Formed in London, England in 1996, indie rock band Venus Ray started off as a collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Diggory Kenrick and Steve Smith (b. England, d. 9 April 2002; drums/vocals). Soon afterwards, two additional multi-instrumental talents joined the fledgling unit, Robert Coyne (ex-Silver Chapter) and Barney Oliver (who transcribed the Velvet Underground’s ‘Sister Ray’ for a 30-piece orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall). With each member contributing to songwriting, Venus Ray released ‘Voyage To The Moon’ in 1999, and the EP, The Day The Earth Stood Still. By the time their debut album appeared in 2001 Venus Ray had added their fifth member, Tony Thewlis (ex-Scientists). In contrast to the approach of their garage rock compatriots, the music on Chuck Berry Vs. IBM often strayed into fully-fledged art-rock. Suddenly, midway through sessions for Venus Ray’s second album, Smith tragically died. Although understandably grief stricken, the band decided to soldier on, completing the tracks and issuing them on 2003’s The World Woke Up Without Me, which was dedicated to their former bandmate.
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