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Susan Janet Ballion (born 27 May 1957), better known by her stage name, Siouxsie Sioux ( ), is a British singer-songwriter, best known as the vocalist of Siouxsie & the Banshees between 1976 and 1996, and of its splinter group The Creatures. She has also sung with artists such as Morrissey and John Cale.

Siouxsie is considered to be "one of the most influential British singers of the rock era".Her music has been praised by a variety of artists including PJ Harvey, Garbage, LCD Soundsystem and Gossip, among others.

Early life

Sioux was born at Guy's Hospitalmarker in Southwarkmarker, Southeast Londonmarker, Englandmarker, the youngest of three children. She attended Mottingham Secondary Modern School for Girls in Kentmarker. Her mother was a bilingual secretary, her father a laboratory technician who milked serum from venomous snakes in the Belgian Congo. Her father died of complications from alcoholism when Sioux was 14; shortly afterward, she survived a life-threatening bout of ulcerative colitis, which she later said "completely demystified the body for me."

During her teens, she was a self-confessed loner, was into the music of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, T.Rex, The Velvet Underground and The Stooges, and started visiting the local gay discos. She became well known in the Londonmarker punk scene for her glam, fetish and bondage attire, which became staples of punk fashion.

In the mid-1970s, journalist Caroline Coon coined the term "Bromley Contingent" to talk about a group of eccentric teenagers devoted to the Sex Pistols. Siouxsie was a member of the Contingent, along with fellow Banshees founder Steven Severin.

Sioux's first gig was with her group Siouxsie and the Banshees, as an unrehearsed fill-in at the 100 Club Punk Festival - two nights in September 1976 - organised by Malcolm McLaren. The group didn't know or play any songs; they improvised as Sioux recited poems and prayers she had memorized.

The same month, the Bromley Contingent followed the Sex Pistols to Francemarker, where Sioux was beaten up by someone for wearing a black armband with a swastika on it. She claimed her intent was to shock the bourgeoisie, not to make a political statement. To stop controversy, she later wrote the songs "Metal Postcard " (to the memory of the anti-Nazi artist John Heartfield) and the single "Israel".

One of Sioux's first public appearances was with the Sex Pistols on Bill Grundy's television show in December 1976. In the course of Grundy's interview with the members of the Sex Pistols, the presenter tried to flirt with her. In reaction, Pistols guitarist Steve Jones called him a "dirty bastard", which created a media furor that had a major impact on the Pistols' subsequent career.

Siouxsie & the Banshees

In 1976, Siouxsie formed the band Siouxsie and the Banshees with her friend Steven Severin on bass guitar.Two years later, they released their first single, "Hong Kong Garden", which instantaneously reached the top 10 in the UK. Their first album, 1978's The Scream, was described by Nick Kent in the NME in the following terms : "The band sounds like some unique hybrid of the Velvet Underground mated with much of the ingenuity of Tago Mago-era Can, if any parallel can be drawn." At the end of the article, he added this remark: "Certainly, the traditional three-piece sound has never been used in a more unorthodox fashion with such stunning results."

Further key albums Kaleidoscope and Juju included the hit singles "Happy House" and "Spellbound".

In 1981, Siouxsie formed a second act The Creatures with Banshees drummer Budgie, to record music more based on percussion. The first record of the duo was the ep Wild Things.

In 1982, the British press greeted the Siouxsie and the Banshees album A Kiss in the Dreamhouse enthusiastically. Richard Cook in the NME finished his review with "I promise. This music will take your breath away."

In the US, it took the Banshees over 13 years to successfully reach a wide audience, but by 1991 they scored their first and only top 40 hit peaking at number 23, "Kiss Them for Me". That same year they co-headlined the first Lollapalooza tour further increasing their American following.

In April 1996, after recording a series of 11 successful studio albums, Siouxsie and the Banshees announced their split during a press conference called "20 minutes into 20 years".

Solo career

In the middle of the 1990s, Siouxsie started to make one-off collaborations with other artists.

