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Kenickie were an English four-piece pop punk band from Sunderland. The band was formed in 1994 and consisted of lead vocalist, guitarist and lyricist Lauren Laverne (b. Lauren Gofton), drummer Johnny X (real name Pete Gofton, Lauren's brother), lead guitarist and occasional lead vocalist Marie du Santiago (b. Anne Marie Nixon) and bass guitarist Emmy-Kate Montrose (b. Emma Jackson). The band's name comes from their favourite character in the 1970s film Grease.
|Genres||Britpop, alternative rock, pop punk, power pop, indie pop|
|Labels||Slampt, Fierce Panda, EMIdisc, Warner Bros.|
|Past members||Lauren Laverne|
Marie du Santiago
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By the time Catsuit City (1995) was released on Slampt, Kenickie declined an offer by Alan McGee to sign to Creation. The band opened the bill for the Ramones final UK appearance at the Brixton Academy on 3 February 1996. Following the release of Skillex (1996) on Fierce Panda, Kenickie signed to Saint Etienne's EMI subsidiary, EMIDisc. Kenickie registered in the UK Singles Chart, their highest position being No. 24 with the single "In Your Car", which opened Top of the Pops on the 10 January 1997 edition. Their debut album At The Club, peaked at No. 9 in the UK Albums Chart in May 1997. Kenickie also contributed a song to the Gary Numan tribute album Random, released in June that year. That summer, they were scheduled to play Glastonbury; their set was postponed, due to rain, but took place later on the scheduled day.
After meeting them in New York, Courtney Love said:
They're a big bunch of sex, that band Kenickie. They're a big, raw-boned bunch of fucking sex — all three of them and the boy. I hope they get good. I hope we're a good example to them, I hope this record's huge and then the big labels will start sniffing around and then those big fucking raw-boned sexy Newcastle (sic) girls will be huge and have Number Ones and there will be an Amazon planet the way I want it.
The band's second album, Get In appeared in 1998. It was well-received in the music press (NME generally praised the album while Melody Maker rated it 8/10), but sold less well. Johnny X, who now referred to himself as Pete X, moved to guitar, with the live band augmented by Graham Christie (later of Data Panik) on drums and Dot Allen on keyboards.
Kenickie disbanded on 15 October 1998 after a London Astoria gig, where Lauren closed the night by saying "We were Kenickie ... a bunch of fuckwits".
Lauren Laverne released one solo EP, and sang on the 2000 Mint Royale single, "Don't Falter", which reached No. 15 in the UK chart. Laverne also was an uncredited vocalist on The Divine Comedy's 2004 single "Come Home Billy Bird" which reached No. 25 in the same chart. Since then she has presented various radio shows on radio station Xfm, most notably the breakfast show, before quitting in April 2007. She has also moved into television, originally as a guest on early episodes of music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks. She earned her own weekly spot on Channel 4 music show Planet Pop and became presenter, with Myleene Klass, of ITV music programme cd:uk in 2005, and hosted Channel 4's music show Transmission with Steve Jones in 2006 and 2007. She is currently lead host of BBC 2's The Culture Show and has her own daily radio show on BBC 6 Music, as well as occasionally deputising for holidaying presenters on BBC Radio 2. She co-hosted Channel 4 show, 10 O'Clock Live, with David Mitchell, Jimmy Carr and Charlie Brooker. In 2018, she became the host of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.
Du Santiago and Montrose went on to form a new band called Rosita, and released two singles before splitting up. Du Santiago - as Marie Nixon - is now a member of The Cornshed Sisters and former head of communications for the Northern region of the Arts Council. In Autumn 2012, she took up position as Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland Students' Union. Montrose completed a PhD in sociology in 2010 at Goldsmiths University. After some time as a research fellow in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow, she returned to Goldsmiths in January 2015 as a lecturer in the Department of Sociology
Kenickie have been credited as having inspired a wave of mainstream female guitar bands that emerged in the wake of their split, including 21st Century Girls, Hepburn and Thunderbugs. At around the same time they also were a cited influence on a generation of female alternative bands, such as Chicks, Angelica, Cheetara (who covered Come Out 2Nite) and Vyvyan, many of them associated with the Club Rampage "Bratpop" scene.
- Mackay, Emily (22 September 2015). "Cult heroes: Kenickie were a glitter-smeared chance not taken". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 299. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
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- "Kirsty Young to take time out from Desert Island Discs". BBC News. 30 August 2018.
- "The Cornshed Sisters - Memphis Industries". Memphis-industries.com. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
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- "Dr Emma Jackson". University of Glasgow. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
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- Teenage Rampage (Bratpop special cover feature), Melody Maker, 15 August 1998, pp. 20–22