Stress Jingle/Station ID #22: Helios Creed

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Helios Creed is a guitarist and vocalist who first came to prominence in the mid-1970s with the band Chrome. Chrome's amalgam of distorted guitars and vocals, samples from TV, and a raw punk aesthetic (inspired by the Stooges) became much more popular in the early 90s than it ever was while the band was around in the 70s and 80s. They're often credited with being one of the originators of what later became known as industrial rock. Their music was often coarse and featured heavy elements of feedback and processed sound which created a kind of sci-fi punk style.

Chrome was formed in 1975 by Damon Edge and Gary Spain in San Francisco. After recording their debut, Visitation, Helios Creed joined the band on lead guitar. The new album, Alien Soundtracks, marked the true genesis of the Chrome sound. Creed's grinding guitar attack and Edge's tape manipulation would characterize the band's sound for years to come. Creed has said that he invented his trademark guitar style, while trying to replicate the sound he heard in his head while "listening to Black Sabbath on LSD on headphones."

Their third studio album, Half Machine Lip Moves, continued in the same vein but heavier, with Creed's feedback guitar to the fore. It remains as one of their best known works, and was included in The Wire's list of "100 Records That Set The World On Fire (While No One Was Listening)". In 1980 Chrome was signed by major label Beggars Banquet, where they released Red Exposure. The album marked a move away from the more frenetic style of the previous works, with more use of drum machines and synthesizers. After three more records, the band broke up when Damon Edge moved to Paris. He continued releasing albums under the Chrome moniker, until his death in 1995.

After Chrome, Helios recruited some local hard rock musicians and launched a solo career. He has also released two ambient records under the name Dark Matter. A Helios Creed-led version of Chrome released a series of albums and toured between 1997 and 2001. He's currently working on a new Chrome album, and has just released a much praised collection of unreleased music called Half Machine from the Sun, The Lost Chrome Tracks from '79-'80.

"Chrome has not easily asserted its place in rock 'n' roll history (...) But damn me, if it ain't still a glorious rush of sound with which to clear the 21st century custard."
Julian Cope, CHROMEOLOGY


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