- Menswear (band)
Menswear Origin Camden Town, London, England Genres Britpop Years active 1994–1998 Past members Johnny Dean
Menswear (sometimes written "Menswe@r") were a Britpop band formed in October 1994 from Camden in London. They released a number of singles and an album, Nuisance on London Records. They recorded a second album, which was released in Japan only, and split in 1998.
The beginnings of the band were a feature in a Select article about a supposed London mod revival led by Graham Coxon. Two individuals closely associated with the burgeoning Britpop scene, Chris Gentry and Johnny Dean, made references to a "top new unsigned band" (Menswear), an act which did not yet exist. They later appeared on the cover of Melody Maker before they had released any material. Their dress sense was Mod (tight fitting suits etc.) whilst their music was influenced by both Blur's second album Modern Life Is Rubbish and Elastica. Gentry and Dean had a single song - called Daydreamer - but soon recruited friend Simon White, who contributed "I'll Manage Somehow" to add to the setlist necessary for their upcoming debut gig at a Britpop-oriented club on Regent Street called Smashing. The music press reviewed their performance enthusiastically, with the NME comparing them to a "Tarantino film... totally derivative but totally brilliant", increasing the record labels' interest.
After a frantic race between record companies, they had signed to London Records for £90,000 and a lucrative 18.5% gross revenues after just their fifth gig. Shortly afterwards, they signed a £500,000 publishing deal despite having just seven songs in their repertoire - working out at around £70,000 per song.
They generated so much publicity that they appeared on Top of the Pops a week before their first single had even been released. This made them the first band to appear on the show without releasing a record. Their first single was "I'll Manage Somehow" - a limited release and a minor hit. Their second single "Daydreamer" peaked at number 14 in the UK Singles Chart but saw the band accused of plagiarising Wire, with Allmusic describing the track as sounding "more like Wire than Elastica, only funnier, even if it may be unintentional".
Menswear were criticised by the British music press for allegedly having success based upon good looks and charm rather than musical talent. However, this helped Menswear appeal to readers of the teenybopper-oriented Smash Hits: they were described as "the band your 14-year-old sister likes."
The band released their debut album Nuisance in 1995, described by Allmusic as "the perfect product from a band that is better known for being seen than being heard". Menswear played at the Glastonbury Festival the same year and released another single "Stardust" in November 1995. It reached the top twenty, with the follow-up single "Sleeping In" giving the band another top-thirty hit. A fifth single, "Being Brave" gave them their first and only top ten hit.
As the popularity of Britpop faded, so did that of Menswear. In 1997 they parted company with London Records after delivering their country-rock tinged second album Hay Tiempo!. The record was released in Japan in 1998 but did not get a release anywhere else in the world. They played their last live show at London's Camden Palace the same year.
Singer Johnny Dean and bassist Stuart Black formed a new band, Messiah, that lasted until 2000. Guitarist Simon White went on to manage the bands Bloc Party, Hudson Mohawke, Cassius, Digitalism, Phoenix and Les Savy Fav. Guitarist Chris Gentry went on to form the band Vatican DC, and also manages new acts The Twang, Len, Smash Mouth, Bran Van 3000 and co-manages Phoenix with White. Drummer Matt Everitt left the band in 1996 to join The Montrose Avenue, and now works on the news team at Radio station 6Music. Drummer Todd Parmenter left the band to play in his main band Heck. He went on to play with Lungleg, The Beal, Evan Dando and The Beatings.Stuart Black is now in the band Bella Echoes with former Messiah member Barnsey.
- Nuisance (1995) - #11 UK, #25 Japan
- ¡Hay Tiempo! (1998)
- "I'll Manage Somehow" (1995) - #49
- "Daydreamer" (1995) - #14
- "Stardust" (1995) - #16
- "Sleeping In" (1995) - #24
- "Being Brave" (1996) - #10
- "We Love You" (1996) - #22
- Johnny Dean - Vocals (born John Hutchinson Dean, 12 December 1971, Salisbury, England)
- Chris Gentry - Guitar (born 23 February 1977, Southend, England)
- Stuart Black - Bass (born Stuart Lee Black, 1 April 1974, Walthamstow, London, England)
- Simon White - Guitar (born Simon Ian White, 1 July 1977, Moseley, Birmingham, England)
- Matt Everitt - Drums (born Matthew Stephen Everitt, 13 Sept 1972, Birmingham, England)
- Todd Parmenter - Drums (replaced by Everitt before first release)
- Tud - Drums (former roadie, replaced Everitt in July 1996)
- ^ a b c d e Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1 84195 335 0, p.865-866
- ^ a b c d e Harris, John (2003) The Last Party, Harper Perennial, ISBN 0-00-713473-8, p. 207-208
- ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas "Menswear Biography", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
- ^ a b c Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0231-3, p.273-274
- ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas "Nuisance Review", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
- ^ Damas, Jason "Hay Tiempo! Review", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
- ^ "Matt Everitt Biography". BBC. Archived from the original on 2010-11-03. http://web.archive.org/web/20101103021114/http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/shows/music_week/biog_matt.shtml. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
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