Sisters of Mercy

Unmercifully Unforgiving

The Sisters of mercy are indisputably one of the best early Goth / Post Punk bands of the early 80's . Their sound is distinguishable and stands apart from many of their predecessors . Many would like to compare them to the Smiths and Bauhaus , and others to The Mission . However fine and great all of the above mentioned bands are & have been , Sisters of Mercy truly do belong unto a league of their own . If you care to just listen to the track on the mp3 player here on the upper left of the page , you will at once fall victim to that nocturnal, deep mysterious voice of lead vocalist & founding band member Andrew Eldtrich.

The band was formed in Leeds, England in 1980 by F-club regulars Gary Marx and Andrew Eldritch to satisfy their desire to hear themselves on the radio; during that time band t-shirts were made and a single, "Damage Done/Watch/Home of the Hit-men", was recorded and released. The name was influenced by Robert Altman's film McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), which featured the Leonard Cohen song of the same name ("because The Captains of Industry wouldn't have been as funny").

On the single (claimed by the band to have been played twice by John Peel) Gary Marx played guitar through a practice amplifier and Andrew Eldritch was on drums. The partners each wrote and sang on a song.

The band regrouped with Craig Adams on bass, while Eldritch's drumming was replaced by a drum machine, leaving him to concentrate on vocals. The drum machine was christened Doktor Avalanche, and all of its numerous successors kept this name. Andrew Eldritch took over lyrics-writing, Doktor-programming, and record-producing duties, while sharing the music-writing with Marx and (occasionally) Adams.

This became what is generally recognised as the first real Sisters line-up. It began with the Doktor/Eldritch/Marx/Adams incarnation of the band playing a gig in the Riley Smith Hall of the University of Leeds [England]'s Union building in early 1981. Unsurprisingly, nobody can remember the exact date so, for historic purposes, the band and fans have often celebrated the anniversary of the February 16, 1981 concert, in Vanbrugh College, York, England - the band's second ever gig in the form. In 2001, it was the scene of the band's 20th anniversary concert, complete with iced cupcakes for the audience. Later in 1981, Ben Gunn established himself as the second guitarist after several others came and went. Eldritch's melancholic baritone, Craig Adams's pulsating bass, Doktor Avalanche's beat and Gary Marx's flowing guitar led the band to early underground success.

The band's singles were regularly featured in UK independent charts; some became single of the week in various UK indie magazines. John Ashton of The Psychedelic Furs produced the early classic "Alice". The Reptile House EP is another example of early Sisters work and marks the maturing songwriter Eldritch (who wrote, produced and [reportedly] played all instruments on it).

Their live performances featured many cover versions: among those, a medley consisting of "Sister Ray" (by Velvet Underground), "Ghostrider" (by Suicide) and "Louie Louie" (by Richard Berry) became a live staple. Only three of them, The Stooges' "1969", The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and Hot Chocolate's "Emma" were eventually recorded and released on Sisters records (all as b-sides).

In late 1983, following the highly successful "Temple of Love" single, the band signed a contract with major record label WEA.

At the same time Ben Gunn left in an atmosphere of unanimous bitterness. Gunn stated that he did not agree with the direction Andrew Eldritch was taking the band - which, according to Gunn, started out as a joke on serious rock'n'roll outfits, but eventually became one. Gunn also mentioned personality conflicts with Andrew Eldritch as a reason for his departure.

Shortly after the last gig Eldritch relocated to Hamburg, while Hussey and Adams announced their decision to split off to form their own group, citing artistic and personal differences with Eldritch. During the highly publicised soap opera dubbed the Corporate Wars that followed, the new band started playing concerts under name of The Sisterhood, playing Hussey's songs originally written for the Sisters but vetoed by Eldritch. These include the songs "Dance on Glass" and "Garden of Delight", which had originally been recorded (but not released) by the Sisters with Eldritch on vocals, but which Hussey went on to record with his band.

Meanwhile, Eldritch protested their usage of Sisterhood name as too similar to The Sisters of Mercy and a name that had been applied to the fan community of The Sisters of Mercy, and in an attempt to stop the practice released the single "Giving Ground" by his own band, The Sisterhood. The single was later followed by the album Gift. The other band eventually christened themselves The Mission amidst suspicions that the whole affair had been a PR stunt to jumpstart The Mission's career.

