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, NY, circa 1989
|Members||Zodiac Mindwarp, Cobalt Stargazer, Jack Shitt, Bruno 'The Cat' Agua|
|Past members||Jimmy 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|
The band is the brainchild of Mark Manning, a former graphic artist and art editor of the now defunct Flexipop! magazine. The magazine folded back in 1982 but the hedonistic lifestyle of the frequenting rock and pop stars to the magazine' 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 would assume the alter ego Zodiac Mindwarp at night. Zodiac soon left Metal Fury and formed the Love Reaction in 1985 with Jimmy Cauty, who later formed The Orb, The JAMS (Justified Ancients of Mu Mu), and The KLF on guitar, Kid Chaos (real name 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 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 (real name Geoff Bird) and new drummer Slam Thunderhide (real name Stephen Landrum). That lineup would contribute the studio track, "Drug Shoes," to the FOOD "Imminent 2" various artists compilation.
At various times, the band has also featured Evil Bastard (real name Robert Munro who co-penned and sang on two notable B-sides: Hangover from Hell and Lager Woman from Hell), Heavy Metal Bear (real name Alex Bradly), Trash D Garbage (real name Paul Bailey), Flash Bastard (real name Jan Cyrka), Suzi X (real name Richard Levy), Tex Diablo (real name Christopher Renshaw), and Robbie Vom (real name 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 was followed by the departure of Kid Chaos who joined the massive rock outfit The Cult. Zodiac regrouped by assigning Trash D Garbage on Bass and Flash Bastard (Jan Cyrka) on rhythm guitar section. The expanded five member outfit all went on to record Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction's debut album in 1988 entitled Tattooed Beat Messiah. Other band members playing bass include Suzi X, Tex Diablo and Kev Reverb. Previous drummers were Robbie Vomm and The Apocalypse.
- Zodiac Mindwarp (aka Zed) - vocals
- Cobalt Stargazer - guitars
- The Beast - bass
- Robbie Vomm - drums
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, and high priest of love.
The act produced a UK Singles Chart Top 20 hit with the breakthrough record "Prime Mover", a song that was inspired musically by Hawkwind's 1977 track "Quark, Strangeness and Charm", itself heavily inspired by the German group NEU!
They toured the US supporting Alice Cooper and Guns N' Roses on dozens of dates in 1988. After a few gigs, they were moved up to the middle of the bill between Cooper and Guns N' Roses. Stargazer, Thunderhide and Bastard were also featured in the film "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II" performing with Slash and Axl Rose (from Guns N' Roses) and Alice Cooper, in an encore from this tour featuring Cooper's hit "Under My Wheels". The Love Reaction's 1987 album Tattooed Beat Messiah failed to sell well enough in the States, resulting in them being dropped by their record label with outstanding debts, according to Zodiac himself. The Tattooed Beat Messiah LP spawned 5 videos that received regular rotation on MTV's "Headbangers Ball" and host Ricki Rachtman claimed the band as one of his all time favorites, and most underrated bands of the era.
Occasionally referred to as "biker rock", the band's style of hard rock is reflected in their outlandish attire, which tends to parody the post-apocalyptic Mad Max biker look. Mötley Crüe declared them to be their favourite band and immediately restyled themselves for the Girls, Girls, Girls record.
They adopted a more common "street look" recently, circa their comeback, around 1999.
In recent years, Manning has established himself as an author, penning Bad Wisdom (1996, with Bill Drummond), Crucify Me Again (2000), Get Your Cock Out (2000), Fucked by Rock (2001), Collateral Damage, The Wild Highway (2005, again with Drummond). Manning is also a regular contributor to The Idler magazine.
- 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 the 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 80s/early 90s award show for the song "Leave a Light On".
Singles and EPs
|Year||Title||UK Indie Chart Position||UK Chart Position|
|May||1986||"Wild Child" EP||#9||–|
|Aug||1986||"High Priest of Love" EP||#1||–|
|Nov||1987||"Back Seat Education"||#49|
|1993||"My Life Story" EP||–|
- 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 4 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)