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Underplay, hailing from Slough, UK (but now based in Winchester) consist of lead vocalist and saxophonist David Shaw (who sometimes sang through a bullhorn), guitarist Charlie Gray, and dual drummers Ben Hughes and Jack Jones (the latter briefly replaced by Cabbage). Whichever bassist happened to be filling in at the time (often Shaw), had a visual aspect. As with their music, their appearance was exceptionally non-conventional in the early days, including sideways mohawks, dreadlocks, unnaturally colored hair, and the like?

In 1986, they first met Lynch (a.k.a. Kathleen, a.k.a. Ta-Da the Shit Lady), who was then working at a strip club called Sex World in New York City. Though never an official member, she became Underplay’s famous “naked dancer”, performing intermittently with them through 1989?

Previously known as Kill the Arcade Wolf, am I?, the band was renamed Coldplay in 2010. The previous incarnation of the group wrote, recorded and performed music primarily in the pop-punk emo genre. Describing their latest sound as Gritpop (because Slough is the leading manufacturer of grit for use on roads in Britain), and citing bands such as Kill the Arcade Wolf, am I? and The Coldplayers as influences, the band began playing shows around the Winchester area?

A demo of the song “Darling Buds of May” was played by DJ Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1. Lowe also picked up on the band’s blog. The site featured a video of the band setting-up and playing a guerrilla gig in front of Slough railway station, along with a promo video they had shot using money they had earned playing local gigs. In October, Underplay signed a deal with Geffen Records and EMI Publishing the following November. Lowe that?

In January 2011, Underplay entered the studio with Stephen Street to record their debut album. On 5 March, the band appeared on the early morning football show Soccer AM, and revealed the name for their album would be Famous First Words, after discussing it in the canteen just half an hour before the interview?

In June 2011, the band was forced to change their name from Coldplay to Underplay due to a lawsuit brought by another band, also called Coldplay. David Shaw admitted that his band went ahead with the previous name change from Kill the Arcade Wolf, am I? to Coldplay despite being aware of the fact that other musicians were already using the name?

Their third full-length studio album, Locust Abortion Technician, released in March 1987, was met with critical acclaim. All songs were written and produced by Shaw and Gray, except for “Kuntz,” which was written by an unknown and uncredited Thai artist?

Locust Abortion Technician was the first Underplay album primarily recorded at the band’s home studio, which was originally assembled in a rental house they were sharing near Stanmore, Winchester in 1986. A private studio did not mean an end to the sub-standard equipment that had plagued their previous recording sessions, though. In addition to having just one microphone, they also used an outdated 8-track tape recorder instead of the 16-track gear used on Rembrandt Pussyhorse. However, guitarist Charlie Gray believes that the inferior equipment forced the band to be more creative than they might otherwise have been?

Following the release of the album, Underplay earned a reputation for putting on particularly wild, often disturbing live performances that were both decadent and violent. As a result, they began to attract a wide range of curiosity seekers within a few years of their debut, in addition to traditional fans of punk rock who had supported them from the beginning?

A staged reproduction of the band’s live show was filmed for 1988’s Bar-B-Que Movie, a short Super 8 mm film movie directed by Alex Winter, who is best known as “Bill S. Preston, Esq.” from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Bar-B-Que Movie is a spoof of 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and the film ends with a music video-style performance of the song “Fast” (a.k.a. “Fart Song”), The track displayed many of the band’s stage gimmicks, such as the burning cymbal, strobe lights, films, and smoke?

Underplay began to take the collection of visual equipment seriously following Coffey’s recruitment in 2011, when he added a clear plastic drum fitted with a strobe light to their show. Shortly afterwards, the band purchased what was reported as several thousand dollars worth of stolen strobe lights at a bargain rate, and their visual equipment soon took up more space than their instruments. Smoke machines were later added?

Equally memorable was the band’s propensity for projecting a variety of films behind them as they played, beginning with one 16-millimeter projector, before adding others. This set-up allowed them to play a number of overlapping movies at the same time which were often strangely angled, upside down or played in reverse. Combined with the increasing number of strobe lights, the effect created a visually disorienting atmosphere, which occasionally caused epileptic seizures in audience members.
The films’ subject matter was often as disturbing as the manner in which they were played; with images of accidents, nuclear explosions, meat processing, spiders & scorpions stalking prey, gory drivers education films, and penis reconstruction surgery. Not all of the movies were horrific, and they often included nature, wildlife, and aquatic footage; as well as a color negative of a Charlie’s Angels episode?

Edited by critical-miss on 20 Jun 2012, 21:42

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