Magazine (band)

Magazine (band)
Origin Manchester, England
Genres Post-punk
Years active 1977–1981
Labels EMI, Virgin, I.R.S.
Associated acts Howard Devoto, Barry Adamson, Dave Formula, St. Louis Union, The Freshies, Buzzcocks, Ultravox, Idiot Rouge, The Speedometors, Neo, Siouxsie And The Banshees, John Foxx, The Chameleons, Pete Shelley, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, The Armoury Show, Public Image Ltd., Swing Out Sister, Apollo 440
Website Official MySpace site
Howard Devoto
Jon "Stan" White
Dave Formula
John Doyle
Past members
John McGeoch
Bob Dickinson
Martin Jackson
Paul Spencer
Robin Simon
Ben Mandelson
Barry Adamson

Magazine are an English post-punk group active from 1977 to 1981, then reformed in 2009. Their debut single, "Shot by Both Sides", is now acknowledged as a classic[1][2][3][4][5][6] and their debut album, Real Life, is still widely admired as one of the greatest albums of all time.[7][8][9][10][11] The band was formed by Howard Devoto after leaving punk band Buzzcocks in early 1977, deciding to create a more experimental and less punk band who later influenced many musicians. Magazine reunited for a tour through Britain in February 2009, with almost all the most remaining and "classic" line-up during their brief time, with the exception of guitarist John McGeoch who died in 2004 and was replaced by Noko, who had played with Devoto in Luxuria. In April 2011, record label Wire Sound reported that Magazine were in the studio recording for a new album scheduled to be released later in the year.



Howard Devoto formed Magazine in Manchester shortly after he left Buzzcocks in early 1977. In April 1977 he met guitarist John McGeoch, then an art student, and they began writing songs, some of which would appear on the first Magazine album.[12] They then recruited Barry Adamson on bass, Bob Dickinson[2] on keyboards and Martin Jackson (previously of The Freshies) on drums, to form the first line-up of the band. After signing to Virgin Records, Magazine played their debut live gig at the Rafters, in Manchester, on 28 October 1977.[13]

Dickinson, co-writer of "Motorcade" and whose background was in classical and avant-garde music, left shortly after a number of gigs in late 1977. In early 1978 the band released their first single "Shot by Both Sides", a song Magazine recorded as a four-piece which featured a guitar-bass-drums sound similar to punk rock. Shortly after the single's release, Dave Formula, who had played with a 1960s shortly famed rock band from Manchester called St. Louis Union, joined as keyboardist. "Shot By Both Sides", the chorus of which shared the same progression as Buzzcocks' "Lipstick," fractionally missed the UK Top 40. Its cover was an early example of the goth influence in punk. The band, with Formula on keyboards, made its first major TV appearance on Top Of The Pops in February 1978, performing the single.

Following a British tour to promote their critically acclaimed debut album Real Life (which made the UK Top 30), Jackson left Magazine in late July, and was replaced briefly by Paul Spencer, who performed with the band for gigs across Europe and some television appearances, including the Old Grey Whistle Test, where they played "Definitive Gaze". Spencer quit partway through the tour, joining The Speedometors shortly afterwards, and he was replaced in October by John Doyle, who completed the Real Life promotional tour and remained in the band.[14]

In 1979 Magazine's second album, Secondhand Daylight was released, reaching the UK Top 40. The record features more experimental, synthesiser-based material. That same year, McGeoch, Adamson and Formula joined electronic project Visage, recording and releasing the single "Tar".

After the release of Secondhand Daylight, Devoto decided to change producer, choosing Martin Hannett, who produced their next album in the same year, The Correct Use of Soap, again making the Top 30. Following its release McGeoch decided to leave the band, tired of Magazine's low sales and their less guitar-oriented songs, joining Siouxsie and the Banshees. To replace him the band called Robin Simon, who previously was in Ultravox and Neo. That line-up toured across Europe and Australia, recording their next release, the live album Play. Simon made some initial recordings and rehearsals for the Magic Murder And The Weather album, including co-writing the song "So Lucky", but he left the band before the album was released so that he could record on the John Foxx solo album The Garden.

Again without a guitarist, Devoto called in his former college friend at Bolton, Ben Mandelson (former Amazorblades member). This line-up completed the recording of Magic, Murder And The Weather in 1981, but Devoto quit in May of the same year[15] months before its release of the album. A year later, After The Fact, the first Magazine compilation was released.

Adamson continued collaborating with Visage, and also began to work with The Birthday Party and Pete Shelley, Formula continued as member of Visage and joined Ludus, Mandelson joined The Mekons,[16] and Doyle joined The Armoury Show in Scotland in 1983, along with John McGeoch. After a brief solo outing and two albums with Luxuria Devoto quit music to become a photo archivist until a collaboration with Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley produced the Buzzkunst album in 2002.


It was confirmed in July 2008 that Howard Devoto and Magazine would reform for five dates in February 2009. The line-up includes Devoto, Formula, Adamson and Doyle. In November 2008, the band announced Noko, Devoto's bandmate in Luxuria, would be the guitarist in the reformation line-up,[17] taking the place of John McGeoch, who died in 2004.