According to some sources, with these releases Andrew Eldritch allegedly won over Hussey and Adams a race for £25,000 (a sum opening the song Jihad on the Gift album) advance offered by the publishers to the first member of The Sisters of Mercy to release any output. This would tie Eldritch to WEA and release Hussey and Adams from their contract with the same record company. According to Tony Perrin (Mission manager) the case never went to court and Hussey's new band was able to release their material through an independent outlet. However, Eldritch stated elsewhere that the "2" "5" "0" "0" "0" which opens "Jihad" on the Sisterhood LP represents the sum of money he won from the Mission in the civil courts. He states in an interview, recorded in Boston, that the English courts did not recognize either his or the other members' of the band's legal right to the name "The Sisterhood." He said the courts required a release for anybody to claim ownership of the band name, which was the motivation for the initial Sisterhood single. After that single had been released, Eldritch officially owned the name, and could sue, which he did. He won 25,000 pounds in his lawsuit, and opened the Sisterhood album with that number in order to show his gratitude to Wayne Hussey and The Mission for their generous financial contribution, and to indicate that the matter was closed with no hard feelings.

In October 2006, Side-Line Music Magazine announced that the band was in talks with the Universal sublabel W14 Music.[1] Signed or not signed, three Sisters Of Mercy reissues were released on November 3, 2006 in Europe (and October 30 in the USA) via Wea International: "First And Last And Always" (1985), "Floodland" (1987) and "Vision Thing" (1990). All 3 albums contained bonus tracks.[2]

In a recent interview with Side-Line Gary Marx also explains what happened to the 'lost' album he wrote for The Sisters Of Mercy in 1995.

The official Sisters of Mercy website has remained essentially the same since it went online. The Merciful Release and Reptile House links have been shown as Site Under Construction for several years. The Sisters of Mercy have not released new recorded material since 1993. Even lead-guitarist Ben Christo told Side-Line[4] that he doesn't know if and when a new album would be released.

In Autumn 2008, the Sisters of Mercy toured North America. Concert dates were scheduled in Europe from February to April 2009, Lebanon and Israel in May 2009, and South America in June 2009.

The band cited Leonard Cohen, Hawkwind, Gary Glitter, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Motörhead, Suicide, The Birthday Party, and The Fall as among their influences.[5] Cohen himself wrote and performed a song entitled "Sisters of Mercy" on his debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen. The band shares influences with other bands in the first wave of what is termed "goth" music.

Whilst the band enjoys a considerable fan base with overlapping interests in so-called dark culture, The Sisters of Mercy consider themselves first and foremost a rock band. They have actively discouraged their association with "goth" via regular public statements in the press, not to mention stipulations in their standard contract riders. Nevertheless, this has not stopped them from regularly appearing at festivals where this music is featured, such as M'era Luna. In addition, The Sisters of Mercy were highly influential to the second wave of Gothic rock bands., and are considered one of the best Goth Post Punk Bands till this day .

Official Website of Sisters of Mercy

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I am deeply grieved to say anything about Michael's untimely & unnecessary death and passing . All I will say at this juncture is that I will miss him deeply , and if music is of any consolation to relieve the soul of sorrow, then I will allow the music to speak what I feel at the moment and what I have been feeling the past several days upon hearing of the shocking news . I wrote an article on Michael the very next day , a reflective recollection of Michael's influence upon my life from my early childhood ( since I grew up with Michael & his music ) and the impact he had on , not only my life but within the lives of billions of people globally . There will never be another Michael , just as there will never be another Elvis , or Jimi or Janis , or Jim & John ...there are certain individuals who enter this world to change it , and make it a bit more beautiful and bearable than it is - through their actions & their service , talent , whatever one cares to label it as . Such individuals cannot be replaced nor can anyone ever live up to their status & fill their shoes .

