Music / Catherine Wheel

Catherine Wheel is not a solo artist, but in fact a band. Now that's cleared up, they were formed in 1990 in the UK. The band consisted of Rob Dickinson (cousin of Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden), Brian Futter, Dave Hawes (replaced by Ben Ellis in 1999), and Neil Sims. They started out as a shoegazing pioneer, but one of the more memorable ones; their albums Ferment and Chrome are both considered classics.

Over the years of their existence, they disliked being labeled as "shoegaze" and thus shrugged it off, with Happy Days (1995) heading into more of a Hard Rock/Grunge direction and Adam and Eve (1997) being heavily influenced by Art Rock. Unfortunately, this lead to critical reviews and commercial sales slowly dropping.

After releasing the mostly unsuccessful Wishville in 2000, the band split. Dickinson went on to be a solo artist, Futter and Sims recorded an album under the name 50ft Monster, and Ellis joined the band Serafin. Ferment and Chrome are still highly regarded, being early examples of "metalgaze".


  • Painful Thing (1991, EP)
  • Ferment (1992)
  • Chrome (1993)
  • Happy Days (1995)
  • Like Cats and Dogs (1996, compilation of outtakes, B-sides and covers)
  • Adam and Eve (1997)
  • Wishville (2000)

Catherine Wheel contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Epic Rocking: "Black Metallic" and "Fripp"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: One of their gentlest songs also has some of their angriest lyrics and song title, "Eat My Dust You Insensitive Fuck".
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch: "Judy Staring at the Sun" is a melancholy song about a woman's heroin addiction. The music video is a kitschy, pop-art-styled Performance Video set in space.
  • Meaningful Name: Their name is a reference to a type of firework, which is pretty meaningful especially with the subject matter of their music.