Scorpio Rising were formed in Birkenhead in 1989.The group's first live performances took place in small clubs in Liverpool, with several shows at Liverpool Planet X and Cosmos Clubs in late 1989. Scorpio Rising's definitive line up and sound was created when the band were joined by Parliament/Funkadelic influenced bass player Steve Soar in 1992.
Scorpio Rising signed to Chapter 22 Records (UK) Polygram (UK) and Sire / Elektra (USA).
The Scorpio Rising sound was distinctive for combining breakbeat driven rhythms, strong melodies, dark lyrics and funk-influenced basslines with psychedelic and experimental guitar distortion techniques. Earliest recordings feature heavy use of wah-wah pedals and breakbeat drum patterns contemporary during the early nineties.
John Peel played Scorpio Risings debut single "The Strangest Things Turn You On", produced by Jo,hn Rivers and following national tours with some of their contemporaries Scorpio Rising came to the attention of the UK music press in 1991 with the release of "Watermelon", their first major Polygram backed single on the independent Chapter 22 Records. For a brief period, their breakbeat-flavoured drums, distorted rock guitars and "new lad superstar" (NME 1991) frontman Mickey Banks was hailed as a new direction for UK rock music. At this time the band recorded the six-track mini album If.... It featured a new rock sound very different from the band's contemporaries, with funk-influenced basslines, soft pychedelic guitars on the slower tracks and Stooges-style rock guitars for the first time on the faster tracks. The album was well received by the UK music press, leading to sold-out headlining dates across the UK and rave reviews of the live shows in the NME, Melody Maker etc, which by now had started to feature stage diving by the audiences.
Scorpio Rising toured and played with with Smashing Pumpkins, PWEI, Eat, Senseless Things, Blur, Levitation, Spritualized, Swervedriver and other contemporary bands of the early 1990s, culminating with appearances at Finsbury Park and Reading Festival in 1992. Scorpio Rising then recorded their one and only full-length album, Pig Symphony at Rockfield Studio.
Scorpio Rising's sound of the electric guitar used ripped speakers, metal pipe acoustics and vintage film studio recording equipment, while recording Breathing Underwater/Zero for Chapter 22 in Ed's Garage (now a defunct vintage recording studio in Camden Town, London) in 1992. This session (co-produced by Teo Miller who also produced Daisy Chainsaw led to Pig Symphony for Sire/Elektra, when the band were signed to the label by Seymour Stein, who flew from New York to see the band headline the Marquee club in London in 1992. Pig Symphony was recorded over Christmas 1992 at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, and was produced by Teo Miller and Scorpio Rising.
During the 1993 PWEI tour preceding Pig Symphony, bassist Steve Soar left the band, and they went into the studio as a four piece. Soar appears on "Breathing Underwater" and "Fountain Of You"; both recorded during the Breathing Underwater sessions at Ed's Garage. Soar was replaced by Mark Browning from The Bell Tower for the remainder of the tour and some following shows. Bass guitar on Pig Symphony was played by Bank and lead guitarist Sploote Lead. The band experimented heavily with ambient acoustics and darker material. The album includes longer, darker and more psychedelic tracks: "Oceanside" and "Sleeping Sickness" and extremely heavy guitar and vocal eq processing. Pig Symphony was mixed at Amazon/Parr St Studios in Liverpool. The album was well received by college radio in the US and received significant airplay, selling 30,000 units without advertising or tour support due to Sire's significant internal re-organisation, moving Scorpio Rising to Elektra in New York.
Having recruited bass player Mandi Morgan, Scorpio Rising returned to the studio to record the follow-up to Pig Symphony for Sire/Elektra, titled BRUTAL DELUXE. The ambitious and highly original new album was produced by Steve Osborne of Perfecto, producer of Happy Mondays' Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches and U2. Recorded and mixed in 1993 at Orinoco and Battery Studios in London, Brutal Deluxe took Scorpio Rising in a new direction, and included the unique thrash/trance track "Bugcatcher", which was later remixed by Steve Osborne and included in Paul Oakenfold's Goa trance sets for Radio 1. Scorpio Rising parted acrimoniously with Sire and BRUTAL DELUXE was never released..
SCORPIO RISING MEMBERS:
Mickey Banks – singer
Sploote (DJ Smart) – lead guitar
Martin Atherton – guitar
David Renton/Steve Soar/Mandi Morgan/Mark Browning – bass
Colin Owens – drums
IF.. (1992), Chapter 22 (Recorded Liverpool Pink Museum, Produced: Barry Clempson)
Zodiac Killers (1992), Sire – USA compilation
Pig Symphony, (1993) Sire / Warner Bros, Recorded Rockfield stusios, Produced: Teo Miller / Scorpio Rising
Brutal Deluxe (unreleased) Sire / Warner Bros, Recorded Orinico Studio London / Battery Studio London / Amazon Liverpool
Strangest Things Turn You On EP (1991), Chapter 22 – "The Strangest Things Turn You On" / "Burn Out" / "Bliss" (Prod: John Rivers)
The Watermelon EP (1991), Chapter 22 – "Watermelon" / "Beautiful People" / "Malicious" (Prod: Barry Clempson)
"Saturnalia" / "Disturbance" / "Peace Frog" (1992), Chapter 22 / Polygram (Prod: Pat Collier)
"Silver Surfing" / "Fountain of You" / "Zero" (1993), Chapter 22 / Polygram (Prod: Teo Miller / SR
"Evelyn" / "Its Obvious" / "Find Your Own Way" / "Brutal Deluxe" (1993), Sire / Warner Bros (Prod: Teo Miller / Guy Forrester
12" white label single: to radio only: Bugcatcher/Dubcatcher (Prod: Steve Osborne / Paul Oakenfold