Afraid of Mice

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Drawing equal inspiration from the theatricality of progressive rock and the impassioned energy of punk, Afraid of Mice formed in Liverpool, England in 1979. Frontman Philip Franz Jones had previously…
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Drawing equal inspiration from the theatricality of progressive rock and the impassioned energy of punk, Afraid of Mice formed in Liverpool, England in 1979. Frontman Philip Franz Jones had previously tenured in the Next, a group inspired by the sound and image of early Genesis and Jethro Tull; while Afraid of Mice -- known in early incarnations under such names as Beano, the Press and the Jones -- favored a more raw, minimalist musical approach closer to punk, their stage style remained highly theatrical, resulting in a unique dichotomy which made the group a favorite among local working-class youth.

A trio also featuring bassist Geoff Kelly and drummer Clive Gee, Afraid of Mice rose to prominence as part of the same Liverpool scene which also launched Echo and the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes, and their appearance on the local compilation A Trip to the Dentist led to a contract with the Charisma label. After bowing in 1981 with the single "I'm on Fire," the group -- now a four-piece following the addition of guitarist Sam Brew -- returned a year later with their eponymous debut LP, produced by David Bowie associate Tony Visconti.

Despite Afraid of Mice's fervent hometown following, the LP failed to sell, and soon only Jones remained in the line-up. A second album was planned, but during the final days of recording Charisma -- which had recently been purchased by Virgin -- abruptly pulled producer Anne Dudley off the project; another producer was brought in, but the record was never completed. Afraid of Mice soon left the label, and in 1983 issued their own record, a collection of odds and ends titled The White Album; the next year Jones teamed with Alex McKechnie in the duo Two's a Crowd (later rechristened Up and Running), and Afraid of Mice was no more.