Although typically considered an off-shoot band for Genesis legend Phil Collins, UK prog-fusion group Brand X was much more than that. Featuring several virtuosic musicians (as well as Collins), Brand X took the genre of fusion to a whole new level of expertise. Along with Collins on drums, the band featured Percy Jones (bass), John Goodsall (guitar) Robin Lumley (keyboards), and Morris Pert (percussion), with sometimes Mike Clark, Kenward Dennard (drums), and John Giblin (bass). Active from 1975-1980, Brand X was another one of those bands who were beloved by other musicians, and the more discerning critics, but despite everything never had the commercial success they deserved. The band released several critically acclaimed albums on the Charisma label in the UK and Passport label in the US, including ‘Unorthodox Behaviour’, ‘Moroccan Roll’, ‘Livestock’ and ‘Product’. Now much to the excitement of Brand X fans and fusion music fans worldwide, Gonzo Multimedia is releasing 3 rare Brand X titles on CD (Missing Period, Live At The Roxy LA 1979, Is There Anything About?), as well as bassist Percy Jones’ hard to find solo offering from 1989 ‘Cape Catastrophe’.
Says Percy Jones, “I’m really happy that Gonzo is releasing this stuff. It was recorded over 25 years ago, so it’s great that it’s still available to anyone who is interested.”
Brand X – “Missing Period’: This album represents the earliest known recordings of Brand X circa 1975-76. Recorded shortly before the group’s debut album ‘Unorthodox Behaviour’, the source tapes for this material were recently recovered by John Goodsall from family members in England, who presented John with a box containing all sorts of Brand X memorabilia. At the bottom of the box were some old reels of tape of unknown origin. Upon review John and Percy realized that they had uncovered a long lost treasure – excellent quality recordings of Brand X’s classic lineup performing previously unreleased material. This documents a period of the band’s history which has been missing for over 20 years.
Tracks: 1. Dead Pretty, 2. Kugelblitz, 3. Ancient Mysteries, 4. Why Won’t You Lend Me Yours?. 5. Miserable Virgin, 6. Tito’s Leg
Brand X – ‘Live At The Roxy LA 1979’: Recorded at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, September 23, 1979 shortly after the release of ‘Product’. This is a previously unreleased soundboard recording of Brand X captured live at the peak of the band’s career.
Tracks: 1. Disco Suicide (intro) Algon, 2. Dance Of The Illegal Aliens, 3. Don’t Make Waves, 4. Malaga Vergen, 5. …And So To F…, 6. Nuclear Burn
CLICK HERE to purchase “Live At The Roxy LA 1979”
Brand X – ‘Is There Anything About?’: Not long after Brand X released their 1980 album ‘Do They Hurt?’, the band members went their separate ways (until their comeback in 1992 which only featured Goodsall and Jones). However, they still owed their record label one more album. The solution? Release a rarities album! The problem was that there was very little unreleased material in the vaults – about three or four tracks at the most. But with a little doctoring and remixing of tapes, keyboardist Robin Lumley extended that number to six tracks and the label released Brand X’s appropriately-titled collection ‘Is There Anything About?’ in 1982.
Says Gonzo Magazine’s Jon Downes, “It is the last album to feature Phil Collins on drums and includes some absolutely gorgeous slices of Brand X at their very best. This is a peculiar album; at the time many critics panned it, often because it didn’t sound anything like the anodyne pop music that Phil Collins was making elsewhere in his career. However, in my opinion and that of thousands of fans worldwide it acts as a satisfying coda to a body of work which has very few parallels in the world of jazz fusion.”
Tracks: 1. Ipanaemia, 2. A Longer April, 3. Modern, Noisy and Effective, 4. Swan Song, 5. Is There Anything About?, 6. Tmiu-Atga
Percy Jones – ‘Cape Catastrophe’: Several years after the release of Brand X’s final album ‘Is There Anything About?’, bassist Percy Jones moved to New York City and began infiltrating the music scene there. He recorded ‘Cape Catastrophe’ in 1988/89 at a studio in East Harlem. Using an array of hardware and instruments available at the time, including a Casio synthesizer, Roland sequencer. Yamaha drum machine and Korg digital delay, Percy recorded a several tracks ranging in length from 2-and-a half minute to 23minutes.
Says music writer Dave Lynch, “There is certainly a lot here for electric bass-aholics to enjoy: Jones’ burbles, pops, and plonks are all here, and his tone on sustained notes is rich with harmonic overtones as expected. But the music through which the bass slips and slides is often more like twisted instrumental techno-funk than fusion, along with ominous electronic textures that sometimes sound like an ethereal chorus or gruff, agitated shouts distorted beyond recognition.” Gonzo Magazine’s Jon Downes adds, “Jones composed everything on the album himself, except for the closing number. The album is a peculiar, though satisfying mix of jazz fusion and electronica, and is another one of those classic albums that slipped through the cracks at the time, which is just unfair.”
Tracks: 1. The Lie, 2. Cape Catastrophe, 3. Slick, 4. Hex, 5. Barrio, 6. Tunnels, 7. Thin Line, 8. Symphony In F Major