28 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Scotland’s Rezillos in 1977 created a postmodernist punk confection that mixed B-movie and pop-culture ephemera with relentless Ramones riffs, power harmonies, beefy glam rock, blips of speed-addled R&B, and absolutely peerless bass playing—all with nary a whiff of punk anarchy or sloganeering. The U.K. Top 20 hit “Top of the Pops,” which is like early Queen on too many Pop Tarts, leads the charge of well-recorded ironic (i.e., post–art school) punk ditties, including eardrum-tenderizing covers of an old Fleetwood Mac B-side (“Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight”) and a Dave Clark Five humdinger (“Glad All Over”). Led by the colorful Faye Fife and guitarist Jo Callis (later a Human League main man), the band created songs that withstand the test of time, easily evidenced by the number of “best albums” lists this thing has graced. This set collects the band’s pretty much flawless 1978 debut (Can’t Stand the Rezillos), a non-album single (“Destination Venus”) and its b-side, and the ’79 live album Mission Accomplished ... But the Beat Goes On.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Scotland’s Rezillos in 1977 created a postmodernist punk confection that mixed B-movie and pop-culture ephemera with relentless Ramones riffs, power harmonies, beefy glam rock, blips of speed-addled R&B, and absolutely peerless bass playing—all with nary a whiff of punk anarchy or sloganeering. The U.K. Top 20 hit “Top of the Pops,” which is like early Queen on too many Pop Tarts, leads the charge of well-recorded ironic (i.e., post–art school) punk ditties, including eardrum-tenderizing covers of an old Fleetwood Mac B-side (“Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight”) and a Dave Clark Five humdinger (“Glad All Over”). Led by the colorful Faye Fife and guitarist Jo Callis (later a Human League main man), the band created songs that withstand the test of time, easily evidenced by the number of “best albums” lists this thing has graced. This set collects the band’s pretty much flawless 1978 debut (Can’t Stand the Rezillos), a non-album single (“Destination Venus”) and its b-side, and the ’79 live album Mission Accomplished ... But the Beat Goes On.

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About The Rezillos

Although frequently aligned with the punk movement, the Rezillos' (later known as the Revillos) irreverent glam rock image and affection for campy girl group iconography set them distinctly apart from their peers. Formed in 1976 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the group was initially a fluid and highly informal collective centered around lead vocalists Eugene Reynolds (born Alan Forbes) and Fay Fife (Sheila Hynde), and fleshed out by lead guitarist Luke Warm (Jo Callis), second guitarist Hi-Fi Harris (Mark Harris), Dr. D.K. Smythe on bass, drummer Angel Paterson (Alan Patterson), and backing vocalist Gale Warning.

The Rezillos' early repertoire contained material from the likes of Screaming Lord Sutch, the Dave Clark Five, and the Sweet. The success of their 1977 debut single, "I Can't Stand My Baby," was unexpected, especially by the bandmembers themselves, who never considered the group much more than a lark; as a result of the more serious pressures now exerted on the Rezillos, Harris, Smythe, and Warning all departed, while bassist/saxophonist William Mysterious (born William Donaldson) signed on as a permanent member.

After signing to major-label Sire, the quintet reached the U.K. Top 20 with a single titled, ironically enough, "Top of the Pops." After releasing their 1978 debut LP, Can't Stand the Rezillos, Mysterious was replaced by Simon Templar, but internal problems continued to plague the group, and following a farewell tour, they disbanded in December 1978. Paterson, Warm, and Templar continued on as Shake, while Reynolds and Fife, promised they could be released from their contract if they dropped the Rezillos name, formed the Revillos.

Rejoined by Harris as well as onetime Pork Dukes drummer Rocky Rhythm, bassist Felix, and backing vocalists Babs and Cherie (aka the Revettes), the first incarnation of the Revillos recorded a pair of singles, "Where's the Boy for Me?" and "Motorbike Beat." In mid-1979, Harris left to become an architect, and was replaced by 17-year-old guitarist Kid Krupa in time to record 1980's Rev Up. Following the usual lineup fluctuations (Felix was replaced by Vince Spik, and Babs was replaced by singer Drax), the Revillos signed to the Superville label and issued the single "She's Fallen in Love with a Monster Man" and the 1983 LP Attack! After a pair of self-financed U.S. tours, the band split in 1985; Reynolds formed Rockatomic and Planet Pop, while Fay joined Destroy All Men. The Revillos re-formed in 1994 to play a series of concerts in Japan, ultimately recording the Live and on Fire in Japan album and the Yeah Yeah EP. In 1996, they issued a rarities compilation, From the Freezer, and played some live dates in Britain. By 2001, the Rezillos were once again a going concern, touring regularly in the U.K. and Europe with a lineup featuring Fife, Reynolds, guitarist Jim Brady, bassist Chris Agnew, and drummer Angel Paterson. After releasing a pair of singles in 2009 and 2011, in 2015 the Rezillos finally got around to cutting a second studio album, Zero. ~ Jason Ankeny

  • ORIGIN
    Edinburgh, Scotland
  • FORMED
    1976

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