b. Steven Pearse, 26 December 1962, Dagenham, Essex, England. One of the most outspoken, adventurous and original discoverers of arcane talent, Stevo came to the fore of the British music scene during the early 80s. A misfit and underachiever at school, he was virtually illiterate and underwent on a self-improving course that coincided with his rise to prominence in the music industry. Originally a disc jockey, he compiled an ‘electronic music’ and ‘futurist’ chart for the music press that led to him being bombarded with roughly-hewn demos from unknown artists. During 1980, Stevo packaged the best of this material as the Some Bizzare Album (its misspelling was unintentional but apposite). Among the artists included were Throbbing Gristle, Classix Nouveaux, Clock DVA, Cabaret Voltaire, Blancmange, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and The The. The latter two artists came under Stevo’s management and joined his innovative Some Bizzare Records label. Stevo received instant recognition for his brusque behaviour and eccentric business dealings. After the chart-topping success of Soft Cell, major record companies anxious to license his acts were forced to endure the teenage entrepreneur’s strange whims, which included signing a contract in the pouring rain while sitting on one of the lions in Trafalgar Square. With similar eccentricity, the contract for the hand of Psychic TV included a clause demanding a year’s supply of baby food. It said much for Stevo’s power and persuasion that he managed to license so many wilfully uncommercial acts to the major labels. His strength lay in an ability to capture innovative acts at an early stage when they were merely regarded as weird. In the case of Soft Cell and later The The, Stevo showed that he had the ear to nurture potentially major artists. Many other acts were a testament to his love of the unusual. Berlin’s Einstürzende Neubauten decried conventional rock instruments in favour of industrial sounds, and the scream of clanging metal as percussion could also be heard via Test Department. The unremitting aural depravity of Foetus threatened to complete Stevo’s journey into the darker areas of the soul, and with commercial acts on the wane the future of his label was perpetually in doubt. In the 90s, however, Stevo continued to stalk the musical boundaries with a stream of new signings including Stex, Tim Hutton, Kandis King and Vicious Circle.
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