Specimen (band)

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Specimen promo.jpeg
Background information
Origin Bristol, South West England, United Kingdom
Genres Gothic rock, deathrock, new wave, post-punk, glam rock
Years active 1980–1985, 2006–present
Labels Sire, Metropolis
Past members See below

Specimen are a British band formed in the 1980s. Their music has been described as spanning many different genres of music, including glam, goth, punk and post-punk, and the band is widely credited as one of the pioneers of the goth subculture, both musically and stylistically.[citation needed]

Early days[edit]

The band formed in Bristol, England by vocalist Olli Wisdom with guitarists John Klein (from Europeans) and Kevin Mills during 1980.[1] Their first show was at a street party celebrating the wedding of The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. In 1982, the band relocated to Soho, London, where Wisdom founded the infamous Batcave nightclub. Ian Astbury described Specimen's unique hybrid of punk and glam as being "like a Death Bowie." [2]

When approached by Wisdom and asked to join Specimen, original keyboardist Jonny Slut initially declined because he could not play any instruments. Wisdom insisted and Slut eventually learned to play the keyboard by utilizing guiding stickers.[3] Unusual for a keyboardist, Jonny Slut became the face of the band and its most famous member, due largely to his striking image and fashion sense.[1]

While the band were together, they never released a full album, only singles and a mini album. However, in 1997 two full-length compilations were released featuring various Specimen songs. In 1985, the original Specimen lineup broke up after the release of the "Sharp Teeth Pretty Teeth" single.[1] Olli Wisdom moved to San Francisco, California, USA and formed a short lived American version of Specimen.


After the band went its separate ways, guitarist Jon Klein worked with Siouxsie and the Banshees for seven years, before working with Sinéad O'Connor. He was also in the British 1998 film Married 2 Malcolm in a non-speaking role.

Jonny Slut formed Diskord Datkord with Mark Tinley and Adam Tinley before going on to work with The KLF, Adamski and is now a member of Atomizer. He also founded the Nag Nag Nag club in London, where he was one of the house DJs.[4][5]

Tim Huthert went on to join Until December, and more recently played with the re-formed Jetboy as well as recording the Electric Ballroom album with Jon Klein. He currently resides in New York..

Olli Wisdom went on to become Space Tribe, who are psychedelic trance DJ's.

Kevin Mills joined Flesh for Lulu.

Specimen today[edit]

In July 2008, the original 1983 line up got together to perform at the Batcave's 25th anniversary event in London, resulting in the release of the live album Specimen Alive at the Batcave on Metropolis. The reunion grew directly out of friendships rekindled during the making of 2007's Electric Ballroom album, which featured T.bias, Kimba, Stephan Byron-Salit, and Tim Huthert, as well as Jon Klein collaborations with Olli Wisdom and Jonny Slut.

In February 2009, Jonny Slut and Jon Klein appeared at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York) for the symposium 'Subculture and Style' centred around the exhibition for the book Gothic Dark Glamour by Valery Steele and Jennifer Parks. The exhibition featured one of Jon Klein's 25-year-old stage outfits, alongside Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Rick Owens.

In May 2011, the band confirmed via Facebook that Jonny Slut had officially retired from Specimen. In December of the same year they announced the addition of Johann Bley, ex Juno Reactor, was to replace Slut on keyboard.[6][7]

In December 2011, the band announced that they were working with producer and Killing Joke bassist Youth on a new album.[8] The following month, they revealed the name of the album - "Wake the Dead" - and launched a pledgemusic.com campaign to help fund the album.[9]

Band members[edit]




  • Warm Wet Cling - Film Red Velvet Crush (1997)
  • Azoic (1997)

E P[edit]

  • Batastrophe (1983)


  • Specimen Alive at the Batcave (2009), Metropolis Records/Eyeswideshut Recordings


  • "Returning (From A Journey)" / "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" (1983), London Records
  • "Beauty Of Poison" / "Tell Tail" (1983), London Records
  • "Sharp Teeth" / "Hex" / "Holes" (1985), Trust Records
  • "Indestructible / "Brainburst" (1986), Rampant Records

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Von, James (2010-12-22). "Plunder the Tombs: Specimen – Batastrophe EP (Sire Records, 1983)". Plunderthetombs.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  2. ^ Suzan Colon, "The Gloom Generation," Details Magazine, July 1997
  3. ^ Mick Mercer, "Gothic Rock." Pegasus Publishing, 1991
  4. ^ "Diskord Datkord – Free listening, videos, concerts, stats and pictures at". Last.fm. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  5. ^ "Atomizer Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos". Reverbnation.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Specimen - Timeline Photos". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  8. ^ "Specimen - Timeline Photos". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  9. ^ "Specimen: Wake The Dead on PledgeMusic". Pledgemusic.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 

External links[edit]