- Catherine Wheel
Infobox musical artist
Name = Catherine Wheel
Background = group_or_band
Great Yarmouth, England
Grunge, Alternative rock, Shoegaze
Years_active = 1990–2000
Label = Fontana Wilde Club Columbia
URL = [http://www.catherinewheel.com Official site]
Rob DickinsonBrian Futter Dave Hawes (1990 to ca. 1999) Neil Sims
Past_members = Ben Ellis (ca. 1999-2000)
Tim Friese-Greene(production, keyboards)
Catherine Wheel were a four-piece
alternative rockband from Great Yarmouth, England. The band was active from 1990 to 2000, experiencing fluctuating levels of commercial success, and embarking on many lengthy tours.
They are perhaps best known for their eerie and epic song "
Catherine Wheel formed in 1990, comprising singer/guitarist
Rob Dickinson, guitarist Brian Futter, bassist Dave Hawes, and drummer Neil Sims. Hawes had previously played in a Joy Division-influenced band called Eternal. They took their moniker from the fireworkknown as the Catherine wheel, which in turn had taken its name from the medieval torture device of the same name. The band was often included in the " shoegaze" scene, characterized by bands that made extensive use of guitar feedbackand droning washes of noise, as well as their continuous interaction with extensive amounts of effects pedals on the stage floor (one source for the term "shoegazing").
The band performed a
Peel sessionin early 1991 while still unsigned; two 12" vinyl EPs were released on the Norwich based Wilde Club Records, named after the regular weekly Wilde Club gigs run by Barry Newman at Norwich Arts Centre. They signed to major-label Fontana Recordsafter being courted by both Creation Recordsand the Brian Eno-run label Opal Records. The band's debut album, 1991/92's "Ferment", made an immediate impression on the music press and introduced Catherine Wheel's biggest U.S. hit, "Black Metallic," as well as moderate hit "I Want To Touch You." [http://www.notalot.com/cwville/nwsowrld.htm] The album features re-recorded versions of some of the Wilde Club-issued EPs.
The more aggressive "Chrome" followed in 1993, produced by
Gil Norton. With this album, the band began to shed its original shoegazing tag, while still making skillful use of atmospherics, such as on the song "Fripp." In a 2007 interview, Rob Dickinson said that members of Death Cab for Cutieand Interpol told him that without this album, their bands "wouldn't exist." [ [http://www.thestar.com/artsentertainment/article/176393] Rayner, Ben - "Behind the Wheel: Catherine Wheel's Rob Dickinson finds there is still air in the tires" - review from The Toronto Star; URL accessed March 5, 2007]
1995's "Happy Days" saw the band delving further into metallic hard rock, which alienated a portion of their fanbase, even as it increased their exposure in the
United Statesduring the post-grunge era. [ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:o3rc287t055a~T10] Kellerman, Andy - "Happy Days" review from Allmusic.com; URL accessed February 17, 2006] The single "Waydown," and especially its plane-crash themed video, received heavy play in the U.S. A more sedate strain of rock known as Britpopwas taking over in the U.K., causing C.W. to continue to have greater success abroad than at home.
The B-sides and outtakes collection, "
Like Cats and Dogs", came out the following year, revealing a quieter, more contemplative side of the band, spanning the previous five years. This carried over into "Adam and Eve" in 1997, wherein the band scaled back the sonic force of their sound from its "Happy Days" levels while retaining the clean, stripped down playing they had begun to favorFact|date=February 2007, featuring extensive use of keyboards and acoustic guitars.
In 2000, Catherine Wheel re-emerged with a new record label, a new bassist (Ben Ellis); a modified name ("The" Catherine Wheel); and a new album, "
Wishville". After mixed reviews, record company turmoil [ [http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2000/07/1106.cfm] Bento, Debbie - "The Wheels Are Falling Off The Catherine Wheel's Momentum - "ChartAttack"; URL accessed March 5, 2007] and lackluster sales, the band went on a still-continuing hiatus.
