Specimen are a British band formed in the 1980s. Their music has been described as spanning many different genres of music, including glam, goth, punk and post-punk, and the band is widely credited as one of the pioneers of the goth subculture, both musically and stylistically.
The band formed in Bristol, England by vocalist Olli Wisdom with guitarists John Klein (from Europeans) and Kevin Mills during 1980. Their first show was at a street party celebrating the wedding of The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. In 1982, the band relocated to Soho, London, where Wisdom founded the infamous Batcave nightclub.Ian Astbury described Specimen's unique hybrid of punk and glam as being "like a Death Bowie."
When approached by Wisdom and asked to join Specimen, original keyboardist Jonny Slut initially declined because he could not play any instruments. Wisdom insisted and Slut eventually learned to play the keyboard by utilizing guiding stickers. Unusual for a keyboardist, Jonny Slut became the face of the band and its most famous member, due largely to his striking image and fashion sense. Among goths, he is often unofficially credited with inventing the deathhawk hairstyle.
While the band were together, they never released a full album, only singles and a mini album. However, in 1997 two full-length compilations were released featuring various Specimen songs. In 1985, the original Specimen lineup broke up after the release of the "Sharp Teeth Pretty Teeth" single. Olli Wisdom moved to San Francisco, California and formed a short lived American version of Specimen with keyboardist Gere Fennelly, formerly of Anvil Chorus, which recorded a 1986 album which remains unreleased.
After the band went its separate ways, guitarist Jon Klein worked with Siouxsie and the Banshees for seven years, before working with Sinéad O'Connor. He was also in the British 1998 movie comedy Married 2 Malcolm in a non-speaking role.
Jonny Slut formed Diskord Datkord with Mark Tinley and Adam Tinley before going on to work with The KLF, Adamski and is now a member of Atomizer. He also founded the Nag Nag Nag club in London, where he was one of the house DJs.
Tim Huthert went on to join Until December, and more recently played with the re-formed Jetboy as well as recording the Electric Ballroom album with Jon Klein. He currently resides in NYC.
Olli Wisdom went on to become Space Tribe, one of the world's leading psychedelic trance DJ's.
In July 2008, the original 1983 line up got together to perform at the Batcave's 25th anniversary event in London, resulting in the release of the live album Specimen Alive at the Batcave on Metropolis. The reunion grew directly out of friendships rekindled during the making of 2007's Electric Ballroom album, which featured T.bias, Kimba, Stephan Byron-Salit, and Tim Huthert, as well as Jon Klein collaborations with Olli Wisdom and Jonny Slut.
In February 2009, Jonny Slut and Jon Klein appeared at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York) for the symposium 'Subculture and Style' centered around the exhibition for the book Gothic Dark Glamour by Valery Steele and Jennifer Parks. The exhibition featured one of Jon Klein's 25-year-old stage outfits, alongside the likes of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Rick Owens.
In May 2011, the band confirmed via Facebook that Jonny Slut had officially retired from Specimen. In December of the same year they announced the addition of Johann Bley (ex Juno Reactor) was to replace Slut on keyboard.
In December 2011, the band announced that they were working with producer and former Killing Joke bassist Youth on a new album. The following month, they revealed the name of the album - "Wake the Dead" - and launched a pledgemusic.com campaign to help fund the album.
Olli Wisdom - Vocals,
Jon Klein - Guitar, vocals,
Johann Bley - Keyboard,
Kev Mills - Bass, backing vocals,
Chris Bell - Drums,
Jonny Slut - Keyboard, backing vocals,
T.bias - Vocals,
Kimba - Bass,
Stephan Byron-Salit - Guitar, backing vocals,
Tim Huthert - Drums,
Jonathan Trevisick - Drums,
Peter Cook - Keyboards,
Danny Pepworth - Drums,
George Lynch - Bass, backing vocals,
Smeg - Guitar,
Gere Fennelly - Keyboards,
Naunton - Drums,
Simeon - Keyboards,
Jonny Slag - Bass,
Jeff St. Pierre - Drums
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license