Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Siouxsie & The Banshees... Hong Kong Garden & Show # 342

Siouxsie and The Banshees originally formed in 1976 in England, at first the two main members in the group were Siouxsie Sioux on vocals and Steven Severin on bass. The band went through a few line up changes before they found Kenny Morris on drums and John McKay on guitar, an early drummer for the group was John Simon Ritchie who you may know better as Sid Vicious. After playing several sold out venues in London in 1978, Siouxsie and The Banshees signed to Polydor Records and began recording their first single.

Hong Kong Garden was recorded with band manager Nils Stevenson producing and Steve Lillywhite on engineering duties over a two day period. Initially the song, which was demoed the previous year as a song called “People Phobia”, was not intended to be recorded as a single at all. The song would become known as “Hong Kong Garden” and it became a popular live favourite. Prior to the band signing with Polydor, they decided to record this song as a single on their managers suggestion. The songs origins came from a Chinese food take out restaurant in England. Siouxsie Sioux explained the song in detail during an interview with Pop Top Ten Interview in August of 2001:

“I'll never forget, there was a Chinese restaurant in Chislehurst called 'The Hong Kong Garden'. Me and my friend were really upset that we used to go there and like, occasionally when the skinheads would turn up it would really turn really ugly. These gits were just go in en masse and just terrorise these Chinese people who were working there. We’d try and say 'Leave them alone', you know. It was a kind of tribute”.

While the song and band has often been associated with several other late 70s Punk acts, the song was quite different, falling into the Post-Punk genre. “Hong Kong Garden” featured choppy and erratic guitar work with a throbbing bassline that at times sounds like a speeding train. Along with its unique narrative style, the song came off as an exhilarating original song and an important Post-Punk single. It would go to number seven on the UK singles charts. The B-side to this track was a song “Voices (On The Air)”. The Banshees released their debut full length album The Scream later in the same year, but “Hong Kong Garden” was not included. It would eventually be released on the CD re-issue of The Scream in 2005 and on a variety of compilation albums, the first being Once Upon A Time: The Singles in 1981.

This Week's Play List:

1. Yeah Yeah Yeah's - Our Time
2. Shoneen Knife - Twist Barbie
3. Sleater-Kinney - I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
4. The's - I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield
5. Love Me Nots - Come On Over
6. Blondie - X Offender
7. The Dears - Blood
8. The Yulas - Tiny Head
9. The Babies - Meet Me In The City
10. The Swallows - Shoot Out the Sparks
11. The Dishrags - Past Is Past
12. The Runaways - Cherry Bomb
13. Destroy All Monsters - Bored
14. X-Ray Spex - I Am Cliche
15. Lost Patrol - Blow Me Away
16. The Cinch - Mystery Train
17. The Vaselines - Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam
18. Velvet Underground - I'm Sticking With You
19. Hotels - Smith Lands on the Casino Planet
20. Young Rival - All I Have To Do Is Dream
21. Sloan - Follow The Leader
22. New York Dolls - Trash
23. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Hong Kong Garden
24. The Cramps - Teenage Werewolf

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 8. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Or it can be downloaded here.

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