Chrome (band)

Chrome (band)

Chrome circa 1980, Damon Edge & Helios Creed
Background information
Genres Experimental rock, post-punk
Years active 1976–present
Labels Siren Records
Beggars Banquet
Associated acts Helios Creed
Damon Edge
Helios Creed
Past members
Damon Edge, Gary Spain, John Lambdin and Mike Low

Chrome was an experimental rock group founded in San Francisco, California in 1976.

Chrome took part of their inspiration for their rough and sometimes chaotic music from proto punk pioneers like The Stooges. The sound of the group was often coarse and featured heavy elements of feedback and distortion. Their experiments in mixing synthesized noise with rock instrumentation have been cited as a forerunner of industrial rock music.[1]



Chrome was formed in 1975 by Damon Edge (drums, vocals, synths, production) and Gary Spain (bass and violin) in San Francisco. They recorded and released their first album titled The Visitation along with John Lambdin (guitar), Mike Low (guitar/vocal).[2] After recording The Visitation, Edge sent the album to Warner Brothers to see if they wanted to release the album. A Warner Brothers A&R representative told Edge that the album sounded like a messed up Doors album; to Damon Edge this was a compliment. The label did not release the album, so Edge set up his own label – Siren Records. Edge was nineteen years old when The Visitation was released.[3] After the recording of the first album, singer Mike Low left the band, to be replaced by new guitarist Helios Creed.[2]

Chrome's big artistic breakthrough was their second album Alien Soundtracks. The album began as "Ultra Soundtrack", a soundtrack for a radical San Francisco strip show, but was rejected for being too radical. [1]. And "Alien Soundtracks" is radical. For it Chrome largely abandoned conventional rock compositions, instead employing cut up and collage techniques and heavily processed sound to create a kind of sci-fi punk sound. The album was given four stars (out of five) in the UK music paper Sounds, and Chrome began gradually to gain a cult reputation in the UK and in Europe.

After the recording of the band's second album, Alien Soundtracks, John Lambdin left the band. Chrome now consisted of a core duo Damon Edge and Helios Creed, with Gary Spain continuing to contribute to some tracks on their third album "Half Machine Lip Moves". (The album sleeve shows Damon dressed as a shop mannequin on the front sleeve, and Gary Spain as a mannequin on the reverse).[2] "Half Machine Lip Moves" continued in the vein of the previous album, but heavier with Creed's feedback guitar more to fore along with Edge's rough and ready drumming which included hitting pieces of scrap metal. It remains their best known work. It was listed at number 62 in Wire Magazines "100 Records That Set The World On Fire (while no one was listening)". [2] [3]. Julian Cope rates the album as one of his top 25 of all time [4].The band Jesus Lizard recorded a medley of tracks from Half Machine Lip Moves for their debut single, titled "Chrome", in 1989 [5].

The album cemented the band's growing reputation in the UK and led to the band being signed to Beggar's Banquet in the UK for their fourth album "Red Exposure", by which time Chrome were down to the core duo of Edge and Creed. The album marked a move away from the more frenetic style of the two previous albums, with more use of drum machines and synthesisers.

In 1980 Damon Edge married Fabienne Shine, she went on to collaborate with Edge on several Chrome albums; her vocals appear on the Chrome album Third From The Sun.[4]

After a further EP and single Chrome again expanded to a four piece with the addition of a new rhythm section of John and Hilary Stench. This line-up existed circa 1980-1983, and produced the albums "Blood on the Moon", "Third From the Sun", and "Raining Milk", which was only ever released in France. The songs from "Raining Milk" would later be released in much longer versions on the albums "Chronicles I" and "Chronicles II". For these albums Chrome moved to a more industrial-metal style. The title track from "Third From the Sun" was covered by the band Prong Beg to Differ.

In 1983 Edge moved to Paris. Fabienne introduced him to her band and a new line up of Chrome was formed. Edge and his wife would later separate. Damon Edge continued to release albums with various mainly European based musicians under the Chrome moniker over the next decade.

In August 1995 Damon Edge (real name Thomas Wisse) was found dead in his Redondo Beach apartment in California; the cause of death was heart failure. Edge had been in contact with Creed and talked about reforming Chrome, sadly this never happened.[3]

After she and Damon separated, Shine had continued to compose songs. In 1997, after Edge had died, she released an album titled No Mad Nomad. The title referred to her late husband. In 2004 she began working and touring again with Helios Creed.[4]

A Helios Creed led version of Chrome that featured previous members John and Hilary Stench released a series of albums and toured between 1997 and 2001.

Music Style

While studying at the California Institute of the Arts Damon Edge became influenced in making unusual sounds, this progressed after a trip to Morocco where he heard a lot of Arabic music.[3] In his head he began putting a beat behind the music and started coming up with ideas for songs. Chrome’s music contains a lot of atmosphere in the sound production. There are a lot of three and eight note melodies, usually layered with an atonal drone back with a rhythm section.[3] This sort of atmosphere was influenced from the music he had heard in Morocco. About six months after the trip to Morocco, Edge began forming a band and recording his new music.[3] During the Seventies Chrome’s music did not fit into any particular music scene in America. People found it hard to know how to book the band, or deal with promoting and distributing their music.[3]


Original Period

  • The Visitation (1976)

Edge/Creed Period

the works of Edge and Creed together, in San Francisco

  • Alien Soundtracks (1978)
  • Half Machine Lip Moves (1979)
  • Read Only Memory (1979) - Mini Album
  • New Age (1980) - 7" Single
  • Red Exposure (1980)
  • Inworlds (1981) - 12" Single
  • Blood on the Moon (1981)
  • Firebomb (1982) - 7" Single
  • 3rd from the Sun (1982)
  • Anorexic Sacrifice (1982) - 7" Single
  • No Humans Allowed (1982)
  • Chrome Box (1982) - 6 Album Set
  • The Chronicles I (1982)
  • The Chronicles II (1982)
  • Raining Milk (1983)
  • Chrome / Bauhaus: Live in London (1984) - Various Artists VHS
  • Chromosome Damage (1986) - Bootleg Album
  • Having a Wonderful Time with the Tripods - Compilation (1995)

Damon Edge Period

Produced by Damon Edge in Europe.

  • Into the Eyes of the Zombie King (1984)
  • The Lyon Concert (1985)
  • Another World (1985)
  • Eternity (1986)
  • Dossiers - Various Artists (1986)
  • Dreaming in Sequence (1986)
  • Live in Germany (1987)
  • Alien Soundtracks II (1988)
  • Mission of the Entranced (1990)
  • Liquid Forest (1990)
  • One Million Eyes (1991)
  • The Clairaudient Syndrome (1994)
  • Having a Wonderful Time in the Juice Dome - Compilation (1995)

Helios Creed Period

After Damon's death, Helios Creed reformed Chrome with previous and new members.

  • Third Seed From the Bud (1996) - 10" Single
  • Torque Pound (1997) - 7" Split Single
  • Retro Transmission (1997)
  • Tidal Forces (1998)
  • Chrome Flashback / Chrome Live (1999) - 2 CD Set
  • Ghost Machine (2002)
  • Angel of the Clouds - featuring Damon Edge and Helios Creed (2002)


  1. ^ Bush, John. "Chrome > Biography", All Music Guide, Ann Arbor, MI.
  2. ^ a b c "Chrome Website - The Chronicles", accessed 22 April 2010
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Damon Edge Website", accessed 23 April 2010
  4. ^ a b "Fabienne Shine Online - Biography", accessed 30 April 2010

External links

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