Spizzenergi

Spizz was the performance moniker of English art-punk musician and singer Kenneth Spiers, who used it with annual variations: Spizz 77, Spizzoil, Spizzenergi, Athletico Spizz 80, Spizzles, and Spizzenergi2.

As one of the first Rough Trade acts, Spizzoil (with guitarist Pete Petrol) released two singles. In 1979, he assembled a full band, Spizzenergi, which released two further singles, including the UK hit “Where’s Captain Kirk?”

In 1980, he renamed the band Athletico Spizz 80 and released the album Do a Runner on A&M. With ex-Edge guitarist Lu Edmonds, they became Spizzles for the 1981 album Spikey Dream Flowers. Back on Rough Trade, they released two 1982 singles as Spizzenergi2.

Members: Spizz (vocals, guitar, synthesizer, kazoo), Pete Petrol (guitar, bass, vocals, 1979, 1982, 1990, 2004), Jim Solar (bass, piano, 1979-82, 1986, 1996), Dave Scott (guitar, vocals, 1979-80, 1996-97), Mark Coalfield (piano, vocals, 1979-80), Brian B. Benzene [Bryn B. Burrows] (drums, vocals, 1979, 1982), Lu Edmonds (guitar, vocals, 1980-81), Ian Page (piano, synthesizer, vocals, 1983, 1985-86), Phil Nicholl (piano, vocals, 1988-89), Matt Broughton (bass, vocals, 1991-present), Simon Kinder (guitar, vocals, 1991-present), Jeff Walker (drums, 1996-present)


Background

Kenneth Spiers (born 1959) came from Solihull, a West Midlands market town southeast of Birmingham. He debuted as Spizz ’77 with an impromptu vocal performance at Barbarella’s Punk Festival, a Bank Holiday event on August 29, 1977, with sets by The Drones, Eater, The Killjoys, The Unwanted, The Victims, and The Worst.> On October 24, he appeared third-billed (along with Paul Rutherford’s Spitfire Boys) behind Kevin Rowland’s Killjoys at the Vortex, a punk haven on London’s Wardour St.

Spiers linked with guitarist Pete Petrol (real name Pete O’Dowd) in Spizzoil, which performed as a guitar–vocal duo. On August 1, they did a session for BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, whose 8/7 broadcast aired featured two songs and two suites: “Cold City,” “6,000 Crazy,” “Pure Noise – Alien Language – Protect From Heat,” and “Platform 3 – Switched Off.” Drummer Palmolive briefly joined Spizzoil between stints in The Slits and The Raincoats.


Spizzoil Singles

Oct 1978
A1. “6,000 Crazy” ()
B1. “Fibre” ()
B2. “1989” ()

Feb 1979
A1. “Cold City” ()
A2. “Red and Black” ()
B1. “Solarisation” ()
B2. “Platform 3” ()

2. Recorded: 1979-03-12. Broadcast: 21 March 1979. Repeated: 25 April 1979
European Heroes / Energy Crisis / Soldier Soldier / Life’s So Safe


Spizzenergi Singles

Spiers assembled Spizzenergi as a full band with Petrol and bassist Jim Solar (James Little), drummer Brian B Benzine, and keyboardist Mark Coalfield.

7 Sep 1979
A. “Soldier Soldier” ()
B. “Virginia Plain” ()

In late 1979, Petrol cleared for guitarist Dave Scott.

3. Recorded: 1979-11-13. Broadcast: 27 November 1979. Repeated: 09 January 1980, 22 April 1980
New Species / Touched / Intimate / Effortless / Where’s Captain Kirk?

Dec 1979
A. “Where’s Captain Kirk?” ()
B. “Amnesia” ()

In January 1980, “Where’s Captain Kirk?” became the inaugural No. 1 song on the newly established UK Indie Singles Chart. Benzine cleared for drummer Hero Shima (Suresh Singh).


Athletico Spizz 80

Clive Parker, Dave Scott, James Little, Kenneth Spiers, Mark Stephens

On February 5–6, 1980, Athletico Spizz 80 played two straight nights at Birmingham’s Top Rank Suite on a triple bill with The Clash and Mikey Dread.> Spizz sold out multiple nights (April 9–11) at London’s Marquee Club.

