After watching BBC’s Halloween special, ‘Goth at the BBC’ I feel in love with
Goth band I’d never heard if before, Specimen.
They were a British band who formed in Bristol in the 1980s by vocalist Olli Wisdom and guitarist John Klein, who later went on to play for Siouxsie and the Banshees. They never released a full album until last year, as they broke up pretty quickly, have a whole bunch of singles and a few compilation albums. So a little bit disappointing really. Plus looking at and hearing them now-a-days nothing that special and well they’ve been kind of forgotten.
Even though they were amongst some of the first bands to create modern Goth.
They were amongst the first bands to blend Glam and Punk and to sprinkle something new into it creating that Pop Goth sound we all know so well, think Cult and Killing Joke. Unusually their keyboardist Jonny Slut is their most famous and recognisable band member due to his outrageous style and his huge back combed Mohawk-ed hair or ‘deathhawk’. Better still many think he created this famous look of heavy dark make-up, leather, chains and exposed skin. John Klein and Jonny Slut were part of a 2009 Fashion exhibit celebrating ‘Subculture and Style’.
As if that wasn’t enough Olli opened the notorious Batcave club in London which saw everyone from Bauhaus, The Cure, Nick Cave to Siouxsie and the Banshees play there. It was The place to be as a London Goth.
There most famous single ‘Beauty of Poison’ show cases the band perfectly, feminine, poppy, punky, quirky and gothic.
After the band split they are all continued with music, Jonny Slut dancing around a few and setting up the Nag Nag Nag club in London where he often DJ-ed and Olli moving to California and formed Space Tribe, the world’s leading psychedelic trance DJ's.
In July 2008, the original line up got together to perform at the Batcave's 25th anniversary event resulting in the release of the live album Specimen Alive at the Batcave on Metropolis.
You can now buy their latest and only studio album, ‘Wake The Dead’, from their website and amazon on download and CD. If it’s anything like their original songs it’ll well worth it.