We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It

About We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It

We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It is the full name of the all-female indie pop quartet often known as Fuzzbox. Crossing noisy, enthusiastically amateurish punk à la the Slits with the bright pop harmonies of new wavers like the Bangles and the Go-Go's, Fuzzbox was one of the bands included on NME's now-legendary C-86 cassette sampler in 1986, and became pop stars in the U.K. for a short time in the late '80s. The group featured guitarist/vocalist Maggie Dunne, her sister Jo Dunne on bass, vocalist Vickie Perks, and drummer Tina O'Neill, who got together in their hometown of Birmingham, England, in 1985; all were 16 except for 20-year-old Maggie, and none had ever played instruments before. Their eccentric fashion sense, which harked back to the theatricality of the early days of punk, helped gain them notice, and their C-86 appearance raised their profile considerably on the U.K. indie scene. The group's early-1986 debut single, "XX Sex," recorded for Vindaloo, was a hit on the alternative charts, as were a couple of follow-up EPs. The band signed with Geffen (in the U.S. only) and issued a self-titled debut album later that year; it was retitled Bostin' Steve Austin in the U.K. and released on Vindaloo. Toning down their image slightly, Fuzzbox signed with WEA in the U.K., and brought in Bangles producer Liam Sternberg to work on their second album. Released in 1989, Big Bang! entered the U.K. pop charts at number five, and Fuzzbox became media darlings thanks to their still-flamboyant look and irreverent sense of humor. They also landed Top 30 hits with the singles "International Rescue," "Pink Sunshine," and "Self!" In the summer of 1990, Perks announced that she was leaving for a solo career and Fuzzbox disbanded. A brief reunion occurred in 1998, but recording sessions were aborted; Perks later resurfaced under the name Vix Fuzzbox. The outtakes/demos/rarities compilations Fuzz and Nonsense and Rules and Regulations to Pink Sunshine appeared in 2000 and 2001, respectively. In late 2001, Maggie Dunne became the new bassist of Babes in Toyland. ~ Steve Huey

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