Maximum Joy

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Maximum Joy
Origin Bristol, United Kingdom
Genres Post-punk
Years active 1981-1983, 2015-present
Labels Y Records, 99 Records, Garage Records, Crippled Dick Hot Wax!
Associated acts Glaxo Babies, the Pop Group, the Ammonites, Perfume, U-BahnX, Leonard and the Cats, Rainforth
Website maximumjoy.org
Members Janine Rainforth
Tony Wrafter
Charlie Llewellin
Marek Bero
James Byron
Past members Dan Catsis
John Waddington
Kev Evans
Jeremy Hirsch
Nellee Hooper
Peta

Maximum Joy are a post-punk band from Bristol, England,[1] formed in 1981 and reunited in 2015.

Pitchfork compared their sound to "one of the Slits backed by the Gang of Four,[2] while PopMatters said, "Musically, the group’s use of complex percussion, horns, danceable bass lines, and overtly English female vocals built a bridge between the worlds of Afrobeat, reggae, avant-garde jazz, funk and pop".[3]

History[edit]

Maximum Joy formed in 1981 by ex-Glaxo Babies member Tony Wrafter (saxophone, trumpet, flute) and Janine Rainforth (vocals, clarinet, violin). They recruited two other former Glaxo Babies members, Charlie Llewellin (drums) and Dan Catsis (bass), as well as ex-Pop Group member John Waddington (guitar).[4]

The band's influences were later described by Wrafter as "jazz, reggae, funk and punk, soul, hip-hop (the Last Poets, Afrika Bambaataa and the Sugarhill Gang), dub and ambient. We weren't constrained by any single style but felt free to take what we wanted from it".[5]

Maximum Joy released three singles on Y Records: "Stretch" (October 1981),[6] "White and Green Place" (February 1982)[7] and "In the Air" (July 1982).[8] Kev Evans replaced Catsis after the first single. A remix 7" of "Stretch" was also licensed for American release by the influential New York City label 99 Records.[9]

In October 1982, the band released the Adrian Sherwood-produced album Station MXJY.

Jeremy Hirsch (trumpet, keyboards) then replaced Wrafter, and the band added Nellee Hooper (percussion, backing vocals). This lineup recorded Maximum Joy's last single, a Dennis Bovell-produced cover of Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together" backed by "Man of Tribes". Rainforth left the band before the single was released, and new vocalist Peta rerecorded the vocals on the A-side.[10] It was issued in April 1983 by Garage Records,[11] and the band split soon afterwards.[1]

Retrospective Unlimited (1979-1983) was released in 2005, and Station MXJY was reissued on CD by Beat Records in Japan in April 2008, containing various mixes of the singles as bonus tracks as well as the unreleased version of "Why Can't We Live Together" with Rainforth's original vocal.[12]

A compilation on vinyl of the band's singles between 1981-1982 "I Can't Stand It Here On Quiet Night" was released by a new label named after one of the band's tunes Silent Street Records - a collaboration between Blackest Ever Black and Idle Hands - in October 2017. It is the first vinyl reissue for the band in the UK.

Reunion[edit]

Rainforth reformed Maximum Joy in May 2015, inviting Llewellin and Wrafter to join her.[13][14] On 19 August 2015, they announced that the reunited band would perform at the Simple Things music festival on 24 October 2015 in Bristol,[15] joined by Marek Bero on bass and James Byron on guitar.

Other projects[edit]

Rainforth formed Leonard and the Cats with Ollie Moore (Pigbag) and Nick Sheppard (the Cortinas, the Clash),[16] and later performed and released music as a solo artist under the name of Rainforth.[17]

Wrafter played flute on Tricky's 1995 album Maxinquaye.[18]

Llewellin later played drums for Palace of Light, and served as a producer for Blue Aeroplanes.[19] He moved to Texas in 1991 and was a founder member of Austin band the Gourds.

Catsis is the bassist for the reformed Pop Group.

Waddington went on to play with the Ammonites, Perfume and U-BahnX.

Hirsch released a solo single, First Step, in 2006.[20]

Hooper went on to fame as a producer for Massive Attack, Björk, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Garbage and others.[21] He has produced six Grammy Award-winning records for artists including Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Soul II Soul and Sinead O'Connor, and won a BAFTA Award in 1998 for his work arranging the score and soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet.[22]

Personnel[edit]

Current members
  • Janine Rainforth – vocals, clarinet, violin (1981-1983, 2015–present)
  • Tony Wrafter - saxophone, trumpet, flute (1981-1983, 2015–present)
  • Charlie Llewellin – drums (1981-1983, 2015–present)
  • Marek Bero – bass (2015–present)
  • James Byron – guitar (2015–present)
Former members
  • Dan Catsis – bass (1981)
  • John Waddington - guitar (1981-1983)
  • Kev Evans - bass (1981-1983)
  • Jeremy Hirsch - trumpet, keyboards (1982-1983)
  • Nellee Hooper - percussion, backing vocals (1982-1983)
  • Peta – vocals (1983)

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Station MXJY (1982, Y Records; reissue 2008, Beat Records, Japan)

Singles[edit]

  • "Stretch" (1981, Y Records/99 Records)
  • "White and Green Place" (1982, Y Records)
  • "In the Air" (1982, Y Records)
  • "Do It Today" (1982, Y Records)
  • "Why Can't We Live Together" (1983, Garage Records)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Unlimited (1979-1983) (2005, Crippled Dick Hot Wax!)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]