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London After Midnight (sometimes abbreviated as LAM) is a project formed in the 1990s by songwriter and instrumentalist Sean Brennan. It is active to the present day.
The project is considered by many as a prominent act of the second generation gothic rock movement, some critics have credited the band with reviving the gothic music scene in the early 1990s. London After Midnight has a following worldwide, with a large fanbase in the goth subculture. However, in interviews Sean Brennan has shunned the use of this label and others to describe his music, calling it "artistically limiting".
Ideology and themes:
Brennan is known for his support of animal rights, pro-environmental and human rights issues, anti-corporate control of media, and progressive and liberal politics. He voices this support through London After Midnight Internet outlets, such as their official website and music. Some people think some of the music released by London After Midnight follows personal and emotional themes which are often romantic. However, this is often a misconception -- may of these songs reference a subject that is anything but romantic. The lyrics demonstrate a morbid wit, with songs like "Your Best Nightmare" being akin to an Edward Gorey-esque tale.
Since the 1990s, London After Midnight has had a political focus, while early albums show hints of political leanings; for example, the 1991 track "Revenge" featured political elements, along with an Adolf Hitler introduction sound clip. (Politically, the track was not geared toward or sympathetic of Nazism.) Recent London After Midnight material (such asnew CD release "Violent Acts of Beauty"), which has been performed in concert, is highly political with songs like "Feeling Fascist?," "The Pain Looks Good on You," "America's a Fucking Disease," and others.
London After Midnight formed in Los Angeles, California during 1988, and played at several clubs in the area, debuting live at premier Los Angeles Gothic rock club, Helter Skelter.
In the early days London After Midnight had various temporary members who joined Brennan when performing live, but did not perform on the albums. However, former live keyboardist Tamlyn contributed an instrumental called "Ice" for the 1998 release of Oddities at Brennan's request, and an instrumental entitled "Perversion" on the 93' Ruins demo tape released as a preview of what was to become their second album, Psycho Magnet.
Lineup, Confusion, and Conflict over Members:
Much debate exists regarding "Who is/was London After Midnight" beyond Sean Brennan, and the answer is partly due to Sean's credits (some of which have evolved over time on the same recordings), and his desire to differentiate his ongoing efforts as separate from past efforts. According to the LAM official website, "There have been other people who played live in LAM. Like NIN or any other evolving music/art project, there has never been a regular live line up. Sean Brennan writes all the music and records it on CD. You can check the liner notes to each CD for specific details. But London After Midnight is Sean Brennan."
This message is muddied, however, by Sean's prior Credits. On the original self-titled cassette from 1990, the writing credit is clearly Sean's, however the performance credits are split equally, by the statement "All instruments played or programmed by Sean Brennan and Tamlyn".
On the "Selected Scenes From the End of the World" cassette EP from 1992, the credits state "London After Midnight is: Sean Brennan, Tamlyn", and below that "London After Midnight also is: Michael Arklet, Douglas Avery, Stacy". The writing credits are clearly listed as Sean Brennan, with the exception of Track 1, "This Paradise", clearly credited as Sean Brennan/Tamlyn.
The 1994 re-release of the same EP included photo credits of Sean and Tamlyn, with textual credits for Michael Areklett, Douglas Avery, and William Skye.
However, when it was re-released in 2008, Tamlyn's credit as a co-writer of "This Paradise" and performer is removed, and she is only credited as "Programmed By".
Early Performance Lineups:
After garnering a fanbase aided by the release of a self-titled demo, the project released their début album Selected Scenes from the End of the World in 1991. In 1992 bassist Michael Areklett joined the line-up after the resignation of live bassist Rob Podzunas. Like Tamlyn, Michael Areklett appeared live as a recurring member, rather than a guest. Around this period, Douglas Avery also joined, replacing live drummer Ian Haas. Eddie Hawkins was part of the original live line up, but was replaced in 1990. John Koviak performed live on Bass from 1989-1992.
Touring and releases:
In the earliest days the live band played mainly on the West Coast of the United States. Following the release of the self-titled debut, LAM gradually expanded their Californian fanbase, eventually traveling to Mexico in 1994 (something few alternative acts were doing at the time) and progressing to tour the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, South America and further in the United States.
Sean then expanded on the original demo release and recorded more songs for "Selected Scenes from the End of the World" released in late 1992.
Coinciding with the release of the follow-up album Psycho Magnet in 1996, London After Midnight headlined the Whitby Gothic Weekend in England, amongst other concerts in the UK, Europe, Mexico and the US. At this time, Sean Brennan had begun to expand musically. The project continued on with a third album titled Oddities released in 1998, featuring a cover of a track named "Sally's Song" from the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. This CD was vastly different from other releases in that it featured acoustic and ethereal alternative mixes of songs, along with a few brand new tracks.
Around this time London After Midnight was garnering international press and was featured on the covers of many magazines, while co-headlining major concert festivals like the Zillo summer festival, with The Cure and Green Day. LAM has since toured the world extensively playing alongside other popular bands such as Green Day, HIM (who have cited LAM as an influence), Rammstein, Soft Cell, and others, headlining and co-headlining to crowds of over 30,000 in Latin America, the US and Europe.
The last London After Midnight album, Violent Acts of Beauty, was released in 2007. LAM has, however, re-released (in 2003) two of the past three releases in Europe and the Russian Federation, (which charted on the Deutsche Alternative Charts) adding previously unreleased bonus tracks.
In 2006 a new London After Midnight song was released on the Saw II motion picture soundtrack, it featured bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, Skinny Puppy, Lore and others, it reached number one on the Deutsche Alternative Charts.
In February 2007 a teaser trailer for London After Midnight's fourth long-awaited studio album Violent Acts of Beauty was released on the band's official website and LAM's YouTube page. The trailer stated that the album was due for a Spring/Summer 2007 release. The album itself was released in Fall 2007 (North America). Brennan made critical remarks about today's music scene and the current Myspace generation, he said, "All the music counter-cultures that existed have been corrupted; especially Goth and Punk, they're gone, they don't exist anymore. The kids of today care more about their MySpace pages, their image...and bullshit vanity."
Wave Gotik Treffen 2008:
Current live band members:
Sean Brennan - founder, songwriting, musician on all CDs, vocals, guitar, bass, cello, violin, keyboards, programming, drums (1989-present),
Pete Pace - live drums (2008-present),
Matthew Setzer - live guitar (2008-present),
Randy Mathias - live bass (2005-present),
Former live members:
Tamlyn - keyboards, sounds, samplers, recorded on 'London After Midnight' demo, 1991, 'Selected Scenes From The End Of The World', 1994 (1&2)(1989-2003),
Joe S. - drums (live and recorded for Violent Acts of Beauty & Saw II Soundtrack) (2001-2008),
Trouble Valli - live guitar (one concert only) (2008),
Eddie Hawkins - live guitar (1989-1990, 2001-2008),
Ian Haas - live drums (1990-1992),
John Koviak - live bass/guitar (1989-1992),
Douglas Avery - live drums, recorded on 'Selected Scenes From The End Of The World', 1994 (1&2) (1992-1999),
Rob Podzunas - live bass (1992-1992),
Stacy - live guitar and recorded on 'Selected Scenes From The End Of The World', 1994 (2) (1991-1994),
Michael Areklett - live bass, recorded on 'Selected Scenes From The End Of The World', 1994 (1&2) (1992-2005),
William Skye - live guitar, recorded on 'Selected Scenes From The End Of The World', 1994 (1) (1992-1999) FanartBanner