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Howard Devoto

From Academic Kids

Born Howard Trafford in 1955 Manchester, Howard Devoto came to the immediate notice of the UK music world as singer with independent punk band Buzzcocks. Leaving after only one EP, he formed the more genre-defying Magazine in 1977. After Magazine split in 1981 he spent two years putting together a solo album with former Magazine keyboard player Dave Formula. While most critics believed the thin production and underworked ideas of Jerky Versions of the Dream reflected poorly on his potential, others found the album rewarded repeated listenings. The single Rainy Season was consistently picked as a stand-out track.

Better avoided was the collaboration (three songs) with Bernard Szajner on the Brute Reason LP, released on Island Records in 1983. A far more intriguing effort came the following year with a rendering of Big Star's Holocaust for the loose collective This Mortal Coil. The album It'll End in Tears contained contributions from many of the 4AD label's best artists, Devoto's presence being somewhat atypical.

His next significant project came in 1988 with his collaboration with Liverpool multi-instrumentalist Noko. As Luxuria they released two albums and a notable video for the single Redneck. The music stands in retrospect as some of the most compelling of the period.

His continuing influence in the world of rock is evidenced by such releases as the tribute song The Most Important Man Alive. Momus recorded this for the Bungalow Records compilation Suite 98 in 1988. Devoto has collaborated with the Manchester band Mansun, appearing on their EP Closed For Business. Both Ministry and Peter Murphy have covered Magazine's The Light Pours Out of Me, though the highly idiosyncratic nature of Devoto's writing and singing have scared off many would-be imitators.

Devoto teamed up for the first time in twenty-five years with Buzzcock Pete Shelley and released a much-anticipated but poorly received album under the name ShelleyDevoto in 2001.

In 2002, Devoto had a small but hilarious part in the movie 24 Hour Party People, a film about Manchester's Factory Records. He himself is played in the film by the actor Martin Hancock.

Incongruously, Devoto earns his living by working for a photo archive.

External links

http://www.shotbybothsides.com/mag_howa.htm

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