Monochrome Set Overview

The Monochrome Set are an English England post-punk band originally formed in 1978 from the remnants of a college group called The B-Sides (whose members had included Stuart Goddard, a.k.a. Adam Ant ). The band is notable for its witty lyrics, the laconic delivery of lead singer Bid, and the idiosyncratically retrogressive playing style of original lead guitarist Lester Square.

 
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The original line-up consisted of Indian born lead singer and principal songwriter Bid (real name Ganesh Seshadri), Canadian guitarist Lester Square (real name Thomas W.B. Hardy), drummer John D. Haney, and bassist Charlie Harper. The band went through several bassists in the next few years, including Jeremy Harrington, and Andy Warren Andy Warren (British musician) of the Ants Adam and the Ants , a childhood friend of Bid.

Experimental filmmaker Tony Potts began collaborating with the band in 1979, designing lighting and stage sets with film projections for their live appearances rock concert . The band's early persona was defined by the shadowy, uncertain stage images created by the films to such an extent he is often described as being the band's "fifth member."

They released several singles for the Rough Trade Rough Trade Records label before recording their debut album, "Strange Boutique Strange Boutique (album) ", produced by Bob Sargeant, for Virgin Records' imprint DinDisc in 1980, as well as their follow-up effort, Love Zombies, produced by Alvin Clark and the band later that same year. John Haney left the band in 1981 and was replaced by Lexington Crane.

In 1982, the band switched labels to Cherry Red Cherry Red Records to release their third full-length album, Eligible Bachelors, produced by Tim Hart. Lester Square and Lexington Crane left soon afterwards, and were replaced by keyboardist Carrie Booth and drummer Nicholas Weslowski. This line-up recorded 1982 single Cast a Long Shadow, for Cherry Red before Booth was in turn replaced by new lead guitarist James 'Foz' Foster.

In 1983, Cherry Red released Volume, Contrast, Brilliance... sessions & singles vol. 1, a retrospective of the band's early Rough Trade singles, BBC and Capital Radio sessions, and other unreleased early sessions.

In 1985, with the same line-up as on Cast a Long Shadow, The Monochrome Set recorded the relatively mainstream album The Lost Weekend for major label Warner Bros. Records. The Lost Weekend failed commercially, and after a few singles, the band officially broke up, though they served as Jessica Griffin's backing band on the first album by the Would-Be-Goods Would-be-goods , The Camera Loves Me.In early 1990, Bid, Lester Square and Andy Warren reformed the band, with the addition of keyboardist Orson Presence and drummer Mike Slocombe (who was quickly replaced by Trevor Ready). The new band toured extensively—especially in Japan, where Bid had become a major star.

The band released several low-key albums for Cherry Red Records Cherry Red during the 1990s, and has been on hiatus since 1998, though Bid has since recorded a number of albums with his new band, Scarlet's Well.
The song "He's Frank" appears on the po***r tv series "Heroes" in the second season.The band reunited on 8 October 2008 for a one-off performance at Cherry Red's 30th Anniversary party at Dingwalls, London. It also marked the 30th year of The Monochrome Set. Bid, Andy Warren and Lester Square were joined by Jennifer Denitto (drums) and Sian Dada (keyboards) of Scarlet's Well, and performed 13 songs. In 2010 the band announced further dates in France, Spain, Greece and Japan.
Albums

* Strange Boutique Strange Boutique (album) (DinDisc, 1980)
* Love Zombies (DinDisc, 1980)
* Eligible Bachelors (Cherry Red, 1982)
* The Lost Weekend (WB, 1985)
* Fin (El Records/Cherry Red, 1986, a compilation of live songs from 1979 to 1985)
* Dante's Casino (Vinyl Japan, 1990, later re-released on Cherry Red, 2001)
* Jack (Honeymoon, 1991)
*What a Whopper! (Cherry Red, 1992)
* Charade (Cherry Red, 1993)
* Misère (Cherry Red, 1994)
* Trinity Road (Cherry Red, 1995)


Singles (incomplete)

*"He's Frank (Slight Return)/Silicon Carne/Fallout" (Disquo Bleu/Rough Trade, 1979)
*"He's Frank/Alphaville" (Rough Trade Rough Trade Records , 1979)
*"Eine Symphonie Des Grauens/Lester Leaps In" (Rough Trade, 1979)
*"The Monochrome Set/Mr.Bizarro" (Rough Trade, 1979)
*"The Strange Boutique/Surfin SW12" (DinDisc, 1980)
*"405 Lines/Goodbye Joe" (DinDisc, 1980)
*"Apocalypso/Fiasco Bongo" (DinDisc, 1980)
*"Ten Don'ts for Honeymooners/Straits of Malacca" (Pre, 1981)
*"The Mating Game/J.D.H.A.N.E.Y." (Cherry Red, 1982)
*"Cast a Long Shadow/The Bridge" (Cherry Red, 1982)
*"The Jet Set Junta/Love Goes Down the Drain/Noise" (Cherry Red, 1982)
*"Jacob's Ladder/Andiamo" (Blanco Y Negro, 1985, UK #81)
*"Wallflower/Big Ben Bongo" (Blanco Y Negro, 1985, UK #97)
*"Killing Dave/House of God (Live)/Sweet Death" (Honeymoon, 1991)
*"I Love Lambeth/Kissy Kissy/All Over/Closing Time" (Cherry Red, 1995)


Compilations (incomplete)

* "405 Lines" and "Apocalypso" appear on the LP Dindisc 1980 (Dindisc 1980)
* "Eine Symphonie Des Grauens" appears on the LP and CD editions of Pillows & Prayers (Cherry Red 1982-1983) (Cherry Red 1982)
* Volume, Contrast, Brilliance... (Cherry Red, 1983)
* "Starry Nowhere" appears on the LP Debut LP Magazine Issue 11 (CBS, 1985)
* "Jet Set Junta" appears on the CD Diving For Pearls Volume 1 (Dino Entertainment, circa 1986)
* "Cast a Long Shadow" appears on 12" EP Eyes of Barbara Steele (Cherry Red 1986)
* "The Mating Game" appears on the LP and CD editions of And Suddenly It's Evening (Vap Inc. 1986)
* "Alphaville" appears on the LP and CD editions of Clear Cut Final (Japan Record 1986)
* "Jet Set Junta" and "The Mating Game" appear on the CD Ambition - The Cherry Red Story Volume 2 (Cherry Red 1991) and the edited "omnibus" edition, entitled Ambition - Volumes 1 & 2 - The History of Cherry Red Records 1978-1988.
* "He's Frank" appears on the CD The Indie Scene 79 (Connoisseur Collection 1991) Appears on Season 2 of TV Series "Heroes"
* "Jet Set Junta" appears on the CD The Indie Scene 83 (Connoisseur Collection 1992)
* Colour Transmission (Cherry Red, 1993, a compilation comprising the whole of the first two albums)
* Tomorrow Will Be Too Long: The Best of the Monochrome Set (Virgin/Caroline, 1995 - a repackaging/retitling of Colour Transmission)
* Compendium (Cherry Red, 1996, compilation)
* Chaps (Recall, 1997)
* The Independent Singles Collection (Cherry Red, 2008)
 

 

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