Gene emerged from the previous origins of a band known as Sp!n.
Sp!n formed in 1989 after Matt James, Lee Clarke, Steve & John Mason name changed their then current band The Go Hole, whom which had one release in 1987 titled Flight Of Angels. Although together for four years, Sp!n only had one full length release.
In March of '91 there was a road accident involving the band, as a result John was seriously injured. Fate threw it's hand and a certain Kevin Miles would step in on bass. Shortly before came the departure of lead vocalist and guitarist Lee. Cue the entrance of one Martin Rossiter to take up the front man vacancy. The final release, Hot Blood, was in fact the Gene line-up that would last all the way up to the bands split in 2004.
Time then for another name change, Gene were born.
'you'll never walk again'
( a b r i e f ) h i s t o r y
In 1994, the boys signed to small independent label Costermonger, set up by NME journalists Keith Cameron and Roy Wilkinson (for the sole purpose to promote the band) and released the limited double A sided vinyl For The Dead/Child's Body. The release sold out in two days and became the NME and SELECT single of the week, the follow-up Be My Light, Be My Guide reached the #1 spot in the UK Indie Charts. 1995 saw the debut album release, Olympian. Praise followed, along with being voted one of the best records and NME's band of the year. Three further singles from the album wrapped up '95.
To See The Lights acted as Gene's second long-player, a compilation including all the flip-sides from the previous years singles along with exclusive radio/festival performances. The band also re-released a new version of debut single For The Dead to promote the album.
With an ever-increasing fan-base and record company interest, Gene's third release Drawn To The Deep End was released on major label Polydor, who also re-released Olympian as part of the deal. Three top 30 singles helped the album reach an impressive #8 in the UK charts. The remainder '97 saw the band touring and performing at various festivals, the biggest being the triumphant headlining gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London. 1998 was mainly used as time to demo tracks for the third album, along with a few low-key shows.
Gene gave birth to Revelations in '99, and while musically it was the same classic Gene sound, the lyrics had taken on a more political view. The album yielded two singles which both made the UK top 40 charts. This would be the last studio album Gene would release in a short lived affair with Polydor.
Gene spent a portion of 2000 touring the world. One of the shows, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, was broadcast over the Internet to at least 60,000 viewers. This show was recorded and speedily released on CD just two months after via an Internet-only promotional campaign. Rising For Sunset was released on the bands own label Contra, and provided a glorious insight into just how great the band were live. It also provided fans with the debut of two new tracks, which would lead the way for Gene's final album Libertine.
In the middle of 2001, Polydor released a best of package, As Good As It Gets. The band had no input into the compilation and it was a cheeky attempt from Polydor to make a bit of cash, coinciding with the new album. They even spelt Rossiter wrong on the inlay.
Libertine would be the bands second release on label Contra. With a more groovy sounding record, commercially it was the bands worst charting studio album, but for the fans, and the band members themselves, it quickly became a favorite. The Club Libertine tour began soon afterwards, swiftly changing into the tour from hell. Illness, lost voices, cancelled gigs, thousands of pounds worth of equipment stolen, just to name a few incidents that hampered the band. Still, the tour was completed and every date was honoured. 2001 also saw the release of the first Gene single for two years, Is It Over?
After this, momentum slowed for a while. Does He Have A Name? was intended as a follow-up to Is It Over?, with Libertine due to be re-released in the UK with extra tracks, none of these proposed ideas seeing completion. What did happen however was a DVD release of the Rising For Sunset concert. At last, something on disc to show off, and a lovely piece of evidence, if we ever needed it, that Gene were a great live band.
Things were getting slightly stale, and after nearly 10 years of partnership, Gene sacked their management company. Graham Wrench was brought in to man the ship, and quickly planned some gigs for January/February, known as Weekenders.
Let Me Move On was chosen for a new single release, but in keeping with recent Gene trends, this was constantly being delayed, and at one point seemed very likely to go the way of its previous contender. The single didn't surface until 2004, after over two years of talking about it, and would be the last Gene CD release. Intended originally as a 2 part CD and 7" vinyl set, only 1 CD ended up seeing daylight. It was fittingly released on the Costermonger label, where the band started off 10 years previous. Released the same year, came another DVD release, a special 10 years show at the Leadmill, Sheffield.
On the 15th of November '04, at the launch night for the new DVD, Gene announced they were to split after the London Astoria gig on the 16th of December.
The band did reform briefly in January '08 for the ex-managers birthday party, performing 5 Gene songs.
As of writing, Martin Rossiter has completed work on solo material, whilst touring small venues around the UK, Matt James and Steve Mason formed a new band Palace Fires, then split up, and Kevin Miles is currently teaching and playing in a blues/soul cover band.
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