The Wonder Stuff’s latest album ‘Oh No It’s… The Wonder Stuff’ is now available. The 21-track two-disc package includes one disc of brand new Wonder Stuff material plus a second disc, ‘From The Midlands With Love’, a collection of tracks originally made famous by Midlands-based artists including UB40, Dodgy, The Move and The Primitives.
Rated 8/10 by UNCUT magazine, 3* by Q Magazine, 4* by Record Collector and “one of the most impressive comeback records of our time” by Sabotage Times, the new album has received some excellent reviews from all corners of the music press and the new single has been picked up for airplay on BBC Radio 2, XFM and BBC 6Music.
The album is available from our online shop or, if you prefer your music in digital format, you can also find it on download it from iTunes, Amazon, 7Digital, Google Play, eMusic as well as many other other online stores.
The original line-up was Miles Hunt vocals, guitar (whose uncle Bill Hunt was keyboard player with ELO and Wizzard), Malcolm Treece guitar, vocals, Rob “The Bass Thing” Jones (died July 1993) and Martin Gilks, drums. The group originated from an earlier collaboration with group members of Pop Will Eat Itself, called ‘From Eden’, which had Miles Hunt on the drums.
The Wonder Stuff were formed on 19 March 1986. They entered the studio in September that year to record a self-financed first EP A Wonderful Day. After signing with Polydor Records for £80,000 in 1987, the group released a series of singles including “Unbearable”, “Give Give Give, Me More More More”, “A Wish Away” and “It’s Yer Money I’m After Baby” (their first Top 40 entry) which were featured on their debut album The Eight Legged Groove Machine in August 1988 (UK No. 18). The group then embarked on their first headlining nineteen date ‘Groovers On Manoeuvres’ UK tour. They released “Who Wants To Be The Disco King?” in March 1989, and appeared at Reading and Glastonbury festivals, and tours of Europe and the United States.
The Melody Maker made it one of their albums of the year and said, “A rollicking debut from the only band with enough wit, energy, charisma and acumen to cross over from loutish grebo into raffish pop.”
“Don’t Let Me Down Gently” became their first Top 20 hit in September 1989, which preceded the release of the album Hup in October (UK No. 5).Another twenty four UK tour followed. The album also saw the introduction of new band member Martin Bell, a violin and banjo instrumentalist. Bell had contributed the fiddle and banjo parts, notably on tracks “Golden Green” (the second single), “Unfaithful” and “Cartoon Boyfriend”. Several shows during the band’s 1989 tour featured local band Ned’s Atomic Dustbin as an opening act.
In December after receiving a Brit Award nomination the group opted not to play Wembley Arena, but instead, answering a fan’s letter, played at a school in South Elmsall.
Never Loved Elvis and chart success (1990-1992)
The third album was started in late 1990 and completed early the following year. The first single from the new album was “The Size of a Cow” in March 1991, their first Top 10 hit reaching No. 5, and was swiftly followed by “Caught in My Shadow” (UK No. 18) in May, before releasing the third album Never Loved Elvis in June 1991 (UK No. 3).After this release, they held their first headlining stadium show at Walsall’s Bescot Stadium which attracted 18,000 fans, before the group embarked on a world tour taking in the UK, Europe and the US. For the tour, the band was augmented by keyboardist Peter Whittaker.
Just after the third single from the album, “Sleep Alone” in September, the group scored a commercial success when they covered Tommy Roe’s “Dizzy” with Vic Reeves in 1991, reaching the top of the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in November and raising the band’s profile.The band carried on touring into 1992 releasing single “Welcome to the Cheap Seats” (UK No. 8) in February, which was also to be the title of their rockumentary released on video that spring and filmed over eighteen months on the road with the band. More dates were added in 1992, with a further tour of the States on their own and supporting Siouxsie and the Banshees, plus an appearance on David Letterman, a further UK tour and a headlining slot at the 1992 Reading Festival.
Construction for the Modern Idiot (1993-1994)
After previewing their new material at a few European summer festivals, a new single “On the Ropes” (UK No. 10) was released in September 1993 followed by Construction for the Modern Idiot appearing in October 1993 (UK No. 4). Another single “Full of Life (Happy Now)” came out just before Christmas while the band toured Europe before going to the States in February 1994. A third single “Hot Love Now” (UK No. 19) was released in time for the UK tour in March, and by the time the ‘Idiot Manoeuvers’ tour came to an end it had been the longest tour they ever undertook with seventy eight dates since the albums release.
The Wonderstuff at Guilfest
Hunt, Treece, Gilks, Bell and Whittaker, together with new bassist Stuart Quinell, reformed to undertake a one off concert at London’s Forum in December 2000. This soon became five sold out nights, preceded by two nights in Dudley (at the site of their debut gig). The group’s previous four studio albums were reissued with bonus tracks, and a compilation of b-sides, demos and live tracks, Love Bites & Bruises was released in November.
The Wonder Stuff’s first new album for over a decade, Escape from Rubbish Island, was to be released in September 2004 with “Better Get Ready For A Fist Fight” and the title track becoming singles. Andres Karu (formerly of The Miles Hunt Club) replaced Luke Johnson on drums. The band toured the UK and US in 2004 and 2005, and were joined by violinist Erica Nockalls in March 2005.
This line-up continued into 2006 for the release of their new album Suspended By Stars in March and the single “Blah Blah La Di Dah” which was only available either on the album or through most music download services including iTunes or Napster. The band toured in March 2006 to support the record and in conjunction with their 20th anniversary.
In April 2006, original Wonder Stuff drummer Martin Gilks was killed in a motorcycle accident in London.
In 2006, Miles Hunt’s acoustic shows were recorded for a live album, titled Interloper and released in October 2006. The Wonder Stuff also began mixing an as-yet untitled live record documenting the March 2006 tour and played several UK outdoor shows. The band finished the year by touring the UK again, performing on 8 December at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
The band went on a temporary hiatus for 2007 due to the imminent fatherhood of Treece. However, Hunt (with violinist Erica Nockalls and drummer Andres Karu) recorded a solo album Not An Exit, and Hunt / Nockalls toured the record in the UK, Australia and North America.
In June 2007, Universal released a new double album of The Wonder Stuff’s BBC recordings, compiled from session appearances and concert recordings recorded and broadcast by the BBC between 1987 and 1994. The group released their own live album (The Wonder Stuff Live) in October 2007 taken from tracks recorded at venues and festivals around the UK in 2006. This album was the first official release of tracks performed under the new line-up and featured tracks taken from all of the group’s previous albums.
The Wonder Stuff headlined on the Avalon Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in 2009.
In 2010 the group performed at Guilfest and also Ireland’s Feile Festival as well as working on some new material for likely release in 2011.
The band’s drummer since the reformation, Andres Karu, left the band in November 2010 to pursue his interest in film. A replacement was found in the form of Fuzz Townshend, an old friend who used to be the drummer in another notable Black Country band, Pop Will Eat Itself.In December 2011, an announcement on the group’s website stated that guitarist Malc Treece would no longer be playing with The Wonder Stuff.In December 2012 the band released their seventh studio album ‘Oh No It’s… The Wonder Stuff’ embarking on a short tour called Sleigh the UK 2012 to promote it. The tour included support from Pop Will Eat Itself (PWEI), and Jesus Jones, both long term friends of the band.