The sold out shows received widespread critical acclaim.[18][19][20] The group then went on to play at festivals in the UK and abroad over summer, before performing 'The Soap Show' in Manchester, Edinburgh and London. At these concerts, the band played two sets – a performance of The Correct Use of Soap in full, followed by a set composed of other songs from their catalogue.

In January 2010 Noko officially joined the band, becoming a full member of Magazine. The band started work on new material.

In November 2010 Barry Adamson left to concentrate on his film work and solo recordings. Jon "Stan" White joined as bass player on the new recordings and debuted live on 30 June 2011 at Wolverhampton Slade Rooms where Magazine were playing a warm up show for their Hop Farm festival appearance two days later.

A new studio album, No Thyself, is released woldwide by Wire Sound on 24 October 2011.

The band will embark on a UK tour between November 1 to November 11, 2011.


Magazine's music continues to be an influence today. While having roots in the punk and New Wave movements, Magazine combined elements of avant-garde and pop. Radiohead in particular draw on the lyrical style of the group, and have performed "Shot By Both Sides" in concert. What's more, Radiohead's 1995 single "Just", with its ascending guitar hook, bears a passing resemblance to "Shot By Both Sides". Former Smiths singer Morrissey, a fan and acquaintance of Devoto's, covered "A Song From Under The Floorboards" as a B-side to his 2006 single "The Youngest Was the Most Loved". "Floorboards" was covered by My Friend The Chocolate Cake on their 1994 album Brood. Half Man Half Biscuit have performed live covers of a number of Magazine songs. "The Light Pours Out Of Me", from the album Real Life, has been covered by The Mission, Peter Murphy, Sleep Chamber and Ministry. Swedish punk band No Fun at All did a cover of "Shot By Both Sides" on their record And Now For Something Completely Different. Devoto co-wrote two songs with Mansun, "Everyone Must Win" and "Railings", contributing vocals to the latter, and the band later covered "Shot By Both Sides" for John Peel.


(April 1977)
"Early and incomplete incarnation"
(mid – late 1977)
"First active line-up"
(late 1977/early 1978 – early 1978)
"Brief Four-member band"
  • Howard Devoto – Vocals
  • John McGeoch – Guitar
  • Barry Adamson – Bass
  • Martin Jackson – Drums
(Early 1978 – July 1978)
"Real Life"
  • Howard Devoto – Vocals
  • John McGeoch – Guitar
  • Barry Adamson – Bass
  • Martin Jackson – Drums
  • Dave Formula – Keyboards
(Mid – mid-to-late 1978)
  • Howard Devoto – Vocals
  • John McGeoch – Guitar
  • Barry Adamson – Bass
  • Dave Formula – Keyboards
  • Paul Spencer – Drums
(October 1978–1980)
"Classic line-up"
  • Howard Devoto – Vocals
  • John McGeoch – Guitar
  • Barry Adamson – Bass
  • Dave Formula – Keyboards
  • John Doyle – Drums
"Correct Use Of Soap Tour"
  • Howard Devoto – Vocals
  • Barry Adamson – Bass guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Dave Formula – Keyboards
  • John Doyle – Drums
  • Robin Simon – Guitar
"Magic, Murder And The Weather"
  • Howard Devoto – Vocals
  • Barry Adamson – Bass guitar
  • Dave Formula – Keyboards
  • John Doyle – Drums
  • Ben Mandelson – Guitar
Howard Devoto quits the band
  • Barry Adamson – Bass guitar
  • Dave Formula – Keyboards
  • John Doyle – Drums
  • Ben Mandelson – Guitar
Reformation and tour
  • Howard Devoto – Vocals
  • Barry Adamson – Bass guitar
  • Dave Formula – Keyboards
  • John Doyle – Drums
  • Noko – Guitar
(2011 – present)
Recording and 5th Studio album
  • Howard Devoto – Vocals
  • Jon "stan" White – Bass guitar
  • Dave Formula – Keyboards
  • John Doyle – Drums
  • Noko – Guitar


Magazine discography
Studio albums 5
Live albums 5
Compilation albums 7
EPs 2
Singles 7
Video albums 1

All records were released on Virgin unless otherwise indicated. All listings are UK releases.

Studio albums


Live albums

  • Play (Live at Melbourne Festival Hall) (16 September 1980: V2184) # 69 UK
  • BBC Radio 1 in Concert (1993) – BBC Windsong
  • Play+ (2 CD version) (31 August 2009)
  • Real Life & Thereafter DVD/CD (21 September 2009) – Wire Sound
  • Live and Intermittent (21 September 2009) – Wire-Sound

Singles and EPs

  • "Shot by Both Sides" b/w "My Mind Ain't So Open" (VS200, 1978) UK #41
  • "Touch and Go" b/w "Goldfinger" (VS207, 1978)
  • "Give Me Everything" b/w "I Love You You Big Dummy" (VS237, 1978)
  • "Rhythm of Cruelty" b/w "TV Baby" (VS251, 1979)
  • "A Song from Under the Floorboards" b/w "Twenty Years Ago" (VS321, 1980)
  • "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" b/w "The Book" (VS328, 1980)
  • "Upside Down" b/w "The Light Pours Out of Me" (VS334, 1980)
  • Sweetheart Contract EP (VS36812, 1980) UK #54
  • About the Weather EP (VS412-12, 1981)



