Nick Knox, the drummer with the Cramps from 1977 until 1991, died at the age of 60,  (born Nicholas George Stephanoff; March 26, 1953).

He was the band’s longest-serving drummer and appeared on their biggest selling albums including 1986’s ‘A Date With Elvis’. Knox died of Cardiogenic shock (which is a condition in which your heart suddenly can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs) on 15th June 2018.

Knox played drums for proto-punks the Electric Eels before joining Lux Interior and Poison Ivy Rorschach in the Cramps.  He played on ‘A Date With Elvis’ – which was the band’s most commercially successful album. It followed 1980’s ‘Songs the Lord Taught Us’ and 1981 follow-up ‘Psychedelic Jungle’. Knox’s final recording was, 1990’s ‘Stay Sick!’ before his departure.  The band extensively toured Europe under Knox’s watch and hes regarded as being the glue that pulled the Cramps sound together.

After retiring from The Band Knox didn’t surface until he appeared on stage with The Pagans in 2003and it wouldn’t be until 2017  when he was credited as “senior advisor” to the Cleveland-based punk band Archie And The Bunkers in 2017.

After his passing Knox had some wonderful testimonials from his peers such as his predecessor Miriam Linna, the Cramps’ drummer Knox replaced, She Said she’d visited Knox in the intensive care unit in Cleveland. She added, “I thank God that Nicky was a friend of mine. He was one of the kindest, funniest, most amazing human beings ever and I was very lucky to have been in his orbit.”

On his passing Former guitarist Kid Congo Powers tweeted, “Nick Knox Coolest of the cool. R.I.P. Glad to have played to your boss Beat. Meet you on the mystery plane.”

 

On a happier note  RPM favourite, Noddy Holder was born on this very day in 1946. Noddy went on to front The UK’s most successful singles band of the ’70s scoring 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six No.1’s impressive legacy by anyone’s standards.  Neville John Holder was born in Walsall, West Midlands.  Sadly Holder isn’t interested in joining his ex-bandmates for any shows and prefers to spend his time hosting radio shows and acting.  What would we give to hear him belt out a Slade tune with Jim, Dave, and Don.  We can but hope, anyway, Happy Birthday Noddy.

Also sharing his birthday on this day is current Wonder Stuff Bass player Mark Gemini Thwaite (born 1965) ordinarily known as a guitarist of the six-string variety Mark is standing in on Bass for shits and giggles according to Hunt and on the recent tour the band has never sounded so good largly down to the fantastic musicians in the current line up. 

The list of artists Thwaite has recorded and toured with is incredible – The Mission, Tricky, Peter Murphy, New Disease, Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate, Mob Research (with Paul Raven of Killing Joke), Canadian band National Velvet and he recorded with Gary Numan, Al Jourgensen of Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Roger Daltrey of the Who, P.J. Harvey, Alanis Morissette, Primitive Race(with Chuck Mosley of Faith No More), Ricky Warwick of The Almighty, Ginger Wildheart, Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, Franz Treichler of The Young Gods, The Wonder Stuff, Ashton Nyte of The Awakening, Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory, Laurence “Lol” Tolhurst and Porl Thompson of The Cure and Ville Valo of Finnish band HIM. And breath; Mark has kept himself busy to say the least and landed himself some exceptional jobs with a whole variety of cool bands. Happy Birthday, Mark!

Burning Shed has announced the ‘Cries And Whispers’, the long-awaited follow-up to A Foreign Place’ (2015), the hugely successful biography of iconic British new wave innovators Japan by author Anthony Reynolds.  It is being made available as a limited deluxe hardback first edition from Burning Shed.

Detailing the fascinating musical adventures of David Sylvian, Richard Barbieri, Rob Dean, Steve Jansen and Mick Karn from the time following the band’s split in December 1982 until 1991, the book takes in David Sylvian’s work for his first three solo albums, The Dolphin Brothers, Dali’s Car with Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy, the brilliant but ill-feted album they released under the name Rain Tree Crow, and more.

The book also explores David Sylvian’s collaborations with Holger Czukay and Ryuichi Sakamoto, the latter of which resulted in their epic ‘Forbidden Colours’, which featured on the soundtrack album of the hit film ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’.

‘A Foreign Place’ was the first serious book on Japan. It was translated into Japanese and published in Japan, where it held at number one on the Japanese Amazon Pop Music Biography chart for four weeks. It has sold over 4000 copies to date, including the Japanese edition, without any external distribution.

Both books include previously unpublished photographs, including many from the private archives of the band members themselves.

‘Cries and Whispers’ also features a cover by renowned graphic designer Carl Glover, plus contributions from Bill Nelson, Johnny Marr, Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins/Bella Union), Ivo Watts-Russell (4AD Records), Bill Bruford (King Crimson), Martin Fry (ABC), Paul Morley (NME/ ZTT Records), Thomas Dolby and the late Colin Vearncombe (Black), among others.

Initially, a glam rock-inspired band, their sound and stylised visual appearance led to an unintentional association with the early-1980s New Romantic scene. The band split just as they were beginning to experience commercial success in the UK and abroad. They were unquestionably one of the most influential and innovative pop groups of the 1970s and 1980s.

“Is it shameful to be 40 something and still have a ‘favourite band’?  If so, colour me shamed.  Japan are my favourite band and as a fan I wanted to write and publish books on them that would enrapture and delight the fan in me. I hope I’ve done so, matching Style with content and mystery with beauty,” says author Anthony Reynolds.

Apart from ‘A Foreign Place’ and ‘Cries and Whispers’, Anthony Reynolds has published biographies on Leonard Cohen (a bestseller), Scott Walker and The Walker Brothers, and Jeff Buckley. He has also published two collections of poetry. To date, his books have been translated into 12 languages.

In 212 pages, this 210 x 210mm square, hardback book is cloth-bound with a gold and silver foil debos and features approximately 260 pictures. All copies of ‘Cries and Whispers’ come with a postcard signed by the author. Both Japan books are available exclusively through Burning Shed.

Japan books; Here

“This compelling account of the solo careers of Japan’s ex-members has clearly been a labour of love: Reynolds has sourced an amazing selection of personal photos, eyewitness accounts and technical details… The research here is exemplary” – The Wire

“Anthony Reynolds has clearly put forth the most far-reaching and insightful publications about Japan and its members published to date” – Big Takeover Magazine

On ‘A Foreign Place’:
“Favourite thing I read over Christmas was Anthony Reynolds’ wonderful book on Japan (the
band, not the country). Older Suede types will remember Anthony from his band Jack – an early Suede fave”
 – Mat Osman (Suede)

“A fascinating story – Classic Pop

“This is the big red book the defiant dons of delicacy deserve” – Prog Magazine

“Written with an enthusiasm that never flags”  Goldmine

“Anthony Reynolds’ biography is the first book to treat Japan’s career seriously and at length” – The Wire

* David Sylvian – vocals, guitars, keyboards
* Mick Karn – bass guitars, saxophone, backing vocals (died 2011)
* Steve Jansen – drums, percussion, keyboards
* Richard Barbieri – keyboards, synthesisers
* Rob Dean – guitars, backing vocals

Japan’s biggest UK album was ‘Tin Drum’ (1981), which featured hit singles ‘The Art of Parties’, ‘Visions of China’, ‘Ghosts’, and ‘Cantonese Boy’.

Japan achieved nine UK Top 40 hits in the early 1980s, most notably the ethereal oddity ‘Ghosts’, which reached No. 5 in 1982, and scoring a UK Top 5 with the 1983 live album ‘Oil on Canvas’.