How To Get Baby To Sit Still To Style Hair 15 Minutes Of Fame With ‘We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It’

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15 Minutes Of Fame With ‘We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It’

Somewhere in the early to mid-eighties, (no one knows exactly when) four giddy schoolgirls got together and decided to do something with their lives in Birmingham rather than be destined to grace the tills of their local Tesco. Sisters Jo and Maggie Dunne (four years older) were eagerly learning to play lead guitar and bass respectively, while Vickie Perks had only eyes for being a lady with a microphone in hand and little blonde Tina O’Neill had already drumsticks in his little one. grip ready for your first lesson. He didn’t really come up with any great ideas for a band name, one of them came up with the idea of ​​playing one of the instruments they were now rehearsing with. A ‘Fuzzbox’, to describe it in its entirety, is a guitar pedal used to create a distorted sound. It was first used by Jimi Hendrix and was an essential element in creating an enveloping sound of blurred or “fuzzy” noises predominantly in rock music. It was also and still is a certain equipment used by many punk groups of the time to give the same essence to the punk rock sound. Thus was born ‘We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It’ was born…

Although with their brightly colored rags and market cuts, the image was more Barbie than pure punk, they were attractive, but outdated. Recording the indie charts was as good as they could get in their early days. Too clean and well-made up for anything next to The Slits, they took their place alongside fellow extreme make-up applicator Strawberry Switchblade in search of pouts, dust, ribbons and blank expressions. Now well equipped and completely mastered with their respective instruments, they were ready to release their first single.

Signing up to Vindaloo records (they were the first and only label willing to take a chance on the colorblind quartet), they released the AA album “XX Sex/Rules And Regulations” in April 1986. It was “Mickey” by Toni Basil. ‘ all over again. It was bold, so girly and pumped up to the hilt with too much bass, and certainly not glamorous enough to tame the record-buying public. Their promo video was an embarrassing jumble of cheesy scenes of an abandoned street and all awesome shots of a little brother in too much Tizer. The single itself, dropped to #41 and failed to climb any further, but did hold the #1 spot on the indie chart. With their screeching “There must be more to life…” it seemed like Fuzzbox were going to have to pull something better out of their hat if they really wanted to stay off the food isles. However, it is one of those topics that, since its fame gained a couple of years later, we now sit down to analyze the deeper hidden meanings. ‘XX Sex’ will become a shit song. Their overuse of screams and thunderous screams certainly wasn’t going to land them firmly in the punk hall of fame, but it seemed like for a brief moment they managed to achieve something of a retro, albeit teddy boy, feel with ‘Rockin’. “With Rita”. Teaming up with lackluster “where are they now”, fellow label nerds, Duane Eddy reckons he should appeal to the Teddy Boy ravers of the seventies, even if they were all out of a job by now. Once again the timing was wrong and once again it’s a track we look back on fondly and remember the days of imagining the guy who worked at Dodgems in Blackpool…

‘Love Is The Slug’, was actually their second single and brought out all the chic of girls in white heels dancing around reluctant handbags in a cheap nightclub on a Saturday night (probably in Kidderminster). He was pure Siouxie Sioux with his boring. exhausting voices and lacked real imagination. Still it was typical of the time. It sounded gloomy and almost to the point that the band was being held hostage while recording it. It wasn’t until the bubblegum “What’s The Point” that we felt a definite shift in how they reflected the music scene around them. Released in February 1987, it was time for that punk image to come out and they made an effort to start dumbing down their look without shocking the last remaining punk buyers too much. Strangely, but this time, they were creating an alternative to the ever-popular ‘The Bangles’, who were having a happy time in the middle of the pop charts. Meanwhile, Fuzzbox was rising through the ranks in the Indie scene. It is not an achievement by any women’s team so far. Surprisingly, this rockabilly song didn’t get any higher than No. 51. Even though they were Indie Queens, it was actually the commercial pop charts they were looking for…

By now they knew it wasn’t just their alternative, working-class, struggling lyrics that would have to change. They could no longer sing about drinking in the nightclub, have a pint with the boys and do the washing. The green net had to go as well as the leggings and the pink and blue hair.

After getting hold of the Vindaloo label, they switched to WEA’s UK section for their next single, and ‘International Rescue’ hit the charts in February 1989 after a fairly quiet two-year break.

It was even more evident in this song that Fuzzbox had a definite humorous side. We all had to be aware of his antics as his video renditions so far have always been a bold and tongue-in-cheek touch. With this particular issue, we see two of them dressed as Thunderbirds along with the villain played by Adrian Edmundson. All in all an amazing piss but we wonder which is stronger, the Thunderbirds’ pee or themselves. Either way, the trick had worked, they had made it to number 11 and were now on their way to creating another angle of eighties pop music. They are now regulars on certain shows such as The Tube on CH4 and (who could forget?) The Old Gray Whistle Test! They were certainly about to have their most explosive 15 minutes of fame.

