Vicious Pink a Techno / Dance / Electronica / New Wave band formed in Leeds, England in 1981, and active until 1986. Did the activity really stop? The answer is no, VP have had multiple releases every Year since leaving Parlophone in 1986. From Razormaid and other record companies, to the Vicious Pink info website created by Jon Peterson in the early 90’s in Colorado. Fan posts of songs on Youtube which have had 700,000 plus plays and growing, onto thousands of plays on Soundcloud.
Their music has been used in films and TV shows, the latest is Cccan’t You See used in the US TV series Halt And Catch Fire, the song is in episode 8 season 2. New songs are also in the making.
With a catchy sound and a penchant for highly provocative and sexualised lyrics, the band aimed for success in with DJ friendly mixes for night clubs, (the night clubs were like the internet of their time to get your records played) rather than radio friendly commercial hits. Vicious Pink consisted of two members, English/French singer Josephine Warden and keyboardist Brian Moss.
The duos first live appearance was in Leeds at Amnesia in 1981 as backing vocalists for Soft Cell, then known as Vicious Pink Phenomena, this event was recorded by the BBC’s Oxford Road Show. Later that Year they went to New York City’s Media Sound Studio to perform on Soft Cell’s debut album Non Stop Erotic Cabaret.
Vicious Pink, remembered for six dance singles and then soon to be discovered B sides. 1: My Private Tokyo, 2: Je Taime, 3: Cccan’t You See, 4: Fetish, 5: Take Me Now, and 6: 8:15 To Nowhere. 1 and 2 produced by Dave Ball (Soft Cell), 3, 4 and 5 produced by Tony Mansfield of New Musik fame, 6 produced by Gary Soberly. Vicious Pink were one of a few bands in the early 1980s that could be described as having a Techno sound, and can be credited for coining the term, by describing their music as “Techno” on 27 March 1982, long before the term was used by Detroit DJs in 1986.
Vicious Pink featured in Sounds music publication, describe their music as “Techno” on 27th March 1982.
1982 was the Year Mike Wiand the American owner of The Warehouse nightclub in Leeds, became their manager. Mike was also a key factor in the success of the 1980’s dance track “Let the Music Play” by Shannon, which was released on his Warehouse Records label.
Vicious Pink backed Soft Cell live at many gigs, also performing as their support/opening band, they also did their own headline tours playing at The Warehouse in Leeds with Franky Goes To Hollywood supporting. Headlining The Hacienda in Manchester, Hammersmith Palace in London and many other famous venues, plus more support shows one with The Alarm.
Vicious Pink did many PA’s in Nightclubs sometimes four different clubs in one evening. Then TV shows performing their latest releases, onto radio station tours for interviews and promoting new singles.
Vicious Pink headlined at Camden Palace in London, December 1984, then at The Ritz in New York City on December 7th 1984. For these 2 shows Jose and Brian had a full backing band including Tony Mansfield keyboards and guitar, Clive Gates keyboards, John Read bass guitar, Graeme Robinson drums and Jules on front of house sound.
Live @ The Ritz NYC 1984
Vicious Pink were able to attain a cult level of success without ever breaking into the mainstream. Although they had started releasing music in 1982, they failed to attract much attention until the release of the single “Cccan’t You See” (UK chart position 67) and its instrumental b-side “8:15 To Nowhere” in 1984. Over the next two years, both sides of this single accrued play in clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. Their later singles “Fetish” and “Take Me Now” were similarly successful.
In 1987, unknown to the duo, just one Year after they left Parlophone “Cccan’t You See” charted in the USA at number 24 for 3 Weeks, without any promotion from them. In 1989 “8:15 To Nowhere” hit number 2 around Europe, also without any knowledge of it or promotion from them.
The duo recorded one unreleased demo album in 1983, The Tape Gallery, and In the summer of 1984 they went to Ridge Farm Studios, in Capel Surrey for 9 Weeks to record the Album “Blue” With Tony Mansfield their Producer and Jules (Juliette Bowen) sound engineer. The album was mixed over a 2 Week period at Eel Pie Island studio, owned by Pete Townshend from The Who. The album was never released (see the reason why here: Exclusive interview with Brian Moss).
A self-titled album was released in 1986, on vinyl only, after they had ceased recording for Parlophone. This album was a collection of previously released singles and B sides. In 2012 Brian got the album rereleased on CD with extra tracks and mixes, also available to download on Amazon and iTunes etc (Vicious Pink CRPOP101). Brian also wrote the comprehensive CD sleeve notes, which included some previously unseen photos of Vicious Pink.
Brian started the band Drug Free America in 1986 with Steve Dixon.
Josephine Warden later married a London based music lawyer, and Brian Moss continued his music career; with Drug Free America and Mirazma. In the meantime Vicious Pink continued to grow in the background.
Jose and Brian are writing new Vicious Pink songs, the story will continue…