25 Jun 2015, 7:00 pm
“There’s only three bands that have ever mattered. Echo & The Bunnymen, The Velvet Underground and Magic Alex” ~ Ian McCulloch, Echo & The Bunnymen
Formed in 1995 by childhood friends, vocalist Dean Taylor and guitarist John Simm over the course of the next 12 months they were joined by bass player Simon Borkin, drummer John Mac and, finally, keyboardist Greg Saunders. After toying with a number of names such as The Kingsize Jenkins Deffo & Anal Water Sports they eventually decided on the slightly more conventional Magic Alex, the name of The Beatles drug dealer and electronics ‘expert’.
Taking their cue from classic guitar bands like The Velvet underground, The Beatles and The Feelies as well as swaggering North-West UK bands such as Echo & The Bunnymen and the Stone Roses, Magic Alex looked to fuse the blissed out rock music of these bands with the progressive club music they were surrounded by to create a fresh and innovative sound.
Within a year or two the band were regulars in the NME & Melody Maker, and playing sold out shows across London and beyond, but at the same time guitarist John Simm was having to choose between a burgeoning acting career and the rise of the band. It was a tough decision between accepting a record contract and concentrating on his acting, but as time progressed and the roles he was offered became bigger and more prestigious, the decision was made for him.
Despite finding firm (and in some cases obsessive) fans in a range of other bands Ian McCulloch (who liked them so much he took them on three Bunnymen tours as support act), Ian Brown, Bernard Sumner, Beth Orton to name but a few, Magic Alex remain one of the most under-heard and underrated bands of the 90’s, but even now their repetitive beats, whispered vocals and chiming guitar sound can be heard in acts such as Real Estate, Kurt Vile and Django Django.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, Magic Alex have announced they will be playing this years Glastonbury Festival (as guests of comedian Keith Allen) as well as their own headline gig at the Camden Barfly in London on June 25th. More dates and a possible release will follow.
Magic Alex‘s one album, ‘Dated & Sexist’ is still available on iTunes & Spotify.
Presented by MAMA
Somebody please take video for those of us in other countries. Wish I could be there!