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Primal Scream Biography

Last updated: 11/12/2007 11:00:00 AM

Bobby Gillespie and Jim Beattie formed Primal Scream in the mid-'80s while playing around in Jim's bedroom. Originally there were only the two of them, but a band began to form out of this collaboration. The Scream were the second band to join Creation Records after The Jesus And Mary Chain.

The band signed to Creation Records in 1983, and recorded a single called "The Orchard", which wasn't released until 1985. In the meantime, Gillespie became friends with the blokes in The Jesus And Mary Chain. He filled in on drums for them, and actually appeared twice on stage in one night...once with Primal Scream (the opening act), and once with the JAMC (the headliners). He toured with the JAMC, and was asked to join the band full-time as the drummer, but declined as he wanted to persue Primal Scream's future. Lucky for us.

In 1986, Primal Scream released a single called "Crystal Crescent", which was backed with a b-side named "Velocity Girl". This song appeared on C86 (an NME compilation tape) and was the first real exposure that the band received.

The band's debut, Sonic Flower Groove, was released in the UK in 1987 to poor reviews. This was a mish mash of indie-influenced jangly guitars mixed with rock roots. Dismayed by the album, Beattie left the band to persue other interests. The rest of the band (Gillespie, Innes, and Robert Young aka Throb) continued on, and went into the studio to record the follow-up.

The self-titled follow-up was released in 1989 to more disappointing reviews. This album demonstrated the harder rock and roll influences that the band had, ranging from the Rolling Stones to The Stooges and the MC5.

In the late 1980's and early 1990's in England, the underground dance music scene began to take off. Bands such as The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays were dominating this underground scene and crossing over to the mainstream with their mix of rock and dance. Fascinated by this, the Scream asked a DJ friend, Andrew Weatherall, to remix a track from their last album called "I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever have". Weatherall turned this song completely inside-out. He turned it into a dance masterpiece, with Peter Fonda's dialogue added from The Wild Angels movie. The new track was called "Loaded", and was welcomed with open arms by the underground community.

"Come Together" was the first single from their upcoming album, and was praised in much the same way as "Loaded" was. Their third album, called Screamadelica, was released in September of 1991, and included collaborations with many producers, including Weatherall, and The Orb. The result was a brilliant psychedelic dance-rock masterpiece which was greeted well by the mainstream record-buying audience as well as the critics. The album won Primal Scream the Mercury Music Prize in 1992, and they were well on their way to becoming one of the biggest bands in the UK.

Everybody was waiting for an equally brilliant follow-up album, and in 1994, Primal Scream released Give Out But Don't Give Up. For some reason, the band returned to Rolling Stones-styled rock and roll, and the critics and fans were extremely disappointed. It wasn't a bad album, but just wasn't what everyone was expecting. Relatively poor sales and reviews made anticipation for the next Primal Scream album less than thrilling.

A hit movie, Trainspotting, was released in 1996, and The Scream contributed the title track to the soundtrack. The track was again a return to dance-rock, with darker overtones to it than that of Screamadelica. In 1997, their new album, called Vanishing Point, was released to excellent reviews. A dark, brooding mess of psychedelic dub dance-rock, it signalled that the band were back in top form. Coming aboard and joining the band during this period was ex-Stone Roses bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield, who co-wrote "Kowalski" with the band, and added a brilliant new dimension on bass.

XTRMNTR followed in January of 2000, and was yet another example of the greatness of Primal Scream. With Mani now co-writing all of the songs, the bass groove is more evident, and the band have returned with an angry political album. Kevin Shields, the mastermind behind Creation labelmates My Bloody Valentine played throughout the album, and has now joined the band full-time. Now that 2000 is almost over, XTRMNTR is still being hailed as album of the year in many circles.

Bio above is from, Recommended by Alise. Thanks.