Noko (born Norman Fisher-Jones, 1 February 1962, in Bootle,
Lancashire, England) is an English multi-instrumentalist musician,
composer and producer, has formed and/or played with a number of bands
primarily as a guitarist or bassist. In chronological order they were:
Alvin The Aardvark And The Fuzzy Ants, The Umbrella, The Pete Shelley
Group, The Cure, Luxuria, Apollo 440, Stealth Sonic Soul, Fast,
Maximum Roach, James Maker and
Noko 440 (also known as Frankenstein),
Magazine and Raw Chimp. He continues to play with Apollo 440, Magazine
2 Other appearances
5 External links
In 1980, he formed his first band called Alvin The Aardvark & The
Fuzzy Ants, who played their first gig on 16th January 1981 on After
All That…This, a
Granada TV show presented by Nick Turnbull. Despite
John Peel being a fan of their music, they never released any
material, recording only an unreleased single at Open Eye Studios, in
Liverpool and playing a few gigs in the North-West, most notably
supporting Cabaret Voltaire at Nathan McGough's Plato's Ballroom in
1981, before disbanding the same year.
In 1983 he became involved with three bands. He joined
The Cure as
bassist, playing for some European and UK live–TV dates, and formed
two bands, Dynamo Futurista and The Umbrella. The latter group,
Noko (guitar and vocals), Simon Hoare (drums), Mark
Sanderson (bass) and James Gardner, released a total of three songs
before folding, which were released on an EP called Make Hell (For The
In early 1984, he rejoined
The Cure as bassist, that time as
replacement of Phil Thornalley, who was not available. The same year,
he was seen in Pete Shelley's The
Pete Shelley Group, on bass,
replacing Barry Adamson, who left to join Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
and then again in 1986 on guitar in a later line-up of the group until
the association with the ex-
Buzzcocks member got
Noko the attention of
Howard Devoto. There are many myths ranking around how exactly the
first meeting took place, ranging from absurdly comical to realistic,
most of which were distributed freely in interviews by the two
themselves, but regardless which of these holds truth, the two came
together to form the band Luxuria in 1986.
Founder Buzzcock and Magazine frontman, Howard Devoto, started writing
Noko in 1986 with a view to putting a band together to play
Factory Records' Festival of the 10th Summer at G-Mex stadium in
Manchester that summer to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Punk.
They played a short set as Adultery, borrowing backline from The
Noko also played a set with
Pete Shelley at the same gig in a
line-up that also included ex Magazine drummer John Doyle).
The line-up for that Adultery show was:
Howard Devoto – vocals, Noko
– lead guitar/viola, Leroy James – keyboards/2nd guitar, Pete
Kinski – bass, Simon Hoare – drums. Signing to Beggars Banquet in
1987 and deciding on the name Luxuria, Devoto and
Noko released two
LPs: Unanswerable Lust (1988) and Beastbox (1990) and toured Europe
and USA throughout 1988 with a line-up of Devoto and
vocals/guitars and viola as usual and Karl Leiker – bass, Mark
Rowlett – Drums/Sequential Studio 440, James Gardner – keyboards,
programming, Frog – guitar/keyboards. The final Luxuria gig at The
Town & Country Club (now the London Forum) in London featured
cameo appearances by
Barry Adamson (bass) on a rendition of Magazine's
"The Light Pours Out of Me" for an encore, and Morrissey, who read a
passage of Marcel Proust's "A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu" over the
intro of "Mademoiselle" before throwing the tattered book into the
crowd as the band kicked into the song. (There is a bootleg recording
of the gig in circulation).
When Luxuria folded in 1990,
Noko got together with school friends,
brothers Trevor Gray and Howard Gray, and James Gardner and formed
The band released a number of singles and EPs on their own
StealthSonic Recordings label: "Lolita" (1990), "Destiny" (1991),
"Blackout" (1992) and "Lolita/Destiny '92" (1992).
Apollo 440 made four albums:
Millennium Fever (1995), ElectroGlide In
Blue (1997), Gettin' High On Your Own Supply (1999), and Dude
Descending A Staircase (2003) on Sony Records. The band have been
playing live in one form or another since their inception in 1990 to
the present day and chronologically the touring line-ups are as
follows: 1990–1992: The band featured all founding members on
keyboards, sequencers and drum machines and MCs Stevie Hyper-D and
Tigga-Max guesting from time to time on vocals.
1993–1995: James Gardner left for New Zealand where he has since
established himself as a prominent composer writing music for his
ensemble 175 East.
