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One of many groups lumped (perhaps unfairly) into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal phenomenon, London, England's Xero were formed in 1979 by singer Moon Williams (already a solo artist with some experience on the local pub scene), guitarist Bill Liesegang, bassist Boon Gould, and drummer Barry Fitzgerald. Eager to make their mark, the quartet secured some studio time to cut a few songs, a pair of which wound up on two different 1980 compilations of some renown: first, "Hold On" appeared on MCA's Brute Force collection, and second, "Cutting Loose" was placed on EMI's now legendary Metal for Muthas, Vol. 2.
More crucially, both of them were of surprisingly professional grade and were distinguished by Williams' convincingly bluesy delivery -- quite unusual within the NWOBHM template. Influential Radio One DJ Tommy Vance became an early supporter and invited the band (now featuring bassist Peter Solinsky and augmented by second guitarist Tony Murphy) to play his popular Friday Rock Show in early 1981. But despite intermittent rumors reporting ongoing recording sessions, no new music would be heard from Xero until 1983, when the band finally signed a deal with tiny Brickyard Records and issued its first EP, entitled Oh, Baby (oh, brother!).
But there was a problem: Oh, Baby barely had a time to warm up record store shelves before being recalled by a legal injunction brought on by a bizarre and, in retrospect, pretty stupid publicity stunt. As it transpired, the band had decided to increase the EP's collectibility by including a pre-Xero version of their live favorite "Lone Wolf," which had actually been cut by an earlier group named Shots, featuring guitarist Liesegang and a pre-Samson, pre-Iron Maiden Bruce Dickinson on vocals. Needless to say, when the naïve band and its utterly clueless record company proceeded to cheerfully point this out to all and sundry, Maiden's none-too-amused managers quickly slapped them with a rude lesson in music business copyright law. Rude indeed, as by the time a replacement pressing -- minus the offending track -- finally hit shops, Xero's credibility was in shambles, and their label insolvent.
By 1984 the band was history, but its individual members surprisingly went on to enjoy a respectable amount of success. Moon Williams worked with John Wetton, among others, and recorded a solo album; Bill Liesegang kept himself busy with session work; and, perhaps most curious of all, original bassist Boon Gould later turned up as guitarist in long-lived pop-funk outfit Level 42. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia