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Howard Devoto (born Howard Trotter) was on the cutting edge of British post-punk rock during the late '70s and '80s. A founding member of new wave/pop band the Buzzcocks, Devoto went on to form similar-minded bands Magazine and Luxuria. Although he retreated from music during the 1990s, he returned to the studio with former Buzzcocks bandmate Pete Shelley in 2002 as the two record together for the first time in a quarter of a century.
A native of Manchester, England, Devoto first attracted attention in 1976 when he and Shelley formed the Buzzcocks. Although he co-wrote such tunes as "Boredom," "Breakdown," and "Orgasm Addict," he only played a few gigs with the group and appeared on their debut EP, Spiral Scratch, before leaving in early 1977.
Joining with guitarist/songwriter John McGeoch, bassist Barry Adamson, keyboard player Bob Dickinson, and drummer Martin Jackson, Devoto formed Magazine in April 1977. Emphasizing the neo-spiritual, existential, and philosophical side of their musical persona, the group recorded five memorable albums — Real Life, Secondhand Daylight, The Correct Use of Soap, Live, and Magic, Murder and the Weather — before Devoto left to pursue a solo career. The group disbanded shortly afterwards.
Devoto's success began to wane after leaving Magazine. Although he released a solo album, Jerky Versions of the Dream, in 1983, it failed to sell. He next surfaced five years later when he and guitarist Noko formed Luxuria. Although they recorded two albums — Unanswerable Lust in 1988 and Beast Box — neither reached sales expectations and the group disbanded. Frustrated by his inability to interest record-buyers in his recordings, Devoto left music in 1990 and took a full-time job as a photo librarian for a photography agency. He remained focused on the position until returning to the recording studio 12 years later.