Noko moved over to electric guitar and lead vocals,
Trevor Gray on keyboards,
Howard Gray on bass, and ex-Modern Eon
drummer Cliff Hewitt was added to the line-up first on electronic,
then onto acoustic drums. (Kenny Cougar briefly replaced Rej on bass
Noko – guitar, Trevor Gray – keyboards, Howard Gray
– vibe controller/live-mix, Cliff Hewitt – ddrums,
Paul Kodish –
drums, Reinallt Ap Gwynnedd – bass, Mary Byker (ex-Gaye Bykers on
Acid) – lead vocals, Harry-K – DJ/vocals. Simeon Bowring from A1
People replaced Rej on bass for a number of European festivals in
Noko – guitar, Trevor Gray – keyboards, Howard Gray
– vibe controller/live-mix. Cliff Hewitt – drums, Reinallt Ap
Gwynnedd – bass, Ewan MacFarlane – lead vocals, Ashley Krajewski
2008–present: Chuck Sabo briefly replaced Cliff Hewitt on drums in
2008 (and again in 2009) as Cliff had touring commitments with German
artist Schiller; Steve Barney did the same in early 2010 and Mikey
Cusick (who had previously played with
Noko in Maximum Roach from
2004–2005) replaced Rej on bass in 2008 and remains the current
Apollo 440 bassman.
The current 2010
Apollo 440 touring line-up:
Noko – guitar, Trevor
Gray – keyboards,
Howard Gray – vibe controller/live-mix. Cliff
Hewitt – drums, Mikey Cusick – bass/vocals, Ewan MacFarlane –
lead vocals, Ashley Krajewski – MPC/keyboards/vocals.
Noko in a two-man band with James Maker which was at first
called Frankenstein, but was later renamed to James Maker and Noko
440. The band released only one EP via Morrissey's Attack imprint (I'm
Unbearable/Born That Way) and the two musicians parted early 2005
after touring with a full band line-up on Morrissey's European and UK
dates including his Meltdown at the Royal Festival Hall supporting the
newly reformed New York Dolls. That line-up included
Paul Kodish on
drums, Simeon Bowring on bass, and Ashley Krajewski on keyboards.
In November 2008,
Noko was announced as the guitarist of the reformed
Magazine, joining his former collaborators Howard Devoto, Barry
Adamson, John Doyle and Dave Formula.
In February 2009 the band played a handful of concerts across the UK.
It was the first time Magazine had played live together since 1980.
The "Real Life & Thereafter" shows sold out quickly and received
widespread critical acclaim.
In Summer 2009, Magazine played "The Soap Show: Episode 2009" at the
Royal Festival Hall. It was shown in two halves, the first of which
was The Correct Use Of Soap LP in its original running order followed
by the B-sides and the song "Upside Down" which had never been
performed live before. They also played selected European festivals
with a set culled from the "Real Life & Thereafter" tour.
The band rounded off the year's activities with appearances on BBC
TV's "Later – with Jools Holland" and The BBC Electric Proms.
Magazine have released a brand new live DVD and CD, Real Life &
Thereafter: Live at Manchester Academy 17.02.09.
2009 also saw the completion and release of Noko's first full movie
score. Une Affaire D'etat, a French-language political thriller based
on best-selling novel Nos Fantastiques Années Fric by Dominique
Manotti was directed by Éric Valette and stars André Dussollier,
Thierry Frémont and Rachida Brakni. European cinema release was in
October of that year. A soundtrack CD is available on Milan Musique.
2010 also saw the formation of Raw Chimp with
his wife Deborah Fisher-Jones (bass), and Constance Kaler (lead
vocals). Raw Chimp played their live debut that same year at the
Noko also scored Éric Valette's next movie, "La Proie" which was
released in France in April 2011 with worldwide distribution to follow
later in 2012. Another French-language thriller, it was written by
Laurent Turner and the movie's producer Luc Bossi, "La Proie" stars
Albert Dupontel, Alice Taglioni,
Stéphane Debac and Sergi Lopez. It's
a dark high-octane edgy chase movie starting in a prison and
culminating in a tense mountain denouement. The score is essential
orchestral with touches of electronica and a multitude of Noko's
trademark guitar-textures. The soundtrack CD is again available on
Magazine completed their "No Thyself" LP at the end of 2011, the first
new material from the band since 1981's "Magic, Murder and The
Weather", which was released on the Wire-Sound label. The band toured
the UK in November. The LP and tour and BBC radio session were the
first to feature new bass-player Stan White who replaced Barry
Apollo 440's 5th LP "The Future's What It Used To Be" was released at
the beginning of 2012 and the group continue to play live.
