The weird and wonderful Inner City Unit were formed by ex-Hawkwind member and Oxford-born English eccentric Nik Turner (saxophone, vocals) in 1979, along with Trev Thoms (guitar), Dead Fred Reeves (keyboards), Baz Magneto (bass) and Mick Stupp (drums). Turner’s first non- Hawkwind album was with Steve Hillage in 1977, entitled Sphynx (Xitintoday) - a set far removed from the punk sound then prevalent, which became a major influence on Inner City Unit. A debut album, Pass Out, and two singles, ‘Solitary Ashtray’ and ‘Paradise Beach’, appeared on his own Riddle label. In 1981 he moved the band to Avatar for The Maximum Effect, which also featured Captain Sensible and comedian Max Wall. Magneto reverted to his real name of Barry Downes to join Weapon and was replaced by Reeves, who doubled up on bass and keyboards. The next album, Punkadelic, featured reworkings of earlier tracks, but soon afterwards, Turner rejoined Hawkwind. In 1984 Turner re-formed Inner City Unit, with Steve Pond replacing Stupp. Their first album together, New Anatomy, produced two firsts: it was the first album on ex-Hawkwind bass player Dave Anderson’s new record label, Demi-Monde, and it was also the first album to feature a computer programme on vinyl for the Spectrum system. Inner City Unit then recorded the Blood And Bone 12-inch EP and backed it with a video that included the surreal ‘Little Black Egg’ and a guest appearance from Robert Calvert. A final album, The President’s Tapes, was received with mass indifference and the band folded. Thoms then formed the Atom Gods and Turner the Fantastic All Stars, before journeying to the USA in 1993 and recording with Pressurehead. He has since worked on new projects with members of Psychic TV.
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