  • After the Fact (1982) – Virgin (UK) IRS Records (US)
  • Rays and Hail 1978–1981: the Best of Magazine (1987) – Virgin
  • Scree – Rarities 1978–1981 (1991) – Virgin
  • Where The Power Is (2000) – Virgin
  • Maybe It's Right to Be Nervous Now (2000) – Virgin
  • The Complete John Peel Sessions (2008) – Virgin EMI
  • Touch & Go: Anthology 02.78–06.81 (2009) – Virgin EMI


  • Real Life & Thereafter DVD/CD (2009) – Wire Sound


  • Pre Real Life Demos & Live, a collection of demos and live tracks before the release of the Real Life album.[22][23]
  • Definitive Daze[23]
  • Live in Boston, in 1979. Named Back To Nature (Centrifugal 12CENT-10C).

Information sources

  • Magazine: The biography (written by Helen Chase and designed by Malcolm Garrett): To be released by Northumbria Press, in September 2009.[24][25]

See also


  1. ^ Strong, M.C. (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 95. ISBN 1-84195-335-0. "A classic debut single, "Shot By Both Sides" established Magazine’s post-punk credentials, its stark, uncompromising approach and lyrical despair paving the way for countless gaggles of miserable young men in trenchcoats." 
  2. ^ Mojo (October 2001) – 100 Punk Scorchers, Issue 95, London;
  3. ^ Thompson, Dave (2000). Alternative Rock. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books. p. 484. "The song was originally written with Pete Shelley during their shared days as Buzzcocks, but while that band would record it as yet another shattered love song, Magazine would turn it into a masterpiece of paranoid indecision." 
  4. ^ Joynson, Vernon (2001). Up Yours! A Guide to UK Punk, New Wave & Early Post Punk. Wolverhampton: Borderline Publications. p. 217. ISBN 1-899855-13-0. "Stunning... This was one of their finest moments, epitomising all that was best about their futuristic music. A lush, multi-layered web of driving bass and keyboards mixed with Devoto’s somewhat unnerving vocals. It climbed to No.41 and would probably have got higher had they not sacrificed an appearance on ‘Top of the Pops’ by refusing to mime to it." 
  5. ^ Gardner, Steve (1996). "Hiljaiset Levyt: 100 Best Punk singles". 
  6. ^ Buckley & Ellingham (eds) (1996). Rock: The Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides. p. 535. ISBN 1-85828-201-2. "An astonishing debut – a gritty ode to alienation that built to a shuddering conclusion though McGeogh’s expansive guitar work." 
  7. ^ The Guardian (November 2007). 1,000 Albums To Hear Before You Die. London. "Released in April 78, Magazine's debut was the first post-punk album. And Howard Devoto was the first post-punk anti-star, with his cryptic lyrics and anxious-young-man persona. Real Life had punk energy and art-rock ambition, with complex song structures and sophisticated musicianship." 
  8. ^ Dimery, Robert (2005). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. London: Cassell. p. 407. "Were Magazine the band that dragged British punk rock into a new thinking dimension? Or were they just a dilution of the original energy into some kind of nerdy ‘maturity’? As Real Life shows, they were a bit of both, except they were only nerdy in the cool sense." 
  9. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Review of Real Life on Allmusic". "One of the post-punk era's major jump-off points. Punk's untethered energy is rigidly controlled, run through arrangements that are tightly wound, herky-jerky, unpredictable, proficiently dynamic." 
  10. ^ Strong, M.C. (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 95. "Its icy keyboard textures and spiky sonic artistry announced the arrival of a unique talent although Devoto’s hyper-intelligent wayward genius was nothing new for fans who’d admired the punk maverick since his Buzzcocks days." 
  11. ^ Buckley & Ellingham (eds) (1996). Rock: The Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides. p. 536. "One of the great post-punk albums, an LP that threw down the gauntlet to those who still thought three chords and an attitude were enough." 
  12. ^ Real Life CD album reissue booklet (2007)
  13. ^ "Magazine biography". NME. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  14. ^ Secondhand Daylight album reissue booklet (2007)
  15. ^ "Magazine biography". NME. UK. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Great Rock Discography", p. 112. Edited by M.C. Strong. Published by Giunti, 1998. ISBN 88-09-21522-2, 9788809215221
  17. ^ "Magazine Guitarist Announced van Magazine op Myspace". 13 November 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  18. ^ Petridis, Alexis (14 February 2009). "Magazine". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  19. ^ "Magazine – 'These gigs are a cherry on a cake'". The Independent (London). 20 February 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  20. ^ Paphides, Pete (16 February 2009). "Magazine at the Forum London NW5". The Times (London). Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 343. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  22. ^ "BigO Worldwide". 19 September 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "BigO Audio Archive". Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  24. ^ [1][dead link]
  25. ^ Wobble, Jah. "Magazine: Helen Chase: Books". Retrieved 16 April 2011. 

External links

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