WENDY JAMES, born in London, is an English singer-songwriter notable for her work with band Transvision Vamp, collaboration with Elvis Costello, solo work and further collaboration with James Williamson from Iggy & the Stooges, Lenny Kaye from The Patti Smith Group and James Sclavunos from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and on The Price Of The Ticket and now her new LP QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT.
‘LITTLE MAGNETS VERSUS THE BUBBLE OF BABBLE’
Transvision Vamp was formed by Wendy James and co-writer and guitarist Nick Christian Sayer. In West London they teamed up with Dave Parsons and Tex Axile. The band was signed to MCA records by Dave Ambrose, the notorious A&R man from EMI records who had also signed the Sex Pistols. They recorded their first LP album ‘Pop Art’ and released a first single ‘Revolution Baby’ and then charted with their second single, a cover version of Holly & The Italians ‘Tell That Girl To Shut Up’, followed by a third single ‘I Want Your Love’ which went to No.5 on the UK singles chart. The album ‘Pop Art’ was released later in 1987 and went to No.3 in the UK album chart. Extensive touring of the UK and Europe continued throughout this year as their success grew, starting on the University circuit and ending with playing two sold out gigs at the London Town And Country Club, taking in the Marquee Club along the way with queues two-fold around the block of Wardour Street, London. The album art was done by Jamie Reid, famous for his Sex Pistols artwork. When the album launched in America, living members of Andy Warhol’s Factory, Sylvia Miles, Danny Fields, Paul Morrissey, threw Wendy her ‘Welcome to New York’ party in celebration of being the new toast of the town in NYC and the album being called ‘Pop Art’.
The second album ‘Velveteen’ was recorded in London at Metropolis Recording Studio, Sarm West Recording Studio, Townhouse Recording Studio and Olympic Studios in Barnes, made famous by The Rolling Stones. The album entered the UK albums chart at No.1 position and the main single ‘Baby I Don’t Care’ went to No.3 in the UK singles chart and a hit around the world. The ‘Velveteen’ LP became a hit all over the world, especially Australia and Spain and the band toured it non-stop for 2 years. After a break from touring, instead time spent on new songwriting, the band went into the studio again and recorded their third and what would be the final album ‘Little Magnets Versus The Bubble Of Babble’. It is this album that Wendy has cited as her favorite, in particular, the song ‘If Looks Could Kill’. The album started to take off in USA and the band went there and toured the US twice that year. In the meantime the UK record label, Dave Ambrose having departed his role as Managing Director, started to question the LP and internal politics of the record label in upheaval decided to pull the album from it’s UK release date. Despite this the band did a run of sold out dates around the UK including successive shows at The Brixton Academy and The Hammersmith Odeon in London. In the end the album was released everywhere around the world but only available in the UK on import. The album proved the band’s most successful in USA but by that time exhaustion and record label politics had convinced Wendy and Nick to draw the curtain down on the band, which they did, in San Francisco in 1992. During the span of Transvision Vamp, Wendy was made a cover-star of many magazines all over the world and photographed by everyone from David Bailey for Tatler Magazine and Jurgen Teller for The Face Magazine and I-D Magazine. She became a household name the world over, made numerous television appearances and riots in Australia happened when Transvision Vamp toured there, with streets blocked off and police on horses having to hold back the crowds.
I Want Your Love
Tell That Girl To Shut Up
Hanging Out With Halo Jones
Andy Warhol’s Dead
Baby, I Don’t Care
The Only One
Landslide For A Goldmine
Down On You
Song To The Stars
Kiss Their Sons
Born To Be Sold
Pay The Ghosts
‘LITTLE MAGNETS VERSUS THE BUBBLE OF BABBLE’
(I Just Wanna) B with U
Ain’t No Rules
If Looks Could Kill
Every Little Thing
Twangy Wig Out
Don’t Believe The Type
Crawl Out Your Window
You Put A Spell On Me
Back On My Knees Again
ELVIS COSTELLO COLLABORATION
‘NOW AIN’T THE TIME FOR YOUR TEARS’
While Wendy had been touring the US with Transvision Vamp she bumped into Pete Thomas the drummer from Elvis Costello & The Attractions. Both bands had played together earlier that year at a festival in Ireland called ‘Feile’. Wendy asked Pete if there was any chance of Elvis working with her as she felt the demise of TVV was imminent. He suggested to her she should write a letter to Costello, which she did and so resulted a fully written LP album ‘Now Ain’t The Time For Your Tears’ (originally called ‘The Gwendolyn Letters’) by Elvis Costello and his then partner Cait O’ Riordan, bass player from The Pogues. Upon receiving the demo version of the album from Elvis Costello, Wendy flew to Los Angeles and asked the USA MCA/Universal managing director Al Teller to release her from her contract. He instead offered that she move over onto Geffen Records, which Universal had recently acquired. She agreed and set about recording the album for Geffen. Chris Kimsey, famed Rolling Stones producer was engaged to produce the album and they recorded in Toulouse, France and subsequently mixed at Sunset Sound Recording Studios in LA. The album was released to much fanfare but failed to make a big hit on the UK or US charts, though it became a collectors item for Costello fans who knew that this was the first time in years Elvis had regrouped his band The Attractions to record the demos and he gradually released his version of all the songs too.
