Wire Overview

Wire are an English rock rock music band formed in London in October 1976, (and intermittently active to the present) by Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert Gotobed (born Robert Grey, 21 April 1951, Marefield, Leicestershire) (drums). They were originally associated with the punk rock scene, appearing on the Live at the Roxy WC2 album - a key early document of the scene, and were later central to the development of post-punk.

 
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Inspired by the burgeoning U.K. punk scene,

Wire are arguably a definitive art punk or post-punk ensemble, mostly due to their richly detailed and atmospheric sound, often obscure lyrical themes and, to a lesser extent, their Situationist Situationist International political stance. The group exhibited a steady development from an early raucous punk style (1977's Pink Flag) to a more complex, structured sound involving increased use of guitar effects and synthesizers (1978's Chairs Missing and 1979's 154 154 (album) ).

The band gained a reputation for experimenting with song arrangements throughout their career. Following their reformation in 1986, The Ex-Lion Tamers (a Wire cover band, named after a song title from Pink Flag) were their opening act. The cover band played Wire's older material, while Wire themselves played only new material on that tour.Wire's debut, Pink Flag (1977) contains songs which are very diverse in mood and style, but most use a minimalist punk approach, unorthodox structures, and several songs are under a minute in length; "Field Day For The Sundays" is only 28 seconds long.



Chairs Missing followed in 1978, and found Wire stepping back a bit from the stark minimalism of Pink Flag, with longer, more atmospheric songs and synthesizer parts by producer Mike Thorne.

The experimentation was even more prominent on 154 (1979).

2006 saw the re-release of Wire's 1970s albums returned to their original vinyl tracklistings. Rumours abounded of a renewal of activity to mark the 30th anniversary of the band's debut as a 4 piece & the release of Pink Flag in 2007. A third Read & Burn EP was released in November, 2007.

A full length album of new material entitled "Object 47" was released in July 2008. Bruce Gilbert was not involved in this recording, although according to Colin Newman, he did feature in a minimal capacity on the third Read and Burn EP.Like The Velvet Underground, Wire are a band whose influence has outshone their comparatively modest record sales. In the 1980s and 1990s, The Urinals, Manic Street Preachers, The Minutemen The Minutemen (band) , R.E.M., and The Cure expressed a fondness for the group.

More recently, Fischerspooner (who covered "The 15th" on their #1 album), britpop bands like Elastica and Menswe@r Menswear (band) and post-punk revival bands Post-punk revival like Bloc Party, Futureheads, Blacklist Blacklist (band) , and Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand (band) owe a debt to Wire. Blur Blur (band) 's work, along with many more minor Britpop bands, have been particularly reminiscent of 1970s Wire at various points.

Wire were influential on hardcore punk. Fans included Ian MacKaye of the hardcore punk band Minor Threat and Henry Rollins, formerly of Black Flag Black Flag (band) . Minor Threat covered "1 2 X U" for the Dischord Records compilation Flex Your Head, as well as Boss Hog on the "I Dig You" EP and CDs making it a smutty mockery of politically correct views of ***uality and even a small mocking of Minor Threat's version. Henry Rollins, as Henrietta Collins & The Wife-Beating Childhaters, covered "Ex-Lion Tamer" on the EP Drive by Shooting. The German pop-punk band Die Aerzte covered "1 2 X U" calling the song "Lest die Prawda!" and changing the lyrics. Michael Azerrad reports, in Our Band Could Be Your Life, that at Minor Threat's second gig, each of the seven bands on the roster performed their version of a Wire song. Big Black covered Wire's "Heartbeat" twice, once as a studio version which was released as a single (also included on The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape compilation), and also as a live version featuring Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis that was included on the VHS version of their live album Pigpile. Amherst, Massachusetts punks Ampere recorded a cover of "Mr. Suit" from the album Pink Flag for their 2006 split with New York/Netherlands power-violence/punk act Das Oath. Columbus, Ohio garage punk band New Bomb Turks also recorded a cover of "Mr. Suit" for their 1993 album Destroy Oh Boy.

A plagiarism case between Wire's music publisher and Elastica, over the similarity between Wire's 1977 song "Three Girl Rhumba" and Elastica's 1995 hit "Connection Connection (Elastica song) ", resulted in an out-of-court settlement.
 

 

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