Catherine Wheel

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Catherine Wheel were a four-piece alternative rock band from Great Yarmouth, England. The band was active from 1990 to 2000, experiencing fluctuating levels of commercial success, and embarking on many lengthy tours.



Catherine Wheel formed in 1990, comprising singer/guitarist Rob Dickinson, guitarist Brian Futter, bassist Dave Hawes, and drummer Neil Sims. Hawes had previously played in a Joy Division-influenced band called Eternal. They took their moniker from the firework known as the Catherine wheel, which in turn had taken its name from the medieval torture device of the same name. The band was often included in the shoegazing scene, characterized by bands that made extensive use of guitar feedback and droning washes of noise, as well as their continuous interaction with extensive amounts of effects pedals on the stage floor.

The band performed a Peel session in early 1991 while still unsigned; two 12" vinyl EPs were released on the Norwich based Wilde Club Records, named after the regular weekly Wilde Club gigs run by Barry Newman at Norwich Arts Centre. They signed to major-label Fontana Records after being courted by both Creation Records and the Brian Eno-run label Opal Records. The band's debut album, 1991/92's Ferment, made an immediate impression on the music press and introduced Catherine Wheel's biggest U.S. hit, "Black Metallic," as well as moderate hit "I Want To Touch You." [3] The album features re-recorded versions of some of the Wilde Club-issued EPs.

The more aggressive Chrome followed in 1993, produced by Gil Norton. With this album, the band began to shed its original shoegazing tag, while still making skillful use of atmospherics, such as on the song "Fripp." In a 2007 interview, Rob Dickinson said that members of Death Cab for Cutie and Interpol told him that without this album, their bands "wouldn't exist."[1]

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