Michael was such an individual , and despite the ugly rumors , nasty gossip , and the attempts of those money hungry vultures who attempted to shred him of his fame and reputation - those who knew Michael , never believed such slanderous and blasphemous lies for a moment . Michael was born a Star - and he went out as one . A supernova ! I will miss him greatly , and will be listening to him until I exit this life as I know that his music will continue to live on through the next 100 years and maybe more . Within the past week or so and since the day of his ill fated demise , the rumors & the allegations surrounding his death have not ceased by the media . What disgusts me the most is the fact that everyone from the press down to Billy Bob - have invaded Michaels home & his privacy ( if one can have such a luxury after death ? ) ; It's as if a 'Locust Invasion " has occurred - as these people will stop at nothing ! Now , every one out there is looking to capitalize on Michaels death as well - which makes me ill literally ! I cannot believe the lengths that certain people will go to and the depths they will succumb to in order to attain the mighty dollar ! The tragedy behind Michaels death at this point is this : He had no peace & absolutely no privacy during his life , and now he can't have it even upon his death ! which makes me want to cry for him even more than I have been doing . I don't know if his funeral will be a " Homage " to his legacy and his lifework contributions , or just a " show " where everyone will come out do their little routine , recite their little pre-written speeches , shed a crocodile tear or two - get their name picture posted on People magazine ( and limitless others ) , and feel as if they've just saved the world . I can aslo imagine the barrage of those who will have set up vending stands , selling T-shirts & Michael memorabilia , on every corner of Hollywood & God only knows where else . This will definitely end up being the " Funerals of Funerals " , which will rival that of the King's ( Elvis ) & Diana's . I only wish that those who do attend do so out of their love & respect and appreciation of Michael & not for publicity's sake ( as there will be a myriad of such individuals on that front ) .

As for myself , I will always remember Michael , not as a grown man - but as that 8 yr old little boy which I first had the privilledge of seeing when I was a young child myself . This is the image which has remained with me throughout the years , and every time I saw Michael , I only saw a little boy who never wanted to grow up ( why would he want to anyway ? it isnt as if he had ever had the chance to be one - he was robbed of that opportunity by an ogre of a father and a non supporting mother who stood by idly watching her husband wreak terror on her children . ) What a tragically ill fated life this poor boy had to endure - and then : an adult life plagued by so many other tragic events . I hope and pray to any god out there who is listening , to finally allow this boy a better resting place , than the one he inhabited so briefly here . May he finally go on to greener pastures , and a heavenly utopian frontier such as the one he had always imagined within his own mind's eye . May he finally go to his " Never land " ..where he will forever be a child , the child he had always been inside , and may he finally be allowed to rest in peace .

Farewell Michael , may you now fly on Angels wings , just like the wings your music had empowered us for so many decades . I love you & I know , that you will always be there my heart . Goodbye dear heart ...


*UPDATE :||: I had the chance to see the full coverage of Michaels funeral & aside from not being able to stop crying ( my eyes are so swollen at the moment I can't even see what Im typing ) ; but I wanted to post the video depicting the entire ceremony. I was wrong in thinking / assuming that it would have turned out to be a 3 ring circus , it turned out being a very well organized and very moving event . I wonder if Michael would have approved - and I also wonder if Elisabeth Taylor has had a change of heart in not attending ? ..I guess I will never know . Rest in peace Michael . You will live forever in our hearts . Thank you for the music Michael .

A very BIG Thank YOU to the Honorable Rev. Al Sharpton for his beautiful speech in honoring Michael . We love you Reverend , you did Michael justice .

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Du Hast un Rammstein ?

Sehnsucht un Rammstein !

There will never be a band who will come even remotely close to the sound , lyrics, showmanship , pyrotechnics & Till Lindemann ! The God of Germanic Industrial Rock & the Industrial metal Powerhouse band members comprised of : Christian Lorenz ( a.k.a : Flake ) keyboards , Richard Kruspe ( guitar ) , Paul Launders ( guitar) , Oliver Riedel ( Bass ) , Christopher Schneider ( Drums ) whom go on to make " Rammstein " what it truly is . No, I'm afraid that nobody does it better than Rammstein and from the looks of the tour dates , these boys do not seem to be hanging up their instruments & their dildos any time soon - so , Buch Dich !

Rammstein was started by Richard Z. Kruspe-Bernstein. In 1989 he escaped from East Germany over the border between Austria and Hungary. He eventually ended up in West Berlin and started a band in 1993 (Orgasm Death Gimmicks). At that time he was very influenced by American music. After the Berlin Wall was taken down, he moved back home to Schwerin where Till Lindemann (lead singer of Rammstein) worked as a basket weaver and played drums in the band First Arsch.
At this time, Richard lived with Oliver Riedel (of the band The Inchtabokatables) and Christoph Doom Schneider (of Die Firma). Richard realized that the music he had previously made was not right for him. He envisioned something with machines and hard guitars together. The three began working together on a new project.

Richard soon found it hard to write music and lyrics at the same time. He got Till to join them as he had often heard him singing while working. A contest for new bands was announced and the prize was studio time. The four of them recorded the first Rammstein demo and won. Paul Landers knew them all and wanted to know what they were doing. After listening to the group, he decided to join. At this point, all they needed for the machine-sound was a keyboard player. They tried to get Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz to join, as he had played with Paul before in the band Feeling B. Flake was not entirely thrilled with the idea at first and didn’t want to join for a long time. But, he eventually agreed.

About the time the band was formed, they all had relationship problems which provided the foundation for their debut album Herzeleid (Heartache) in 1995. Since then, they have reached gold and platinum status for their music and have become Germany’s number one music export.

They took their name (adding an ‘m’) from the location of a German tragedy where 80 people were hurt and killed as the result of a crash during an American Air Force flight show (video). The literal translation of ‘Ram stein’ is a battering ram made of stone.

The Controversies

Rammstein have not been shy of courting controversy and have periodically attracted condemnation from morality campaigners. Their stage act earned them a night in jail in June 1999 after the infamous giant "dildo" was used in a concert in Worcester, Massachusetts. Back home in Germany, the band has faced repeated accusations of fascist sympathies due to the dark and sometimes militaristic imagery of their videos and concerts, including the use of extracts from a propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl in the video for Stripped. Also, when the album Herzeleid originally came out in Germany in 1995, they were met with accusations from the media and critics that they were trying to sell themselves as ‘poster boys for the Master Race’. Rammstein have denied this vigorously and the members of the band have said that they want nothing to do with politics as well as supremacy of any kind. The song Links 2 3 4 was written as a riposte to such claims. According to Kruspe, it means, ”my heart beats on the left, two, three, four.’ It’s simple. If you want to put us in a political category, we’re on the left side, and that’s the reason we made the song.’ (The Grand Rapids Press, Jul. 22, 2001). Of course this is a two-sided thing, since ‘Links 2 3 4′ is the usual command in marching practice in the German army, ‘Links’ referring to the left foot in that case.

In April 1999, it emerged that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold – the two boys who perpetrated the Columbine High School massacre – were fans of Rammstein and had declared it to be one of their favourite bands. Rammstein came under heavy criticism from conservative and Christian groups in the United States, who claimed (among other things) that Till Lindemann’s rolling Teutonic r’s were an imitation of Adolf Hitler’s diction. In response, the band issued a statement:

" The members of Rammstein express their condolences and sympathy to all affected by the recent tragic events in Denver. They wish to make it clear that they have no lyrical content or political beliefs that could have possibly influenced such behavior. Additionally, members of Rammstein have children of their own, in whom they continually strive to instill healthy and non-violent values. "

Jeff Weise of the Red Lake High School massacre was also said to have been a fan.

Following the tragic conclusion of the Beslan school hostage crisis in Russia in September 2004, the Russian authorities claimed that the hostage-takers had listened to German hard rock group Rammstein on personal stereos during the siege to keep themselves edgy and fired up. The claim has not been independently confirmed, and the Russian authorities are known to have been concerned that Rammstein was too appealing to ‘undesirable’ elements in Russian society. A Rammstein concert in Moscow scheduled for July 19, 2002 was cancelled due to fears that it would attract skinheads.

