Tuxedomoon is an experimentalpost-punkNew Wave band from San Francisco, CaliforniaUnited States. The band formed in the late 1970s at the beginning of the punk rock movement. Pulling influence from punk and electronic music, the group, originally consisting of Steve Brown and Blaine L. Reininger, used electronic violins, guitars, screaming vocals and synthesizers to develop a unique "cabaret no-wave" sound. Bassist Peter Principle joined the band and in 1979 they released their single, "No Tears," which remains a post-punk cult classic today. That year they signed to Ralph Records and released their first album, Half-Mute. Eventually Tuxedomoon relocated to Europe. The band separated in the early 1990s, only to reunite later that decade. They have remained together since, releasing their latest album, Vapour Trails, in 2007.

History[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In 1977, Tuxedomoon formed out of Angels of Light, an artist collective and commune, a group in which Steve Brown was involved.[1][2][3] He met Blaine L. Reininger in an electronic musicclass at San Francisco City College. Brown worked with Tommy Tadlock, of the Angels of Light, to create the final project of the class.[2] Tadlock would go on to be Tuxedomoon's manager. Reininger and Brown started playing music together at Tadlock's house. Reininger played electronic violin and guitar. Tadlock assisted with the sound and audio. He also created tools for the band, including a "Treatment Mountain," which was a pyramid made of plywood which held all of Reininger's effects pedals.[4]

They started playing music together in the mid-1970s, when punk rock became popular in the underground music scene. "The only rule was the tacit understanding that anything that sounded like anyone else was taboo," stated Brown on the band aiming the create music that sounded unlike anything else before. The vocals were screaming and inspired by punk rock, and the band used any instruments they had around, including saxophones and a polymoogsynthesizer. The band had no drummer. During their early gigs audience members threw beer bottles at them. Bassist Peter Principle, performance artist Winston Tong and Bruce Geduldig, a filmmaker, joined the band during concerts. The band created new performances for each concert, creating theatrical performances and being described as "theatrical electronic cabaret."[4][5] The band performed frequently with Pere UbuThe ResidentsDevo, and Cabaret Voltaire.[1]

In 1979 they released the EP No Tears, with the single "No Tears." The single is described as "one of the best electro-punk hymns of all times."[6] That year they also signed to Ralph Records. That label released their debut album,Half-Mute, in 1980.[1]

Career[edit source | editbeta]Edit

1980s[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In 1980 the band released their first album, Half-Mute, on Ralph Records. The album is named after film director James Whale.[7] The band toured Europe in 1980 and moved to New York City.[1][3][8] While in New York, they performed in, and were featured on the soundtrack for the film Downtown 81.[3] They gained popularity in the Netherlands and Belgium.[9] They eventually relocated to Brussels.[3] Trumpet player Luc van Lieshout joined the band.[3] In 1987, the band performed on the soundtrack for the Wim Wenders film, Wings of Desire.[10] Tuxedomoon played in Athens, Greece, for the first time on December 1987, selling out the Pallas Theatre twice in one night.[6]

1990s[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In the early 1990s, the band separated and did not reunite for approximately eight years.[1] Tuxedomoon reunited to perform at the Next Festival in Tel Aviv. The band hadn't played together in eight years, when Brown called the members to come together for the concert. They rehearsed in a studio for 10 days, in Tel Aviv, before the concert. Brown credits the Next Festival concert as being the key event in reuniting the band.[1]

2000s[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Tuxedomoon performed in 2000, playing acoustic and electronic concerts of previously recorded material.[11]

Their 2004 album, Cabin in the Sky, would serve as their comeback record.[7] The majority of the record is instrumental. Reininger's voice, which was compared to David Bowie's during Tuxedomoon's early career, has been described as evolving into "Tom Waits" and a wolf from Tex Avery's "Baron Brown," by music critic Rod Smith. Filmmaker Bruce Geduldig performs backup vocals on the album.[3]

In 2006 the band released Bardo Hotel' on Crammed Discs. Recorded in San Francisco, the album is a soundtrack to a film by George Kakanakis, which at the time of the albums release, remained unfinished. The album and film are named after the book Beat Museum - Bardo Hotel, by Brion Gysin, which is named after the Bardo Hotel in Paris.[7][12] The soundtrack and film pulled influence from Gysin's "cut-up" method, which was co-developed with William S. Burroughs. The recording features samples of airplane sounds, BART announcements and other found sounds. New Orleans jazz and opera are two influences for the album's sound.[12]

Tuxedomoon released the album Vapour Trails,, on Crammed Discs, in 2007.[7] The album was recorded at Reininger's home.[13] The band uses instruments like clarinets and flugelhorns along with their standard instrument setup.[13] In 2007, they also released a CD and DVD boxset of unreleased and rare music and videos.[7]

Current[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Band members live in Mexico CityAthensBrussels and New York.[3] Principle cites the members living on different continents as helping them stay together as a band.[1] Their publishing house was called Angst Music.[14]

Legacy[edit source | editbeta]Edit

The band Factrix called Tuxedomoon mentors.[14]

Musical style[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Steven Brown cites the bands early influences as "EnoBowieJohn CageBernard HerrmannNino RotaIgor Stravinsky and Ennio Morricone."[7] Later and current influences include RadioheadClaude DebussyMiles DavisMichael Nyman and the Velvet Underground. Their music finds influence in genres such as punk rock, jazzfunktango, and post-punk.[6]

Music critic Simon Reynolds, called their sound an "aura of jaded elegance," with a more European style musically versus what their American counterparts were creating at the time of the band's formation.[14] Seattle Weekly described their music as radiating "a discomfort that hints of existential hives."[3]

Lyrically, Tuxedomoon examined society, culture and psychology. "Holiday for Plywood," on Desire, examined consumerism and paranoia.[14]

Discography[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Studio albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Singles and EPs[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Live albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Compilations[edit source | editbeta]Edit

as Blaine L. Reininger[edit source | editbeta]Edit

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