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Dubstar tickets

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artist information

Dubstar

Dubstar are a successful British dance-pop band, formed in 1992 by Steve Hillier and Chris Wilkie in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Sarah Blackwood joined in 1993, replacing Steve Hillier on vocals. Although apparently disbanding in 2000, recent reports indicate Dubstar may be reforming for a new album in 2007.

Career

Known as The Joans, Dubstar were initially a two piece band, with Chris Wilkie playing guitar and Steve Hillier singing and playing keyboards. Sarah Blackwood was invited to join the band in August 1993 after her boyfriend accidentally left a cassette tape of her singing in Steve Hillier's flat in Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne . Sarah Blackwood replaced Steve Hillier on vocals in early 1994.

Dubstar appointed Darlington based Record producer and artist manager Graeme Robinson as their manager after Robinson had seen them play in a sparsely attended Newcastle club in March 1994. Robinson renamed the band and provided studio time and produced independent demos of seventeen songs which he brought to the attention of former Sounds journalist, Andy Ross, who promptly signed the band to his Camden based label, Food Records (marketed through EMI UK). Ross engaged the services of The Pet Shop Boys and New Order producer Stephen Hague, to co-produce a number of tracks with Robinson, for their critically acclaimed debut album, Disgraceful (1995), and commissioned an advertising campaign featuring Robert Steel's controversial 'pencil case' artwork.

The album charted well on release in July 1995, and by January 1996 Dubstar had arrived in the Top 20 of the UK Singles Chart with "Not So Manic Now" (writers: Harling, Kirby, Mason, Robinson); followed by a re-released "Stars" (Hillier) which marked Dubstar's UK chart zenith. Hague produced a second album Goodbye (1997) in his upstate New York barn studio. A U.S. album release (also called Goodbye) on Polydor Records, combining tracks from both the first and second albums, was also released in 1998. The third original Dubstar album, Make It Better was released in 2000, with EMI releasing a 'Best of' compilation in 2004.

Dubstar remain best known for their most commercially successful singles "Stars", "No More Talk", "Anywhere" and "Not So Manic Now". "Stars" has been covered by the gothic metal band, Lacuna Coil and by former Bradford healthcare worker and cruise ship entertainer Suzanna Dee.

Sarah Blackwood joined the band Technique with Kate Holmes (wife of Alan McGee) to replace Xan Tyler as singer for a European tour with Depeche Mode in 2002. Holmes renamed Technique as Client shortly after.

In early 2007, statements were released on Dubstar's website and official MySpace page indicating that the group has reformed and is working on new material. According to the MySpace announcement, "in 2007, Dubstar will return with something new. But it's not about pseudo nostalgia, not sexless posturing, not even about the synthesizers and keyboards that dominated the 1990s and sound so tired now. Instead, Dubstar have done something else, something fresh, something...very Dubstar. So standby, this is going to be interesting…"

A brief sample of a new song was provided with "United States of Being" listed as the accompanying album title. No specific information has been released regarding which members of the band have returned or when the new album will be completed, although Steve Hillier has stated on his MySpace he is currently working on new Dubstar material for release in 2007 in an unspecified recording studio in Wales.

Personnel

Sarah Blackwood - Vocalist - born 6 May 1971, Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Steve Hillier - Keyboards - born 14 May 1969, Southampton.

Chris Wilkie - Guitarist - born 25 January 1973, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

Other key people:

• Graeme Robinson - Drums, Songwriter, Producer, Engineer, Manager - 1993-96

• Andy Ross - Food Records MD - 1993-2000

• Stevo - Manager - 1997-98

• Stephen Hague - Producer 1995-97

• Jon Kirby - Keyboards, Songwriter, Studio Musician 1994-95

Discography

Albums

  • Disgraceful (1995)
    • Disgraceful (with remix disc) (1996)
  • Goodbye (1997)
  • Make It Better (2000)
  • Stars - The Best of Dubstar (2004)

Singles

"Stars", the best-selling single by Dubstar, received a wide variety of play time in clubs, and on the radio. Many remixes were also created of this song. "Stars" also allowed Dubstar to achieve American recognition.

  • Dubstar - Stars excerpt (file info) — play in browser (beta)
    • An excerpt from Dubstar's Stars
    • Problems listening to the file? See media help.

The following singles were released in the UK by Dubstar, via Food Records:

  • "Stars" (1995) UK #40
  • "Anywhere" (1995) UK #37
  • "Not So Manic Now" (1995) UK #18
  • "Stars" (re-release) (1996) UK #15
  • "Elevator Song" (1996) UK #25
  • "No More Talk" (1997) UK #20
  • "Cathedral Park" (1997) UK #41
  • "I Will Be Your Girlfriend" (1998) UK #28
  • "I (Friday Night)" (2000) UK #37
  • "The Self Same Thing" (2000) Chart ineligible EP

Exclusive songs

  • "Not So Fast" – Volume Sixteen (1996)
  • "Everyday I Die" – Random, Volume 1: A Gary Numan Tribute (1997)
  • "In Charge" – Shooting Fish Soundtrack (1997)
  • "Jealousy" – Come Again (EMI, UK, 1997) / Essential: Interpretations (Capitol, 1998)