Originally conceived as a multi media performance event (cf A “Happening” from the 60’s), The YoYo Collective Circus was born in Hereford, (a city that also spawned 3/4 of the Pretenders and Mott The Hoople) in the sleepy rural welsh borderland in 1980, comprising of a loose band of musicians, poets, performance artists and sculptors.
The early “events” were constructed around a mixture of improvised jazz, beat poetry and dub reggae, staged in suitably “dressed” locations and peopled by a plethora of performing-art humans, something which was later clearly influential in bands such as the Blue Aeroplanes (see Bristol Sound). With such a varied and changeable line up the band metamorphosed almost monthly and each event became a unique marker in the lives of the fanatical local following.
Moving to Bristol in 1982, the musical side of the circus solidified into a tight and well rehearsed band delivering music somewhere imagined between Captain Beefheart, Prince Far I and Talking Heads with the heavy rhythm section of Led Zepplin. Consisting of two bass players, two revox tape machines, guitar, drums, percussion and vocals, they continued to build a solid following in the Bristol art-rock music set, later adding Ruth George-Jones from Scream & Dance (cf single Giacometti, which John Peel made an Independent No 1). They released the EP “The Big Room” and LP “Coloured Box”, played at various art galleries, Trinity Hall in Bristol and Ashton Court Community Festival.
By the late 80’s, the band had paired down considerably, becoming “5th Column” in London once more and supporting the likes of Gil Scott Heron and Seal at Dingwalls. The recently remixed and remastered CD “Sound Advice” brings this period of the band vividly into focus.
In 1987, the band recorded a single “We Are The Law” (Judge Dredd) and in conjunction with Fleetway Publications were due to have this included with a special issue of the Sci-Fi pulp magazine 2000AD to celebrate the film Judge Dredd, starring Sylvester Stallone in the lead role. However, shortly before the film was finalised, a new company bought out Fleetway and the plans for the single release were shelved, indeed barred by the new company from being released. This single, with it’s infectious B-side gogo stomper “Poem of Doubt” is now included as a bonus addition to “The Big Room” EP released on CD this year by Foxy (see catalogue). ” Love ? – There outa be a Law against it” – said the Judge !
In the 90’s, all live work had ceased as the soul of the thing that was YoYo became a studio project, releasing an Instrumental album, “Under the Influence” and finally the “Human Revelations” manifesto CD.
Rebirthed in the Millenium as YoYo.UK, the band have embraced digital music technology, DJ mixing and live performance to form a most curious blend of Future Jazz-Vox, featuring the Zoom Quartet, DJ B-Funk and the Divine Sufi Diva Basira