Scorpio Rising

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Official Wikipedia page:

Scorpio Rising were formed in Birkenhead, Liverpool in 1989. The group’s first live performances took place in small clubs in Liverpool, with several shows at Liverpool Planet X and Cosmos Clubs in late 1989. The original line up featured David “Stig” Renton on bass guitar. Scorpio Rising’s definitive line up and sound was created when the band were joined by Parliament/Funkadelic influenced bass player Steve Soar in 1990.

Scorpio Rising signed to Chapter 22 Records (UK) and Sire / Elektra (USA).

The unique Scorpio Rising sound was driven from a diverse set of influences, combining breakbeat driven rhythms, strong pop melodies and funk influenced basslines sandblasted with pyschedelic and experimental guitar distortion techniques. Earliest recordings feature heavy use of feedback, wah-wah pedals and breakbeat drum patterns contemporary with the early nineties.

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Scorpio Rising came to the attention of the UK music press in 1991 with the release of “Watermelon” their first major backed single on Chapter 22 records. For a brief period their combination of infectious breakbeat flavoured drums, swirling distorted rock guitars and “new lad superstar” (NME 1991) frontman Mickey Banks was hailed as a new direction for UK indie/rock music. At this time the band recorded the six track mini album If…. It featured a new rock sound different from the bands contemporaries, with funk influenced bass lines, soft pyschedelic guitars on the slower tracks and aggressive Stooges style rock guitars backed with “baggy” rhythms for the first time on the faster tracks. The album was well received by the UK music press, leading to sold out headlining dates across the UK and rave reviews of the live shows, which started to feature prolific stage diving by the audiences.

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Scorpio Rising toured and played on bills in the UK with Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, Nirvana, PWEI, Levitation, Neds Atomic Dustbin, Eat, Senseless Things and other contemporary bands of the early 1990s, touring prolifically touring taking their intense live show to hundreds of venues in all corners of the UK, culminating with triumphant appearances at the Marquee Club, Finsbury Park and Reading Festivals in 1992.

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Scorpio Rising then recorded their one and only full-length album release, the highly experimental “Pig Symphony”.


Scorpio Rising took the sound of the electric guitar into new territory with the prodigious use of ripped speakers, metal pipe acoustics and vintage film studio recording equipment when recording Breathing Underwater/Zero for Chapter 22 in Eds Garage, (now defunct vintage recording studio in Camden Town, London) in 1992. This session (co-produced by Teo Miller who also produced Daisy Chainsaw led to “Pig Symphony” for Sire/Elektra when the band were signed to the label by the legendary Seymour Stein, who flew from New York to see the band headline the Marquee club in London in 1992.

Pig Symphony was recorded over Christmas 1992 at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, and was produced by Teo Miller and Scorpio Rising.

During the 1993 PWEI tour preceding Pig Symphony the band lost bassist Steve Soar, and went into the studio as a four piece. Steve Soar appears on “Breathing Underwater” and “Fountain Of You” both recorded during the Breathing Underwater sessions at Ed’s Garage. Steve was replaced by Mark Browning from The Bell Tower for the remainder of the tour and some following shows. Bass guitar on Pig Symphony was played by Mickey and Sploote. The band experimented heavily with ambient acoustics and darker material. The album includes longer, darker and more psychedelic tracks “Oceanside” and “Sleeping Sickness” and extremely heavy guitar and vocal eq processing. Pig Symphony was mixed at Amazon / Parr St Studios in Liverpool. The album was very well received by college radio in the US and received significant airplay, selling 30,000 units without advertising or tour support due to internal Sires re-organisation, moving Scorpio Rising to Elektra in New York.

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Having recruited bass player Mandi Morgan, Scorpio Rising returned to the studio to record the follow-up for Sire/Elektra, titled Brutal Deluxe, the new album was produced by Steve Osborne of Perfecto, producer of Happy Mondays Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches and U2. Recorded and mixed in 1993 at Orinoco and Battery Studio’s in London, Brutal Deluxe took Scorpio Rising in a new direction, and included the totally unique thrash / trance track “Bugcatcher” which was later remixed by Steve Osborne and included in Paul Oakenfold’s legendary Goa trance sets for Radio 1.

