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Stephen Thrower

Related: exploitation film - UK


born in Ashton-Under-Lyme, Manchester, UK
December 9, 1963
Andrew Stephens
currently lives in London, UK
Fulltime member, Cyclobe

Former member, Coil, Possession, Satin Chickens, Put Put, Identical, Skullflower.
Author and horror film expert.
Guest member, Matmos, COH, Amal Gamal Ensemble

Adopted 1964 and re-named Stephen Thrower. Brought up in Yorkshire (apart from two years in Cheshire, directly beside the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope). Schooled in various comprehensives: Marsden, Kinsley and Hemsworth.

In 1980, he formed Possession with Victor Watkins and Anna Virgina War (aka Ultrasound's Tiny, now recording as SIREN). They released one album: The Thin White Arms, Obtusely Angled At The Elbow, Methodically Dipping And Emerging (A-Mission, 1984), and a number of compilation tracks.

Thrower made contact with Throbbing Gristle by letter in 1979 and followed up his interest in the particular contribution of Peter Christopherson after learning that he and John Balance had left Psychic TV to found their own group, Coil. An exchange of letters exposed many shared interests and Thrower was soon invited to join them in the studio to record tracks for the first Coil album, Scatology (co-writing the tracks At The Heart Of It All and Solar Lodge). He moved to London in the summer of 1985, eventually leaving Possession and joining Coil full-time, beginning with their second album Horse Rotorvator and continuing with Gold is the Metal..., the Angelic Conversation soundtrack and The Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser. At the same time, Thrower became good friends with film-maker Derek Jarman, appearing in his films Imagining October, The Last of England and (fleetingly) Caravaggio. Then came Coil's Love's Secret Domain - a long period of heightened creativity and escalating excess for all concerned.

From 1987-89 Thrower wrote for the British cult film magazine Shock Xpress, edited by Skullflower/Ascension guitarist Stefan Jaworzyn. (Thrower, Jaworzyn and Savage Pencil/Edwin Pouncey would record a 7" EP together as Satin Chickens in 1992). When Shock Xpress folded, he began his own film journal - Eyeball: The European Sex and Horror Review - first published in 1989. It was the beginning of his parallel career as a writer on cult and avant-garde cinema. Eyeball would feature interviews with such legendary film-makers as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Paul Morrissey and Andrzej Zulawski, as well as contributions from other critics, and guests including Britain's foremost writer of horror fiction, Ramsey Campbell, underground film-maker Anna Thew, and the British film and documentary maker Ron Peck (Thrower appears briefly in Peck's Empire State).

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the LSD sessions, relations between Thrower, Balance and Christopherson were becoming strained. Following minimal contribution to the album Stolen and Contaminated Songs (the track Wrim Wram Wrom is his last Coil recording) Thrower left the group in 1993.

Between 1990-1997 he played live and recorded with two other groups. Identical were a three-piece comprising Thrower (reeds), Gavin Mitchell (brass) and Orlando (keyboards). Their idiosyncratic live music (a combination of jazz and electronics) led to recordings being commissioned for performance artist Franko B and for Anna Thew's controversial Cling Film, commissioned by Channel 4 in 1993 and then censored on transmission due to the film's abundance of erect penises. Put Put, a band formed by These Records¹ Andy and Howard Jacques, featured Thrower once again on sax and clarinet, with Andy Diagram on trumpet against the Jacques¹ rhythm section. Successive gigs built a dense wall of sound, captured for posterity on the Blast First compilation Three Fingers and a Fumb (sic). Studio recordings involving avant-garde composer/collagist John Wall developed a less rhythmic approach (see The Ash International compilation Mesmer Variations), culminating in a day-long show at The Beaconsfield Gallery in 1997, featuring Put Put in association with Bruce Gilbert and Panasonic.

At the same time as the split with Coil in 1993, Thrower met Simon Norris - their close and enduring friendship continues to this day. After ceasing other musical commitments, the pair began work on what was to become the first Cyclobe album, Luminous Darkness, released in 1999. Also completed in 1999, after five years of writing and research, was Thrower's first book, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, published to positive acclaim and hailed as the final word on the Italian director's career. --http://www.brainwashed.com/common/htdocs/biog/throwers.html [Nov 2005]

  • Eyeball Compendium (2003) - Stephen Edward Thrower [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Editor of one of the smartest and most stylish magazines on alternative, cult and art cinema since 1989, Stephen Thrower now brings readers a complete collection of every issue of the hugely influential EYEBALL - plus a vast amount of new material - all in one affordable, fully illustrated book. Contents include: interviews with Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michele Soavi, Andrzej Zulawski, Ulli Lommel and many more; features on Argento, Fulci, Avati, Cronenberg, Freda, Warhol and more; plus reviews from writers such as Ramsey Campbell, Alan Jones and Kim Newman. In b/w. --Book Description via Amazon.com

    Hot on the heels of the FAB Compendium, reviewed elsewhere on this site, comes this collection of high points from Eyeball magazine. Eyeball was probably my favourite film magazine during its erratic run: during a recent house move they were the only film magazines I took out of storage. Nowhere else would you be likely to find references to Foucault, Fellini and Fulci on the same page, the magazine marrying a love of exploitation and art cinema that probably alienated many readers. Not that editor Stephen Thrower - an ex-member of Coil, and currently half of Cyclobe - appeared to care: running three pieces on Andrzej Zulawski, director of the mind-reaming Possession, in three consecutive issues demonstrated that the magazine's obsessions weren't about to be compromised by issues of popularity or accessibility.

    The book contains pretty much all the material from the magazines, save for Fulci and Argento-related essays that have found their way into other FAB books, and also comes with a few new pieces, notably an interview with Gaspar Noe (Seul Contre Tous, Irreversible) and a handful of Stephen Thrower's reviews from Delirium magazine and Shock Xpress. The accent is on the European and fairly marginal - it's not that easy to see the films of Pupi Avati or Juraj Herz in the UK, after all - and the writing tends towards a more academic tone than you'd find in most other genre magazines, but if you expect more from fan writing than slavish drooling over some Italian gut-munching zombie epic, this will probably come as a welcome change. Actually, given that Thrower has written an entire book on Lucio Fulci (a mystifying obsession to my mind), maybe that's not such a good example …

    As with the FAB Compendium, it's handy to have the content of the magazines in book form - it'll last longer, for a start - but I have to say that I prefer the look of the original magazines, not least because of the impeccably designed covers. I also preferred the mixture of interviews, features and reviews in the magazines themselves, something lost in the book as it lumps all the interviews etc together. And it's sad that this should be the swan song for the magazine - I'd far rather have seen another issue of all-new material. Maybe the editor can be coerced into doing an Eyeball book every few years or so, although given the speed psychosis he tells us accompanied some of the original run, it might not be an area he's keen to go back to.

    Still, given that the publication of this book probably means that the magazines themselves won't be reprinted again, if you haven't seen Eyeball before, like intelligent film writing and see no reason why you can't like Performance, Tenebrae and Don't Go in the House, it's an essential item. --James Marriott via http://www.blackstarreview.com/rev-0143.html [Nov 2005]

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