Pure Joy

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Taking their name from a song by the legendary British new wave group the Teardrop Explodes, Pure Joy were among a handful of '80s Seattle bands that drew more inspiration from English neo-psychedelic…
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Taking their name from a song by the legendary British new wave group the Teardrop Explodes, Pure Joy were among a handful of '80s Seattle bands that drew more inspiration from English neo-psychedelic rock than punk or heavy metal. Like Weather Theatre, Room Nine, and the First Thought, Pure Joy (originally called the Dwindles) sounded more like a group from the U.K. than the Pacific Northwest. Featuring Rusty Willoughby (vocals, guitar), Lisa King (bass), and Jim Hunnicutt (drums, vocals), Pure Joy recorded their first LP, Unsung, in 1987. The band toured the West Coast with the Chameleons U.K., receiving rave reviews. The track "Ocean" was spun on college radio stations; however, Pure Joy didn't acquire much mainstream attention. The new wave-ish feel of Pure Joy's songs was antithetical to the raw din of the group's Seattle peers; although the band didn't become as well-known as the city's grunge icons, they helped broaden the range of Seattle's music scene. In 1989, the group released its second album, Carnivore, on PopLlama Records, and then broke up. After Pure Joy's demise, Willoughby formed the power pop band Flop with Nate Johnson (drums), Bill Campbell (guitar), and Paul Schurr (bass). Flop recorded three albums in the '90s -- Flop and the Revenge of the Mopsqueezer, Whenever You're Ready, and World of Today -- before splitting up. Signed to Epic Records during the heyday of Seattle grunge, Flop were dropped by the label before they were even given the support they needed to find an audience. In 1995, Willoughby revived Pure Joy with King and Hunnicutt. The trio released the album Getz, The Worm on The Great Utopia, an imprint of Flydaddy Records, in 1998.