The album was never released by Sire due to internal politics. Scorpio Rising split in 1994.

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This enables you private access the rediscovered final mix of the lost unreleased Scorpio Rising album BRUTAL DELUXE

password: deluxe99



Brutal Deluxe
Apocalypse Ranc
Tranquiliser Breakfast
Sister Mercury
Monsters Exist
Little Zero
King Of Freaks
Some Friend
Touching Myself

All songs:
Lyrics: Mickey Banks
Music: Scorpio Rising

Mickey Banks: Lead Vocals
David “Sploote” Smart: Guitar
Martin Atherton: Guitar
Mandy Morgan: Bass / vocals
Colin Owens: Drums / vocals

Recorded: Orinoco Studios, London 1994
Mixed: Battery Studio, London / Amazon, Liverpool
Recorded by Steve Osborne
Engineered by Dave Burman
Produced by Steve Osborne & Scorpio Rising
Record Label: Sire / Elektra
Publisher: RCA Publishing


After Scorpio Rising:

Mickey Banks and Colin Owens worked together briefly under the name “Lounge”, working with Nik Nicholl (former Black Grape manager) and Don Letts of BAD fame. Colin went on to successfully form, record and tour the UK and Europe with his breakbeat band Surreal Madrid, finally returning to his rock n roll roots with the Southampton based band Black Kat Boppers.

Mickey Banks left the music industry in 1996, apart from a very brief guest vocal with the Perfecto / cult trance artist “Man With No Name”, disappeared from music for 12 years, eventually returning to live gigs in London in 2008 with Sploote again on lead guitar and his 22 yr old son Jimmy on drums in the highly volatile instrumental “Surfcore” power trio Jimmy and The Destroyers. The Destroyers (renowned for Destroying the stage and often injuring themselves) used The Camden Underworld as their base and played only 35 shows mainly in London, with cult punk bands The Vibrators The Dickies and Agent Orange briefly appearing at Liverpool Sound City in 2009 with The Damned. They recorded one studio EP, “The Surfcore EP” given away free to their online fanbase). Their final gig was at the now defuct Gaff on Holloway Rd, London. After the Destroyers split in November 2010, Mickey moved to Amsterdam to work on a new even more stripped down sound, eventually returning to Manchester in the UK in 2012 playing solo using 4 string guitar as The Sonic Gypsy in bars in Manchester and Liverpool. Mickey and Sploote finally reunited under The Sonic Gypsy name in June 2012. The Sonic Gypsy’s set occasionally includes parts from Pig Symphony’s darkest song “Oceanside” and the stunning unreleased “Apocalypse Ranch” from Scorpio Risings lost Brutal Deluxe album.

Martin Atherton returned to music with the acoustic trio Qatsi in 2012. The band play frequently in Liverpool showcasing Martins unique chord styles and compositions.


Mickey Banks – Singer
David “Sploote” Smart – Lead Guitar
Martin Atherton – Guitar
David Renton/Steve Soar/Mandi Morgan – Bass
Colin Owens – Drums


IF.. (1992), Chapter 22 / Polygram
Zodiac Killers (1992), Sire / Polygram – USA compilation
Pig Symphony, Sire Warners / Polygram
Brutal Deluxe, Sire Elektra / RCA (unreleased)

Singles, EPs
Strangest Things Turn You On EP (1991), Chapter 22 – “The Strangest Things Turn You On” / “Burn Out” / “Bliss”
The Watermelon EP (1991), Chapter 22 – “Watermelon” / “Beautiful People” / “Malicious”
“Saturnalia” / “Disturbance” / “Peace Frog” (1992), Chapter 22
“Breathing Underwater” / “Fountain of You” / “Zero” (1993), Chapter 22 (unreleased)
“Silver Surfing” / “Fountain of You” / “Zero” (1993), Chapter 22
“Evelyn” / “Its Obvious” / “Find Your Own Way” / “Brutal Deluxe” (1993), Sire
12″ white label single: to radio only: Bugcatcher/Dubcatcher