Maximum Joy’s spiky joyful post-punk funk rose up from the fertile Bristol scene of the late 70’s/early 80’s, when local musicians inspired by the likes of punk, Albert Ayler, I-Roy and Funkadelic grafted their music on to the politics of punk rock. Janine Rainforth (vocals/violin/clarinet) and Tony Wrafter (saxophone/trumpet) recruited bassist Dan Catsis and drummer Charlie Llewellin from the Glaxo Babies, and guitarist John Waddington from the Pop Group, to complete the line-up. The music they made mixed punk, reggae, funk, jazz and hip-hop grooves with wild improvisation and attitude – these dance-dub tunes sound fresh and alive today.
In 2015 Rainforth, Wrafter, and Llewellin – with James Byron on guitar and Marek Bero on bass – reunited to play Bristol’s Simple Things festival. The band is now working on new material for release later in the year, and new live shows to be announced soon.
The demand for Maximum Joy music has never stopped - their back catalogue is in constant worldwide demand.
“Let It Take You There” produced by Adrian Sherwood for Station MXJY - was included on Adrian Sherwood’s recent release “Sherwood at the controls: Vol 1”.
“White and Green Place” was recently featured in an exclusive Mojo cover mount CD, as part of Madonna’s NYC underground sounds.
A vinyl and CD compilation ‘Unlimited 1979-1983’ on Germany’s cult label Crippled Dick Hot Wax, entitled 'Maximum Joy Unlimited 1979-1983' (cdhw101) got great reviews.
Strut’s “Disco not Disco” & more recently Strut Sessions.
Station MXJY was re-released by Beatink in Japan in May 2007 (BRC-193) on CD.
Maximum Joy are a DJ and producer’s favourite:
Janine was invited into speak to Gilles Peterson for his BBC 6 Music show 'Bristol Underground Musical History'
Legendary John Peel championed them - they recorded several sessions for his Radio 1 show.
Andrew Weatherall has re-mixed a track for his release “Watch The Ride”;
Bugz in The Attic selected ‘Stretch’ for the “Back to Mine” CD;
'Silent Street' was re-mixed by DJ Maar on “Collection Vol.1 Bijou R.I Sounds” on Avex.
Their songs are played regularly on stations such as NTS & the BBC Radio.
Charlie and Janine recently popped into speak to Charlie Bones on his NTS Do You Radio show
They are on BBC 6 Music’s DJ Lauren Laverne latest playlist
Producer Paul Epworth, and DJs Bullion and JD Twitch of Optimo all cite them amongst one of their favourite post-punk bands.
Back in the 80’s Maximum Joy was fired up by Thatcherism, inner city race riots and the growing protest from young and old against cruel and misguided government policies. The music they made was about waking up to life. “Stay positive, stay plus, pulsate, pulsate no terminate, no end, it’s only just beginning…” Rainforth sang in “Stretch”, the band’s first indie success, released in1981 on Y Records, who quickly signed the new band.
“Stretch” was a big underground seller in Europe, Japan and the States, and remained in the NME Indie charts for some weeks. The song became an NYC underground post punk/funk classic when a disco remix was released on 99 Records.
In 1982, Kev Evans replaced Catsis on bass and the band released their LP, 'Station MXJY', which features spacey interludes, dancey beats, and reggae influenced ballads. The recording was overseen by producer extraordinaire Adrian Sherwood.
The next single, “White and Green Place” – a reflection on the soullessness of modern living set to a circling disco-reggae beat – was produced by Y Records maestro Dick O’Dell. The song was apparently a favorite of Madonna’s, who heard it in New York nightclubs along with tracks from 23 Skidoo and Delta 5.
Nellee Hooper (of the Wild Bunch and Soul to Soul) joined the band on percussion and vocals. He can be heard on their last release – a haunting version of the Timmy Thomas classic “Why Can’t We Live Together” backed with the original tune 'Man Of Tribes.' The songs produced by UK reggae legend Dennis Bovell, whose voice can be heard together with Rainforth’s on the choruses of the B-side.
For booking and licensing enquiries about Maximum Joy please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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