Band Of Holy Joy

Band Of Holy Joy 2016

The Band Of Holy Joy were formed in 1984 by Johny Brown in New Cross, South London. Early experiments revolved around cheap junk shop instrumentation and rudimentary electronics. After two self-issued cassettes, they signed to South London indie label Flim Flam for a string of singles and two 1987 albums; More Tales From The City and the live LP When Stars Come Out To Play.

The Band of Holy Joy reached a commercial and critical peak after signing to Rough Trade with Manic, Magic, Majestic in 1989 and Positively Spooked in 1990, supported by a tour of the U.S.S.R. The label was forced into receivership in 1991 following cash flow problems and eventual bankruptcy. The band re-emerged in 1992 as Holy Joy, with the album Tracksuit Vendetta. They split up in 1993 and Brown moved into freelance journalism, playwriting and production.

Band of Holy Joy reformed in 2002 and released an album Love Never Fails. After a number of live dates the band became inactive between 2003 and 2006, pursuing other musical projects. In May 2007, the band began playing live again. October 2007 saw the release of Leaves That Fall in Spring, a best of released on the Cherry Red label.

In 2008, after playing nine warm-up dates in and around London during April, May and June, Band of Holy Joy set off to the USA for the first time in their 24-year history and embarked on a successful tour of New York City.[5] Punklore, a six-track CD was released and initially only available at the New York gigs.

In 2009, Band of Holy Joy started to explore theatrical and multimedia based performances. As their alter ego Radio Joy, they performed two song plays Troubled Sleep and Invocation to William. Troubled Sleep was a fictional account of Sid and Nancy’s last days at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. It played out over several nights in the Shunt Theatre Lounge in London and Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle. Invocation to William was performed at The University of London Institute in Paris at the event celebrating the 50th anniversary of William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, ‘Lunch @ 50’. The songs from this show were released as a mini album CD A Lucky Thief In A Careless World on band’s own Radio Joy label. In October 2009, Band of Holy Joy were invited to play The Wire magazine’s Into the Vortex festival, followed by a series of shows in Athens, Greece, later that year.

Paramour, the band’s eleventh album was released on 8 June 2010 and featured eight songs that had evolved from the song play Troubled Sleep.

In 2011, the band embarked on another tour of Greece, playing in cities of Athens, Thessaloniki, and Larissa. They made their first appearance at Glastonbury Festival and performed their third song play Beuys Will Be Beuys in London and Thessaloniki. A new CD release titled How To Kill A Butterfly was released 28 October 2011 on Exotic Pylon Records.

On 15 March 2012 a new CD release entitled The North Is Another Land was released on German independent record label Moloko Plus.

On 28 January 2013 a double cassette and digital download titled City of Tales: Volume 1 & 2 was released on Exotic Pylon Records. Volume 1 contains previously unreleased material from 1985 found by former band member Brett Turnbull, restored and accompanied by a second volume of recordings from 2012. City of Tales has since expanded into a project taking in music, text, video and performance[7] featuring actors Tam Dean Burn and Joanna Pickering.

Their previous album entitled Easy Listening was released in February 2014, with an accompanying UK tour while their latest, Land Of Holy Joy, was released on Stereogram Recordings on 21 September 2015, preceeded by the single Isn’t That Just The Life.

Band of Holy Joy host their own radio show Bad Punk on Resonance FM every Friday from 10pm until 11pm.

“Band Of Holy Joy are an unsung British institution that understands the human heart” – Mojo, rating 4/5

“..this band still revels in their own potency” – The Daily Mirror, rating 4/5

“..enough to make your heart soar” – Louder Than War, rating 9/10

“..unmistakably a work of vision, and therefore precious” – The Wire

“The Land of Holy Joy is an album about quiet triumph, of finding reasons for carrying on often against huge odds” – PennyBlackMusic

“Another tremendous achievement filled with terse funk moments and poetic reportage”- NARC. Magazine

“Band Of Holy Joy have definitely eclipsed all with their finest moment in The Land Of Holy Joy” – The Ringmaster Review

“Breath-taking state-of-the-nation exposition by one of the most enigmatic bands of the 80s”- Is This Music?

“Band of Holy Joy, return with yet another instant post-punk classic that focuses on their unique style of storytelling” – The Big Takeover

“An album that looks back in order to inspire the thinking of today” – Blaue-Rosen

“When it comes to music, nobody engages to greater effect than the Band Of Holy Joy. And don’t ask me how they keep doing it, but their new album The Land Of Holy Joy arguably represents a new benchmark even for them in their search for warmth in the wilderness” – Louder Than War

“This new album is as fine as anything the band have done” – The Organ

“Passionate poetics and dark dreams get danced away with angry meditations in nu-Northern Soul settings” – The Daily Mirror

“..a solid powerful collection of songs, reasserting that some things do get better with age” – The Big Takeover

“Johny is the patron saint and torch singer for a tier of humanity increasingly ground down by bastard, callous, remote and indifferent powers that be, especially in this here big city of London.” – David Stubbs (The Quietus)