4. Recorded: 1980-04-30. Broadcast: 12 May 1980. Repeated: 29 May 1980, 17 June 1980, 28 July 1980 (under the name of Athletico Spizz 80)
Red And Black / Rhythm Inside / Hot Deserts / Central Park

On May 27, Athletico Spizz 80 played London’s Hammersmith Palais on a triple-bill with The Human League and Scars.

Jun 1980
A. “No Room” ()
B. “Spock’s Missing” ()


Do a Runner

Athletico Spizz 80 released Do a Runner on July 18, 1980, on A&M.

A1. “Touched” (2:40)
A2. “New Species” (2:21)
A3. “Intimate” (2:00)
A4. “Effortless” (3:00)
A5. “European Heroes” (2:10)
A6. “Energy Crisis” (4:38)
B1. “Red and Black” (3:48)
B2. “The Rhythm Inside” (2:30)
B3. “Personimpersonator” (2:40)
B4. “Clocks Are Big” (0:32)
B5. “Airships” (8:41)


Athletico Spizz 80 Singles

15 Aug 1980
A. “Hot Deserts” ()
B. “Legal Proceedings” ()

In mid-September, Athletico Spizz 80 played Queen’s Hall in Leeds as part of the Futurama 2 Festival, a two-day event with sets by Altered Images, Clock DVA, Echo & The Bunnymen, I’m So Hollow, League of Gentlemen, Music for Pleasure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Soft Cell, and U2. Spizz appeared on day two (Sunday the 14th) along with Boots for Dancing, Classix Nouveaux, Durutti Column, Flowers, Frantic Elevators, Hazel O’Connor, The Psychedelic Furs, Soft Boys, Vice Versa, and Young Marble Giants.>

On September 17, Athletico Spizz 80 and 999 played London’s Lyceum Ballroom, where both acts were filmed for URGH! A Music War, a 1981 A&M double-album and concert film with thirty-six new wave acts. Spizz perform a medley of “Clocks Are Big” and “Where’s Captain Kirk?”> URGH! also features live numbers by Gary Numan, Klaus Nomi, The Members, Oingo Boingo, Orchestra Manoeuvres In the Dark, Pere Ubu, The Police, Skafish, Steel Pulse, Toyah Willcox, UB40, Wall of Voodoo, X, and XTC.

3 Oct 1980
A. “Central Park” ()
B. “Central Park (Doctors And Nurses – Dub Version)” ()


The Spizzles

Clive Parker, James Little, Kenneth Spiers, Lu Edmonds

Spizzles embarked on an April 1981 UK tour with Department S.


Spikey Dream Flowers

The Spizzles released Spikey Dream Flowers in 1981 on A&M.

A1. “Brainwashing Time” (4:37)
A2. “Five Year Mission” (2:17)
A3. “Dangers of Living” (3:32)
A4. “Robot Holiday” (2:27)
A5. “Soldier, Soldier” (3:47)
B1. “Downtown” (3:00)
B2. “Risk” (3:34)
B3. “Central Park” (4:22)
B4. “Melancholy” (2:40)
B5. “Scared” (4:00)

“Risk”

“Dangers of Living”


Spizzenergi2 Singles

19 Mar 1982
A. “Mega City : 3” ()
B. “Work” ()

6 Aug 1982
A. “Jungle Fever” ()
B. “The Meaning” ()


Discography:

  • “6,000 Crazy” / “1989” / “Fibre” (1978 • Spizzoil)
  • Cold City : 4 (EP, 1979 • Spizzoil)
  • “Soldier Soldier” / “Virginia Plain” (1979 • Spizzenergi)
  • “Where’s Captain Kirk?” / “Amnesia” (1979 • Spizzenergi)
  • Do a Runner (1980 • Athletico Spizz 80)
  • Spikey Dream Flowers (1981 • The Spizzles)
  • “Work” / “Mega City 3” (1982 • Spizzenergi2)
  • “Jungle Fever” / “The Meaning” (1982 • Spizzenergi2)
  • “Love Me Like a Rocket” (1988 • Spizz Orbit / Rev-Revolution)

Sources:

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