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Glaxo Babies

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Glaxo Babies were a Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

-based UK post-punk
Post-punk
Post-punk is a rock music movement with its roots in the late 1970s, following on the heels of the initial punk rock explosion of the mid-1970s. The genre retains its roots in the punk movement but is more introverted, complex and experimental...

 group, formed in late 1977. There were three distinct phases in the bands life and after initially breaking up in 1980, they reformed in 1985, only to finally break-up again in 1990.

First phase


The band was formed by Tom Nichols (bassist), Dan Catsis (guitarist) and drummer Geoff Alsopp (previously Nichols and Alsopp had been in another Bristol based band called The Vultures). The initial band line-up was completed by Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman (musician)
Rob Chapman is an English rock-musician, journalist, teacher and writer.- Biography :He was the singer with the Bristol-based band the Glaxo Babies and with the British alternative rock band The Transmitters, a music journalist for Mojo and other magazines and newspapers, he made some broadcasting...

 (singer) joining in November 1977, and their first gig was held just 3 weeks later in The Dockland Settlement, St Pauls, Bristol
St Pauls, Bristol
St Pauls is an inner suburb of Bristol, England, situated just north east of the city centre and west of the M32. It is bounded by the A38, the B4051 and the A4032 roads...

. The band signed to local label Heartbeat Records (marketed by Cherry Red
Cherry Red
Cherry Red is a London-based independent record label formed in 1978.-History:Cherry Red grew from the rock promotion company founded in 1971 to promote rock concerts at the Malvern Winter Gardens...

), with their first release being the This Is Your Life EP in February 1979. This led to them recording their first session for BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 radios John Peel
John Peel
John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE , known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004...

 the following April, and the track "It's Irrational", from this session, opened the seminal 1979 Bristol Compilation album "Avon Calling
Avon Calling
Avon Calling is an album of tracks featuring bands from Bristol, UK, on local record label Heartbeat Records, and was originally released in 1979...

". For this release the band had been forced by pharmaceutical company Glaxo to change their name, and this resulted in the use of "Gl*xo Babies", with an asterisk replacing the "a", although subsequent recordings have used a mixture of the two forms.

Tony Wrafter (saxophone) had joined the band in early 1979, and in May 1979 drummer Geoff Alsopp was replaced by Welshman Charlie Llewellin. This line-up had just started to record their debut album in June 1979 at Crescent Studios, Bath with David Lord as engineer. However, due to artistic differences Rob Chapman promptly left the group after the recording of just a couple of run through tracks (including a song about Christine Keeler
Christine Keeler
Christine Margaret Keeler is an English former model and showgirl. Her involvement with a British government minister discredited the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan in 1963, in what is known as the Profumo Affair....

, former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 and the political scandal known as the Profumo Affair
Profumo Affair
The Profumo Affair was a 1963 British political scandal named after John Profumo, Secretary of State for War. His affair with Christine Keeler, the reputed mistress of an alleged Russian spy, followed by lying in the House of Commons when he was questioned about it, forced the resignation of...

).

Second phase



Following the abrupt departure of Rob Chapman the other four members, supplemented by Tim Aylett (and later Alan Jones), took the band "into a more experimental area, leaning more towards a free-form fusion of jazz and dance rhythms", which resulted in them recording, in one day, the album Nine Months To The Disco. By the time this recording was released in March 1980 and reached #8 in the UK Indie Chart
UK Indie Chart
The UK Independent Chart or Indie Chart is a chart of the best-selling independent record releases in the UK.- History :In the wake of punk, small record labels began to spring up, as an outlet for artists that were unwilling to sign contracts with major record companies, or were not considered...

, the Gl*xo Babies had disbanded. Initially Tony Wrafter left, then Dan Catsis and Charlie Llewellin, all three of them going on to found Maximum Joy
Maximum Joy
Maximum Joy were a post-punk band from Bristol, England.When the Glaxo Babies split in 1979, Tony Wrafter formed Maximum Joy with Janine Rainforth , and they were later joined by Dan Catsis and Charlie Llewellin , and John Waddington...

 with Janine Rainforth, and John Waddington formerly of The Pop Group
The Pop Group
The Pop Group are a British post-punk band from Bristol, England, formed in 1978, whose dissonant sound spanned punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae. Their lyrics were often political in nature...

 (Dan Catsis had also played in The Pop Group during 1979 and 1980 as a replacement for Simon Underwood).
Rob Chapman joined The Transmitters
The Transmitters (band)
The Transmitters were a British alternative rock band active during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Mixing elements of punk, jazz and psychedelia, the band were critical favourites throughout their lifetime and played support slots for a wide variety of underground and mainstream bands,...

, with whom he recorded one LP, “And We Call That Leisure Time”.
The single of Rob Chapman singing on Christine Keeler was released in 1979 on Heartbeat and in 1980 Shake (The Foundations) was released as a single off Nine Months To The Disco. Another Peel session had been recorded in February 1980 and the 4 tracks were released later that year on Y Records
Y Records
Y Records was an independent record label set up in 1980 by Dick O’Dell in the United Kingdom, and distributed by Rough Trade.-History:Artists included The Slits, Shriekback and a number of groups that were associated with the Bristol Indie Bands from the late 1970s: The Pop Group, Glaxo Babies,...

 as the “Limited Entertainment EP”. Heartbeats final Glaxos’ release was a compilation album of early demos and unreleased tracks from the Rob Chapman period, called “Put Me On The Guest List”.

In 2007 the Japanese label Birdsong reissued both of the bands albums on CD: “Nine Months To the Disco” included the extra track Swampstomp and “Put Me On The Guest List” had Christine Keeler, Nova Bossa Nova and Because Of You (Live) as bonus tracks.

