The band has never had, nor have they seemed to pursue, strong mainstream success, but they do have a devoted underground following in North America and Europe. They tour fairly often on both continents and maintain a dedicated fan base.
The band was formed in 1979 by brothers Rob Wright (bass guitar, occasional guitar and vocals) and John Wright (drums, keyboards and vocals). Their name derives from an anti-date rape slogan. For their first four years the duo’s music would seem to be influenced as much by jazz and progressive rock as punk rock. The musical press described their earliest recordings as “Devo on a jazz trip, Motörhead after art school, or Wire on psychotic steroids.” NoMeansNo have been credited with being an influence on, and perhaps even the genesis of, math rock.
The brothers Wright began recording as a two-piece in their parents’ basement in 1979. These recordings, heard on their first two self-released 7”s, consisted of full rock band arrangements and had a new wave, warped-pop sound, different from subsequent recordings. When, in the early 1980s, the duo began gigging simply with bass, drums and vocals, the present form of their distinct sound slowly took shape. The songs they played in this period are documented on the Mama LP (re-released in 2004 on their own Wrong Records.)
In 1983, they added Andy Kerr (who played with John Wright in Infamous Scientists) on guitar and vocals. Kerr preferred pseudonymity and used such pseudonyms as “Buttercup” or “None-Of-Your-Fucking-Business”. He brought a distinct hardcore punk edge to the group, and stayed until 1992. He is often erroneously credited for penning the lyrics of Nomeansno songs on which he sang, perhaps due to deliberately vague liner notes and frequent vocal moonlighting (Kerr sings lead or co-lead vocals on nearly half the songs on Wrong for example). Kerr’s vocals were a necessity for a period of time in the 1980s when Rob Wright was recovering from nodules on his vocal cords. While Rob Wright is the band’s lyricist and main songwriter, all members have contributed songs to NoMeansNo records, and nearly all their material is credited to the entire band.
Wrong is widely considered the band’s best and most representative record (“The playing is incredibly skilled, with the Wright brothers effortlessly shifting tempos and time signatures and Kerr’s razor sharp lyrics clicking right into place.”).
After Kerr’s departure, the Wright brothers recorded Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy? as a duo. They subsequently recruited guitarist Tom Holliston from Showbusiness Giants and The Hanson Brothers, and have continued touring and releasing records, including Worldhood of the World (as such), Dance of the Headless Bourgeoisie, One, and most recently, All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt which was released on August 22, 2006. The album was released by AntAcidAudio in the United States and Southern Records in Europe.
The album One, released in 2000, featured “two stunning covers that only make sense coming from NoMeansNo”: a slow stoner rock-styled version of The Ramones’ Beat on the Brat, and rather authentic fifteen-minute version of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, (complete with electric piano and congas) featuring lyrics by Rob.
NoMeansNo initially released records with seminal punk rock record label Alternative Tentacles. This relationship ended in 2002. The band has since been reissuing old albums through Southern Records under their own Wrong Records imprint.
Even their earliest recordings demonstrate impressive instrumental technique (“some of the most complex instrumentation you’re ever likely to find in punk rock”). Jazz has been an influence on the group; Rob’s basslines have a loping, melodic quality often reminiscent of Charles Mingus, and John’s drumming sometimes sounds a bit like Elvin Jones or Art Blakey. John’s drumming style has been mentioned as an influence to others, including Dave Grohl and Tim Solyan from Victims Family.
NoMeansNo’s output features a seemingly endless flow of “Wright/wrong/right” puns, and significant measures of black humour, with “pointedly warped lyrics”, such as on “Dad” from Sex Mad. The song was a minor college radio hit, and has been called “a bit chilling, even though it’s spit out at slam-pit’s pace”. The first person narrator details a rampaging father’s physical and sexual abuse, ending with what’s been called a “killer end touch—the badly delivered line ‘I’m seriously considering leaving home.’”. One critic (while noting the group’s “savage intelligence”) suggests that NoMeansNo might well be “the secret influence on a fair amount of both early-’90s math rock and emo, what with the barely controlled fervour of the singing and the sudden jerks back and forth in the rhythm section.”
Editado por kidlukinhas em Mar 22 2010, 2h51
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