. In late 2007, Ruby Throat released their debut album, The Ventriloquist. Garside concurrently held a mixed media art exhibition, Darling, they've found the body, which was shown at Woom gallery in Birmingham. Ruby Throat self-released their subsequent albums Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird and O' Doubt O' Stars in 2009 and 2012, respectively. During this period, Garside and Whittingham resided on a yacht with their children.
Ruby Throat released their fourth album, Baby Darling Taporo, in 2017. Garside and Whittingham subsequently formed a new musical project called Liar, Flower, under which they released the album Geiger Counter in April 2020. Garside discusses this album at length in a career spanning interview on Conan Neutron’s Protonic Reversal.
Life and works
1970–1988: Early life
Garside was born on 8 July 1968 in Buckrose, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, the first of two daughters. Garside spent her early years in Salisbury, Wiltshire, though her family relocated frequently as her father was in the British Army; he also had a musical background, having played in local bands in London. When she was 11 years old, Garside's father took the family to live aboard a 32-foot (9.8 m) yacht, and they sailed the world for four years. Garside has said that spending her formative years living on the sea gave her a "different perspective on things":
You have no reference points, so everything you know ceases, including time on the long passages. It’s the same thing every day, relentlessly. There’s nothing to see, there’s no one to talk to. Which is... terrifying. You’ve got nowhere to hide, you’re literally so exposed. But it’s also very beautiful because all distraction falls away.
While living on the sea, Garside and her younger sister, Melanie, spent significant amounts of time listening to cassette tapes given to them by their grandfather, largely soundtrack albums to musical films, such as the West Side Story soundtrack by Leonard Bernstein. To pass time, they would often reenact sequences from the film soundtracks with ragdolls. Among the tapes Garside listened to also included albums by Led Zeppelin, which she said "really completes some idea of a story." At age 17, Garside returned to England, settling in London.
1989–1995: Daisy Chainsaw
Garside formed Daisy Chainsaw in 1989 after responding to an advert in a newspaper by guitarist Crispin Gray. Bassist Richard Adams joined the band, along with Canadian drummer Vince Johnson. The group quickly became well known for their wild live performances, featuring Garside drilling doll heads onstage and drinking juice out of baby bottles. The band's raucous concerts would sometimes result in Garside performing self-mutilation onstage. Russell Senior, guitarist of Pulp, recalled that at one 1989 concert in London, Garside wrapped the microphone cord so tightly around her neck onstage that she lost consciousness, and the show had to be ended early. Garside's look was described as a "Gothic street urchin image, complete with dead flowers meshed into her dreadlocked hair". In a review of one of the band's concerts in 1991, an unnamed journalist for Bust magazine wrote: "KatieJane Garside is either in drastic need of psychiatric help or she deserves an Oscar for best actress."
The band toured the United Kingdom with Hole and Mudhoney to promote the album prior to its release, and Garside drew comparisons from British press to Hole's frontwoman Courtney Love. Love allegedly cited Garside as one of the "first true riot grrls" in 1991 and admitted to borrowing heavily from Garside's aesthetic. Garside never associated herself with the movement, which was based in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
The band released Eleventeen in 1992, which would be their only full-length album before Garside left the band in 1993. The album spawned "Love Your Money", which was the band's most popular single; they performed the song live on British television show The Word in 1992. "Love Your Money" reached number 26 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1992.
After Garside left Daisy Chainsaw, she disappeared from the public eye and music scene, going into seclusion, residing in the Lake District. A self-described recluse, Garside later commented that "I could be anywhere, really, and it wouldn't make a lot of difference, so I don't know necessarily that much about the country that I was born in and that I've lived in." Due to her manic onstage histrionics and bizarre behaviour in interviews, rumours circulated that Garside had succumbed to mental illness. In later years, she admitted that she had been suffering a nervous breakdown at the time. She lived in the historical Rigg Beck, a notorious retreat for artists and bohemians. In spite of the rumours of purported seclusion, Garside was given a credit in the liner notes of the 1993 Frostbite album, Second Coming. She also collaborated with the industrial band Test Department in 1995 on their album Totality.
Garside had no intentions of returning to music until the late 1990s when former guitarist Crisipin Gray contacted her; in 1999, they formed Queenadreena and released four studio albums: Taxidermy (2000), Drink Me (2002), The Butcher and the Butterfly (2005), and Djin. Some time between 1999 and 2002, during the early stages of Queenadreena, Garside resided in Wales for a brief period.
After recording Live at the ICA, which featured a live 2005 performance at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the band released two more albums, Ride a Cockhorse, which featured unreleased 4-track demos, and Djin, which was their final studio release before disbanding around 2009. In 2007, Garside exhibited a collection of photographs and artwork at the Woom Gallery in Birmingham, titled Darling, they've found the body.
Garside's solo work of this time includes a collection of home recordings called Lalleshwari/Lullabies in a Glasswilderness released in 2006. Complementing this release was a collection of short films made by KatieJane. Garside also collaborated with artist Daniel Schaffer, co-creating the comic books Indigo Vertigo and Lesions in the Brain.
2008–present: Ruby Throat, other projects
In 2007, shortly before the release of Queenadreena's final album Djin, Garside released her first collaboration with guitarist Chris Whittingham, titled The Ventriloquist, under the band name Ruby Throat. Garside met Whittingham while he was busking at a train platform on London Underground, and asked him to collaborate. In contrast to Queenadreena's metal and noise rock style, Ruby Throat is a more ethereal, vocal based project primarily featuring acoustic guitar. The album was well-received, and critics drew comparisons to the work of PJ Harvey and Mazzy Star.
