1977- two lads from Blackpool Sixth Form College and neighbours by the names of John Robb and Mark Tilton decided to create a band and along with Martin Kelly and Martyn Critchley they formed The Membranes. Inspired by punk and its message they made a band, followed all areas of punk and created a fanzine called ‘Rox’. They made do with what they had, with Titlon using a junk shop guitar. And Robb, in true punk DIY spirit, built his own bass out of spare parts and wood.
An early change in the starting line up as Martyn left the band and Coofy Sid joined up on the drums. Their first recorded song was ‘Ice Age’ as part of their ‘Blackpool Rox EP’ and in 1980 they released their first flexi-disc called “Flexible Membrane”
In 1982, they came out with their debut single ‘Muscles’, praised and loved by the press and largely due to the success of that single, they were signed up to Rondolet Records. With the label then going under, they were signed to Criminal Damage records. On January 1985 The Membranes appeared on Channel 4s platform for contemporary bands – ‘The Tube’. They put out ‘Death to Trad Rock EP’, which landed them on the front cover of Sounds, a pop/rock music newspaper.
Later on they signed with Alan Gee’s Creation Records, until things went pear shaped at a gig in London. The Membranes were booked to headline a gig with The Pastels and Slaughter Joe. The band had drawn a huge crowd but somehow, Slaughter Joe ended up headlining with the Membranes opening for him. Loads of fans missed out on seeing the Membranes and in their anger, they made a fuss during Joe’s performance. Unfortunately since Joe was a close friend of the labels, it led to Creation and The Membranes parting ways
They moved on and signed to In Tape and released their breakthrough into the US with the album ‘Songs of Love and Fury’. They then came out with ‘Kiss Ass Godhead’, which opened up the world for a programme of tours. They were hits in Germany, USA and Japan. Their last album was ‘To Slay the Rock Pig’, before the band finally split in 1990. After the band split up, Robb formed new band Sensurround and then later set up Goldblade.
The Membranes reformed in 2009 at the All Tomorrows Parties festival and played a sold out gig in London in 2010. More recently in 2015, they released the album Dark Matter/Dark Energy, to rave reviews. The dark energy post punk band have performed ‘The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons’ with the BIMM choir (The British and Irish Modern Music Institute –in Manchester ) and their own Universe Explained visuals . These performances have been critically acclaimed for the fusion of style and genre
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