The Legendary Pink Dots
A 20 Year History (2000)

by Edward Ka-Spel

This biography represents a work in progress!

As this document is being typed, members of The Legendary Pink Dots are active in the studio composing and laying down the building blocks for an album which will be released at the beginning of the year 2000. Perhaps it is the 26th or 27th full-length album in the bandīs history, but nobody here has the will to start counting. History just isnīt so relevant in the case of the Pink Dots... In order to retain a fresh approach, the band simply has to look forward, take risks and explore avenues which have not been examined before. Quite simply, repetition equals stagnation and there is far too much passion around at Chez Dots to allow this to happen.

Even so, the year 2000 is historically significant for the Pink Dots. In August, it will be 20 years since the band was founded, adopted a name, literally learned to play. Consequently in this first year of the new century, the band is undergoing a regime of furious activity, planning to spread their music as far and as wide as possible.

A 20th anniversary tour is already in the planning stages. First destination will be PRAGUE on the 24th of January, and by the end of the year it is hoped that the band will have appeared all over the world. Certainly, an intensive tour of North America is is set to go on in the Summer.


It was 20 years ago today.....

August 1980.
First note struck in anger on a Korg MS10 synthesiser. Line-up was Ka-Spel, Silverman and April Iliffe... Michael .019 also in attendance teaching musical theory, he joined the band on the second day....

October 1980
First cassette album released,"Only Dreaming" with hand-made "pop-up messiah cover". Maybe 9 copies given away then unintentionally deleted.....

First record company interest from Car Crash International and then InPhaze who later issued first 4 vinyl albums.... Various cassette albums appearing on labels throughout the world...

Several line-up changes and first album "Brighter Now" released...

Sees release of "Curse" and first official live show in Cologne,germany...

LPDs record their requiem for "New Britain" -THE TOWER. Also provide Play it Again Sam Records with their first release ("Faces in the Fire"). Edward Ka-Spel packs his bags for Holland a day after Christmas....

LPDs leave In-Phaze Records and sign for rapidly expanding PIAS, but not after bringing out the troubled "Lovers" album, which was hastily released by Dutch label Ding Dong without the bandīs permission, then brought out again by Boudisque Records after various dubious events....

The band make their first serious tour of Europe and Edward Ka-spel makes four solo appearances in Vancouver, Canada... Ka-Spel meets Cevin Key of Skinny Puppy and first Tear Garden EP is recorded...

LPDs begin year with over 40 shows in Europe, then Ka-Spel opens for Skinny Puppy at 35 shows in North America....

Four members of LPDs quit after a particularly gruelling European haul. Niels Van Hoornblower joins band one day before a show in Belgium....

Bob Pistoor joins LPDs on guitar and the Dots record the acclaimed "Crushed Velvet Apocalypse". LPDs tour USA for the first time-but without Bob who was denied a work permit...

LPDs record their best selling album,"The Maria Dimension".....

A tragic year as Bob dies after being diagnosed with cancer. Martyn de Kleer joins on guitar, and LPDs return to USA.... Ryan Moore joins at the end of the year after being invited to Europe by Martyn for a "jam".....

LPDs spend 7 months recording Shadow weaver and Malachai albums. They visit Israel for the first time....

LPDs return to bigger crowds in USA, but are finding it hard to relate to their label which is still Play it Again Sam...

LPDs release their last full-length album with PIAS (9 Lives to Wonder) after a protracted dispute. They also record and manufacture a CD on their own Terminal Kaleidoscope label (4 Days)...

LPDs hook up with Soleilmoon Records in USA and Staalplaat in Europe. They tour Europe, USA and go to Mexico. "From Here Youīll watch the World go by"is released.

LPDs begin releasing their extensive cassette-only back catalogue on CD...

Large tour of North america and release of "Hallway of the Gods" CD....

LPDs return to USA and release "Nemesis Online" CD..

Take your $100, do not pass GO.

Legendary Pink Dots achieved an ambition in 1998,when they headlined a show in San Franciscoīs estimable Fillmore auditorium.Typically they forgot to tape the show,so unlike The Mothers,Miles Davis etc...there will be no "Live at the Fillmore" album from the Dots.

Sometime in the 80s , a certain Craig Leon expressed interest in producing The Legendary Pink Dots.The request was denied on the grounds of an album he made with 60s legend Arthur Brown which a couple of the Dots didnīt like. Nobody knew he had produced a string of international number one hits with Blondie.

Around the start of the 90s,Ted Templeman of Warner Bros, America requested a meeting with the Pink Dots with a view to signing the band.The letter was lost among a pile of fan-mail, and when ultimately discovered (months after it had been written), was mounted on the wall at Chez Dots.

Largest audience for a Legendary Pink Dots` show was in Mexico City in 1995. An estimated 2,500 people showed up for the event, but only a quarter of them were thought to have bought tickets as the arena had very little security.

Smallest attendance for a Legendary Pink Dots show was in Vasteras,Sweden in the mid 80s.A princely 9 people showed on a snowy Wednesday night...8 of them were on the guest list The one who paid recently presented himself at a much better attended show in Stockholm last year.He demanded to know when the Dots were going to come back to Vasteras as 12 years was a little long to wait.

BIO '99

If myths have substance then it would be possible to believe that LPDs change their line-up every week. Not true at all.. The line-up changed once in the last 9 years. Right now it looks like this.......

It wasn't always so stable. In the early 80s people came and went so fast that for about a month or so there were actually 2 versions of the Legendary Pink Dots with the same lead vocalist.

A troubled merger occurred in 1981 and the peculiarly unified results can be heard on LPDs first official album "Brighter Now" released at the end of '82.

LPDs first appeared live in October 1980 at a local folk club in East London. Unfortunately half of the audience retreated to the back wall, interpreting the band's nervous state as a bad attitude. This attitude problem seemed attractive to the rest of the 100 strong crowd, but alas the band was never invited back. The Dots were paid 5 English pounds for this spectacle.

For some years during the 80s The Dots enjoyed a strong 6 person line-up (all English) and recorded albums such as "Island of Jewels", "Any Day Now", and "The Golden Age". They also toured Europe seriously and signed with the then small independent label, Play it Again Sam Records.

Perhaps a litle prematurely 4 people left the band in 1988, and Niels Van Hoornblower stepped in as horn player while Bob Pistoor took over the guitarist's role.

With this line-up "The Crushed Velvet Apocalypse" and "The Maria Dimension" were recorded, and the success of these albums led to Warner Bros.USA approaching the band with a view to making a deal. A little naively, the Dots never followed up this approach and remained under the wing of PIAS.

Tragedy struck in 1992 when Bob Pistoor died from cancer. Martyn de Kleer took over on guitar while Ryan Moore stepped into the band on bass after meeting them in his native Vancouver during LPDs second USA tour.

A protracted battle with Play it Again Sam dominated the next years and the band quit the label in 1994, deciding to take over their own affairs.

A fruitful partnership began with USA label, Soleilmoon in 1995 and the band's popularity steadily began to grow again on the other side of the Atlantic. The year ended in spectacular fashion when the Dots played to the biggest ever audience in Mexico city (around 2,500 people).

It meant that The Dots' focus switched from Europe to America and the band returned there for a 30 show tour in 1997, and followed up with 36 dates one year later.

Sing While you May. The band's catchword since the is an OPTIMISTIC statement in these disturbing times.