Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction

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Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction
Zodiac Mindwarp on stage at L'Amour in Brooklyn, New York, c. 1989
Background information
GenresHard rock
Years active1985–2022 (Hiatus)
MembersZodiac Mindwarp
Cobalt Stargazer
Jack Shitt
Bruno 'The Cat' Agua
Past membersJimmy Cauty
Kid Chaos
Boom Boom Kaboomski
Jake Le Mesurier
Slam Thunderhide
Evil Bastard
Trash D Garbage
Flash Bastard
Suzi X
Tex Diablo
Robbie Vom
Kev Reverb
The Apocalypse

Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction were a British hard rock group, which was formed in 1985.[1]

Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction play a sleazy style of commercial hard rock featuring big riffs and choruses, as was the trend in the band's heyday of the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s. The camp lyrics are intended as self-parody, and can be seen as either humorous, or offensive by those who take them at face value, for their often lascivious and misogynist tone. Song titles like "Back Seat Education", "Feed My Frankenstein", "High Heeled Heaven", and "Trash Madonna" illustrate Mindwarp's tongue-in-cheek approach. Lyrical content also exhibits a send up of cult worship, often of Zodiac Mindwarp's self-proclaimed raging libido, with Mindwarp claiming the titles 'Sex Fuhrer', 'Love Dictator', 'President of the United States of Love' and 'High Priest of Love'.


The band is the brainchild of Mark Manning, a former graphic artist[1] and art editor of the now defunct Flexipop! magazine. The magazine folded back in 1982, but the hedonistic lifestyle of the rock and pop stars who frequented the magazine's offices fueled his desire to experience the debauchery of life as a decadent rock star. He joined another music publication called Metal Fury as a graphic designer, but assumed the alter ego 'Zodiac Mindwarp' at night. Zodiac Mindwarp was the namesake of a series of underground comics written and illustrated by Spain Rodriguez. Zodiac soon left Metal Fury and formed the Love Reaction in 1985 with Jimmy Cauty (who later formed The Orb, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and The KLF) on guitar; Kid Chaos (Stephen Harris) on bass; and Boom Boom Kaboomski on drums.

The band was signed to the Food label of Phonogram Records, who soon issued their first recording, "Wild Child" with just Zodiac playing guitar and on vocals, Kid Chaos on bass and Jake Le Mesurier on drums. A demo version of "High Priest of Love" was included on the Melody Maker Vinyl Conflict 2 free EP in September 1986. By the end of the year the lineup had changed again to accommodate the still-present figure of Cobalt Stargazer (Geoff Bird) and new drummer Slam Thunderhide (Stephen Landrum). That lineup contributed the studio track, "Drug Shoes," to the FOOD Imminent 2 compilation.

At various times, the band has also featured Evil Bastard (Robert Munro, who co-penned and sang on two B-sides: "Hangover from Hell" and "Lager Woman from Hell"), Heavy Metal Bear (Alex Bradly), Trash D Garbage (Paul Bailey), Flash Bastard (Jan Cyrka), Suzi X (Richard Levy), Tex Diablo (Christopher Renshaw), and Robbie Vom (Rob Morris).

Zodiac Mindwarp progressed rapidly from their first gig at Dingwalls in November 1985, to playing in front of a packed Reading Festival in 1986, but this was followed by the departure of Kid Chaos, who joined The Cult. Zodiac regrouped by assigning Trash D Garbage on bass and Flash Bastard (Jan Cyrka) on rhythm guitar. The expanded five-member outfit went on to record Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction's debut album in 1988, entitled Tattooed Beat Messiah.[1] Other band members playing bass included: Suzi X, Tex Diablo and Kev Reverb; previous drummers included Robbie Vom and The Apocalypse.

The act produced a UK Singles Chart Top 20 hit with their breakthrough record, "Prime Mover".[1]

Half of the band's 1989 follow-on tour for the album was cancelled after Manning was run-over outside the Leadmill venue in Sheffield.

In recent years, Manning has established himself as an author, penning A Bible of Dreams (1994) and Bad Wisdom (1996; both with Bill Drummond); plus Crucify Me Again (2000), Get Your Cock Out (2000), Fucked by Rock (2001), Collateral Damage, and The Wild Highway (2005; again with Drummond). Manning is also a regular contributor to The Idler magazine.

The band's name was taken from the Bruce Springsteen song "Dancing in the Dark"", from the lyrics:
"I'm sick of sitting around here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
Come on now, baby, give me just one look."

Notable collaborations[edit]

  • Mindwarp co-wrote the track "There's a Barbarian in the Back of My Car" on the Voice of the Beehive album, Let It Bee.
  • He also wrote the track "Feed My Frankenstein" which was covered on the Alice Cooper album, Hey Stoopid. Due to Alice changing a small number of the lyrics for his version, he is listed as co-writer. Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction's own version of the song appeared on their album Hoodlum Thunder.
  • In 1992, Mindwarp appeared on the album 456 by The Grid, performing lead vocals on the track "Fire Engine Red". Love Reaction guitarist Cobalt Stargazer also appeared on the album, performing on the tracks "Face the Sun" and "Leave Your Body".
  • The Love Reaction once appeared as Belinda Carlisle's (mimed) backing band at a late 1980s/early 1990s award show for the song "Leave a Light On".


Singles and EPs[edit]

Year Title UK Indie Chart Position[2] UK Singles Chart Position[3]
May 1986 "Wild Child" EP 9
August 1986 "High Priest of Love" EP 1
May 1987 "Prime Mover" 18
November 1987 "Back Seat Education"
April 1988 "Planet Girl" 63
1993 "My Life Story" EP


  • ..High Priest of love (1986)
  • Tattooed Beat Messiah (1988) – UK No. 20 (re-released in 1997 as The Best of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction)
  • Hoodlum Thunder (1991)
  • Live at Reading (1993)
  • One More Knife (1994)
  • I Am Rock (2002) – (re-released in 2005 with four demo bonus tracks)
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction (live album) (2004)
  • Rock Savage (2005)
  • Pandora's Grisly Handbag (1986 live album and DVD) (2006)
  • We Are Volsung (2010)


  1. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who's Who of Heavy Metal (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 395/7. ISBN 0-85112-656-1.
  2. ^ Lazell, Barry (2002). Indie Hits 1980 to 1989 ; the Complete UK Independent Charts. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-9517206-9-1.
  3. ^ "ZODIAC MINDWARP & THE LOVE REACTION | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 27 November 2019.

External links[edit]