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Music / Catherine Wheel

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Call them Crank, their idea. From left to right: Rob Dickinson, Brian Futter, Dave Hawes and Neil Sims.

Catherine Wheel is a band, not a solo artist. Since that has been cleared up now, they formed in 1990 in the UK. The band consisted of Rob Dickinson (a paternal cousin of Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden), Brian Futter, Dave Hawes (replaced by Ben Ellis in 1999), and Neil Sims.

They started as one of shoegazing's pioneers, and one of the more memorable; their albums Ferment and Chrome are both considered classics and early examples of "metalgaze".

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

After releasing the mostly unsuccessful Wishville in 2000, the band split. Dickinson became a solo artist, Futter and Sims recorded an album under the name 50ft Monster, and Ellis joined the band Serafin.


  • Painful Thing EP (1991)
  • 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)

I always thought the way you troped was neat:

  • And I Must Scream: The cover art of Happy Days is of a man on a bed falling down a giant baby crib; the album booklet shows him haplessly screaming while stuck as a small person in a large crib. Sweet dreams.
  • Album Title Drop: Ferment in "I Want to Touch You" and its title track. Chrome gets it in "Crank" and its title track as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: Chrome, Happy Days
  • Epic Rocking: "Black Metallic", "Pain", "Fripp", "Heal", "Eat My Dust You Insensitive Fuck", "Thunderbird", "Goodbye", "For Dreaming"
  • Lighter and Softer: Ferment, Adam and Eve
  • 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: The band is named after a spinning firework, which is very meaningful, especially with the subject matter of their music.
  • One-Man Song: "Ballad of a Running Man"
  • One-Woman Song: "Judy Staring at the Sun"
  • One-Word Title: "Texture", "Shallow", "Ferment", "Tumbledown", "Salt", "Balloon", "Crank", "Pain", "Chrome", "Fripp", "Waydown", "Heal", "Receive", "Shocking", "Hole", "Delicious", "Satellite", "Thunderbird", "Goodbye", "Gasoline", "Lifeline"
  • Overcrank: Used in the music video for "I Want to Touch You".
  • Precision F-Strike: "Eat My Dust You Insensitive Fuck"
  • Shout-Out: "Fripp" is named after Robert Fripp of King Crimson.
  • Title Track: Ferment and Chrome both have one.
  • Undercrank: Also used in the music video for "I Want to Touch You".

Love my superstitious games, troping circles round my brain