Noko stepped in on bass guitar and backing vocals with London
neo-grunge trio Levyathan (previously As Thick As Thieves) alongside
Simon Maxwell on drums and David Norris on guitar and lead vocals. The
band plan to record a debut LP this year and host their regular "Work
The Room" music and alternative cabaret club night at Resistance
Gallery in Bethnal Green, London E2.
In February 2013
Noko and Brad Lee from Discoordinated performed at
Matthew Glamorre's multi-media series of art-happenings, C.R.U.X. at
Zero-One Gallery in Hopkins St. Soho, London W1. They revisited their
2-man version of Roxy Music's classic, "In Every Dream Home A
Heartache" last performed in 2007.
In March 2013
Noko composed and performed his one-man live music score
on electric guitar to Theatre Of Post Eroticism's production of BDSM
Faust : an adaption of Johann Wolfgang Goethe's 1808 "Faust"
(Part 1). There is to be another run of the production in June.
Noko co-wrote/ co-produced some tracks for Japanese "Kill
Bill" superstar guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei's LP "New Beginnings"
(Released in Japan Virgin/Universal TYCT-60046). These were "Sons Of
Sorrow", "New Chemical" and "Barrel Of My Own Gun".
Noko played bass
guitar on "Sons Of Sorrow" and "Barrel Of My Own Gun" and vocals on
"Barrel of my own Gun" and "New Chemical". When Hotei later signed to
Universal's Spinefarm imprint, this LP was repackaged with some extra
tracks for release outside of Japan as "Strangers" (SPINE663762) and
included a re-worked version of "New Chemical" titled "Move It",
featuring a lead vocal by Richard Z. Kruspe from Rammstein. It was at
Noko's suggestion that Hotei approached Iggy Pop to sing two other
tracks on the album, which became "How The Cookie Crumbles" and
"Walking Through The Night".
Noko have been friends since 1997, first meeting when Apollo
440 remixed one of Hotei's tracks. They share a birthday, having both
been born on exactly the same day, 1st February 1962. Since 2014 Noko
has periodically toured with Hotei in Europe, U.S. and Japan, playing
bass guitar in various line-ups, including drummers Steve Barney,
Cliff Hewitt and Zachary Alford.
Later in 2014
Noko produced and mixed Pop Will Eat Itself's "Reclaim
The Game (Funk FIFA)" unofficial Brazil World Cup 2014 theme featuring
Brazilian rap artist BNegão.
Noko went on to produce and mix some tracks for the band's 2015
"Anti-Nasty League" Album (RUMJOINT0005) : "Sacrifice And Pain",
"Director's Cut" and "Mental Pollution" (to which he had a writing
contribution), playing additional guitar, bass and various
keyboard/programming enhancements along the way. This led to the band
he formed with Brad Lee, $HirtLiftA supporting PWEI on their UK tour
that summer : Brad Lee on vocals,
Noko on guitar and Frank
Horovich on guitar and electronics.
Noko reunited with Matthew Glamorre to form SCISM, the
'house-band' at his SCISM audio-visual, multi-media art-happening
nightclub on EU Referendum night in London. They recorded and released
"Dalston Bump" to coincide with a series of events at Vogue Fabrics in
Dalston. In Summer 2017 SCISM played a set at Churchtown festival in
Cornwall and again in September at The Bargehouse in London as part of
Open London weekend.
In April 2017 Magazine released the vinyl-only "Old World Charm"
(WIRED42) : 6 tracks recorded at the BBC Electric Proms at
Roundhouse, London in 2009. The Graeme Oxby pic on the rear of the
sleeve featured Noko's MXR 'flanger-on-a-stick'.
Noko has completed the music score for director Darren
Cavanagh's feature-length documentary "Ex-Dominatrix", for release in
The nature of the
Apollo 440 remix and production process means Noko
has played on too many records by other artists to list usefully here.
StealthSonicSoul was an alter-ego spin-off project by the three
members of Apollo 440. One release "StealthSonicSoul" came out in 1992
on Scottish 23rd Precinct affiliated Limbo label. A further track
"StealthSonic Sun In Her Hair" appeared on a Limbo compilation the
The EZ Drum & Bass Orchestra consisted of
Noko and Frederick
Pasquan and made one commercially available EP "Beat Girl" b/w "EZ
Beat Girl" and "Slow Beat Girl" on the Sliced label in 1996.
