Alien Sex Fiend [Special]

Alien Sex Fiend [Special]

From the band's moniker alone it is apparent that Alien Sex Fiend have every intention of raising eyebrows, if not shocking completely. However, there is much more to their story than that. Since the early 1980s, the London, England, based outfit have released a slew of records which exceed the status of gimmickry. Like contemporaries the Cramps, Alien Sex Fiend have relied upon a tongue in cheek style of horror film-inspired imagery, setting them apart from a host of gothic rock bands who offer similar theatrics without a glimmer of irony.

Unlike the Cramps' blend of comic-book rockabilly, Alien Sex Fiend base their musical style on a blend of boisterous punk rock and synthesizer driven dance music, looking forward towards change rather than back. As Greg Fasolino wrote in an online article, "Darwin would have been proud of Alien Sex Fiend, a highly successful musical organism that has resisted over a dozen years worth of attempts at pigeonholing and ... have yet to stand still in any zone of space and time." Alien Sex Fiend's roots are firmly entrenched in the North London club scene that thrived in the wake of punk rock in the late 1970s. The band's Nik Fiend circulated among several bands during 1976 and 1977, including the short lived groups Demon and Demon Preacher, both of which left behind few recorded artifacts.

Fiend's penchant for the macabre antics of rock singer Alice Cooper, famous for loading his stage with snakes, guillotines, and other ghastly props, set him apart from many of his punk contemporaries, and after finding a like-minded set of cohorts, Alien Sex Fiend formed to help forge the new genre of gothic rock. Joined by his synth-playing wife Chrissie, who adopted the stage name Mrs. Fiend, Fiend rounded out the original Alien Sex Fiend lineup with apartment-mate David James/Yaxi Highriser on guitar and drummer John Freshwater/Johnny Ha-Ha. After producing a demo-tape that received good reviews in underground papers, the band was invited by Ollie Wisdom of the group Specimen to play their first live show at London's Batcave club in December of 1982. It quickly became apparent that stage performance was as vital to Alien Sex Fiend as recording music, and their display of smoke machines and zombie-like makeup played a part in the burgeoning gothic subculture. However, unlike a number of gothic acts that emerged from the same period such as Christian Death or Specimen, Alien Sex Fiend injected a campy self-awareness into their seemingly morbid proceedings, and listeners outside of the gothic lifestyle grew to appreciate the band's flair.

While becoming in-house cuit favorites at the Batcave, the group was soon invited to play larger venues, adding to their busy schedule. "The only lows were attempting to hold down day jobs and having to go to work pretending you'd had a normal evening," Nik Fiend recalled to Mick Mercer in an online article, "when in reality you've been up all night recording in Trident studios or doing a gig." Beginning a twelve year relationship with the Anagram label, the Fiends released their debut single, "Ignore the Machine" and album, Who's Been Sleeping in My Brain?, in 1983. A landmark of gothic rock, the album offers a unique array of vaguely psychedelic guitar and pulsing rhythm, topped off by the trademark vocals of Nik Fiend, who alternates between a deadpan drone and a wailing tremolo. With such highlights as "Wish I Woz a Dog" and "Wild Women," Who's Been Sleeping in My Brain? created a landscape of B-movie imagery and hallucinogenic references that usually avoided outright profanity, but was nevertheless sure to shock the conservative listener.

The prolific group continued to issue a number of singles that scored high marks within clubs and on independent charts, including "R.I.P," "Dead and Buried," and "E.S.T. (Trip to the Moon)," all released in 1984. As evidenced on that year's Acid Bath album, the Fiends had begun to move away from privileging the guitar as the hub of their music, and increasingly leaned on Mrs. Fiend's synthesizer and tape loops to provide spooky, yet danceable, electronic tracks. However, the departure of drummer Ha-Ha became a temporary setback in the band's creative trajectory. The 1985 album, Maximum Security, utilized an often monotonous sequencer in lieu of a drummer, and on the whole the record lacked the kinetic edge that fueled earlier releases. The following year saw the band's pioneering sound of dance-oriented gothic rock reach maturity with the single "I Walk the Line" and the soon to follow "It" the Album.

End of the Gothic Era

"It" the Album represented both the end of the group's initial phase and its most creative undertaking yet. Moving in directions beyond the scope of goth subculture, songs such as "Manic Depression" and "Get Into It" retained the Fiends' vision of ghastly kitsch, but delved into realms of extreme psychedelia and techno. While the band had by no means become mainstream, the band had expanded their appeal so much that Nik Fiend's idol, Alice Cooper, offered Alien Sex Fiend the opening slot on his "Nightmare Returns" tour. Working with a bigger budget and several years of experience under their belts, the Fiends' all-important onstage theatrics could then rival Cooper's. As Fasolino wrote of the tour, the band's live show had evolved into "a creature-feature cabaret with Munsterian magician Nik as ringleader, armed with his array of lethal props, and surrounded by utterly gonzo self-designed stage sets." Provoked by mounting tensions within the band, Yaxi Highriser left Alien Sex Fiend in 1987, leaving Nik and Mrs. Fiend alone at the helm. This hiatus quickly ended with the induction of new members Rat Fink, Jr., and Doctor Milton in 1988, who collectively took up the duties of keyboards, guitar, and drums.

