Lords of the New Church represented a fusion of punk and gothic rock, carving a niche for themselves in the post-punk landscape of the early 1980s. Featuring members from established punk bands, they combined their past experiences to create a sound that was both darkly melodic and raw.
Formation and Background
Lords of the New Church was formed in 1981, primarily comprising members from earlier punk rock bands. The lineup was:
- Stiv Bators from the Dead Boys on vocals
- Brian James from The Damned on guitar
- Dave Tregunna from Sham 69 on bass
- Nicky Turner from The Barracudas on drums
This fusion of talent from distinct bands helped shape the unique sound of the Lords.
Musical Career and Key Releases
- “Lords of the New Church” (1982): Their self-titled debut album was well-received, containing hits like “Open Your Eyes” and “Russian Roulette.” It showcased the band’s gothic post-punk style, combining the dark lyricism of gothic rock with the edginess of punk.
- “Is Nothing Sacred?” (1983): The band’s sophomore effort featured tracks like “Dance with Me” and “M-Style,” which further emphasized their unique blend of gothic and punk elements.
- “The Method to Our Madness” (1984): This album solidified the band’s place in post-punk history, with tracks like “Method to My Madness” representing their evolving sound.
Dissolution and Reformation
Tensions within the band, coupled with the demands of the music industry, led to their breakup in 1985. A notorious incident where Bators feigned hanging himself on stage during a performance is often cited as the symbolic end of the original Lords of the New Church.
Despite this, their influence persisted, and there were multiple attempts at reformation. Bators, unfortunately, passed away in 1990 following a car accident, which further complicated efforts at a genuine reunion.
Over the years, various versions of the band, sometimes with original members and sometimes without, have played shows and released new music, keeping the spirit of the Lords of the New Church alive.
Lords of the New Church is remembered not just for their distinctive sound, but also for their contribution to the post-punk and gothic rock genres. Their melding of punk’s raw aggression with gothic’s dark romanticism paved the way for future bands, ensuring their place in rock history.