LORA LOGIC - A LIFE IN WORDS AND PICTURES
“Anybody got on stage, anybody played. Nobody could play and nobody could sing.” - Lora Logic interview for Rolling Stone, July 1980
“X-Ray Spex was my first band, I happened to be accepted, It happened to work, I happened to get famous overnight. I’d been playing sax in a cupboard in my room; I thought I better do something.”
Lora Logic (British vocalist, songwriter & saxophonist) grew up in Wembley, North
London in a house where dad was always playing jazz saxophonists like John
Coltrane and Charlie Parker. Dad gives her a tenor sax at the age of 13 which she can’t put down. Age 15 she sees an ad in ‘Melody Maker’: ‘Looking for young punks.’
“When the manager saw me, a fifteen year old girl who played saxophone, pound signs flashed before his eyes. I was very young and naive, but Poly and I hit it off immediately and I became intoxicated by the music. I used to wear old ladies
clothes from Oxfam shops and pointed shoes just like her.”
Lora thinks this will be a good alternative to school, and joins Poly
Styrene in the original 1976 X-Ray Spex lineup. The dynamic duo achieve speedy notoriety with the release of the magnificent ‘ Oh Bondage Up Yours’ and ‘Live at the Roxy’ album.
“Some people say that little girls should be seen and not heard,
but I say Oh Bondage Up Yours!” -Poly Styrene
‘The steamrolling sax parodied anyone’s expectations. Lora Logic
kicked off her solo as if she were kicking down a door, which was
exactly what she was doing. An irreducible desire to change the
world.’ -All Music Guide To Rock
Journalist Jane Suck reviews a Spex gig in ‘Sounds’ music paper declaring that the saxophone sound is X-Ray Spex. Having arranged all the sax parts for the first album ‘Germ Free Adolescents’ Lora is unceremoniously booted out of the band for supposedly stealing the show. Turning her back on the music business, sad and disillusioned, Lora is accepted into St. Martins Art School where she is soon to be stalked by Jeff Mann of Cells Records to record her own material.
Reluctantly Lora composes ‘Aerosol Burns’ in ten minutes to keep Jeff happy. Then, grabbing Rich Tea, another X-Ray Spex casualty (his hair was too long so he had to go), bassist Tim Wright and guitarist Stuart Action, Lora heads for the ‘posh’ Regents Park recording studios to
throw down ‘Aerosol Burns’ and a spontaneous reggae sax duet called ‘World Friction’.
This first Essential Logic recording (1978) is snapped up by Geoff Travis at blossoming Rough Trade Records, heralding a partnership which lasts till
1982. Propelled back into the music world, X-Ray Spex manager Falcon Stuart secures an outlet for the first Essential Logic EP called ‘Wake Up’, with Virgin Records, released in 1979.
The first incarnation of Essential Logic starts gigging extensively, joining Stiff Little Fingers on the first 30 date UK Rough Trade Tour.
“Essential Logic play an invigorating, totally absorbing set, after a mere seven gigs…Lora covers a larger range of expression in one
number than your average crooner can in an entire set…Right now they’re an archetypal ‘underground’ band with enormous talent
and some unique material. Catch them now.”
-Mark Ellen NME
“Tightly controlled anarchy.”
- ‘Wake Up’ EP, Melody Maker single of the week
“This is bumpy. It’s great…irresistible…Lora’s a revelation…The lyrics were superb: I didn’t understand a word of them. Finding the Essential Logics of this world is alway a special pleasure. I went out smiling.”
-Paul Du Noyer NME
Essential Logic 1980:
Rich T/ drums
Dave Flash/ tenor sax
Sean Oliver/ bass
Phil Legg/ guitars
Lora Logic/ soprano,
tenor sax & vocals
“Lora’s voice is always doing
the right thrilling things.”
-Paul Morley, NME
The first album, ‘Beat Rhythm News’, recorded at Foel Studios in Wales, was produced by Hugh Jones and released in 1979 on Rough Trade.
“The whole album makes for a brilliant revelation. Imagine the power of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Sir Duke’ combined with the most vigorous contemporary backing you can imagine. ‘Waddle Ya Play’ is Essential logic for the jaded rocker at large.”
- Dave Mc Cullough, Sounds
“Beat Rhythm News is a stunning record that remains a benchmark of the punk era. This is the sound of five young English musicians disassembling rock and roll and remaking it in an entirely new way…It fills you with the feeling of being able to change the world.”
-John Dougan All Music Guide To Rock
Electric Ballroom, Camden, 1979
1980 saw a European Tour and the release of four singles:
‘Music is a Better Noise’
‘Fanfare In The Garden’
‘Wonderful Offer ’ /
‘Stereo’ (Melody Maker
single of the week)
“The remarkable Lora Logic, several phases ahead as usual, proves yet again that she’s the best thing that ever played in the Roxy…The woman defines herself, un-pompously fills a cultural vacuum. If there is a
modern dance, she’s our Ginger Rogers.”
-Vivien Goldman, Single of the week, NME
During this period Lora moonlighted as a key member, saxing and warbling, with The Red Crayola, alongside her pal Gina Birch (the
Raincoats) and drummer Jesse Chamberlain.
