The Wild Bunch (sound system)
The group started to perform in 1982 as a sound system on the Bristol scene, with Grant Marshall and Miles Johnson as the main two DJs. In 1984, they invited the young graffiti artist known as 3D (aka Robert Del Naja) to join them, and he soon became one of their MCs, writing lyrics to rap with them. Other rappers joined the collective, such as Willy Wee and later in 1987 Tricky. As pioneers of sound system culture they played all-nighters, clubs and abandoned warehouses. In 1986, they played St Paul's Carnival and signed to 4th & B'way Records on Island Records imprint.
Success and disintegration (1985–1989)
In 1985, the single Tearin Down The Avenue was recorded and in May 1986 the group toured Japan. After the tour DJ Milo left to work in Japan. The group would perform sound clashes against other sound systems, on new year's eve 1987 they clashed with Soul II Soul at St Barnabas crypt, Bristol. In 1988, Friends & Countrymen was released. However, by this time Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall and Andrew Vowles had formed Massive Attack. By 1989 the group was defunct.:80
Post disbanding (1989–present)
Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall and Andrew Vowles, continued with Massive Attack and in the early days they often collaborated with Adrian Thaws. However, differences between members saw Thaws leave in 1995, Vowles leave in 1998 and Marshall took a break in 2001. Marshall returned to Massive Attack in 2005. Thaws returned to Massive Attack in 2016.
Nellee Hooper, who moved to London after the group's dissolution and worked as a producer and remixer for a number of major artists, including Madonna, U2, No Doubt, Garbage, Björk and others. He won the 1995 BRIT Award for Best Producer. He was also a member of Soul II Soul.
The Wild Bunch were pioneers of amalgamating a very wide variety of genres. Their shows mixed disparate styles including elements of Hip Hop, punk, R&B and reggae. Further, it was their unique focus on slower rhythms and ambient electronic atmospheres that laid the foundations of Bristol sound, which later developed into the popular trip hop genre. They were key members of the Bristol underground scene.
The Wild Bunch is perhaps best known for having been one of the first prominent British DJ and vocalist collaborations:
- Robert Del Naja
- Grant Marshall
- Nellee Hooper
- Claude Williams, a.k.a. Willy Wee
- Milo Johnson, a.k.a. DJ Milo, (founding member, DJ)
- Andrew Vowles
- Tricky, (part-time member)
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