Morrissey recorded a duet with her in 1994: they both sang on the single "Interlude", a track that was initially performed by Timi Yuro, a female torch singer of the 1960s.

In 1995, she released the song "The Lighthouse" on the French producer Hector Zazou's album Chansons des mers froides (Songs from the Cold Seas). Sioux and Zazou adapted an excerpt of the poem "Flannan Isle" by English poet Wilfred Wilson Gibson into lyrics. The song included the incantations of a female Nanai shaman recorded in Siberiamarker, and musical performers included Budgie and Mark Isham.

In 1998, John Cale was the organizer of the "With a Little Help From My Friends" festival that took place at the Paradisomarker in Amsterdammarker. The concert was shown on Dutch national television and featured a song of Siouxsie especially composed for the event and still unreleased, "Murdering Mouth" sung in duet with John Cale.The following year, she performed another duet with this time Marc Almond on his Open All Night album. The song was called "Threat Of Love".

Siouxsie at the FIB festival, Madrid 2008
In 2003, Sioux was asked to compose and sing the title track to Basement Jaxx's album Kish Kash. One year later, she toured for the first time as a solo act combining Banshees and Creatures songs : a live DVD called Dreamshow captured the last London concert of September 2004 performed with the Millennia Ensemble. Released in August 2005, this DVD reached the number one position in the UK music DVD charts. Due to that success, Universal signed her on the W14 label.

Her first solo album MantaRay was released on September 2007. Pitchfork Media wrote "She really is pop" before finishing the review by declaring "It's a success." Mojo magazine stated "a thirst for sonic adventure radiates from each track".

In 2008, Siouxsie took part in The Edge of Love film soundrack by composer Angelo Badalamenti, frequent collaborator with director David Lynch. She sang on the title "Careless Love." She later performed another Badalamenti number "Who Will Take My Dreams Away" at the World Soundtrack Awards.

After a year of touring, the singer played the last show of her tour in London last September. A live DVD of this performance called Finale: The Last Mantaray And More Show was released on May 18 2009 in the UK.

Influence on other artists

Siouxsie's influence, particularly as a member of Siouxsie & The Banshees, has been considerable. Her work has been covered and hailed by many other famous acts.

Covered by



Hailed by

  • Garbage's singer, Shirley Manson has cited Siouxsie as a main influence on her and wrote the foreword of the 2003 official Siouxsie and the Banshees biography by Mojo magazine journalist Mark Paytress. Manson wrote : "I learned how to sing listening to The Scream and Kaleidoscope." The singer of Garbage also told the Melody Maker that she has a special liking for the first Siouxsie album.
  • Morrissey stated of 'modern groups' in 1994: "None of them are as good as Siouxsie and the Banshees at full pelt. That's not dusty nostalgia, that's fact."
  • Johnny Marr from The Smiths stated on the BBC Radio 2 in February 2008 that he rated very high McGeoch for his work on Siouxsie's "Spellbound".
  • PJ Harvey put on her website Anima Animus by Sioux aka The Creatures in her top ten favourite albums of year 1999.
  • Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood claimed that while recording their song "There There", producer Nigel Godrich tried to get guitarist Jonny Greenwood to sound like the Banshees' John McGeoch.
  • The Cure were influenced by the band. In 2003, Robert Smith declared in Mark Paytress's Siouxsie biography : "Siouxsie and The Banshees and Wire were the two bands I really admired. They meant something." He also pinpointed what the Join Hands tour brought him musically. "On stage that first night with the Banshees, I was blown away by how powerful I felt playing that kind of music. It was so different to what we were doing with The Cure. Before that, I'd wanted us to be like The Buzzcocks or Elvis Costello, the punk Beatles. Being a Banshee really changed my attitude to what I was doing." He also talked about the band to Steve Sutherland in 1985 to describe The Head on the Door : "It reminds me of the Kaleidoscope album, the idea of having lots of different sounding things, different colors."
  • U2 selected "Christine" for the track listing of a compilation made for Mojo's readers The Edge presented Siouxsie with an award at a Mojo ceremony in 2005.
  • Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction made a parallel between his band and the Banshees: "there are so many similar threads: melody, use of sound, attitude, sex-appeal. I always saw Jane's Addiction as the masculine Siouxsie & the Banshees."


