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“A Heavy Metal Glam, Punk Sleaze outfit …” (NME 1983)

Specimen has always been glam children that grew up through punk, and dressed to provoke. In the post-Blitz period of the London scene, the Batcave invited its audience to an environment, which promised there would be no funk!

Specimen was formed in Bristol, England in 1981. Jon Klein was recovering from a near fatal accident, whilst Ollie Wisdom had just returned from 9 months in central Africa, so they shared a mutual disregard for danger, reflected in their ‘unorthodox’ dress sense; one that never failed to gain interesting reactions from the London Police force.

Having been banned from clubs like Dingwalls for not having a Rock’n’Roll attitude, they decided a new kind of assault was required on the London Gig scene. In 1982 they opened the Batcave club, every Wednesday night in a sleazy club in London’s Soho district. The club, an immediate success, was dressed up like a Fuzzelli nightmare and featured macabre cabaret, old super 8 film classics and performances by everyone from the Alien Sex Fiend to Marc Almond. The Batcave signified a cheeky take on what was later to be branded Goth, sporting slogans such as “I’m wearing DARK underpants” as well as the more traditional “Blasphemy, Lechery and Blood,” the later would be emblazoned across the inside sleeve of the Batcave album.

In 1983, having discovered Jonny Slut at the Batcave and stolen many of their girlfriends clothes, Specimen took the club to New York, where 2 floors of the Danceteria were transformed into a hellish maze of 3D sets, filled with dry ice and special effects. A deal with Sire Records, and a chaotic eventful tour followed, occasionally ending up at gunpoint, after asking the question “are you man enough to wear make up?”

By 1984 “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” had become a well-known dance floor favourite, but problems between the band and labels had impacted on the band, and soon there would be a friendly split in the key members. Ollie played some shows as Specimen in the USA, before moving into the trance market, Jon played guitar for Siouxsie and the Banshees, whilst Jonny Slut teamed up with Adamski, before eventually becoming an electro DJ.

In January 2006 Jon Klein was invited to guest on a show in San Francisco, featuring ex-Specimen members Tim Huthert and Kimba, as well as the dreadlocked demon T.bias and Stephan X. The show went under the name of “Azoic” and a deal was offered there and then. Jon wanted to include collaborations with new friends as well as old, and the resulting album takes a journey through the music that influenced the band, the scenes that resulted, as well as the different paths they have each travelled along… So it’s no surprise that there remains more than a hint of “Metal Glam Punk Sleaze.”

Electric Ballroom was released by Metropolis Records in June 2007.

On July 11th, 2008 the original Specimen line-up from 1983 (Olli Wisdom, Jon Klein, Kevin Mills, Jonny Slut, & Chris Bell) appeared live at the BATCAVE club in London (Club Antichrist) along with Sex Gang Children and DJ Hamish. To mark this special event, the live show was recorded and released as Alive At The Batcave.