Band Profile: Fischer-Z

Posted: September 21, 2014 in Band Profiles, New Wave
Tags: , , , ,

I recently came across a blog comment about the band Fischer-Z, a British band from the early ‘80s that I had completely forgotten about. The comment immediately jogged my memory and I remembered seeing the video for their song “So Long” back in the early ‘80s. The song had a strong bass line, unusual vocals, and I recalled there was a film noir narrative to the video. I immediately went to Youtube to track it down and then decided to look up more music from the group. They had a sound very much in-step with other new wave artists at the time and I was surprised that it had taken me over thirty years to come across them again. It turns out that the group’s record company decided to forego releasing material in America in the ‘80s. Having virtually no airplay, it’s no wonder they escaped my memory.

Forming in 1976, Fischer-Z started out with an experimental progressive rock sound. By their debut album, World Salad, their sound had evolved into a mix of offbeat pop with a reggae influence. The album had modest chart success, peaking at #54 on the UK charts. Their second album, Going Deaf for a Living, released in 1980, had the band moving to more of a guitar-heavy, new wave sound. It proved to be a greater success and by their third album, 1981’s Red Skies Over Paradise, the group had dissolved with lead singer John Watts pursuing a solo career. Although being the only original member of the group, Watts recorded albums throughout the ’80s and ‘90s under the name Fischer-Z. John Watts’ version of Fischer-Z continues to tour to this day.

The group’s first video was for the single “So Long,’ off the album Going Deaf for a Living. It shows off Watts’ unique, high vocal register. It was their most successful single and still finds regular airplay on stations in Europe.

 

“Marliese” is a single off the album Red Skies over Paradise. It’s a high-energy tune with more of a rock edge. The video clip below finds Watts enthusiastically lip-synching to the track.

 

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