The Linus story
1989Jen is living in London with her globe-trotting parents, learning bass guitar. She meets Andy, a guitarist of few chords, and determines that they will start a band. They play together through heavy-duty fuzz pedals - drone drone, plunk plunk. Still, love blossoms, and here comes Jen's sister Tammy, who is at college in Paris but is damned if there's going to be any band without her in it.
Drummers are auditioned. Who'd've thought there were so many bad drummers in the world? Not that we can talk. Drone drone, plunk plunk, wail. Peter doesn't sound so hot at first either, but soon turns out to be a human thunderstorm. The band drones and bashes aimlessly for a couple of years.
1992Jen and Andy break up. On the verge of splitting the band as well, they spend a couple of inspired afternoons writing a whole set of tense and spiky new songs. The group finds its voice and Tammy christens it Linus.
We play our first show: an exhibition opening at the Pullitt Gallery, a vast old warehouse space in Camden. The only other show that year, at Paul Cox's Sausage Machine night at the White Horse in Hampstead, is done as a three-piece because Pete's on holiday. Two (or was it three?) songs are performed, one of them a cover of Ice T's 'Girls Let's Get Butt-Naked And Fuck'.
The first Linus release is a zine, Plague Your Eyes, intended to amuse and intrigue. It grabs us some attention from fans, bands and press involved with/intrigued by the nascent Riot Grrrl 'movement'.
1993Linus play a lot. We appear with Bikini Kill, Sebadoh, Royal Trux, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cornershop, Half Japanese, and Truman's Water, as well as several shows with Huggy Bear and many others. Jen organises the Girlygig, at which Sister George play their first show. They're the first (and for a long time, only) UK queercore band.
We make our first studio recordings at Ian Shaw's studio in Fulham, where almost all our records for the next seven years will be made. Ian's a meticulous, diplomatic man, who's had proper pop stars and scuzzy indiekids in his studio and is able to accommodate both with care and good humour. We bash out four mighty-sounding songs in a day. The Linus EP is released on Jim Irvin and Sally Still's Bone label. A few months and another day's recording later, Some Hearts Paid To Lie, a compilation double single with three Linus songs, comes out on Wiiija.
We support Hole at the Clapham Grand. The huge stage throws us off balance, and we are, as so often, too odd for the crowd. But they're nice to us anyway. We tour briefly with Scrawl, and vow never to play Hull again. Lots of sympathetic press, though many journalists insist on referring to the Linus "manifesto" (there never was and never would be any such thing) and some sweetly call us an "all-girl group".
We record four tracks for an EP, maybe, or an album. There's great shows in Newcastle with Pussycat Trash and Exeter with the Frantic Spiders - but at opposite ends of the country, two days apart, travelling on a coach in hot weather. The trips are a bit of an ordeal for at least one member of the band: Peter quits.
1994We struggle through two weeks' recording with another Andy, a drummer who isn't quite right for us. There are arguments, and he is squeezed out just before Yougli, our first album, is due out. Oh, and we're supposed to tour in two weeks' time. Help arrives in the form of Steve Lester Hughes, a teenage prog session drummer who is, surprisingly, just what we need. The album and single are released (on Elemental, which is at the time the UK arm of Alternative Tentacles, the veteran US underground label). Yougli is Import of the Month in the CMJ magazine; Super Golgotha Crucifixion Scene is Radio 1's Evening Session single of the week.
We tour with AC Acoustics and play live on Mark Lamarr's show (he's deputising for Mark Radcliffe). We vow never to play Hull again. This time we mean it.
We set up the PIAO festival in Hammersmith (nearly 40 bands over two days, including Prolapse, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Sister George, Frantic Spiders, Pussycat Trash, Coping Saw) with Chris Phillips and Loretta Cubberly-Gomis. Chris and Rupert Cook were the organisers of the Chocolate Psychosis shows at the Monarch in Camden (when it was just a pub - and the home turf of the scene), and the Chocolate Narcotic record label. Chris and Loretta go on to launch PIAO Records and a PIAO night at the Laurel Tree, a pub with a tiny upstairs room festooned with Pet Shop Boys posters in frames.
We appear at the Phoenix festival, and fly to the States for a mini-tour; culminating with a show in New York, playing the CMJ Seminar with God Is My Co-Pilot. Very exciting. You realise you've seen the Lower East Side in countless cop shows - fire escapes on the front of buildings, etc.
