“"More conceptually magnificent than the Ramones, more noisily beauteous than an hour in bed with a young Jane Fonda..." ”
— Sounds Music Paper 1987
Leeds, 1983. Three tearaway school mates are skipping school to listen to Hendrix, MC5, The Stooges, Lou Reed and daydreaming about becoming rock stars. But even the most idealistic adolescent couldn’t have guessed just how quickly those dreams would become reality.
The band name arrived in early ‘84 and just 12 months later, having not yet played a gig, this fresh-faced ragtag band were in the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios recording their own John Peel session.
Young, naive, and still learning their craft, however right from the off they were churning out finely tuned slabs of sleazy, guitar-driven goth rock that belied their age and experience. Peel loved them and followed the BBC1 session by placing the bands first single “L.A.Rain” at number 26 in his 1985 Festive 50, above songs by The Cure, The Smiths and The Sisters of Mercy.
From there the next four singles dominated the UK Independent Charts. “Goddess” matched the chart-topping debut “L.A.Rain” and was named Single of The Week by Sounds, “Too Many Castles In The Sky” went Top 5, followed by “Velveteen” and “Always There”. In parallel to this chart success, the band were fine-tuning their live show in the limelight of the prestigious UK & European support slot to media darlings The Mission on their hedonistic 1986/87 World Crusade Tour.
Then just at the point of taking the next big leap, the band hit legal issues which put a metaphorical “stick in the works”. Their much-anticipated debut album was delayed by nearly two years, with “Never Another Sunset” finally being released in 1989.
Despite this loss of momentum, the band retained a loyal following in mainland Europe and went on to release two further albums, 1990’s “String A Beads” and I.C.E. in 1991. At the turn of the decade, musical tastes & the priorities of band members were changing and following a final European tour in 1992, the band called time and split.
27 years of silence followed.
Various rumours of a reunion surfaced over the intervening years, and there was still clearly a demand from a passionate fan base. In August 2019, seemingly out of the blue, the impossible happened. The band announced it was reforming the original line up and played a secret friends and family gig at the Fox and Newt Leeds in September 2019.
The reaction to The Rose’s triumphant return was overwhelming, and history repeated itself some 30 years later - the band had again appeared from nowhere and within weeks were being offered headline gigs in the UK and Europe and were confirmed as main support for the UK leg of The Mission’s upcoming UK tour.
2020 started strong with an appearance at the Porta Nigra Festival in Belgium and a headline at the famous Gibus Live in Paris. Then on the eve of The Mission tour, the COVID-19 pandemic put the world temporarily on pause.
Bouncing back from that temporary setback, the band finally got back on stage with a short intimate tour of the UK in November 2021, followed by the long awaited release of the bands BBC sessions recorded for John Peel and Janice Long in 1985 & 1986. These songs have gathered dust in the BBC vaults since their original broadcast, so they finally get to see the light of day via a thoughtfully packaged CD and vinyl release.
The Rose will be back and firing on all cylinders in 2022, finally treading the boards again with The Mission in venues across the UK.