The Day-Glo Kids of Punk
It was in the hot summer of 1976 that Poly Styrene placed an advert in the British music papers NME and MELODY MAKER which started with the grabbing header of ‘YOUNG PUNX WHO WANT TO STICK IT TOGETHER’.
The ad worked like a magic magnet. Jak Airport, Lora Logic and Paul Dean were first through the doors to audition. Poly thought they were talented plus cute, perfect for the X-RAY SPEX dream.
X-RAY SPEX gave their debut performance at London's Roxy in Covent Garden after just six rehearsals in their manager's front room. Energy galore, but a little shambolic - as can be heard on the LIVE AT THE ROXY album.
POLY STYRENE The voice. The dreamer
The pen pusher. Leader of the pack
See Poly Styrene page.
Born Susan Whitby, the daughter of a German Jewish father and a Finnish mother, the family had Anglicized their foreign-sounding surname, so they would not suffer racism in the UK. Lora grew up in the middle-class suburbs of Pinner in Middlesex. She was barely fifteen and at a public girls school when she auditioned for X-RAY SPEX. The saxophone was her extra curriculum hobby. Lora played on one early X-RAY SPEX record only, the infamous OH BONDAGE UP YOURS! and I AM A CLICHE.
Born Jack Stafford. Grew up in the Kentish suburb of South East London known as Catford. Raised single-handedly by his Anglo-German mother.
Jak was very good friends with the glam rock band Japan, but Jak sacrificed his glam looks and locks to join X-RAY SPEX. Jak called his flying V guitar ‘Candy Darling’ after a character in an Andy Warhol movie. Jak gave a very unique sound to X-RAY SPEX with great riffs that Poly loved. The beginning riff of THE DAY THE WORLD TURNED DAY-GLO is a Jak Airport classic.
Grew up in St Albans in Hertfordshire, the son of a Polish Refugee who had escaped the Nazis during World War II. "Paul was not a flashy bass player," says Poly, "but had good pop sensibilities and was always happy to experiment with sound and played some good dub reggae-influenced bass lines on WARRIOR IN WOOLWORTHS and GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS."
Born Steve Thompson in Australia in the early nineteen sixties. The son of an Aussie Doctor, who came to London to make his fortune as a male fashion model. Poly's pet name for Steve was Rudi, after the famous reggae song A MESSAGE TO YOU, RUDI. Rudi was often in the audience at SPEX gigs and had heard through the grapevine that the band was looking for a new saxophone player. Somehow he managed to get backstage and say "Hi!" to Poly and tell her that he played the Sax and that he had grown tired of modeling, as people assumed he was just a pretty face. Poly invited him to a rehearsal and he joined the gang fast. He worked very hard, but still managed to make the sax sound like fun and bubble gum.
SPEX had two Paul's in the band and as BP towered above everybody else, he became affectionately known, as BP: Big Paul. Poly led the press to believe the abbreviation stood for British Petroleum, being sensitive, as she too was a bit on the plump side. BP grew up in North London and was the youngest member of the band. BP Hurding was an excellent drummer, had a great personality and his own following, he was an amazing young talent. BP and Poly really bonded as they were both covered in puppy fat and both had grown up in inner-city London. BP always chauffeured Poly around town, in his beat-up old white van.