MX-80 on Apple Music


Originally known as MX-80 Sound, this US avant rock band was formed in Bloomington, Indiana, by Bruce Anderson (guitar/vocals), Dale Sophiea (bass) and Jeff Armour (drums). In late 1975 they were joined by Rich Stim (vocals/saxophone/guitar) and Dave Mahoney (drums). A single and EP on a local label were followed by their debut Hard Attack for Island Records. By this time they were based in San Francisco. Hard Attack achieved considerable attention; the avowed experimentation of the group (Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa were often cited by critics) was matched by a lyrical subject matter that fitted into the ‘new wave’ ethos of the period. The sound quality was also suitably murky. Signed to Ralph, the label run by the Residents, they produced two more albums (1980’s Out Of The Tunnel and the following year’s Crowd Control, the latter recorded without Armour) and appeared on several compilations, but their career tailed off in the early 80s.

Stim entered law school and nothing further was heard except for Anderson’s appearance in the Henry Kaiser Band. A clutch of tapes under a variety of names (the truncated MX-80, Gizzards, Half-Life, O-Type) appeared in the late 80s and early 90s, apparently the work of Sophiea and Anderson, on the former’s Quadruped label. These two, plus Stim and drummer Marc Weinstein, constituted an MX-80 for the 90s, returning to the studio to complete a new album, I’ve Seen Enough. Another decade passed before MX-80 reunited in the studio to complete 2005’s We’re An American Band.

    Bloomington, IN

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