The band formed in 1991, having played a series of gigs at Manchester’s In The City festival. Manchester City fans James Mudriczki, Neil McDonald, Anthony Szuminski and Manchester United fan Kevin Matthews met on a bus on their way to watch The Stone Roses play at Spike Island. None of them had tickets so they had to climb over a fence to get in. Kevin watched the Roses' Gary Mounfield play bass with such panache that he immediately rushed out afterwards and bought a bass guitar himself. The rest of the members followed suit and bought the necessary equipment to complete a band. (Though by this time, Neil (a.k.a "Nelly"), had been playing the guitar since his early teens as a Van Halen fan, originally plying his trade in the cellars of Woodley Methodist Church, near where he lived.) The other band members had little to no musical experience or training. It was decided when choosing roles that James would sing; Neil took guitar, and Anthony took drums.
Through much practice their music developed and they decided on the name Puressence, a name instantly identified by most Mancunians for the paper letters 'P'-'U'-'R'-'E'-'S'-'S'-'E'-'N'-'C'-'E', which were notoriously plastered around Manchester city centre, on derelict buildings, and on bridges (the most famous being the railway bridge opposite the Haçienda). Manchester indie label 2 Damn Loud released two singles and there was a further single with Rough Trade Singles Club. But the big breakthrough came a couple of years later, when the band signed to Island Records. Shortly after Planet Helpless was released, Puressence left its record company after they were advised "We need you to sound more like Savage Garden." In August 2003, after more than 12 years with Puressence, guitarist and founder member McDonald left the band. He was replaced by Lowell Killen, who is originally from the Isle of Man. He has played in other bands and left Manchester band Dry Riser to join Puressence.
In 2006, the band released a single titled Palisades on new Manchester label Reaction, followed by an album, Don't Forget To Remember, in September 2007.
On September 10-11, 2008 Puressence played their first shows in the USA. The first was at the Mercury Lounge in Soho. The next night they played the Apple Store in Soho. The band was well received. The opening song at the Mercury Lounge was "I Suppose" They passed out free CD singles of "Don't Know Any Better" to many hardcore fans from around the States.
Puressence were supported by NO*TOKYO for their New Years Eve Special in 2008.
Early singles (1992-93)
Prior to releasing these albums, Puressence released 2 singles and an EP. First the double A-side "Siamese"/"Scapa Flow" was released through Rough Trade. Then followed the EPs Petrol Skin and Offshore, both released through 2 Damn Loud Records.
- "Siamese" (Rough Trade) June 1992
- "Scapa Flow"
- Petrol Skin EP (2 Damn Loud Records) 6 July 1992
- "Suck The Knife"
- "Polystyrene Snow"
- "Petrol Skin"
- Offshore EP (2 Damn Loud) 19 April 1993
- "None Handed (demo)"
Toby Chalmers of Island Records evidently saw enough potential to offer them a recording contract. Support slots to local favourites Marion introduced them to new supporters.
In May 1995, the band released the "I Suppose" single on Island without chart success. A few months later they returned with the "Fire" single, which again failed to sell. The tracks though did herald Puressence's self-titled debut album, which won rave reviews and was often compared to Radiohead's "The Bends" and early U2 on its release in April 1996.
The album also produced 3 more non-charting singles, "India", "Traffic Jam In Memory Lane" and "Casting Lazy Shadows." (The album only contained ten tracks, of which they had released five as singles.)
Only Forever (1998)
The album displayed a shift in Puressence's style. It captured the group in a more positive, lighter, chart-friendly mood, achieving astounding, often anthemic results. Mani, bassist for the Stone Roses and Primal Scream, appeared as producer on "Standing In Your Shadow."
"This Feeling" proved to be a hit for the band, when it reached number 33 in the UK Charts, helping the band appear on shows like TFI Friday and Soccer AM. Radio One DJ Simon Mayo made this his single of the week and it received airplay on numerous radio stations around the UK. The second single "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" fell just short of the top 40. But the third single "All I Want" scraped in at #39, its second CD was joined as a double A-side with "Never Be The Same Again."
The album peaked in the UK Albums Chart at #36.
Planet Helpless (2002)
Planet Helpless failed to make the UK album chart, it did enjoy success in Greece (No. 4 in the album charts) and heralded a number of gigs, mainly in Manchester. Perhaps the lack of chart success and exposure the album, led to the band sacking their manager and choosing to leave Island Records in February 2002.
Planet Helpless, due to the ongoing problems with the record company, released only one single. "Walking Dead" gave the band its third top 40 hit. The video included Mani and Bez (Happy Mondays). "She's Gotten Over You" was planned as the next single but failed to be released.
Line-up and label changes
In August 2003, after more than 12 years with Puressence, guitarist and founding member McDonald left the band. He was replaced by Lowell Killen. Puressence decided to leave Island Records. They played many gigs through out 2003 in support of the album Planet Helpless. In the summer of 2003 they also played in The Move Festival in Manchester's Old Trafford Cricket ground, and supported Suede in Greece.
Island/Universal are releasing a "best of" album in Europe; initial copies will include a live CD recorded in Greece in 2002.
The group’s first U.S. offering was a compilation of songs from the band’s first three albums.
Don't Forget To Remember (2007)
Puressence's fourth album, entitled Don't Forget To Remember, was recorded at Revolution studios in Manchester and produced by Andy Macpherson. The album was released on 24 September 2007.
Despite failing to chart, the album beat off more high profile releases to be voted Best Album By A Manchester Artist in the Pride Of Manchester Awards 2008.
The album was then chosen by U.S. iTunes to launch their new homepage feature, ‘Editors Choice’ in February 2008. Within a week the album entered U.S. iTunes’ Top 40.
The album was also a great success in Greece; remaining in the Top 10 for several weeks. Originally appearing as a soft release in 2007, it was announced that Don’t Forget to Remember got a wide release on 16 June.
|Date||Album||UK Albums Chart||Greece Albums Chart|
|August 1998||Only Forever||36||-|
|October 2002||Planet Helpless||-||4|
|September 2007||Don't Forget To Remember||-||7|
|Year||Song||UK Singles Chart||UK Indie singles||Album|
|1992||"Siamese" / "Scapa Flow"||-||-||-|
|"Petrol Skin EP"||-||-||Petrol Skin EP|
|"Traffic Jam in Memory Lane"||-||-|
|"Casting Lazy Shadows"||-||-|
|1998||"This Feeling"||33||-||Only Forever|
|"It Doesn't Matter Anymore"||47||-|
|"All I Want"||39||-|
|"All I Want" / "Never Be the Same Again"||39||-|
|2002||"Walking Dead"||40||-||Planet Helpless|
|2006||"Palisades" / "Moonbeam"||-||5||Don't Forget to Remember|
|2007||"Drop Down to Earth"||56||-|
|2008||"Don't Know Any Better"||-||-|
- "Standing In Your Shadow" featured in the end titles of the British crime film Face.
- "Walking Dead" is in the Eidos game Hitman: Contracts.
- "Make Time" is in the Dennis Hopper film Out Of Season.
- "Walking Dead" was used for a while by Sky Sports in 2005. It was background music when the football scores were being read at the end of the night after screening live premiership games
Biography from Wikipedia