The duo released a Tour EP in 2009, featuring handmade artwork, followed by their second record, Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird (2009). In 2012, they released their third album, O' Doubt O' Stars, which featured a limited edition packaging with a book of lithographs and Garside's art, as well as handwritten lyrics. As of 2012, she and her partner Whittingham resided on a ketch named Iona, along with their two children, then aged 10 years and 10 months. The boat was damaged in a storm in St. Mawes, Cornwall in June 2012; they made repairs in Falmouth and left England shortly afterwards with the intention to sail around the world.
According to their Facebook page, the band began working on a new album in the beginning of 2013. In 2014 a new song, "Secret Fires", was released on the third Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions compilation Axels & Sockets. It was announced on August 1, 2014 that Ruby Throat's fourth album will be called Baby Darling Taporo.
In November 2016, Garside announced the forthcoming release of a limited edition book of 34 poems entitled A whispering frayed edge. In November 2017, Ruby Throat released their fourth studio album, Baby Darling Taporo. Garside granted an extensive interview to Vice in October 2018, during which she divulged that she and Whittingham still resided on Iona with their children, and that they had recently completed an extensive sailing trip across the world.
Garside has been noted by critics for her unique vocals, which alternate from "childlike whispers" to harsh screaming, particularly on her work with Queenadreena; a concert review published by The Guardian noted: "It's surprising that such a loud noise can come from such a small person." "I do strain my voice doing bad work," Garside commented, "[but] sometimes the impulse is too huge [and] I just have to." Some critics have likened her vocals to those of Macy Gray. Additionally, she has been noted for her raucous, "carnivalesque" live performances.
Lyrically, consistent themes across Garside's various musical projects have included exploitation, sexuality, childhood, and innocence. While Garside's musical output with Daisy Chainsaw and Queenadreena were marked by abrasive, rock and metal-influenced instrumentation and vocals, her work with Ruby Throat is more restrained; a review published in PopMatters noted: "Garside’s breathy, nearly childlike voice is the dominant element of [Ruby Throat's debut] The Ventriloquist, gentle acoustic guitars and lap steels setting the stage for her voice. Despite the somber lyrical themes, this is a clear heir to the lineage of ethereal makeout albums like those from Mazzy Star and the Cocteau Twins."
Commenting on her artistic aspirations, Garside said in 2002: "I know what turns me on, and it's that fine line, that point where you're falling off the edge of a cliff, where your stomach turns, I'm always trying to find that point in music. You rarely hit it, and again, that's the joy of playing live, because there you can be just at that point where you've lost balance. I'm always walking between polarities, trying to find the opposing sides." In her early career, Garside's stage presence was noted by critics for its disheveled appearance, marked by torn clothing and her body covered in dirt. Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian writing in 1992: "In clinical terms, Garside is probably no loopier than Belinda Carlisle, but her fizzing nervousness imparts a sense of great fragility, and her candour is almost embarrassing."
In 2017, a book profiling KatieJane Garside's career was released entitled Under a Floorboard World: The Career of Katie Jane Garside. It was released via Breakbeat Books, which is the publishing name of independent author Charlie Bramley. The book "provides a long overdue exploration into the career of Garside, offering rich analysis and original insight". It also features an original interview with Garside, undertaken during the writing period.
signifies extended play
- LoveSickPleasure (1991)
- Pink Flower (1992)
- Eleventeen (1992)
- Taxidermy (2000)
- Drink Me (2002)
- The Butcher and the Butterfly (2005)
- Live at the ICA (2005)
- Ride a Cock Horse (2007)
- Djin (2008)
- Lalleshwari/Lullabies in a Glasswilderness (2005) (Boxset included an audio CD and a DVD. This version was limited to 300, with the first 100 being signed and numbered)
- Lalleshwari/Lullabies in a Glass Wilderness (2006) (Version did not include a DVD but included two different tracks from the previous release)
- Corps Electriques (2008) (Collaboration with Hector Zazou)
- The Ventriloquist (2007) (Version limited to 500, signed and numbered)
- Tour EP (2009) (Limited Edition handmade 5-track EP sold exclusively on their 2009 tour, including 2 photographs)
- Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird (2009) (Version limited to 500 number copies, including 10 fine art prints, 5 photographs and a personal effect)
- O' Doubt O' Stars (2012) (34-page ribboned and hand assembled litho printed art book, 12 songs, 55 minutes, 500 numbered copies) and (Albums 1–10, handwritten cover, signed and numbered, KJG original handwritten lyrics of 1 of the 12 songs (these were used in making the finished artwork litho plates). There are only 10 of these in total, and include 1 song lyric sheet each with the first 10 albums, and a signed and numbered photo)
- The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project: Axels & Sockets (Various artists compilation featuring Ruby Throat's cover of Secret Fires by The Gun Club)
- Baby Darling Taporo (2017)
- Stone Dress (2018)
- Geiger Counter (2020)
- Creaming Jesus – Dead Time (1991)
- Creaming Jesus – Guilt By Association (1992)
- Frostbite – The Second Coming (1993)
- The Sacred Sawdust Ring – The Greatest Show Of Truth (1994)
- Test Dept – Totality 1 (1995)
- Test Dept – Totality (1995)
- Test Dept – Totality 1 & 2: The Mixes (1997)
- Mínus – Halldór Laxness (2004)
- Ghostigital – In Cod We Trust (2006)
- Stories From The Moon – Stories From The Moon (2006)
- Jeff Zentner – The Dying Days Of Summer (2009)
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...meanwhile RUBY THROAT pick up their broken shells; and ask the wind to quiet down, 4th album 'BABY DARLING TAPORO' soon come, we can hear a thread of music in our hair...
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