Friday, July 31, 2009

Rubella Ballet

Formed in London in 1979, Rubella Ballet's original name was "Rubella Babies" but they decided to change it to "something meaningless" instead. At this time Sid and Zillah were 14/15 year olds, with a somewhat revolving line up. According to their website, the band started when "One night at a gig we the audience were told we could use the equipment so Sid played drums and Zillah sang for the first time using any one who wanted to play the guitars, we just made it up as we went along."

At the time Gemma and Dan (children of Vi Sub Versa, Poision Girls lead singer/guitarist) were already in the band Fatal Microbes, who released the well received Violence Grows in 1978. But their lead singer Honey Bane left the band to record with Crass, and then signed as a solo artist with EMI.

So Zillah, Sid, Gemma and Dan (a.k.a. "Pete Fender) began practicing using the Poison Girl's equipment. At the time Gem was 12 and Pete Fender 14. They played their first gig in 1979 with Poison Girls, Crass and Charge. Next thing they knew, they were playing shows almost every night.

In 1981 they released a cassette package called Ballet Bag on the Poison Girls label and sold 3,500 copies, and then did some Peel sessions. Then in 1982 they released the Ballet Dance EP on vinyl. They toured the UK with Death Cult (The Cult.) During this period, Pete Fender left the band a couple of times and was replaced by a few different guitarists.

In 1984 they released the 12" record 42f. They garnered some good press throughout these years, and were offered major record deals, but declined them. In the mid 80's they started their own label, Ubiquitous, and they began releasing their own stuff, including 6 albums and some music videos.

In 1987 they played with the Dead Kennedys, Faith No More and The Mission in the US. But in the 90's they sort of faded down. At this time Zillah and Sid experimented with some techno music under the name Xenophobia and played at raves.

In 1999 they bagan to have gigs offered to them again, especially in the UK, but they continued to have trouble securing a guitarist who could tour. In 2000 they played some big punk festivals. According to their website, in 2006 Sid and Zillah were still looking for some permanent members to tour with them. They also made a film called "She's a Punk Rocker" about women in the early punk scene (more about this to follow)

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