Post-Catherine Wheel work
Futter and Sims have an ongoing project called
50 ft Monster. Ellis is in a new band called Serafin. After working with/ playing live with Tracy Bonham for several years, Dickinson released a solo album in 2005 called " Fresh Wine for the Horses". Rob continues to perform live and has recently signed a recording contract with Universal Music Canada.
*The band toured the U.K., Europe, and U.S. with such artists as
Slowdive, Levitation, Blur, The God Machine, Soup Dragons, The House of Love, INXS, Charlatans U.K., Jeff Buckley, Buffalo Tom, Belly/ Tanya Donelly, Geneva, Starlings, Bang Bang Machine, The Connells, Headswim, Smashing Pumpkins, Jonathan Fire*Eater, Radiator, and Gwen Mars.
*Dickinson has stated that "Black Metallic" was about a car, not a woman [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:dyk0ion6bbc9] .
Storm Thorgersonand his design team Hipgnosisdid most of the band's album and single cover artwork.
*Rob Dickinson has mentioned many times that
Bruce Dickinsoncame to Catherine Wheel's first-ever live performance wearing a neon orange jumpsuit; he stood in the front row, stone-faced, glaring at the band while they played.
music videofor "Waydown" was critiqued by Beavis and Butt-head. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musicians_appearing_on_Beavis_and_Butt-Head]
*"Ferment" and "Judy Staring At The Sun" were both about the same woman's
heroinaddiction. (She is referred to as the alias "Judy" in each song.)
*A fan (not Futter) ran a website for many years titled "I Can't Believe It's Not Futter", which disseminated satirical info about Catherine Wheel and its band members.
Tim Friese-Greenewas often considered the band's unofficial fifth member.
*Dickinson has stated that
Talk Talk's " Spirit of Eden" is his favorite album ever; he used a line from its song "Eden" ("Everybody needs someone to live by") as a primary lyric in C.W.'s 1995 song "Heal."
*"Ferment" (1992) #39 UK
*"Chrome" (1993) #26 Heatseekers (U.S.)
*"Happy Days" (1995) #163 US, #5 Heatseekers (U.S.)
*"Adam and Eve" (1997) #178 US, #11 Heatseekers (U.S.)
Wishville" (2000) #25 Heatseekers (U.S.)
* 1991 "She's My Friend" Wilde Club
* 1991 "Painful Thing" Wilde Club
* 1991 "Black Metallic" Fontana #68 UK, #9 U.S. Modern Rock
* 1992 "Balloon" Fontana #59 UK
* 1992 "I Want to Touch You" Fontana #35 UK, #20 U.S. Modern Rock
* 1992 "30 Century Man" Fontana #47 UK
* 1993 "Crank" Fontana #66 UK, #5 U.S. Modern Rock
* 1993 "Show Me Mary" Fontana #62 UK
* 1995 "Judy Staring at the Sun" Fontana #22 U.S. Modern Rock
* 1995 "Waydown" Fontana #67 UK, #15 U.S. Modern Rock, #24 Mainstream Rock
* 1997 "Delicious" Chrysalis #53 UK
* 1998 "Ma Solituda" Chrysalis #53 UK
* 1998 "Broken Nose" Chrysalis #48 UK
* 2000 "Sparks are Gonna Fly" #37 U.S. Modern Rock
*"Black Metallic" (1991)
*"30 Century Man" (1992)
*"Shallow" (live promo) (1992)
Like Cats and Dogs" (1996) #36 Heatseekers (U.S.)
* [http://www.robdickinson.com/ www.robdickinson.com]
* [http://www.myspace.com/robdickinson www.myspace.com/robdickinson]
* [http://www.catherinewheel.com/discography.html Discography]
* [http://www.catherinewheel.com/gig.html Concert chronology]
* [http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/texture/ Texture — CW discussion group]
* [http://www.cwcovercomp.com/ Catherine Wheel Cover Compilation project]
* [http://www.thurbz.com/cw/jukebox/ Catherine Wheel Jukebox] and lyrics
* [http://www.catherinewheel.com/content_gfx/clipping2.jpg1993 gig flyer]
* [http://www.lewisslade.com/catherinewheel lewisslade.com/catherinewheel]
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