The most recent two bands featured in the ongoing CD86 series – Pop Will Eat Itself and The Soup Dragons – enjoyed real chart success after moving away from the raw guitar sounds that had initially got them attention. As too did We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It!!, a band I am very surprised were not included on said CD.

They were a four-piece all-female outfit from Birmingham and it was a label from their home city – Vindaloo Records – which signed them up at a time when two of the band were 17, one was 16 and the other was the ripe old age of 20.

Debut EP Fuzzbox almost provided them with instant chart success hitting the #41 spot shortly after its release in March 1986. The mix of distorted guitars, frantic loud drumming and tribal-style chanting got them a fair bit of attention as did their manifesto of ‘girl power’ a full decade before such a phrase became synonymous with The Spice Girls.

Six months later, follow-up single Love Is The Slug went ten places higher than the debut and the girls were snapped up by WEA. They spent a bit of time out of the limelight polishing up their act and removing the rough edges – the sort of things that had in fact made them so appealing in the first place. Come 1989, they were known simply as Fuzzbox, had a whole new sexed-up look and a sound that was pure pop based on female harmonies. They were, looking back on it, a prototype for the likes of Girls Aloud and other fully manufactured girl groups of the past 20 years or so.

This move into pure pop stunned a lot of folk who had championed the band in the initial indie days – they had for instance recorded two Peel Sessions and their earliest best known song, Rules and Regulations, was voted in at #31 in the Festive Fifty of 1986.

The changes worked and there were three Top 20 singles and a Top 5 album but then there was a bit of a bombshell dropped when lead singer Vicky Perks decided she wanted to go solo. The remaining three members – Jo Dunne, Mags Dunne and Tina O’Neill – quit the music industry altogether.  Vicky’s solo career never took off and soon they were all mere footnotes in pop history…until many years later when, like so many others, the idea of reforming and cashing in on the ever increasing nostalgia circuit of retro-festivals, proved too much to resist.

So, in early 2010 the band, with the exception of Tina, got back together and with the addition of Sarah Firebrand on bass and Karen Milne on drums, became a five-piece for touring duties before again calling it a day in the summer of 2011.

Just over a year later, Jo Dunne died from cancer a month short of her 43rd birthday.

Earlier this year, Vicky Perks and Mags Dunne announced the second reformation of Fuzzbox with three new members in the shape of Megan Burke, Sarit Black and Hannah Layhe on guitar, bass and drums respectively. There will be some who welcome it but I fear most will be indifferent.

The only thing I have in the collection is the debut EP which was released in a variety of sleeves – mine looks like the photo at the top of this posting. There’s four crackingly energetic songs all in, only one of which is longer than two minutes:-

mp3 : We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It – X X Sex
mp3 : We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It – Do I Want To?
mp3 : We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It – Rules and Regulations
mp3 : We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It – She

It’s a real shame they never ever came close to matching it.


PS : thanks to Jacques for correcting the dreadful error in the original post.  See what happens when you don’t proof read……