Sunday, March 08, 2009

What happened to Janus Stark?

Question: Do you think as a band janus stark were always going to fail? simply because of the involvement in the prodigy of gizz, also from what ive read in interviews with both parties the wildhearts were trying to recruit him at that point as well, so was it outside factors that effectivly killed the band? From:

Answer: In a word- yes.The weight of expectation on Janus Stark was too much, because of his Prodigy connections, the pressure for success on the band, especially in America, where they were licensed to a Major (Trauma/MCA), was much higher than any normal band, and they failed to live up to the hype.

Gizz Butt is a legend in the UK punk & metal scenes, but in the history of the Earache label, Janus Stark barely warrant a footnote, their fame was short-lived and time has not been kind to them over the years.We sell no records, and they only have questions on this blog,I guess by people retrospectively taking an interest in Gizz's Prodigy connection,or getting into his excellent new band The More I See and working backwards, which is fair enough.

In 1997 or so, Earache signed UK punk stalwarts English Dogs, the original punk band were big news in the 80's, first as a brickwall Hardcore punk act then later as a more metallised speed metal band which put out a classic album on Under One Flag/Music For Nations, the UK label which had released Metallica and Anthrax earlier in the decade.

By late 90's English Dogs had mutated once again, now a power trio, and led by Gizz,they were by this point playing extremely catchy hard edged pop-punk, a demo tape caught our attention so we signed the band. Almost as the ink was drying on the contract, Gizz informed us of a phone call he'd received out of the blue from Liam Howlett, who offered him the job as live on-stage guitarist for The Prodigy, I think his first gig was headlining Glastonbury Festival within a few weeks.

Events moved at lightning pace, because we signed the band as an fairly smallish punk band, yet within weeks their leader was onstage with the biggest band in the world, as the Prodigy were selling millions of copies of 'Fat of the Land' album at the time.
No one had any complaints, we all agreed we'd sit it out and record the album later, by sheer chance it semmed a foolproof way to promote the new band we'd signed.
We registered the name of the band, but to our surprise the word "English" cannot be registered unless you are given royal seal of approval, so the band quickly changed their name to Janus Stark - it was also to give them a break from the past, and a stab at a fresh fanbase since thousands of Prodigy fans were getting the buzz about Gizz.

Also catching the buzz was LA label Trauma Records which had had huge success putting out No Doubt and Bush.Trauma was bankrolled by MCA, which meant a very lucrative deal was able to be struck. Trauma's promotion of the band in USA took the driving seat, eclipsing what was happening in the UK- the major scored the band an alternative radio hit in USA and their music was featured heavily in a movie stateside too-in Varsity Blues they shared the soundtrack with heavyweights like AC/DC, Green Day, Van Halen and Offspring.The band gained a level of fame in USA but were unable to seal it with a tour because of Gizz's commitments to the Prodigy, who were busy touring the world's stadiums.

Ultimately when the band did undertake a US tour with Trauma label-mates The Flys, the moment had passed and even though it was a successful tour, it did'nt propell the band into the major leagues, leaving the label disappointed at the poor eventual CD sales.

Trauma suffered legal complications of their own due to Gwen Stefani's solo career taking off, meaning Janus Stark fell off their radar. Trauma declined to pick up the option and at that point Earache's interest faded too.Janus Stark split soon after.

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