In October 2004, the video for Mein Teil caused considerable controversy in Germany when it was released. It takes a darkly comic view of the Armin Meiwes cannibalism case, showing musicians of the band being held on a leash by a transvestite and rolling around in mud. The controversy did nothing to stop (and may even have helped) the single rising to No. 2 in the German charts.

The band’s own views of its commercialized image are sanguine: " We like being on the fringes of bad taste," according to Paul Landers, while Flake Lorenz comments: " The controversy is fun, like stealing forbidden fruit. But it serves a purpose. We like audiences to grapple with our music, and people have become more receptive." (The Times, Jan 29, 2005)

The band’s latest album, Rosenrot, was released on October 28, 2005. A number of songs that were left out of Reise, Reise for dramaturgical reasons make up the majority of the album, but a number of new songs have also been recorded. The band performed “Benzin”, the first single from the album, at four shows in Wuhlheide Park on June 23-26, 2005, and four shows in the UK (Newcastle, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff) in July 2005.

On June 12 , 2009 Rammstein tickets went on sale for their European tour . Some things just Die Hard , and Rammstein seems to be marching to their own beat ..2. 3. 4 . left ! left !
Seems that Rammstein will not be retiring any time soon - you can expect to hear a lot more from the Till & the boys - and 'till ' then - Sehnsucht !!!

You can find the boys @ the following sites :

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An Epic Goth Band Revisited

In The Flat Field

Bauhaus has got to be the penultimate Goth Band , before ' Goth ' was even a trend . If anyone band / artist has ever set a trend , it would have to be the North Hampton Eng. quartet which emerged in the early 80's . Comprised of Peter Murphy ( vocals ), Daniel Ash ( guitar ) , Kevin Haskins ( drums ) & David J. ( bass ) . The band went under the name " Bauhaus 1919 " before they dropped the numerical portion within a year of formation. With their dark and gloomy sound and image, Bauhaus are generally considered the first gothic rock group.

Bauhaus first broke up in 1983. Peter Murphy began a solo career while the other members continued as Tones on Tail and, later, Love and Rockets. Both enjoyed greater commercial success in the United States than Bauhaus had, but disappeared from the charts in their homeland. The band reunited for a 1998 tour and on a more permanent basis in 2005. The group announced plans to disband again following the release of their final album, Go Away White, in 2008.

Daniel Ash, his friend David J. Haskins, and Haskins's younger brother Kevin Haskins had played together in various bands since childhood, often not lasting more than one gig. One of the longer-lived of these was a band called The Craze, which performed a few times around Northampton. However, the Craze still split up fairly quickly, and Ash once again tried to convince his old school friend Peter Murphy to join him, simply because Ash thought he had the right look for a band. Murphy, who was working in a printing factory, decided to give it a try, despite never having written any lyrics or music. During their first rehearsal, he co-wrote the song "In the Flat Field." Ash's old bandmate Kevin Haskins joined as the drummer. Ash made a point of not inviting David J, the driving force in their previous bands, because he wanted a band he could control. After only a few weeks though, Ash reconsidered and invited Haskins to replace original bassist Chris Barber. Haskins had already agreed to tour American airbases with another band, but decided that joining his friends' group was "the right thing to do." With their lineup complete, the unnamed band played their first gig at the Cromwell pub in Wellingborough on New Year's Eve 1978.

The band chose the name Bauhaus 1919, a reference to the German Bauhaus art movement of the 1920s, because of its "stylistic implications and associations", according to David J. Bauhaus associate Graham Bentley said that the group was unlike any Northampton band of the time, most of which played predominantly cover songs. Bentley videotaped a performance by the group, which was sent to several record labels in the hope of obtaining a contract. The venture was unsuccessful , partly because many record companies at the time did not have home video equipment or Bentley had to provide it himself, so the group decided to record a demo.

