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Brand X are a jazz fusion band formed in London in 1975. They were active until 1980, followed by a reformation between 1992–1999. Noted members included John Goodsall (guitar), Percy Jones (bass), Robin Lumley (keyboards) and Phil Collins (drums). Goodsall and Jones were the sole constant members throughout the band's existence. In 2016, Goodsall, Jones and Kenwood Dennard reunited with new musicians Chris Clark on keyboards and Scott Weinberger on percussion.
|Years active||1975–1980, 1992–1999, 2016–present|
|Associated acts||Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Genesis, Atomic Rooster, Soft Machine, Fire Merchants, Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Liverpool Scene, Weather Report, Rod Argent|
1975–1980: First incarnationEdit
In December 1974, Genesis drummer Phil Collins was invited to rehearsals with a developing five-piece instrumental jazz fusion group at Island Studios in London, which included Percy Jones on bass. They had secured a recording deal with Island Records and prepared tracks for a studio album which originally included vocals. However, the vocals were negatively received from Island management, leaving the group to write new material, at the suggestion of Island A&R man Richard Williams. After Collins left for Genesis commitments, the line-up changed from Jones, John Goodsall on guitar, Robin Lumley on keyboards and vocals, Pete Bonas on guitar, and John Dillon on drums and percussion, to a departing Bonas and Dillon, the latter replaced by Phil Spinelli for a short time before a newly available Collins took his place in April 1975. The four recorded Unorthodox Behaviour in September and October 1975 at Trident Studios with Jack Lancaster on saxophone. They were named Brand X after Island Records staffer Danny Wilding wrote down "Brand X" to keep track of their activity on the studio calendar, and the name stuck. In preparation for their upcoming gigs, the four were joined by Geoff Seopardi on percussion by December 1975. Having secured Genesis manager Tony Smith as their manager, the album was released in June 1976 on Charisma Records, the album reached No. 191 on the US Billboard 200.
Brand X played their first gigs with a series of low key warm-up shows in November and December 1975. These were followed by a full-scale tour across the UK from February 1976, mainly on the college circuit. They had little funds, resorting to renting a synthesiser and PA system, operated with a small road crew, and often played support for the headlining act. In December 1976, the band returned to Trident Studios to record their second album Moroccan Roll, by which time percussionist Morris Pert joined the band full-time. They had previously employed Gaspar Lawal, Bill Bruford, and Preston Heyman for the position, but each operated in an unofficial capacity. Moroccan Roll was released in April 1977 and peaked at No. 37 in the UK and No. 125 in the US. With Collins leaving the group for Genesis commitments, Kenwood Dennard of Pat Martino's group was recruited in New York City in time for their 32-date US tour in May and June 1977. Collins briefly returned later in 1977 for a series of dates, including a spot at the tenth Crystal Palace Garden Party in London and the Fête de l'Humanité in Paris on the same day on a specially chartered plane, the latter attended by an estimated 200,000 people. Recordings produced on the 1976 and 1977 dates were used to make up the live album Livestock (1977).
A second US tour followed late in the year, again with Dennard replacing Collins on drums. The following year saw the departure of Lumley and Dennard, the band recruited keyboardist J. Peter Robinson and drummer Chuck Burgi, following which they recorded their third album, Masques (1978). In late July 1978, Goodsall contracted tendonitis. As a result, the band played with guitarist Mike Miller (guitarist) for the rest of the year, though he did play one or two shows with them later in the year.
In 1979, following the departure of Burgi, both Lumley and Collins returned to the group, along with bassist John Giblin and drummer Mike Clark. The band then commenced a series of recording sessions in April 1979, which would generate enough material for two albums, 1979's Product and 1980's Do They Hurt?. These took place at Startling Studios, located in Ringo Starr's countryside home (formerly owned by John Lennon), with two distinct line-ups made up of the eight band members operating in alternation. As Percy Jones later explained: "Our record and management companies were both complaining about poor record sales and telling us we had to make the music more accessible. Some of the guys agreed to go along with this, but I felt, that to do this would not generate a new audience but would probably just alienate the one that we already had. The only solution was to have two bands, one being more accessible and the other being more experimental. For my stuff the lineup was Robinson, Clark, Goodsall and me; for the other direction, it was Lumley, Collins and Goodsall with John Giblin on bass. We recorded in shifts, ours was 8pm to 4am and the others, 10am to 6pm".
Following the completion of the two albums, Clark and Pert departed the band, and the remaining six members recorded another album, 1982's Is There Anything About?, which would be the final album to feature both Lumley and Collins, and which would not be released until two and a half years after the band's dissolution. Following the completion of the recording sessions, the band embarked on a world tour, following which Collins departed for the final time. Clark returned to the drum stool, and the band toured the UK in April and May 1980 (co-headlining with Bruford). Following this tour, the band dissolved.
After Brand X's 1979 world tour, Goodsall had moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session musician, and as a member of the band Zoo Drive (1980–1987), which included Doug Lunn, Paul Delph and Spinal Tap drummer Ric Parnell. Goodsall and Ric Parnell have created music together for many years. Parnell was instrumental in helping Goodsall get beyond the London/UK music scene. Some notable recordings from this time include the Atomic Rooster album Nice 'n' Greasy in 1973. Goodsall has also performed and/or recorded with Bill Bruford, Desmond Dekker, Peter Gabriel, Billy Idol, Bryan Adams, Toni Basil and Mark Isham. Goodsall released two albums with his band Fire Merchants, before reforming with Brand X and recording Xcommunication (1992) and Manifest Destiny (1997).
