You might remember a while ago when I did a blog piece about Bananarama, which I think will always be my favourite of all of them. And this was followed by when I found a picture of Brix Smith in a pub rather close to where I live in London. I walked past this pub again recently, and I did really get a buzz when I wondered how many other fancy people might have been in there.
So I thought that it might be worth finding out more about Brix’s career, as along with the Bananas she knew a thing or two about having hits in the 80s as well. Brix was born in America in 1962, and came to England in 1983, at which point she joined The Fall with her first husband. Now this is a group that I’m sure mean a lot to many people, but I thought that I would concentrate on her side project, where she was the frontwoman.
The Adult Net formed in 1984, and featured various musicians, who had been in other groups, including The Smiths and The The. Their first singles were released in 1985, including a cover of Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense And Peppermints”. In September 1986, “Waking Up In The Sun” became their first single to make the Top 100. Brix was also known at this time for her black-and-white “skunk” hairstyle.
Also around this time, Brix appeared alongside members of The Fall and New Order in the rather bizarre video of Tom Watt’s cover of “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. By this point, EastEnders had been on BBC1 for just over a year and had become hugely popular with viewers, and some of the cast members, including Watt who played Lofty, took the opportunity to launch pop careers.
I don’t know what his motivation was to cover this famous song, or how all these musicians seemed to be his mates, and unsurprisingly this wasn’t a hit, but it was still much more interesting than “Every Loser Wins”. The Adult Net returned in March 1989, with “Take Me”, which narrowly missed the Top 75. Their only chart success came in June 1989 with a cover of 60s song “Where Were You”, which reached no. 66.
In July 1989 their only album “The Honey Tangle” was released but wasn’t a hit, although this seemed to go down well with critics, who described their sound as coming somewhere between Blondie and The Bangles, and some now consider Brix to essentially be the 80s equivalent of Courtney Love. Then in August 1989 a rerecording of “Waking Up In The Sun” just made the Top 100 like the original.
By this point, Brix had also achieved the four-timer of appearing on the cover of all of the weekly indie music magazines around at the time (Melody Maker, NME, Record Mirror, and Sounds), along with Time Out, and she was also interviewed about her music on a few late-night TV shows. The Adult Net split in 1990, by which time Brix had also left The Fall.
Brix then went off to get involved in the fashion industry with her second husband, and they had a shop in Shoreditch for a while. In more recent years Brix released her memoir, she briefly appeared in the Absolutely Fabulous film, and also formed a new group, who might be coming to a pub near you soon. And best of all, Brix has appeared twice on Pointless, once on a fashion special, and once on a music special, but she didn’t make the final on either occasion.