Comus (band)

Comus

Contemporary promotional image
Background information
Genres Acid folk, progressive rock
Years active 1971–1973, 2008–present
Labels Dawn Records
Associated acts Henry Cow
Members
Andy Hellaby
Glenn Goring
Roger Wootton
Bobbie Watson
Colin Pearson
Jon Seagroatt
Past members
Rob Young
Lindsay Cooper
Philip Barry
Gordon Caxon
Didier Malherbe
Keith Hale
Tim Kraemer

Comus is a British progressive rock / folk band which had a brief career in the early 1970s; their first album, First Utterance, gave them a cult following which persists. They have revived in the late 2000s and played several festivals.

Contents

History

The band was named after Comus, a masque by John Milton and is also from the name of the Greek god Comus. David Bowie appreciated them and used them as support band for a 1969 concert at London's Purcell Rooms.[1]

Their first album, First Utterance, appeared in 1971. The music is largely acoustic art rock that blends elements of Eastern percussion, early folk and animal-like vocals. The music evokes many feelings, but the most dominant are fear, confusion, despair, with occasional passages of tranquil beauty such as can be found in "The Herald". The lyrics are dramatic, involving violence, murder, and mental disorder. The group disbanded after this album, but reunited with new members for their second album, which was to be their swansong, To Keep from Crying, in 1974.

In 2005, a complete box set was released which featured both studio albums, their only single, "Diana", and a previously unreleased track called "All the Colours of Darkness". The liner notes feature an exclusive interview with some members of the band. They reformed for the Mellotronen Festival in Sweden in March 2008.[2] According to their website, they have reformed and are working on new material.[3]

On 21 March 2009 the Equinox Festival announced that Comus will perform for the first time in the UK in 37 years, during its three day festival in June.

Wootton also appears on some recordings by Slapp Happy. Reed player Jon Seagroatt is also a member of free improvising trio Red Square. Seagroatt and singer Bobbie Watson married in 2003.[4]

Influence

In 1998, Opeth singer and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt used a part of a sentence from "Drip Drip" for the title of the album My Arms, Your Hearse. The full line was "As I carry you to your grave, my arms your hearse".

Another nod to Comus was given on the 2005 Opeth album, Ghost Reveries. The second track "The Baying of the Hounds" was derived from a line in the song "Diana" which reads "And she knows by the sound of the baying, by the baying of the hounds".

English experimental band Current 93 covered the song "Diana" from First Utterance on their studio album Horsey. Musically this version is considerably different from the original, with David Tibet singing the lyrics in an agonizing fashion and constructing most of the song from a loop based around a vertiginous violin arrangement from the original.

Also by Current 93, the early album Earth Covers Earth was conceived as a less bizarre (although still unique by Current 93’s standard) sequel to First Utterance, sometimes referred as 'Second Utterance'.

Comus' song "Song to Comus" from First Utterance has been licensed by surrealist painters and animators the Hive of Dukes for use in their upcoming production Living Evil.

Personnel

  • Roger Wootton – acoustic guitar, lead vocals
  • Andy Hellaby – fender bass, slide bass, backing vocals
  • Bobbie Watson – lead and backing vocals, percussion
  • Glenn Goring (1969–72, 2008–present) – 6-12 acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide, hand drums, backing vocals
  • Colin Pearson (1969–72, 2008–present) – violin, viola
  • Rob Young (1969–71) – flute, oboe, hand drums
  • Gordon Coxon (1974) – drums
  • Keith Hale (1974) – keyboards
  • Jon Seagroatt (2008–present) – flute, oboe, hand drums

Discography

Studio albums
Live Albums
  • East of Sweden: Live at Melloboat Festival 2008 (2011)
Box sets
  • Song to Comus: The Complete Collection (2005)
EPs
  • "Diana / In the Lost Queen's Eyes / Winter is a Coloured Bird" (1971)
Roger Wootton solo single
  • "Fiesta Fandango" / "New Tide"

References

  1. ^ Sleeve notes from the 1995 remastered version of First Utterance (BGO CD275)
  2. ^ "Comus Official myspace". http://www.myspace.com/comusofficial. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  3. ^ "Roger Wootten page". http://www.comusmusic.co.uk/roger.html. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  4. ^ http://www.comusmusic.co.uk/bobbie.html

External links


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