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Last Exit

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Biography

(1986 – 1996)

There are at least three bands with this name:

1) Last Exit (International / band)
2) Last Exit (British band)
3) Last Exit (British project)

1) Last Exit was an supergroup composed of electric guitarist Sonny Sharrock, drummer/occasional vocalist Ronald Shannon Jackson, saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, and bass guitarist Bill Laswell. They were active from 1986 to about 1996, releasing primarily live albums recorded in Europe. Sharrock’s death in 1994 caused the dissolution of the band, though touring had not occurred for several years before his passing.

The band was known for its uncompromising musical ferocity, fueled by the band members’ confrontational attitudes. Greg Kot writes that they brought a level of “volume and violence that makes most rock bands sound tame.” Their music was largely improvised; John Dugan writes “Granted, one person’s is another’s tuneless chaos, but Last Exit, due primarily to the skill of its individuals, only infrequently fell off the precipice into the netherworld of arty wanking … The playing is intricate, wildly adventurous, frequently funny, and, perhaps most important, a tribute to musical democracy in action.”

Far louder than most bands (even than most groups) Last Exit found a modest following among some more open-minded / fans. The band released five live albums, one of which, 1986’s The Noise Of Trouble, contains guest appearances from Herbie Hancock and Akira Sakata. Most of their albums were released on Enemy Records, but the band’s sole studio effort, Iron Path, was released in 1988 on Venture, a subsidiary of Virgin Records.

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