SEE ALSO: 'FATAL' MICROBES
Destined to go down in punk history as one of its biggest sell-outs, in the space of three years Honey Bane went from associating with Crass and Poison Girls to tarting herself up as some kind of pop strumpet for Jimmy Pursey at EMI. Quite a leap.
She was in her mid-teens and living in a care home when she became lead singer of the wonderful 'Fatal' Microbes. Their one single Violence Grows was/is a delightfully assertive, snotty and memorable little record, earmarking Bane (real name Donna Tracy) as a unique and interesting voice to watch out for. I've heard this creepy reggae-inflected marvel compared to 'The End', which is actually quite close to the mark.
Her first solo single, the disdainful You Can Be You EP was issued on Crass records in late 1979 and musical backing was provided by the Kebabs, who actually turned out to everybody's favourite Epping Forest anarchists. The three cuts were certainly Crass-sounding, but with Bane's bright screechy vocals on top. The A Side can be found on the Crass Records compilation A-Sides (Part 1. 1979/1982) but as it hung around the indie charts for a full year, shouldn't be too tricky to locate on vinyl.
A reggaefied second single single, Guilty (backed by an ominous dub version) came in a sleeve with a picture of Jesus Christ crucified on a telephone pole and cemented her reputation for writing interesting pop-punk numbers with chips on their shoulders. Given her upbringing, this isn't surprising. Maybe for that reason her subsequent signing to EMI under Pursey's wing wasn't either, but her singles for that label have absolutely nothing even remotely interesting to offer, apart from the bouncy Turn Me On Turn Me Off - and even then Pursey's pretentiousness is stamped all over it (the cover states "A JIMMY PURSEY PRODUCTION", as if he's Phil Spector) – and Jimmy... (Listen To Me), which doesn't appear to be about Jim Sham but is a decent piece of pop anyway. The rest consists of dire cover versions and Toyah-gone-wrong rubbish. A shame.
For the record, she also sang guest vocals on the Angelic Upstarts' 2,000,000 Voices album in 1981, dated Mickey Geggus of the Cockney Rejects and, as of the year 2002, sang in a "melodic alternative metal band" called Dogs Tooth Violet. She also had a minor acting career (the girls-in-prison film Scrubbers, In 1980, a co-starring role with Richard Jobson of Skids in the play Demonstration of Affection) and paid her rent for the rests of the decade by showing her naughty bits for nudie mags. In 2006 issued a new single, Down Thing.
Singles / Albums
|You Can Be You
|Guilty/Dub (7", 1980)||Turn Me On Turn Me Off (7"/2x7", 1981)||Baby Love
|Jimmy... (Listen To Me) (7", 1981)|
|Wish I Could Be Me (7"/12", 1982)||Dizzy Dreamers
|Guilty (Dub) (12", split with Malaria, 2003)|
1984 And All That... UK Tape 1980s (no label): Boring Conversations
Zonophone Records: The Complete Punk Singles Collection UK CD 1997 (Anagram): Turn Me On Turn Me Off / Jimmy (Listen To Me)