One of the original forefathers in the industrial boom of the 1980s, Chrome's amalgam of distorted guitars and vocals, samples from TV, and a raw punk aesthetic (inspired by the Stooges) became much more popular in the early '90s than it ever was while the band was around in the '70s and '80s. Although active for only six years, Chrome left behind a huge discography, including nine full LPs (several of which were released posthumously) and numerous EPs and singles.
Chrome were formed in San Francisco around 1977 by vocalist/drummer Damon Edge, vocalist/guitarist Mike Low, guitarist John Lambdin, and bassist Garry Spain; each played other instruments as well, including tape machines, electric violin, and Moog. Chrome's sound wasn't quite fully formed by the time of their first album, The Visitation; it's surprisingly poppy with few hints of what was to come, though an obsession with science fiction made its debut. Second album Alien Soundtracks was the true genesis for Chrome, thanks in part to new member Helios Creed, who joined after the departure of Low. Creed's grinding guitar attack and Edge's tape manipulation on tracks like "All Data Lost" and "Chromosome Damage" would characterize the Chrome sound for years to come. Lambdin and Spain virtually disappeared by 1979's Half Machine Lip Moves, and the industrial effects became even more experimental.
Chrome jumped to the major-label Beggars Banquet/WEA in 1980 for third full-length Red Exposure, and the uncompromising sound was compromised slightly. The album wasn't a success, though, and the duo found itself on the Dossier label for 1981's Blood on the Moon. Creed and Edge added a rhythm section (Hilary and John Stench) for the album, and it proved to be their best effort. Though 1982 was the year of Chrome's breakup, it saw the release of 3rd from the Sun along with the compilation LP No Humans Allowed, which included the EPs Inworlds and Read Only Memory. Also in 1982, Chrome Box appeared, comprised of Alien Soundtracks, Half Machine Lip Moves, Blood on the Moon, and No Humans Allowed, plus the previously unavailable Chronicles, Vols. 1-2 LPs. Helios Creed began a successful solo career in 1985, while Damon Edge continued the Chrome name sporadically over the next ten years, until he died in 1995. Creed reunited with John and Hilary Stench for 1997's Retro Transmission, which was seen as a return to form for the band. Though he returned to his solo career for much of the 2000s, Creed began working under the Chrome name in the 2010s. For 2014's Feel It Like a Scientist and 2017's Techromancy, the band's lineup also included keyboardist Tommy Grenas, drummer Aleph Omega, guitarist Lou Minatti and bassist Steve "Trash" Fishman. ~ John Bush
- San Francisco, CA
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