‘NOW AINT THE TIME FOR YOUR TEARS’
This Is A Test
Do You Know What I’m Saying?
We Despise You
Fill In The Blanks
The Nameless One
I Want To Stand Forever
WENDY JAMES TIME OUT IN WEST LONDON
After the whirlwind of not only Transvision Vamp but also the Elvis Costello collaboration, Wendy withdrew from the limelight to her home in Ladbroke Grove, West London and instead set about writing her own songs and beginning the next chapter of her musical life, which would see her not only releasing four independent solo albums but also leaving the Portobello Road, West London and moving to New York City. She also took this time out to focus on her private life with boyfriend Mick Jones from The Clash.
WENDY JAMES SOLO LP ALBUMS:
‘I CAME HERE TO BLOW MINDS’
‘THE PRICE OF THE TICKET’Cobraside Distribution
‘Racine No.1’ was written and demo’d while Wendy still lived in London but the studio recording was done in New Jersey, USA at Sonic Youth’s recording studio. A Lo-Fi venture with Wendy playing every instrument and working only with an engineer. She then formed a band around her comprised of friends from London, New York and a guitarist from Sweden. They toured Europe and during this time Wendy quickly wrote a new amount of songs which would become ‘Racine 2’.
Princess Patience Blues
Hip Hop 156
Blonde Mink Mimi
Heavy Metal Dude
That’s The Breaks, Junior
Life Goes On
‘Racine 2’ was a far more produced and fleshed out sound, working with the musicians who had toured with her for Racine No.1. They went to a large recording studio in New Jersey and over a six week period recorded the 13 track LP. Released once more independently with her US distribution company Cobraside Distribution, the album received many glowing reviews in the UK and US press but few sales relatively and no real prominence at radio mainly due to lack of funds to hire marketing and promo teams to bolster her distribution deal. The band toured again extensively around Europe and a couple of local NYC dates too.
I’m Freaking Out
Bobby’s Going Electric
You’re A Good Man Sister
There Ain’t No Way – I Can’t Do No Twenny In This
Oui Ou Non – A Straight Boogaloo
Stoned, Ripped And Twisted
Those Leg Motherfuckers
‘I Came Here To Blow Minds’, the third solo album from Wendy James was written by Wendy once more but this time recorded in Paris, France with French musicians. The album was recorded in the basement recording studio of the famous ‘APC’ clothing label design studios on the Left Bank of Paris in St. Germain des Pres. When all the tracks were recorded, because of DJ work Wendy had been asked to do in Sydney, Australia, Wendy mixed the album in Sydney at BJB Recording Studios with celebrated Australian producer Scott Horscroft. The album was released once more with no budget to promote but this time on Vinyl, CD and Download, again through her distribution company in LA, Cobraside Distribution. Good reviews again, some stand out tracks, but no chart position to speak of.
‘I CAME HERE TO BLOW MINDS’
The Moon Dead In The River
Where Have You Been, So Long?
Don’t Shoot I Ain’t Dillinger
New Wave Flowered Up Main Street Acid Baby
You Tell Me
One Evening In A Small Cafe…
These Beggar Memories
You’re A Fucking Mess, But You Sure Is Pretty
I Came Here To Blow Minds
WENDY JAMES COLLABORATION WITH JAMES WILLIAMSON AND STEVE MACKAY FROM IGGY & THE STOOGES AND JAMES SCLAVUNOS FROM NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS.
Wendy James, James Williamson and James Sclavunos all decided to record a couple of numbers together, choosing two cover versions, one by Bob Dylan: the epic ‘It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding’ and one by Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith (MC5/Sonic’s Rendezvous Band) ‘You’re So Great’. They booked a studio in Berkeley, Northern California called Fantasy Recording Studios and over 10 days recorded and mixed the two songs with engineer Jesse Nichols. The single was released in US as a download at iTunes and made a lot of the USA ‘Best Single of The Year’ lists.
