John Moore: songwriter, singer, artist, poet, writer.
Member of The Jesus and Mary Chain, 1986- 1988 ( The Darklands period). Signed to Polydor records in 1988. Released several singles and two albums, most notably, Expressway Rising by John Moore and The Expressway, recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York. A great band was assembled for live dates, and several tours, including one with The Ramones. In a classic case of too much too soon, the band fell apart at the end of its first American trip, and much to the surprise of Polydor UK, Moore decided to stay in America. By luck, Polygram US agreed to share his contract and Moore moved to New York, had a New York manager, and lived first at The Gramercy Park Hotel, where he hung out with Alan Vega, and then at the notorious Chelsea Hotel.
The second album, Distortion, was produced by the great Andy Wallace, at Air Studios In London. There were also tentative sessions in New York with The Velvet Underground’s John Cale. Somewhere in the vaults these tracks may still exist. Moore believes that although ultimately he wasn’t allowed to continue these sessions, (Polygram envisaging him as the next Guns n Roses, which, unsurprisingly, Cale wasn’t interested in), the days spent with the Welsh genius changed his life.
Having crossed the Atlantic for his first album, he crossed it back again for the second, this time with a band consisting of drummer Vinnie Signorelli (Swans, Unsane) and bass player Morgan Visconti (Ready, Steady, Die!). Around this time, he got married, but the party soon had to end. Like an expat who rejects his country but is forced to return, he came back to a very different world. Dropped by everyone, laughed at for trying. Ignored, despised, or presented with the bill, it was a helluva reality check, and a great lesson.
Broke, single, but not yet quite broken, he put the rock and roll away for now and joined a library. The influence of John Cale began to rise. He wrote and read and typed, and read more, and stepped between the intelligentsia and class A drugs, although these two worlds often overlapped. He sold treasured guitars at knock down prices, stripped the music box bare, and revelled in self-pity, self flagellation and self indulgent misery, and the songs started to come.
Finally he had something to write about. He formed Revolution 9, a three piece, minimalist, quietly intense band, with a cellist and percussionist. The percussionist chose the name, he wanted Siberia, but even better, a name he couldn’t stand - what better punishment. They played mostly in London, to empty rooms, or people too polite to speak. Somehow they became popular, eliciting some very extravagant praise. Several singles and one album You Might As Well Live were released. Tours of The Czech Republic and Spain took place. Playing minimalist music about heartbreak and suicide behind the iron curtain, and at The Benicassim festival was remarkably effective. During the first Czech tours, Revolution 9 were the first western band many of the audience had ever seen, but again, they lapped it up... perhaps they liked the name!
It was in the Czech Republic in the mid 1990s that Moore first tasted Absinthe. A love affair that lasted many years. He became obsessed with the green fairy, and after much research, deemed that it wasn’t actually illegal, as commonly supposed, and in 1999, became its first importer since 1914. The band wound down naturally, with the medical career of David, the cellist, taking more time, and Katie, the percussionist, becoming a highly sought after film editor on both sides of the Atlantic. Moore kept reading, writing, smoking and drinking Absinthe and staring out at his view of the Westway flyover at Paddington. Inspired by the writing of Graham Greene and Günther Grass, strange new songs began to take shape.
In 1997 Moore co-formed Black Box Recorder with Sarah Nixey and Luke Haines. What was intended as a one off project quickly turned into a more serious proposition. With two very different songwriters, it could have been a disaster, but it worked beautifully and BBR signed to Chrysalis. Back on a major label after a six year break, Moore, with Haines and Nixey released several singles and three albums, most notably England Made Me. Its first release was the single Child Psychology, initially banned at radio, but now, seemingly, with an extraordinary new life of its own. Even the strange cover version of Uptown Top Ranking has found many new fans.
In 1999, Moore released a record as The Shoreditch Ogre. Health and Efficiency. Produced byThe Pantomime Mammoth/Luke Haines. A cover version of his song Clair, came to the attention of Gilbert O’Sullivan, who with great humour, used it as a B side for his next single. A hit record occurred in 2000, with The Facts of Life on Nude Records, reaching the top twenty, accompanied by a Top of the Pops appearance. Its follow up was The Art of Driving. Moore and Nixey were married in 2001, and had a daughter. Signing to One Little Indie Records In 2003, Black Box Recorder released its final LP, Passionoia. Much more electronic and polished than its predecessors, it contained some beautiful songs such as British Racing Green.
In 2004, Moore released a solo record, Half Awake, on his own label The Germ Organization. Moore and Nixey divorced in 2005. In 2008, BBR issued a final statement, ceasing all further mainland operations, and releasing two last tracks, Keep It In The Family and Do You Believe In God? Moore got the rock and roll back out of the closet and dusted it down. Having been asked to play at his daughter’s school fete, and guessing they probably wanted up tempo numbers, he cherry picked the JAMC line up and put together The John Moore Rock and Roll Trio, featuring The Loose Moorelles. On drums was Ben Swank from The Soledad Brothers, bass was the great Phil King, of Lush and The JAMC, and The Loose Moorelles - writer and broadcaster Laura Barton and Cecilia Fage (Cobalt Chapel). Ben soon went back to America and Third Man Records, and Loz Colbert of Ride and The JAMC joined. The band played enough to get really tight, and, over two days, recorded a live set at Dean Street studios - Roll Your Activator.
From 2010 - 12, Moore rejoined The Jesus and Mary Chain, touring In China and the Far East, and several US tours and festivals. In 2014, he released two vinyl albums, Lo-Fi Lullabies and Floral Tributes. These were the pre BBR, Paddington flyover songs from the mid nineties, home recorded, soaked in Absinthe and drowned in wine. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2012.
In 2017 One Little Indian released a Black Box Recorder CD and a vinyl box set. Life Is Unfair.
In 2018, Knickerbocker Glory was released. Finally, a full studio album filled with pop songs. It was the first album made with Brian Young, his pal from The Mary Chain tours, an extraordinary drummer, best known for The Fountains of Wayne. The album is also graced by rockin' legend Boz Boorer, whose contribution to it is huge. Rod Melvin of Kilburn and The High Roads played keys. It was mixed in Rochdale, by Stephen Boyce-Buckley, at the studio of pop legend and great friend, Lisa Stansfield. However, Moore became ill during the record's release, so it has been somewhat overlooked. This will be corrected, and the power pop gems will fly.
2019 It’s Hell Out There was hailed as a dark masterpiece. It seems to have predicted Covid, the war, and Brexit.
On 3rd June, 2022 All’s Well That Ends Well will be released. Recorded at home during the lockdown, with Brian Young on drums in LA, it is a spiritual, reflective record. Several songs have already been released.