Musical genre

Shirley Manson of Garbage said:

Personal life

Sioux married Budgie in 1991. The following year, she and Budgie moved to the south west of Francemarker.

In June 2005, she won the Icon Award at the Mojo Honours in London.

In 2007, in an interview with The Sunday Times in August 2007, she clarified that she and Budgie had divorced.In an interview with The Independent, she said, "I've never particularly said I'm hetero or I'm a lesbian. I know there are people who are definitely one way, but not really me. I suppose if I am attracted to men then they usually have more feminine qualities."

Discography

For her works with Siouxsie & The Banshees, see Siouxsie & the Banshees discography.

For her works with The Creatures, see The Creatures discography.

Solo album



Solo singles



DVD



Collaborations with other artists



Film appearances of songs include The Punk Rock Movie (Don Letts, 1977); Jubilee (Derek Jarman, 1977); Out of Bounds (Richard Tuggle, 1986); Batman Returns (Tim Burton,1992); Showgirls (Paul Verhoeven, 1995); The Craft (Andrew Fleming, 1996); Grosse Pointe Blank (George Armitage, 1997); The Filth and the Fury (Julien Temple, 2000); 24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002); Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola, 2006); Monster House (Gil Kenan, 2006); Notes on a Scandal (Richard Eyre, 2006); Doomsday (Neil Marshall, 2008)

