Gene Loves Jezebel have announced a lengthy UK tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary, kicking off in Newcastle on May 20, 2020.
Original members Jay Aston (vocals), James Stevenson (guitar) and Pete Rizzo (bass) are joined by long-serving drummer Chris Bell and will be digging deep into the band’s back catalogue, which includes songs like Heartache, Desire (Come And Get It), The Motion Of Love and Gorgeous.
Jay Aston founded GLJ in London in 1981 with his identical twin brother Michael, and quickly gained a fervent following, with Promise, the band’s trailblazing debut, appearing in 1983.
Though he shared vocals with his brother, Jay was the primary songwriter. His songs, spotlighting his uninhibited and highly distinctive singing style, made GLJ instantly memorable and identifiable.
Immigrant followed in 1985, marking Pete Rizzo’s first recordings with the band, and his inventive and complex bass lines instantly became an essential part of the GLJ sound.
The band matured even further on Discover (1986), when James Stevenson joined and demonstrated his talent for delivering guitar work that is both melodic and powerful (it was also the first GLJ album that Peter Walsh was involved in, starting a relationship which continues with their latest album).
Then, on The House of Dolls (1987), Chris Bell joined the band full-time, with his drumming providing a flawless foundation. Michael was largely absent from recording that album, resulting in the four-piece incarnation of Jay, Pete, James and Chris which is still going strong to this day.
The House of Dolls led to a big jump in their UK and US popular chart success, as well as substantial MTV exposure, a trend that continued when this same line-up released Kiss Of Life (1990) and the single Jealous reached the top spot on the US. alternative rock chart.
A rift between the Aston brothers in 1997 and ongoing legal issues means that there are currently two incarnations of the band, with Jay’s version known as Gene Love Jezebel in the UK, and Michael’s using that name in the US.
The version which has announced the 40th anniversary UK tour is Jay’s, who went in a harder rock direction after the fall-out, but don’t get the idea they’re happy to be part of the nostalgia/novelty circuit; their latest release, 2017’s Dance Underwater, was as intense and energetic as ever.
Catch Gene Loves Jezebel on these dates in May 2020: