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|Genres||Rock, new wave|
|Associated acts||57 Men
Adam and the Ants
Bow Wow Wow
Chiefs of Relief
Leigh grew up in the East End of London. He started out playing classical guitar at the age of 12. Graduating to the bass guitar two years later, he developed a unique, classically-rooted, extremely fast and funky style. Leigh made the acquaintance of Marc Bolan's road manager who gave him free-range to use all of Marc's spare equipment, Leigh was able to play virtually anything he picked up, but quickly found an affinity with stringed instruments. Aside from mastering classical, flamenco, rock and bass guitar, Leigh taught himself to play the sitar, bouzouki, mandolin, and keyboards. Leigh started doing session work at 16 and went on to join a band called 57 Men, the first incarnation of which featured Glenn Gregory (who went on to form Heaven 17) on vocals. The rest of the band later became Wang Chung.
Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow
While gigging around town, Leigh was spotted by Knox of The Vibrators and asked to audition for Adam and the Ants. He joined the band in November 1979. At the instigation of their manager Malcolm McLaren, Leigh and fellow Ants Matthew Ashman and Dave Barbarossa parted from Adam two months later to form their own band, Bow Wow Wow. After a six-month-long audition process, they recruited vocalist Annabella Lwin. Bow Wow Wow's innovative Burundi/Latin/punk fusion soon made them press darlings. In July 1980, Bow Wow Wow released the first ever cassette single, a song appropriately entitled "C30, C60, C90, Go". Its release caused a furore in the music industry due to lyrics which seemed to advocate home taping and the fact that the single was released with the reverse side blank. (The controversy of home taping at the dawn of the cassette era parallels the debate about mp3 sharing on the internet today.) The BPI subsequently banished the single from the UK charts. In 1982, however, the group scored two UK Top Ten hits with the singles "Go Wild in the Country" and "I Want Candy". The latter also made waves on the charts in the United States. The band recorded a total of three albums and toured the world extensively, headlining with Madness in Japan and trekking across America several times. Life on the road took its toll, and in 1983 the exhausted band broke up.
Post Bow Wow Wow and recent work
Initially after Bow Wow Wow's break-up, Gorman, Ashman and Barbarossa formed a band called Chiefs of Relief. After a few months, Gorman and Barbarossa left Chiefs of Relief. After initially trying to form a new band with Barbarossa, doing some work with Lwin, writing new songs, and doing session work, Gorman turned to record production. In 1989, Gorman's production of Silver Bullet's "Twenty Seconds To Comply" also rose to No. 11 in the UK singles chart. The Soho single "Hippychick," which Gorman produced, went Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic. The single also went to No. 1 on both the US and UK dance charts. Gorman received a Gold Record for his work on the track. Gorman subsequently joined Soho and toured the US, appearing on The Arsenio Hall Show. In the early-90s, Gorman worked with Malcolm McLaren again, for whom he co-wrote and produced the Paris album, featuring the voice of Catherine Deneuve. This jazz-influenced album sold well throughout Europe, resulting in an album of Gorman's ambient dance mixes being released. The duo proceeded to collaborate on several high-profile TV commercials and two film scores. Gorman wrote and produced micro-operettas, soundscapes, and hip-hop & soul jams for the small screen for such clients as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nike, Renault, and MCI. In the summer of 1997, his remix of Mr. President's "I Give You My Heart" went Top 10 in the UK dance charts for 3 weeks. Also in 1997, Gorman and Lwin reformed Bow Wow Wow and embarked on the "Barking Mad" reunion tour with guitarist Dave Calhoun and drummer Eshan Khadaroo. The tour produced the live CD Wild in the USA which also included remixes of previous Bow Wow Wow tracks. Gorman and Lwin subsequently made a guest appearance in Bill Fishman's film Desperate But Not Serious. Gorman and Lwin also recorded a new song for the movie entitled "A Thousand Tears." The tour sparked off a spate of label interest. This demand also prompted Leigh to move to America. Missing the dance world and playing in the live arena, in March 2000, Leigh joined SoCal organic/electronic rave band Electric Skychurch for some live dates. The band achieved notoriety playing sunrise sets at the infamous Full Moon Gatherings deep in the Mojave Desert. In 2003 Gorman and Lwin reformed Bow Wow Wow again with Los Angeles guitarist Phil Gough and Adrian Young of No Doubt on drums to play the Inland Invasion show as part of KROQ-FM's 25th Anniversary celebrations. The band has maintained a frequent small-venue concert schedule through November 2006. In June 2006 Bow Wow Wow recorded a cover of The Smiths' song "I Started Something" for a proposed Smiths tribute record. The recording can be found on iTunes, and it also appears on the soundtrack of the film Blood and Chocolate, and a promo edit of the recording can be heard on Gorman's MySpace page. When he's not on the road with Bow Wow Wow, Gorman lives and works in Los Angeles producing bands (most recently Morrissey and Calahan), doing remixes (including the alternative radio remix of the Meredith Brooks/Queen Latifah duet "Lay Down") and composing music for TV and film (Wimbledon and The Tenants).
- Official website
- Leigh Gorman at the Internet Movie Database
- Bow Wow Wow – Bow Wow Wow's Official Site