References

  1. Morrissey & Siouxsie released the single'interlude' in 1994 on EMI Records in Europe
  2. http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=-mxg1JXXiVo video shot in 1998, Siouxsie and Cale sang in duet "Murdering Mouth", a one-off number composed for a concert broadcast on deutsch national television
  3. AMG.com Siouxsie'biographyDoug Stone wrote she's "One of the most influential British females of the rock"
  4. Pj Harvey.net entry : 7 January 2000 - PJ selects her Top 10 Albums of 1999. LP of The Creatures (aka Siouxsie)
  5. people.monstersandcritics.com Biography of Shirley Manson from Garbage mentioning that her favorite female singer is Siouxsie
  6. jacksonfreepress.com LCD soundsystem covered the Siouxsie song "Slowdive" on this cd
  7. Spin.com Gossip Q&A By Larry Fitzmaurice 04.28.09 Excerpt : "What bands influenced the new album's sound? Everything from the Birthday Party to house music and Siouxsie and the Banshees."
  8. http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/Siouxsie_&_the_Banshees
  9. Mark Paytress 'the Siouxsie & The Banshees official biography', Sanctuary 2003, page 32
  10. N.M.E. 26/08/1978 Nick Kent article published for the release of "The Scream"
  11. Melody Maker, 06/11/82, Steve Sutherland, A Kiss in the Dreamhouse'review "The Banshees achieve an awesome, effective new pop without so much as a theory or qualm." "Dreamhouse" is an intoxicating achievement."
  12. NME, 06/11/82 Richard Cook, A Kiss in the Dreamhouse'review
  13. AMG Billboard page with the siouxsie & The Banshees us singles chart positions
  14. Press statement, April 1996
  15. video of Siouxsie & John Cale "Murdering Mouth"
  16. Official Site 30.08.05 "Dreamshow" Siouxsie Number One in UK Music DVD Chart
  17. Pitchforkmedia Mantaray review
  18. Mojo, Mantaray review, September 2007, p.102
  19. Video of "Who will take my dreams away" by Siouxsie at the World Soundtrack Awards 2008
  20. moon-palace.de site Tricky covered "Tattoo" for the opening track of his second album Nearly God in 1996
  21. inflightdata.com Massive Attack sampled & covered "Metal Postcard" in 1997 on the movie soundtrack The Jackal
  22. jacksonfreepress.com LCD Soundsystem covered Slowdive on this CD
  23. SANTOGOLD: All That Glitters Is Santogold, Apr 28, 2008, By Lisa Hresko
  24. Untiedundone.com archivesBuckley's version of "Killing Time" performed at the radio WFMU Studios, East Orange, NJ, 10.11.92 "Killing Time" is a Siouxsie/The Creatures song from the Creatures's Boomerang album
  25. JeffBuckley-fr.netlist of songs covered by Jeff Buckley including "Killing Time" composed by Siouxsie for The Creatures.
  26. Earlash April 2004 interview of the Beta band by Scott Lapatine "EL: On previous albums you’ve used some left-field samples as a jumping off point to do something new and original. JM: Yeah, we’ve got Siouxsie and the Banshees on this record. It was Robin’s idea." "Liquid Bird" featured a sample of Siouxsie & the Banshees 's "Painted Bird" from the album A Kiss in the Dreamhouse.
  27. saunalahti.fi (Red Hot Chilli Peppers'site). setlist of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' concert performing "Christine" at the V2001 festival
  28. devotchka.net DeVotchka biography mentions that Win Butler from Arcade Fire suggested them to cover a banshees song Excerpt: "The Curse Your Little Heart EP showcases the band’s versatility, reinterpreting tracks by the Velvet Underground, Frank Sinatra, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and others, in addition to taking on one of their own older songs. Could the band itself even have predicted what would transpire of the Arcade Fire’s Win Butler’s suggestion to the band that they take on "Last Beat of My Heart"? The end result is the center-piece of the EP, a grand and soaring take on the song.
  29. Mark Paytress, foreword by (the singer) Shirley Manson 'the Siouxsie & The Banshees authorised biography', Sanctuary 2003, page 9
  30. Shirley Manson's Garbage interview in the Melody Maker
  31. Q in April 1994 Morrissey talks about Siouxsie & the Banshees in this interview
  32. BBC2 the story of John McGeoch featuring Johnny Marr
  33. Pj Harvey.net entry : 7 January 2000 - PJ selects her Top 10 Albums of 1999 Artist Album Title : Bonnie Prince Billy I See a Darkness, Yat-Kha Dalai Beldiri, Tricky with DJ Muggs & Grease Juxtapose, The Rachel’s Selenography, Various Book of Life Soundtrack, The Creatures Anima Animus, Guided By Voices Do The Collapse, The Black Heart Procession Eponymous, Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue, The Kamkars Kani Sepi
  34. Radiohead Biography capitolmusic.ca Excerpt. Colin Greenwood remembers: "The running joke when we were making this record was that if we recorded a track that stretched over 3mn 50 sec., we'd say "Oh fuck, we've buggered it then. It's gone on too long." Of course, the irony is that the first single we're releasing is actually the longest song on the record. ("There There"). It was all recorded live in Oxford. We all got excited at the end because Nigel was trying to get Jonny to play like John McGeoch in Siouxsie And The Banshees. All the old farts in the band were in seventh heaven."
  35. allmusic.com AMG mentions the bands that influenced The Cure
  36. Interview of Robert Smith by Alexis Petridis in Mark Paytress 'the Siouxsie & The Banshees official biography', Sanctuary 2003, page 95
  37. Interview of Robert Smith by Alexis Petridis in Mark Paytress 'the Siouxsie & The Banshees official biography', Sanctuary 2003, page 96
  38. "A suitable case of treatment" interview of Robert Smith by Steve Sutherland in Melody Maker 17 August 1985
  39. U2'Compilation for Mojo featuring "Christine"
  40. ezilon.com MOJO ceremony 2005
  41. Mojo websiteMojo Icon Award 2005 : Siouxsie Sioux presented by The Edge
  42. interview of Dave Navarro in Mark Paytress 'the Siouxsie & The Banshees authorised biography', Sanctuary 2003, page 199
  43. Mark Paytress, Siouxsie & the banshees, The Authorized Biography, 2003, page 207
  44. Mojo websiteMojo Icon Award 2005 : Siouxsie Sioux presented by The Edge
  45. The Sunday Times, 26 August 2007
  46. Eyre, Hermione (1 September 2007), the punk icon, The Independent. Retrieved 1 September 2007 [1].


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