Biography All Music GuideWikipedia
All Music Guide:
Early proponents of what later became the 4AD sound, Dif Juz concentrated on just that, lacking a vocalist on all their recordings except for a guest spot or two by the Cocteau Twins' Liz Fraser. Originally formed as the punk band London Pride by brothers Dave and Alan Curtis, the band included bassist Gary Bromley and drummer Richie Thomas by the release of two EPs for 4AD Records in 1981, Huremics and Vibrating Air. Both works contained textured instrumentals with a wispy, barely there feel which became a cottage industry for 4AD -- ten years later. A third EP in 1983 (Who Says So?) saw Dif Juz recording for the Red Flame label, and the band's 1985 debut album appeared on Pleasantly Surprised Records. The cassette-only Time Clock Turn Back consisted of extemporaneous vamps recorded live in the studio, and spawned a reunion with 4AD.
The first Dif Juz LP released on 4AD, 1985's Extractions, was much less ambient (though just as moody) than their previous works. It also contained the first vocal on a Dif Juz record, by the Cocteaus' Liz Fraser; her bandmate Robin Guthrie produced the album. Dif Juz toured with the Cocteau Twins during 1985 and released the mini-album Out of the Trees a year later, but then wasted away. Thomas later worked with both the Jesus & Mary Chain and Butterfly Child, while Dave Curtis joined the Wolfgang Press.
Dif Juz were an English instrumental post-punk band, formed in London in 1980 and remaining active until 1986. The band comprised Dave Curtis (guitar), Alan Curtis (guitar), Gary Bromley (bass guitar) and Richard Thomas (percussion and saxophone).
Dif Juz band developed out of the punk band London Pride that was formed by the Curtis brothers. In late 1979, Alan Curtis was involved with new wave band Duran Duran. He apparently disappeared and missed a particularly volatile gig after the band hired the owners of the Birmingham Rum Runner nightclub as managers. In a 2003 interview, John Taylor (bass guitarist for Duran Duran) said "straight away Alan Curtis skipped town, thinking getting involved with two nightclub owners meant he would end up in pieces down a city alleyway."
Following Alan Curtis' return to London, he resumed his collaboration with his brother Dave and Richard Thomas (all of whom played in London Pride) and was joined by Gary Bromley. They determined to create something new and different. The name Dif Juz was adopted as a play on "different jazz".
Dave Curtis was a trained classical guitarist, Alan Curtis's guitar play was self-taught and innovative, Richard Thomas had a thirst for mastering wind instruments and production values and Gary Bromley's bass play, whilst honed in West London, could have found home in Kingston, Jamaica. The resulting soundscape was dense, atmospheric and spacious, driven by pounding bass lines and rhythm.
The band signed to label 4AD, and a demo was played by John Peel. The band performed a number of inspiring gigs in the London area in 1981, most notably at the Moonlight Club in West Hampstead and at the Ealing Town Hall. The band's debut album with the label, Extractions, was released in 1985. It reached No. 11 on the UK Indie Chart.
The band befriended fellow labelmates Cocteau Twins, collaborating closely (Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie produced several of their recordings, vocalist Elizabeth Fraser sang on "Love Insane" from the album Extractions and Dif Juz member Richard Thomas played saxophone and tabla on Cocteau Twins' 1985 album Victorialand) and, on occasion, touring and playing together at the Saddlers Wells Theatre. Cocteau Twins bass player Simon Raymonde was quoted as commenting that Dif Juz were the "best live band I've ever seen".
Although the band was mainly instrumental, they also occasionally worked with a vocalist from North London, Hollis Chambers.
At one point they served as a backing band for reggae/dub luminary Lee Scratch Perry for a few live dates. A studio album of this collaboration was recorded with Robin Guthrie as producer, but the album was never released and sits unheard in the 4AD vaults. There is currently some debate as to why. 4AD's current stance is that the Curtis brothers never really appreciated the results. However, Dave Curtis has stated that he believes it's "the best thing Dif Juz ever did".
The band never officially disbanded. However, due to health issues, neither Dave Curtis nor Gary Bromley were able to devote the time needed to the band, and this led to a "slow dissolve". For a time, the band continued with bass player Scott Rodger who performed recorded with the band on "Out of The Trees" and subsequent touring, but the spark seemed to be diminishing. The final step to dissolution occurred when Richard Thomas became a touring drummer for The Jesus and Mary Chain.
4AD manager Ivo Watts-Russell said that he "expected these most individual of individuals to work together again at some point", but this never happened.
Richard Thomas has also worked with Butterfly Child, Moose, Cocteau Twins, The Wolfgang Press and April March. Gary Bromley is currently performing in a band called The Children. Dave Curtis spent some time collaborating with the Wolfgang Press, This Mortal Coil and Tranquil Trucking Company.