The Guardian 27/09/03  
  The Authorised Biography Postcard Back - Click Here For Bigger ScanThis story of the turbulent times of the seminal goth - punkers comes straight from the horse's mouths: Paytress has interviewed all the band members to provide a smoke 'n' drugs - filled Rashomon - style reminiscence of a band's life, which is probably the best way to do it.  Early story's include a bass player who didn't know which was his E string (they shouted 'The thick string!  Just hit the thick string!); thence it's a tale of occasional success and increasing oddness, with the usual (but still disgusting) record company treacheries, the inevitable split, and a triumphant comeback tour of Japan.  Occasional interjections come from other luminaries such as Robert Smith, Marc Almond, John Cale and even fringemeister Phil Oakey, while Shirley Manson contributes a devotional foreword about how 'She shaped my life.  I wouldn't be singing if it weren't for Siouxsie' - perhaps not the legacy Sioux dreamt of, but nice none the less.  SP   


  Unknown source 09/03  
  "Siouxsie was a cross between the lovely big sister I never had and the worst head-mistress you could imagine," recalls Jon Klein, one of the Banshees' many guitarists, in this (auto) biography.

Mercurial, imaginative, bitchy - Sioux, bassist Steve Severin, and drummer Budgie kept the Banshees flame alive throughout three decades, surviving a revolving door of managers, band members and fluctuations in public taste.  Sioux launched the group with an impromptu gig at the 100 Club in 1976, squawling the Lord's Prayer with Sid Vicious on drums.  From there, a one-off event became a full band, with tour after tour fuelled by copious amounts of acid, vodka and cocaine.  What's endearing about the Banshees is their honesty and gallows humour.  Paytress has turned the book into an eyewitness account, letting band members speak for themselves.  An assessment of the Banshees' impact in a wider context is sometimes needed, but overall Sioux, Severin, and a motley cast of characters including Robert Smith, tell the story very well.

Lucy O'Brien



  Unknown source 09/03  
  The last 18 months have provided something of a renaissance for Siouxsie and the Banshees.  After a lengthy seven-year absence from the music scene, Siouxsie and friends made a very welcome return with some sell-out tour dates, a live album, a DVD and now this, the authorised biography of the band.

Tales of clandestine sex and drugs are perhaps not quite what one would expect from a band with such a steely reputation as the Banshees have, but that is precisely what you can read here.

The story begins with the early days of Steve Severin and Siouxsie Sioux, and chronicles their teenage years spent as the Bromley Contingent, told through the words of the band and those people closest to them.

The strangest thing here is that there are moments when Siouxsie's icemaiden reputation suddenly melts as she comes across as far more vulnerable than you would ever have imagined.  She does manage to keep up appearances later in the book, though.

There are some surprising and candid tales which will have you screeching with laughter one minute and your jaw dropping the next.  You won't be able to put this book down.


Natasha Scharf