1984 – present (33 years)
Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Ozric Tentacles is an instrumental band from Somerset, England, whose music can loosely be described as psychedelic rock. Formed in 1984, the band has released well over twenty albums as of 2005, and has become a cottage industry selling around a million albums worldwide despite never having major label backing.
The original line up met on the 21st June 1984 at the Stonehenge Free Festival; their name came from discussions of hypothetical cereal brands (Malcolm Segments, Desmond Whisps, and Gordon Lumps are among the names that were considered). In the 1980s the band built a fan base on the festival circuit, becoming particularly associated with the Glastonbury Festival, and made a series of cassette releases, sold at gigs and via a fan club.
Their first label release was Pungent Effulgent in 1989, which was also re-released in the early 2000s, packaged with Strangeitude. This was followed by Erpland (1990), an album dedicated to Erp, a character who appears on many of the band's album artworks. 1991 saw the Strangeitude LP. The track "Sploosh!" was used by BMW in an advertising campaign, and became the band's only single. By 1993 the band had grossed over three million dollars, and their Jurassic Shift album reached the top ten of the U.K. album charts.
The band has gone through many line-up changes, with only Ed Wynne (guitar and keyboards) and Champignon (flute) maintaining a constant presence since the early 1990s. Many members left to pursue more electronic music spin-off acts, namely Eat Static, Nodens Ictus, ZubZub (Former Ozrics bassist Zia's new project), and Moksha. Nevertheless, the band maintained their identity and continued with this prolific rate of albums throughout the 1990s, and into the new millennium. They also continued to tour extensively, releasing a live DVD in 2002.
The band is famous for their live performances, long fronted by Champignon, who danced around the stage in a trance-like manner and occasionally played the flute. Ozric Tentacles has long taken an audio-visual approach to live performance, with an integrated lighting and projections crew. As of 2007, the line up features Ed Wynne (guitar, keyboards), Vinny Shillito (bass), Ed's wife Brandi Wynne (keyboards), and Merv Pepler (drums, percussion), Champignon having parted company with the band in 2005.
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