Submitted by Robin Blackburn
Howard Devoto’s decision to quit as Buzzcocks’ lead singer after they had released only one record - the classic ‘Spiral Scratch’ EP - seemed an odd one at the time. But, in retrospect, it just seems like another typically contrary act by a man who has made a career out of doing the unexpected. The band that Devoto subsequently formed with John McGeogh (guitar) in early 1977 was called Magazine (after the thing you read, or the thing you put in a gun?), and went on to make some of the most interesting music to emerge in the aftermath of punk.
The band’s first single, ‘Shot by Both Sides’ was a classic, with an instantly memorable guitar riff and lyrics that seemed to sum up the paranoia of the times. A great album, ‘Real Life’, followed in April 1978, with an innovative mixture of guitars and keyboards creating a unique sound that was poppy and experimental at the same time. Two further albums, 1979’s ‘Secondhand Daylight’ and 1980’s ‘The Correct Use of Soap’ both contained impressive moments, but by the time of ‘Magic, Murder and the Weather’ (1981) the band had run out of ideas.
Devoto quit again, going on to record solo and with the group Luxuria, before a one-off reunion with Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley under the name ShelleyDevoto. McGeogh played with Siouxsie and the Banshees and Public Image Ltd amongst others, while Barry Adamson (bass) joined Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds before going on to solo success and film soundtrack work.