By this point in their career, the band had largely shed its gothic musical style, as well as its pancake makeup and mascara, and had become more in step with industrial and electronica-music often dominated by aggressive beats and experimental use of new technology. While the 1988 album Another Planet made use of electronically sampled sounds on tracks like "Nightmare Zone" and the crudely punned "Sample My Sausage," the Fiends pushed the envelope even farther by setting a cut-up medley of their material to beats inspired by American techno music on the single "Haunted House," released in 1989.

Band Embraced Electronic Age

Throughout the 1990s, Alien Sex Fiend continued to break out on new fronts, grafting their dance sensibilities onto the terrain of computers and cyberspace. In 1994, the group again demonstrated their cutting-edge thinking by releasing the first ever soundtrack for a CD Rom computer game called Inferno-The Odyssey Continues. The cool, spaced-out flavor of the soundtrack prefaced the dramatic new direction Alien Sex Fiend's music took after the formation of their own label, 13th Moon Records, in 1995. Bearing almost no resemblance to the band's formative efforts save for its aesthetics of shock, the notable 1997 release Nocturnal Emissions was, in Fasolino's words, "a cybernetic jamboree, opening with 1996's groundbreaking single "Evolution," a dancefloor juggernaut full of otherworldly blips, bleeps, and bastard beats ...

Nocturnal Emissions will take you on a journey farther out than any previous trek in the band's fabled, frenetic career."In spite of the Fiends' embracing of all things electronic, Nik Fiend has continued to produce work in a much more time-honored medium-oil painting. The self-taught Fiend applied the same irreverence in his painting as in Alien Sex Fiend's music and his work has been used consistently for the group's album covers and stage backdrops. In 1996, Fiend's horrific works, dating back to 1982, were given their own exhibition at the Sussex Art Club in Brighton, England, but the singer showed no sign of conceding to art gallery decorum. "I like to challenge whatever is acceptable," Fiend told Chryste Hall in an online interview. "When I started to work with oils, the first thing I read in an art book was"do not use black," so of course I ran out and got a load of black paint!" Fiend has truly established himself as a multimedia trouble maker, and despite the release of a 1998 retrospective of Alien Sex Fiend's career to date, his journey into the bizarre seems far from over.

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1983 - Who's Been Sleeping in My Brain? pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1984 - Acid Bath pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1985 - Maximum Security Pass:
1986 - It - The Album
1987 - Here Cum Germs pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1988 - Another Planet pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1990 - Curse pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1992 - Open Head Surgery pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1994 - Inferno
1997 - Nocturnal Emissions pass: lagrimapsicodelica
2000 - Nocturnal Emissions (Special Edition)
2004 - Information Overload

Live albums
1985 - Liquid Head in Tokyo pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1989 - Too Much Acid? pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1993 - The Altered States of America pass: lagrimapsicodelica
2001 - Flashbacks! (Live 1995-1998) Part1 /Part2
2001 - 9-5-2008 LIVE (Bootleg)

Compilation albums
1983 - Batcave: Young Limbs & Numb Hymns Pass:
1984 - Peel Sessions
1986 - The First Alien Sex Fiend Compact Disc
1987 - The Impossible Mission Mini-LP
1988 - All Our Yesterdays
1993 - The Legendary Batcave Tapes
1994 - Drive My Rocket (USA)
1995 - I'm Her Frankenstein (USA) pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1995 - The Singles 1983-1995 pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1997 - War Dance of the Alien Sex Fiend – 2CD-set Part1 / Part2 /Part3
1998 - The Batcave Masters (USA) pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1999 - Fiend at the Controls Vols 1 & 2
2001 - The Best of Alien Sex Fiend
2005 - Friend Club
2005 - The Very Best of Alien Sex Fiend pass: lagrimapsicodelica
2006 - Para-Abnormal
2008 - R.I.P. - A 12" Collection
2008 - Gothic Rock - The Ultimate Collection Part1 / Part2
2009 - Dark Circle Room's Mix Tape #3
0000 - The Vampire's Song presents: Halloween Party I Part 1 / Part 2
0000 - Gothic Metal Downloads - III Years

1982 - Evolution pass: lagrimapsicodelica
1983 - Ignore the Machine
1983 - Lips Can't Go
1984 - R.I.P. (Blue Crumb Truck)
1984 - Dead and Buried – UK #91
1984 - E.S.T. (Trip to the Moon)
1985 - I'm Doing Time in a Maximum Security Twilight Home
1985 - Ignore the Machine" (re-issue) – UK #99
1985 - Ignore the Machine Electrode Mix
1986 - I Walk the Line Pass:
1986 - Smells Like...
1987 - Here Cum Germs
1987 - Hurricane Fighter Plane
1987 - Stuff the Turkey
1987 - The Impossible Mission
1988 - Batman Theme (released as Dynamic Duo)
1988 - Bun Ho!
1989 - Haunted House
1990 - Box Set of 5 Singles
1990 - Now I'm Feeling Zombified
1992 - Magic
1994 - Inferno - The Youth Mixes
1995 - Inferno - The Mixes
1996 - Evolution 12"
1996 - Evolution" CD
1996 - Evolution Remixes 12"
1997 - On a Mission Remixes 12"
1998 - Tarot Mixes 12"