(Photo by Al Pulford) On the eve of the release of a 5CD retrospective box set, Leeds based English post-punk/gothic rock act The March Violets have announced a reunion. They plan to tour and make new recordings through 2023-2024. Here’s what they just announced: “Founder-members Rosie Garland and Tom Ashton are joined again by William Faith (musician and vocalist with Faith & the Muse, Conflict and The Bellwether Syndicate) and we are excited to be back in the studio creating brand new material & planning live dates for 2023- 2024.”
A digital single of “Walk into the Sun” (the 7″ version) – out now – will be followed by the 2LP vinyl “Play Loud Play Purple” which compiles all their 1980’s releases and more – on purple vinyl. Next is the 2LP vinyl “Big Soul Kiss” holding 23 BBC session tracks with 9 unreleased songs, on yellow vinyl. And finally there’s the 5CD box set with all their indie releases, the BBC Sessions and two discs of unreleased rarities.
About The March Violets
The March Violets formed in December 1981 with the following line-up: Tom Ashton (guitar), Laurence “Loz” Elliot (bass), Simon “Detroit” Denbigh (vocals) and Rosie Garland (vocals). Percussion was provided by a drum machine, nicknamed “Dr. Rhythm”, a feature they had in common with many of the bands in the Leeds scene at the time. Fellow student Andrew Eldritch, lead singer of the Sisters of Mercy, released the band’s debut 7″, the four-track “Religious as Hell” EP, on his Merciful Release label on 28 August 1982. A second single on Merciful Release, “Grooving in Green”, followed on 27 November 1982.
The band then established their own Rebirth record label, releasing the “Crow Baby” single on 30 April 1983. Cleo Murray joined as second female vocalist for the next single, “Snake Dance”, issued in December 1983. Garland left after “Snake Dance”, and Murray took over as sole female singer for “Walk Into the Sun”, issued 4 August 1984. That October, the band released their first compilation album, “Natural History”, which collected the first four singles plus two tracks from a 1983 BBC Peel Session.
The March Violets shifted towards a more pop-oriented sound, and Denbigh left the band in early February 1985, prior to the band’s first American tour in March 1985. Denbigh did appear on the next single, “Deep”, released 11 May 1985 but that was recorded prior to his departure. A second compilation album, “Electric Shades”, was issued in the US by Relativity Records that year; it collected the contents of the “Snake Dance”, “Walk Into the Sun” and “Deep” singles, including a piano-laden remix of “Snake Dance”.
The band then signed to major label London Records, adding drummer Andy Tolson to the lineup. The “Turn to the Sky” single was released 24 February 1986 on London, although still bearing the Rebirth imprint. The song (and their cover of “Miss Amanda Jones” by the Rolling Stones) was featured on the soundtrack to the 1987 film “Some Kind of Wonderful”, which included a live performance by the band of “Turn to the Sky.” Although groomed for greater success, it didn’t work out as planned and only one single came out.
In 1993, the band’s first CD compilation, The Botanic Verses, was released by Jungle Records in the UK and Cleopatra Records in the US; it covered their entire 1982-1984 catalogue.
The band reformed 25 years later, successfully touring the UK, USA and Europe and making new recordings through Pledge Music. However, illness twice beset that phase and it ended in 2016.
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