Third and final phase


The nucleus of the original band (Rob Chapman, Dan Catsis and Charlie Llewellin) reconvened in the summer of 1985, and continued to record sporadically until they final disbanded in 1990. The highlights from this third incarnation of the band were collected in 2007 on “The Porlock Factor: Psych Dreams and Other Schemes 1985-1990” on Cherry Red Records (in 2006 they had previously issued a compilation CD of singles, album tracks and unreleased tracks from their earlier work, “Dreams Interrupted: The Bewilderbeat Years 1978-1980”).

Post final break-up


Rob Chapman – after The Transmitters, Chapman had jobs in teaching and broadcasting on BBC Radio, eventually drifting into music journalism. He began contributing to the magazine Mojo
Mojo (magazine)
MOJO is a popular music magazine published initially by Emap, and since January 2008 by Bauer, monthly in the United Kingdom. Following the success of the magazine Q, publishers Emap were looking for a title which would cater for the burgeoning interest in classic rock music...

, then in 2003 moved to Uncut, only to move back to Mojo in 2006. He is the author of several books, including a history of offshore pirate radio, Selling The Sixties (Routledge, 1992); an alternative history of the record sleeve, The Vinyl Junkyard (Booth Clibbon, 1997); and a biography of Syd Barrett
Syd Barrett
Syd Barrett , born Roger Keith Barrett, was an English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and painter, best remembered as a founding member of the band Pink Floyd. He was the lead vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter during the band's psychedelic years, providing major musical and stylistic...

, Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Faber, 2010). He currently works at the University of Huddersfield
University of Huddersfield
The University of Huddersfield is a university located in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England.- History :The University traces its roots back to a Science and Mechanic Institute founded in 1825...

.

Dan Catis - as of 2010 is now playing bass in the reformed The Pop Group
The Pop Group
The Pop Group are a British post-punk band from Bristol, England, formed in 1978, whose dissonant sound spanned punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae. Their lyrics were often political in nature...

.

Tony Wrafter - continues to play saxophone and flute around the world.

Charlie Llewellin - after the Glaxo Babies, Llewellin went on to be drummer with Maximum Joy and Palace of Light in the UK. He has lived in Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

 since September 1991, and in the 1990s played drums for local groups: Eleanor Plunge, Jean Caffeine and the Gourds. He takes photographs, designs websites, teaches yoga and writes magazine articles.

Singles

  • "This Is Your Life EP" ("This Is Your Life" / "Stay Awake" / "Because Of You" / "Who Killed Bruce Lee?") (1979, Heartbeat, UK, 12", PULSE 3)
  • "Christine Keeler" / "Nova Bossa Nova" (1979, Heartbeat, UK, 7", PULSE 5)
  • "Shake (The Foundations)" / "She Went to Pieces" (live) (1980, Heartbeat, UK, 7", PULSE 8)
  • "Limited Entertainment EP" ("Limited Entertainment" / "Dahij" / "There'll Be No Room for You in the Shelter" / "Permission To Be Wrong") (1980, Y, UK, 7", Y 6)

Albums

  • Nine Months to The Disco (1980, Heartbeat, UK, LP, HB 2)
  • Put Me on the Guest List (1980, Heartbeat, UK, LP, HBM 3)
  • Dreams Interrupted: the Bewilderbeat Years 1978-1980 (2006, Cherry Red, UK, CD, CDMRED291)
  • The Porlock Factor: Psych Dreams and Other Schemes 1985-1990 (2007, Cherry Red, UK, CD, CDMRED322)
  • Nine Months to The Disco [Reissue + Bonus Track] (2007, Birdsong, Japan, CD, BIRD-2006)
  • Put Me on the Guest List [Reissue + Bonus Tracks] (2007, Birdsong, Japan, CD, BIRD-2007)

Tracks appear on

  • Labels Unlimited - The Second Record Collection (1979, Cherry Red, UK, LP, ARED 4)
  • Avon Calling (1980, Heartbeat, UK, LP, HB 1)
  • Western Stars - The Bands That Built Bristol Vol. 1 (2001, Bristol Archive Records, UK, CD, ARC 001)
  • Avon Calling [Reissue + Unreleased Tracks and Heartbeat Singles Collection] (2005, Cherry Red, UK, CD, CDMRED292)
  • 7" Up! (2006, Crippled Dick Hot Wax!, Germany, CD & LP, CDHW 103-2)
  • D-I-Y Do It Yourself (2007, Soul Jazz Records, UK CD & LP, SJR CD 153)
  • I'll Give You My Heart I'll Give You My Heart - The Cherry Red Records Singles Collection 1978-1983 (2008, Cherry Red, UK, 8xCD, CRCD BOX 4)

See also

  • List of bands from Bristol
  • The Pop Group
    The Pop Group
    The Pop Group are a British post-punk band from Bristol, England, formed in 1978, whose dissonant sound spanned punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae. Their lyrics were often political in nature...

  • Maximum Joy
    Maximum Joy
    Maximum Joy were a post-punk band from Bristol, England.When the Glaxo Babies split in 1979, Tony Wrafter formed Maximum Joy with Janine Rainforth , and they were later joined by Dan Catsis and Charlie Llewellin , and John Waddington...

  • The Transmitters
    The Transmitters (band)
    The Transmitters were a British alternative rock band active during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Mixing elements of punk, jazz and psychedelia, the band were critical favourites throughout their lifetime and played support slots for a wide variety of underground and mainstream bands,...

  • Heartbeat Records
  • Avon Calling
    Avon Calling
    Avon Calling is an album of tracks featuring bands from Bristol, UK, on local record label Heartbeat Records, and was originally released in 1979...


External links