Still just as loud, even though they all wear the same color now, they seemed a bit tamed and only admitted to writhing on the floor during video sessions and concerts. Now they were even bigger, more glamorous and by profession, miles away from their fond, unstylish but energetic subject. The music was more rock now than indie. He had the edge, sex on the legs and was very aggressive. The Spice Girls were a bunch of kids with cabbage patches still in baby crops compared to Fuzzbox. These girls were certainly all about women power. Instead of a cozy night and maybe a good night; Fuzzbox would have worn you out and then sent you breakfast in bed.

‘Pink Sunshine’ followed and was quite rapturous at number 14 in May 1989. One thing you could say about this band they were songwriters, producers and masters in their own mix, they knew exactly how to control their market. Not releasing too many singles at once in a desperate attempt to win over the crowd, instead they would sit back and watch carefully, delegating what to release first. This particular track, ‘Pink Sunshine’, was, by his own personal standards, a track that should have been released during the summer. A theme full of joy and a true summer theme of bright sunshine and fun, they felt it would have been a better success if it had been released a month or two later. They were probably right, but we would never know.

Perhaps their most important song was their last single release, although a couple more followed. A quick, and also uncredited, solo from Queen’s legendary Brian May, ‘Self’, was definitely Fuzzbox coming out as the album this song came from suggests, with a ‘Big Bang’. Angrily hoarding number 24 in August 1989, it was the summer every girl learned how to successfully sneer. It was meaningful and also bad. We hated everything that moved when listening to this song. The men cowered in fear before a thousand young teenagers growling with the strength of a hundred PMTs. It was an awakening for both listeners and Fuzzbox themselves, but bitter resentments and disagreements between the label and the band members meant that any further work would be limited.

Notably, the most moving title, ‘Walking On Thin Ice’, which was originally by Yoko Ono, was released somewhere in 1990 while the band was on an epic tour of the Far East. It was a desperate song not only in its subject, but it failed drastically and the bitterness became too much. The band decided to cut their losses and continue the tour, despite being aware that Vickie wished after a break to explore a solo career. Something, even today, is still trying to find.

They returned home, recharged and rather flat in their sense of the band’s now dubious direction. Work on a new album was destined to take place, but reconciliations between the band and the label proved that they were not worth it. From the unfinished album “Out Of This World”, a final single was released just as the band decided to break up. The significantly titled ‘Your Loss, My Gain’ heralded the second line of ‘…and you know things will never be the same again…’ seemed to be the band’s swan song. It was time to take it all in and pursue more personal plans. The Fuzzbox conundrum had come to a sad end, and the four literally went their separate ways. Tina is now an art teacher, while sisters Mags and Jo have gone on to write for other artists, as well as DJing in the underground scene. (The turntables must be so tight on those escalators…)

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Looking back on this band, we wonder if it could have been possible for this band to go on. Leaving the scene at such a creative level, it always seems a shame that the band’s outgoing company looks like it could have a lot more to say. We’ve seen Fuzzbox grow up and we’ve grown up with them, from their messy, embarrassing, colorful interpretation of punk (almost an insult to true punk rockers) they were, just a little bit, to punk what the Cheeky Girls were to pop music; a minor insult, but they parted ways with all that rather glamorously and became the nicest group after girl group in the late eighties, if only for a couple of years, hence the idea that they literally had 15 minutes of fame .

With no actual melodious notes in their heads, they must have learned to play their instruments well considering they couldn’t play a note at first. They were so bad, it was genius. They looked awful, they couldn’t sing and their arrangements were as professional as the Mini Pops, yet they still stick in our heads and the world of indie pop is a very boring and uninteresting place without them even today. It’s been 16 years since we put our hand to the remote to turn up the volume or to the kettle in the kitchen. An attempt to return appeared sometime in 1998, but quickly disappeared the same year.

It was time to leave the sequins and hairspray and go back to listening to a terrible “Best Of 2006” album. Somehow it doesn’t have the same feel…

Fuzzbox were and will continue to be;

Vickie Perks – vocals

Tina O’Neill – drums

Jo Dunne – lead guitar

Maggie Dunne – bass

Albums for running and elbowing old ladies;

‘Big Bang’, 1989

BBC Sessions, 2002

‘Look at the hits on that!’ 2004


Vindaloo/WEA record labels

©Michelle Hatcher (sam1942 in ciao e dooyoo) 2006

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