Together for only six weeks, Bauhaus entered the studio for the first time at Beck Studios in Wellingborough to record a demo. The band recorded five songs; one of the tracks from the session, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", running more than nine minutes, was released as the group's debut single in August 1979 on Small Wonder Records as Bauhaus (the 1919 abandoned * I still have that record ; in Vinyl too !). The single received a positive review in Sounds and stayed on the British independent charts for two years. The song received crucial airplay on BBC Radio 1 and DJ John Peel's evening show, and Bauhaus was subsequently asked to record a session for Peel's show, which was broadcast on January 3, 1980.
The band released three more singles, "Dark Entries", "Terror Couple Kill Colonel" and "Telegram Sam"-originally written by glam rock pioneers T.Rex-before the debut of their first album In the Flat Field in 1980 on 4AD. Despite negative reviews, In the Flat Field topped the indie charts and made headway onto the British pop charts, peaking for one week at number seventy-two.

Bauhaus' growing success outstripped 4AD's resources, so the band moved to 4AD's parent label Beggars Banquet Records. Bauhaus released "Kick in the Eye" as its debut release on the label. The single reached number 59 on the charts. the following single "The Passion of Lovers" peaked at number 56. Bauhaus released its second album, Mask, in October 1981. The band employed more keyboards and a variety of other instruments to add to the diversity of the record. In an unconventional move, the group shot a video for the album's title track as a promotional tool for the band as a whole and not any specific song from the record.

Bauhaus combined a number of influences including punk music, glam rock, and Krautrock-even funk and dub-to create a gloomy and introspective sound which appealed to many fans left disillusioned by the New Wave that arose in the wake of punk's collapse. Their sound proved influential, inspiring or bringing attention to a whole wave of post-punk groups delving into the intense, gloomy style that would eventually come to be known as gothic rock. Its crucial elements included Peter Murphy's deep and sonorous voice, Daniel Ash's innovative guitar playing and David J's dub-influenced bass, ( who later went on to form " Love & Rockets along w/ Kevin Haskins on drums * I still have that vinyl as well )

Bauhaus released their first new studio album since 1983, Go Away White, in 2008. This marked the end of the band and there was no supporting tour. Drummer Kevin Haskins said in an interview that they "were getting along really well, but there was an incident that occurred." As a result, "some of us just felt that we didn't want to carry on as a working unit". In an interview with SuicideGirls, bassist David J said about the breakup: "You have a test tube, and you pour in one chemical, and you pour in another chemical, and something happens. It starts to bubble. Pour in another chemical, and it starts to bubble a bit more. You pour in a fourth chemical, and it bubbles really violently, and then explodes. That's my answer". Peter Murphy claimed in another interview that "... he was most satisfied with the bonding on an emotional level. It was good to be working together and to put the past behind us and it was very positive. The result was coming out really fast, so it was exciting and it was very enjoyable," but in the end "... that rocky character worked and I think it was a bit right to finish it, really."

Murphy also stated in his MySpace blog ( yes, they're my friends on myspace :) in January that "there's a lot more to it than this 'incident' that I've heard bandied about. In any group's business there are constant incidents, so what? Committing to a being in a band takes tolerance, love, and a massive commitment. I've walked on that stage at times when I could emotionally barely manage to and give it all just the same. If I'd let some disagreement or bad word distract me from that goal, then I'd need to question my integrity. Anton Corbijn once related to me how Bono of U2 talked about one of the reasons that U2 had survived was that they're unlike many English bands; there was a kinship and priority given to each other as family. I personally sympathize with that. 'There is no love where there is no Love.'"

After the bands dissolution Peter Murphy collaborated with Trent Reznor & NIN ( Trent Reznor ) touring across country , revising some of Bauhaus' tracks , and performing cover versions of Iggy Pops " Night clubbing " , Grace Jones' " Warm Leatherette" along with many of Peter Murphy's solo hits . Trent & Murphy are currently touring ( last gig was in New Zealand ) under their new name : " TV on the Radio " . Murphy's voice is as stellar & crystal clear as it were 30 yrs ago - not to say that it has gotten better with age ( which it has ! ) . If you have never heard of Bauhaus , or Love & Rockets , and the new band " TV on the Radio " , you are missing out on some great music .

Despite 30+ years , I still find myself listening to Bauhaus & Love & Rockets , except that now I do so on my iPod . Ain't technology grand ? ( I dont have to flip the 45 over to listen to the B side :)

Keep on Rockin in the Free World & go listen to some Bauhaus .

You can catch Bauhaus here :

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