You’re So Great
It’s Alright Ma
‘THE PRICE OF THE TICKET’
w/ Lenny Kaye (The Patti Smith Group), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), James Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) James Williamson and Steve Mackay (Iggy & The Stooges)
All songs written by Wendy James except the two cover versions with James Williamson, covers of Bob Dylan and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, the album was recorded in NYC with Ivan Julian (Richard Hell & The Voidoids) as the engineer. Live sessions with Lenny Kaye, Glen Matlock and James Sclavunos made up the main-stay of the album sessions and then Wendy took the LP back to Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California to once again work and mix with engineer Jesse Nichols. The art work was photographed and designed by her fashion designer friend Kym Ellery. The album is released on Vinyl, CD and Download and a glorious signed and numbered Picture Disc and a pre-sale campaign was launched with legendary A&R man Malcom Dunbar’s new business model for selling records pledgemusic.com. The pre-sale campaign was a huge success and resulted in the LP entering the UK charts at No.15. Two 7” single vinyls came off the album :Indigent Blues’/‘Bad Intentions And A Bit Of Cruelty’ and ‘Farewell to Love/‘You’re A Dirtbomb, Lester.
‘THE PRICE OF THE TICKET’
Love From The 9th
Bad Intentions And A Bit Of Cruelty
You’re A Dirtbomb, Lester
Screamin’ Back Washington
Why Oh Why Do You Hurt Me Still?
Farewell To Love
Situation Normal At Surfrider
You’re So Great
It’s Alright Ma
‘QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT’
20 TRACK DELUXE GATEFOLD DOUBLE VINYL, GATEFOLD DELUXE CD, REGULAR CD & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD/STREAMING
5 cuts per side of vinyl, printed inner sleeves, liner notes. Also available as a Gatefold CD, a Regular CD and all download/streaming. Wendy once again working with drummer and percussionist James Sclavunos and this time joined on Lead Guitar by James Sedwards, Bass by Harry Bohay, Horn Section: Alex J. Ward & Terry Edwards and Accordionist Louis Vause. The range of songs is yet more skilled and profound: from her natural penchant for Alt Rock New Wave Pop Songs through to the most delicately composed heart wrenching ballads and whimsy to truly aggressive punk speed rock and the big pop sound of great girl groups The Ronettes, Shangri-Las and Martha & The Vandellas. Production values hailing from The Wrecking Crew, Bacharach & David and that Motor City Detroit Sound! Always with a firm eye (and heart) on The Stooges and The Velvet Underground.
Queen High Straight has taken three years from inception, the writing stage, through until final Masters.
The Album is 120 minutes in length
TRACK TITLES AND RUNNING ORDER
- Queen High Straight (4.31)
- Perilous Beauty (4.08)
- Free Man Walk (3.39)
- Stomp Down, Snuck Up (4.14)
- Little Melvin (4.52)
- Marlene et Fleur (4.00)
- A Heart Breaking Liar’s Promise (5.11)
- Here Comes The Beautiful One (3.45)
- Chicken Street (4.13)
- Testimonial (4.18)
- Bar Room Brawl & Benzedrine Blues (4.07)
- Ratfucking (2.35)
- She Likes To Be (Underneath Somebody) (3.21)
- Bliss Hotel (4.00)
- Freak In (3.05)
- The Impression Of Normalcy (3.36)
- I’ll Be Here When The Morning Comes (4.15)
- Cancel It… I’ll See Him On Monday (3.37)
- Sugar Boy (4.00)
- Kill Some Time Blues (4.18)
vocals, rhythm guitar, keys, melodica
rhythm guitar, lead guitar
ALEX J. WARD
trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, tenor & baritone sax
IAN DOWLING, JOE SAGE, AL LAWSON
recorded, mixed and mastered on location in uk and ny
DAVID LEIGH DODD
All songs written, produced and mixed by Wendy James
Ⓟ and © Wendy James 2018. All rights reserved. Unauthorized Duplication is a violation of all applicable laws.
QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT available to preorder at https://thewendyjames.com/store and this store is the main driver for all of Wendy’s recordings and associated art, t-shirts, all things Wendy.
Wendy also recently toured the UK with her permanent band THE WENDY JAMES BAND opening for The Psychedelic Furs which was a huge success. A May 2020 tour has been announced to promote the official release date for QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT on May 1st, 2020
Wendy currently divides her time between New York City, Paris, South France and London.
WENDY JAMES OFFICIAL MEDIA LINKS