Gaye Bykers on Acid

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An explosion of sounds and styles, Britain's Gaye Bykers on Acid were among the leaders of the short-lived "grebo" scene, which proved instrumental in bridging the gap between rock and hip-hop. Formed…
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An explosion of sounds and styles, Britain's Gaye Bykers on Acid were among the leaders of the short-lived "grebo" scene, which proved instrumental in bridging the gap between rock and hip-hop. Formed in Leicester, England, in 1986, the Bykers -- whose image did indeed fuse Hell's Angels grunge with the psychedelic excesses of the hippie counterculture -- were fronted by the flamboyant vocalist Mary Mary (born Ian Garfield Hoxley), supposedly a former runner-up in a local Alternative Miss Universe competition who frequently took the stage in dresses and platform shoes. In addition to co-founders Robber (a bassist born Ian Reynolds), guitarist Tony (Anthony Horsfall), and drummer Kevin Hyde, the group was later joined by DJ William Samuel Ronald Morrow, better known as Rocket Ronnie.

Gaye Bykers on Acid debuted in 1986 with the EP Everythang's Groovy, produced by the Mekons' Jon Langford; the follow-up, 1987's Nosedive Karma, was the group's breakthrough, garnering considerable press attention for its use of hip-hop and dance beats -- a major innovation in mid-'80s alternative rock. The resulting publicity won the Bykers a contract with Virgin, where they began work on their eagerly anticipated major-label debut; remaining media darlings, the band also toyed with public perceptions by creating a pair of alter egos -- one, supposedly from New Zealand, was dubbed the Lesbian Dopeheads on Mopeds, while the other, an Eastern European thrash metal band, was christened Rektum.

Finally, Drill Your Own Hole -- which required vinyl purchasers to do just that, as no hole was machine-cut in the center of the record -- appeared in late 1987; reviews were mixed, and the Bykers quickly left Virgin to return to their own label, PFX. (Later, the name PFX also became another of the group's many aliases, this time as a guise for its more dub-oriented dance records.) Despite the loss of momentum, the Bykers continued, although subsequent efforts like 1989's Stewed to the Gills and 1990's Cancer Planet Mission (issued on another self-owned imprint, Naked Brain) failed to attract much interest. Eventually, Gaye Bikers on Acid disintegrated; Hyde formed G.R.O.W.T.H., Tony joined Camp Collision, and Mary Mary resurfaced in Pigface.