Biffy Clyro is a Scottish rock band from Ayrshire, comprising Simon Neil (vocals, guitar), James Johnston (bass, vocals) and Ben Johnston (drums, vocals). The band expanded their following significantly with the release of their fourth studio album, Puzzle in 2007. The album was released to widespread critical acclaim, and went gold in the UK selling over 100,000 units. This band's popularity was built upon further in 2008 and 2009 with the release of the singles "Mountains" and "That Golden Rule", which both reached the top 10 of the UK singles chart.
The band's sound is characterised by a heavy, yet melodic, mixture of guitar, bass and drums, with all three band members contributing to vocals. They are known for complex and interwoven guitar riffs, chord sequences and melodies that often change throughout songs.
"'Mon the Biffy!" is a well known chant among Biffy fans.; usually shouted in between songs at gigs, or before the band comes on stage. This was later augmented into "'Mon The Biff!" when incorrectly said by Zane Lowe when announcing singles from Puzzle. The band have never actually disclosed exactly where the name 'Biffy Clyro' originated. They have a series of stories as to how the name came about, whilst being interviewed on Soccer AM the band stated that they named themselves after a footballer called Biffy Clyro who played for Scottish side Ayr United also admitting that they make up stories about how they are named because they are bored of being asked the same question. Another story is that one of the members owned a Cliff Richard pen, i.e Cliffy Biro', which was accidentally spoonerised on a drunken night out. The name Biffy Clyro has also been claimed in another interview to come from an acronym for "Big Imagination For Feeling Young 'Cos Life Yearns Real Optimism". The band also state in an interview for Blacony TV that the band name was that of a Finnish footballer from the 17th century.
Formation and early years: 1995–2000
The first incarnation of what would eventually become Biffy Clyro was formed in 1995 by fifteen-year-old Ayr-based guitarist Simon Neil, who recruited Kilmarnock-born Ben Johnston and someone known only as Tatts on drums and bass respectively, calling themselves Screwfish. Tatts was soon replaced by James Johnston, Ben's twin brother, and the three spent the next two years rehearsing, writing and covering songs. Simon Neil has commented on this period of time, saying:
|“||At that point we probably sounded like every other band who'd ever heard Nirvana. We were just discovering distortion pedals, really. Then we went slightly more punky for a time. I guess it takes a while to work out exactly what you want to do. At the start you just want to sound like your favourite bands, but after a while you realise, maybe you could become your favourite band.||”|
On 31 January 1995, they played their first gig under the name Skrewfish as the support for a band called Pink Kross at the Key Youth Centre in East Kilbride, now known as Universal Connections East Kilbride. In 1997, the trio then moved to Glasgow, where Neil went to the University of Glasgow and the Johnston twins went to Stow College, studying Electronics with Music and Audio Engineering respectively.
After playing gigs around Glasgow and receiving positive and enthusiastic reactions from the audiences, the band were spotted by Dee Bahl, who soon became their manager. Bahl offered them a chance to release an independent single on Aereogramme's Babi Yaga record label. "iname" was released on 28 June 1999, with Northsound Radio's Jim Gellatly (later of Beat 106 & Xfm Scotland) giving the band their first radio play. This first release led to the band being chosen by Stow College's Electric Honey record label to release a record. thekidswhopoptodaywillrocktomorrow was released on Nerosa on 13 June 2000, and after hearing it, BBC Radio Scotland DJ Vic Galloway gave the band airplay. A few days prior to the release of thekidswho..., the band were spotted at the Unsigned Bands stage at T in the Park 2000 by a Beggars Banquet representative. Soon after, the band was signed to the independent Beggar's Banquet.
The Beggars Banquet years: 2001–2005
On 9 April 2001, previously unreleased song "27" was released as a single. On 1 October 2001, a song from thekidswho... was re-recorded and released as a single, "Justboy". This was repeated again on 4 February 2002, when the song "57" was released. On 11 March, the band's debut album, Blackened Sky, was released to generally positive reviews. It was around this time that the band began touring extensively, including being the support for Weezer on 20 March at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. On 15 July, the fourth single from the album, "Joy.Discovery.Invention" was released as a double A-side with a newly recorded song, entitled "Toys, Toys, Toys, Choke, Toys, Toys, Toys", which later appeared on The Vertigo of Bliss.
In 2003, the band retreated to the Linford Manor recording studio in Great Linford, Milton Keynes, England to record the follow-up to Blackened Sky. On 24 March, a new single was released entitled, "The Ideal Height", followed by another new single entitled "Questions and Answers" on 28 May. The band's second album, The Vertigo of Bliss was released on 16 June, to positive reviews, which focused on the more experimental style of the album in comparison to Blackened Sky, as well as the introduction of string sections.