Lora played and sang on several Red Crayola discs, including:
‘Soldier Talk’ (Album, 1979 with the
legendary Pere Ubu)
‘Born in Flames’ (Single,1980)
‘Kangaroo’ (Album, 1981)
‘Micro Chips and Fish’ (EP ,179)
Red Crayola, European Tour 1980
“On Kangaroo she is absolutely unfettered, singing as if she’s flying over the band, all but pulling it into the air with her.”
- Greil Marcus
Lora makes guest appearances on The Stranglers ‘Black and White’ album in 1978 , ‘ The Raincoats’ album 1979 and Dennis Bovell’s dub reggae LP ‘Brain Damage’ 1981.
Film director Laura Mulvey asks Lora to take a lead role as Kim the rock musician
alongside Gavin Richards and Mary Maddox. Crystal Gazing, a British drama, is filmed on location in Notting Hill Gate. Lora composes a special soundtrack including ‘Crystal
Gazing’ and ‘No More Fiction’ from the ‘Pedigree Charm’ LP.
Lora on set with co-lead Gavin Richards.
With chronic bronchitis and the rigorous demands of
touring and live shows, Lora decides to place ‘Essential
Logic’ on a back burner. She sets up an eight track
recording studio with maestro engineer and co-producer Phil Legg in a Brixton warehouse basement. Teaming up with legendary drummer Charlie Haywood and Ben Annesley on bass, a Lora Logic solo album ‘Pedigree Charm’ is completed in 1982.
Lora experiences a meltdown after an extended period of
self-neglect. Much to her surprise, she bumps into Poly Styrene in the famous Soho Street Radha Krishna Temple, which she has
started visiting for the philosophical talks on Bhagavad-gita and the free vegetarian lunches.
Soul sisters, Lora and Poly, check in for full mind, body and spirit MOT at Bhaktivedanta Manor, the spiritual sanctuary gifted by the Beatle George Harrison.
In 1984 they form a band with other Krishna friends called Juggernaut, playing at Glastonbury Festival.
Juggernaut is invited to play at the ‘Woman of the Year’ awards at London’s Savoy Hotel, pictured above centre with Annie Lennox.
Inspired by his own spiritual journey, Boy George records the hit single ‘Bow Down Mister’, inviting Lora to sing in the chorus.
In the mid eighties Lora moves out of the Temple and sets up a home recording studio. She writes and produces a number of tracks, most of which surface on the Kill Rock Stars double CD compilation (2003, Fanfare
In The Garden). These include:
‘ Do You Believe in Christmas?’
‘The Industry of Romance.’
1995 sees the release of a new
album, ‘Conscious Consumer’ with a
new, vibrant Spex line up, including
guitarist Crispian Mills (of Kula
Shaker), original bassist Paul Dean,
Poly and Lora. Sadly, due to Poly’s
fragile mental health the album is
never adequately promoted.
In 1997 Lora teams up with the
dynamic Martin Muscatt, who
contributes guitars, keyboards,
bass and drums in his Notting Hill
home studio to create three songs
on eight track, reel to reel tape:
‘Under the Great City’,
‘The Beautiful and the Damned’.
(All included on the compilation CD
‘Fanfare in the Garden’).
In 1997 Lora is also offered free
night time hours in a state of the
art digital studio in Islington.
Collaborating unexpectedly and
spontaneously with guitarist Gary
Valentine (Blondie), double bassist
David Farren (Bad Manners),
drummer Nick Pretzel and Eddie
Stevens on keyboards. Lora, five
months pregnant with her second
daughter, burns the midnight oil
‘On The Internet’,
‘Barbie Be Happy’,
‘No More Fiction’,
(All included in the ‘Fanfare
in the Garden’ compilation.)
“They were different. They spoke of a sense of life in which there is all the time in the world, because time has run out. This is what I hear in ‘The Beautiful and the Damned’…There is a reverie in the notes Lora plays that time can’t reach, let alone stop.”
- Greil Marcus
In 2003 Kill Rock Stars release a 35 song double compilation CD titled ‘Fanfare in the Garden: An Essential Logic Collection’.
Propelled onto Instagram in May 2019 by her 21 year old daughter Malini, with a bulging folder of new songs, Lora meets
Jorge Morales an Argentinian one man band.
Sensing that nothing is an accident, they launch into sketching out a new album with the working title ‘Fallible Soldiers’.
November 2019 Lora Jumps back onstage, bringing the house down, playing Tenor
Sax with old friends ‘The Raincoats’ at the London ‘Earth Exchange’.
Lora on stage with The Raincoats
Vaiapraia flies over from Lisbon, Portugal to record Lora on his new album ‘100% Carisma’ at Sanctuary Studios.
December 2019, Lora meets up with ‘Youth’ (Martin ‘Youth’ Glover) who coincidentally produced Poly Styrene’s final album ‘Generation Indigo’. Youth enjoys Lora’s new, home-recorded collection and enthusiastically accepts her
invitation to collaborate.
Youth has played, produced and co-written with numerous artists including
Kate Bush, U2, Erasure, Siouxsie and
the Banshees and Paul McCartney.
December 23rd, 2019 - Abbey Road Studios sees Lora, Youth and the Angel Choir recording ‘This Love" & ‘We Got Something' (a previously unreleased composition, co-arranged with Poly Styrene).
2nd February 2020 - Youth invites Lora to compose and perform a song for the London ‘Blake Off’; a celebration of the life of the romantic poet, William Blake.