1995We play a one-off show in Madrid. Elemental is in talks with other labels about being taken over. Nothing is happening regarding our next record, so we stump up our own money to record the Supercool EP, which comes tantalisingly close to coming out - but remains unreleased to this day. We also demo an hour and a half's worth of new songs with Gayl Harrison at the Sidi Bou Said house/studio in Lewisham. Elemental are taken over by One Little Indian. Linus get dropped, along with, ultimately, all of the label's roster.
1996Still writing and gigging. Steve quits. Drummers come and go, like the ebb and flow of the seasons. Or something. First demo of Don't Forget recorded at Café Eric studio in Greenwich. A ho-hum, quiet year. The world's gone boyrock/britpop, not exactly a fertile climate for a band like ours.
1997Where's Billy Zoom is released on the Rough Trade Publishing compilation Rough Cuts. Now with a huge backlog of unreleased or unrecorded songs, we decide to record a new EP and put the damn thing out ourselves, despite our desperate lack of funds. Jen, who has been writing fewer and fewer songs, leaves the band. Charley Stone stands in on bass.
1998The Don't Forget EP is finished, and released through Ed's new label, Mole In The Ground. Deb joins on bass. We start work on our second LP, and play a bunch of gigs, including a fun instore at Rough Trade in Notting Hill (crammed in front of the counter), and our dream show at Club V's New Year's party.
1999Second LP Good Listener completed. Lift-Off released on the Club V compilation CD, Rage Against The Scene. That's about it. We're about as far out of the loop as a band can be. The only new music we like is mainstream pop and hip-hop. Our gigs are random affairs where the promoter puts us on with a lucky-dip assortment of, mostly, completely unrelated and inappropriate bands (though we did meet the Fairys that way- hi Art!)...
2000Good Listener released through Peoplesound on the web.
2001Andy Withey joins on drums. Now we're getting somewhere, in our heads if nowhere else. We record a single, My New Life/Going Under, but the recording's not great. The idea is shelved. Everyone's a bit disillusioned. Can Linus survive?
2002Suddenly there's people running round putting on interesting shows in London again. Many of these turn out to be benefits for Ladyfest (an awe-inspiring big sister to the likes of PIAO), which we end up playing at, and we find ourselves plugged into a friendly network of the similarly restless. We are invited by Youth Club Tape Club back to Oxford to play with Lesbo Pig in September. We start promoting our own shows again, starting with the fantastic, exciting, youthful Zombina and the Skeletones, from Liverpool, and the first RRR night, featuring Art from the Fairys.
2003We put on Gina and Ana from the Raincoats at the Spitz, and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci at the ICA. Ed's first Soul Mole night features a unique guitar/DJ soundclash involving Deb & Andy. We're having fun. This is more like it.
The Linusland website goes live. Howdy!
We play at three Ladyfests - Bristol, Amsterdam, and Manchester - and Frock On in Glasgow. Through these events we meet a bunch of other great bands from around the country, and a little network starts to form.
2004The P.E. ep is recorded and released just in time for our Spring tour: Leeds, Newcastle, Stoke, Liverpool, Manchester, and Bristol, with Kavolchy, the Holy Terror, We Start Fires, Zombina and the Skeletones, Lovecraft, Hooker, the New Black, and Electrelane.
The tour is made possible by the Ladyfest Bristol/Local Kid kids - mostly Michal, who drives us around the country in their van, and keeps us amused and enthused throughout. The London show is rescheduled for June, at Homocrime.
September is the Bring Yourself Fest in Bristol, courtesy of Local Kid again. We play a show there with the Holy Terror and Wet Dog (finally a good new band in London!).
2005It is with enormous sadness that we announce the end of Linus, due to the loss of founder member Andy Roberts - talented guitarist, singer, songwriter and best friend.
As a mark of respect, we will be maintaining the Linus website, adding all the music, photos, and artwork that we had originally planned. A guestbook has been created if you would like to leave a message.
Finally, a compilation of singles and rare recordings (including 'lost' single Supercool) will be released later this year.
The remaining members of the band would like to thank all Linus friends and listeners everywhere for their support and enthusiasm these past 13 years.
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