After touring relentlessly for The Vertigo of Bliss, the band retreated to Monnow Valley Studios in Monmouth, Wales to record a follow-up album. As with the previous album, two singles were released before the actual album; "Glitter and Trauma" and "My Recovery Injection" on 9 August and 20 September, respectively. A digital download was also released; "There's No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake", on 31 May. On 4 October, the band's third album, Infinity Land was released, and on 14 February 2005, the last single from the album, "Only One Word Comes To Mind" was released. On 16 February, the band performed a cover of Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" live from Maida Vale on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show. Simon Neil's side project, Marmaduke Duke, also released an album in 2005, Duke Pandamonium, and toured the UK, along with the Johnston twins accompanying on bass and drums.
Puzzle & mainstream success: 2006–2008
In 2006, Biffy Clyro left Beggars Banquet and signed a deal with 14th Floor, an offshoot of Warner Bros. In September, the band went to Canada to record their fourth album at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, and The Farm Studio in Gibsons. From these sessions the song "Semi-Mental" was released as a digital download on 25 December. In 2007, the song "Saturday Superhouse" was released on 5 March, where it reached #13 on the UK Singles Chart; at the time, the band's highest single chart position to date. Puzzle was released in June to critical acclaim, and helped the band to reach their highest UK Albums Chart position ever, reaching #2 in the first week of release. Support slots for acts such as Muse at the new Wembley Stadium, The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Rolling Stones were significant in expanding Biffy's fanbase. The band also played the Download 2007, Glastonbury 2007, Reading and Leeds Festival and T in the Park for a record seventh time. On 25 August, it was announced that "Machines" would be the next single from Puzzle, and was released on 8 October. The band also opened for Linkin Park during January on their European tour. In 2008 the band toured with Queens Of The Stone Age on their European and North American tours for Era Vulgaris, and also opened for New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi at Twickenham during the Lost Highway Tour.
Only Revolutions (2008–Present)
In July 2008, the band released a new single entitled "Mountains", which reached #5 in the UK Singles Chart - the band's first song to reach the top 10, and their highest charting single to date. It was originally set to be a standalone single, but was then set to be included for their upcoming fifth album. In December 2008 the band played their biggest headline show to date at Glasgow SECC with other shows in London and Manchester.
In an interview with NME the band stated that they had started work on a follow up album to 2007's Puzzle. Simon Neil stated that this album will include some of the band's "heaviest riffs to date". In an interview with XFM, drummer Ben Johnston said that the new album would be "Classic Biffy" and that they already had 16 demos laid down. Simon Neil told Kerrang magazine in December 8 about the new album, playfully saying "The soft bits are softer, and the hard bits are harder...", mocking how bands always label their new albums the most heavy and yet melodic so far. The band are working with Puzzle producer GGGarth’ Richardson again at Ocean Way studios, many videos on the net have been shown of them playing along to Shania Twain's 'Still the One'.
On 12 November 2008, while playing an acoustic gig at London's Union Chapel, the band debuted a new song: 'God and Satan'. Other songs known to be being worked on include 'Born On a Horse', 'That Golden Rule', 'Prey Hey, Shock Shock', 'Sky Demon' and 'Eyelids'.
In a March 2009 Kerrang! magazine article, it was stated that they plan to enter the studio in April 2009. This article also revealed a working title for the upcoming album - "Boom, Blast and Ruin". However on their official site, they have been showing a series of updates every week and slowly revealing letters of the new album.
So far the letters that have been revealed are, o o i. After Rock Sound revealing a mistake in the albums name "Only Exceptions", is has now been revealed officially that the album will be titled 'Only Revolutions'.
In April 2009, Simon Neil stated:
We start recording on the first of May and we’re going to do it in Los Angeles with Garth Richardson again who did the last album. We’re going to do it at Ocean Way Studios where Frank Sinatra did ‘My Way’, in the same studio. We should have it all done by August and it should come out about September. Well, that’s what is on the schedule, but if not then, it will definitely be before the end of the year.
In setlists from recent gigs, the band have played both 'That Golden Rule' and 'Cloud of Stink'.
In July 2009, Kerrang reported that they were filming the video for the first single from the album, That Golden Rule. It was filmed on July 1 in london, with the band saying that the song is "like Kyuss and Tool playing with some scottish freaks screaming over the top of it.
Their next single "That Golden Rule" got its first play on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show on the 8 July and it was then announced that the single will be released on the 23 August 2009.
It has also been announced that Mountains might be on the tracklisting for the album and that the album will feature special guests which are yet to be announced, although one of whom is Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age.
"That Golden Rule" became their second highest charting single in 2009, reaching #10 in the UK top 40.
The album's artwork and track listing have now been revealed. The previous working title for the album, Boom, Blast & Ruin, has now been revealed as a song title.
The band themselves cite influences ranging from heavy metal luminaries like Metallica to prog legends Rush, while reviewers are often quick to link their sound to the likes of Nirvana and Foo Fighters — particularly in their use of shifting dynamics which the latter adapted from Pixies and Fugazi. Members of the band have been reported to listen to bands as diverse as Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, Far, Jawbox, Lightning Bolt, Kerbdog, Red House Painters and Weezer.
Biography from Wikipedia