1992–1999; First reformation and second hiatusEdit
Goodsall and Jones reformed Brand X with drummer Frank Katz in 1992. To make up for the lack of a keyboard player, Goodsall used a Gibson Max MIDI-guitar system to trigger synths, samples and keyboard sounds along with his guitars. This line-up went on to record X-Communication (1992). In 1996, following the inclusions of Frank Pusch (bass, keyboards, percussion), Marc Wagnon (bass, synthesisers, percussion) and Danny Wilding (flute), the band recorded Manifest Destiny (1997). The following year, following Katz's departure and his subsequent replacement with drummer Pierre Moerlen (formerly of Gong) and keyboardist Kris Sjobring, the band toured Japan and Europe. Brand X dissolved again in 1999.
In recent years, Goodsall has recorded with Franz Pusch and performed regular solo concerts with guest musicians. Jones, Katz and Wagnon formed Tunnels with guitarist Van Manakas during the 1990s. Goodsall played guitar on three tracks on Tunnels album Progressivity (2002).
2016-present; Second reformationEdit
In 2016, Brand X announced that they would reform with John Goodsall on guitar, Percy Jones on fretless bass guitar, Kenwood Dennard on drums (later replaced by Kenny Grohowski), Chris Clark on keyboards and Scott Weinberger on percussion. Small tours of North America ensued late in 2016, earlier in 2017 and in 2018. The 2017 show at Sellersville Theatre, PA was taped to be used for the band's 2017 live double album titled "But wait... There's more!"
- Unorthodox Behaviour (1976)
- Moroccan Roll (1977)
- Masques (1978)
- Product (1979) - US No. 165
- Do They Hurt? (1980) - US No. 204
- Is There Anything About? (1982) UK #93
- X-Communication (1992)
- Manifest Destiny (1997)
- 1977 Livestock - largely recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club Aug/Sept 76 - US No. 204
- 1996 Live at the Roxy L.A. - recorded 23 September 1979 (taken from a band members' cassette from the venue's PA mixing desk)
- 2000 Timeline - live concerts 16 November 1977 Chicago & 21 June 1993 NYC
- 2017 But Wait... There's More! - LIVE 2017 - recorded on January 6, 2017 at the Sellersville Theatre, PA
- 2018 Locked & Loaded - recorded live June 2017, Longs Park Amphitheater, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- 1986 Xtrax - tracks from first seven albums
- 1992 The Plot Thins - A History of Brand X - tracks from the first four studio albums, plus Livestock
- 1997 Missing Period - recorded 1975-1976, collection of lost session tapes
- 1999 X-Files: A 20 Year Retrospective - compilation including side projects
- 2003 Trilogy - Xcommunication + Manifest Destiny + live recording 27 September 1979 NYC
- 2014 Nuclear Burn - 4-CD boxset containing Unorthodox Behaviour, Moroccan Roll, Livestock, Masques, Product, and Do They Hurt? in their entirety and four bonus tracks taken from unreleased BBC sessions
- 1975 The Rock Peter and the Wolf - by Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley featuring Vivian Stanshall, Manfred Mann, Gary Brooker, Chris Spedding, Gary Moore, Stephane Grappelli, Brian Eno, Keith Tippett, Jon Hiseman, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins and others
- 1976 Marscape - by Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley featuring John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Phil Collins, Bernie Frost, Morris Pert and Simon Jeffes
- 1978 Pleasure Signals by Danny Wilding and Pete Bonus (Bonas) featuring John Goodsall, Phil Collins, John Giblin, Preston Heyman, Morris Pert and others
- John Goodsall – guitars, synthesisers (1975–1980, 1992–1999, 2016–present)
- Percy Jones – bass (1975–1980, 1992–1999, 2016–present)
- Kenwood Dennard – drums, percussion (1977, 1977–1978, 2016)
- Chris Clark – keyboards (2016–present)
- Scott Weinberger – percussion (2016–present)
- Kenny Grohowski - drums, percussion(2016–present)
- "Band Approved Videos". youtube.com. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- Fudger, Dave (13 March 1976). "Which xciting, xtravagant, xtremely x-rated, xquisitely xtroverted band sends you into flights of xtasy?". Sounds. p. 43. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- Welch, Chris (17 December 1977). "Brand X: This is a stick-up!". Melody Maker. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- Unorthodox Behaviour (Media notes). Brand X. Charisma Records. 1976. CAS 1117.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Johnson, Derek (6 December 1975). "Brand X: Genesis drummer debuts new group". New Musical Express. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- Dallas, Karl (10 January 1976). "Collins cleans up with Brand X". Melody Maker. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- "Last.fm". Gasper Lawal – Discover music, concerts, stats, & pictures at Last.fm. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). Guinness World Records Limited. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
- Fudger, Dave (1 October 1977). "A gig too far". Sounds. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "Percy Jones interview". December 2000. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
- "Brand X Performances". Edensongs.com. Retrieved 19 May 2014.