The Duo also remixed a number of other artists e.g. "Carrerra Rapida
-EZ Drum&Bass Orchestra Remix" by
Apollo 440 on Sony in 1997.
Noko played bass in 1991 on the Total Abandon EP and "Jubilee Twist"
LP in 1992 by The Heart Throbs, a group from Reading who folded in
In the same year he played abstract guitar on the song "Ventriloquists
and Dolls" from Momus's album Hippopotamomus.
Noko produced the one and only LP by Hyperhead, "Metaphasia"
which came out on the Devotion label. The band was formed by Mary
Gaye Bykers on Acid split, Mary joined and toured with
industrial supergroup Pigface before forming Hyperhead, which included
contributions from his Pigface colleagues Martin Atkins (also formerly
of PiL and Killing Joke) and William Tucker (also previously of
Revolting Cocks and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult), along with
bassist Karl Leiker (who had previously played with
Noko in Luxuria)
and guitarist Paul Dalloway.
Also in 1992
Noko collaborated with Stuart Crichton as Johnny
Potatohead, releasing a single, "Johnny Potatohead" on Reverb Records.
On 14th July 1998
Apollo 440 played "La Nuit Electronique" concert
with Jean Michel Jarre, with whom they had collaborated twice that
year : firstly on the single "Rendezvous '98" (which became the
ITV World Cup Theme in UK and reached #10 in the singles chart) and an
@440 remix of "Oxygene 10". Apollo performed the two tracks live
onstage with JMJ in front of the Eiffel Tower to an audience of over
600,000. It was Bastille Day and only two days before, France had won
the World Cup. Immediately after they won on 12th, the Mayor of Paris
asked Jarre to put together this impromtu free concert for the people
of Paris to extend the euphoria. At the climax of the show, an
enormous firework display went off on the Eiffel tower behind the
stage. This was the largest concert
Noko has ever played.
both Gray brothers all played synthesiser and Jean Michel Jarre played
Noko was involved as Producer/Musical Director for
The Prada Meinhof Gang, an all-female Art-Terrorist troupe active
between 2002–2004, whose activities included
performance/installations at the Venice Biennalle, Tate Britain, ICA
etc. Their track "Want Is Your Master" was included on the free CD
compilation that accompanied the 'Music' issue of Modern Painters
In March 2007,
Apollo 440 played the "A Tribute To Billy MacKenzie"
charity concert at Shepherd's Bush Empire alongside British Electric
Foundation (their first ever live show),Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17),
Claudia Brücken (Propaganda) and Paul Humphries (OMD) and Paul Haig,
amongst others. It was 10 years after his death. Apollo, with Ewan
MacFarlane on vocals closed the show with "Pain In Any Language" from
their 2nd LP "Electroglide In Blue". This collaboration was the last
song MacKenzie finished before his tragic suicide only weeks later.
The Apollo set also included their cover of The Smiths' "William, it
was really nothing" - the only time it was ever performed live.
Noko made his feature-film debut with a brief cameo appearance as an
accordion-playing Parisian street musician in Éric Valette's "Une
Affaire D'Etat" movie in 2009. He also had a cameo in Éric Valette's
next movie "La Proie" in 2011 as a harpsichord player in a
music-recital scene set in a prison which culminates in a full-scale
Noko contributed guitar to two tracks on "The Organ Of Corti"
an LP by Magazine's
Dave Formula and cellist Christine Hanson.
Apollo 440 live, throughout the late 1990s
Noko used the following
guitars: a green Parker Fly Classic, a blue Parker Fly Deluxe and a
pink Fender 1962 reissue Stratocaster through a pair of Digitech 2112
rack FX units, an 1980s Roland GP-8 and Fender Twins, but whilst the
guitars remain the same,the preamps have been upgraded to Digitech GSP
1101 units with Control 2 foot controller through either a Marshall
JCM2000 TSL through a Marshall 1960AX 4x12" cab or a Marshall EL34
50/50 power-amp and a pair of 4x12"s 
Noko's 2017 @440 rig is the same 3 guitars into a Kemper Powerack
(Fender Tube Reverb tank in FX loop) into a Marshall 1936 2 x 12" cab
with a pedalboard incorporating Kemper Remote, a Boss DM-3 and a Boss
FT-2 in conjunction with 2 EV-5 expression pedals.
While he was touring with Magazine in 2009,
Noko used a pair of green
Yamaha SG1500 guitars with an MXR dyna comp, MXR flanger, Boss DM-3
and Boss PS-5. The flanger was stand-mounted as per
John McGeoch and
Robin Simon's setup with the band in the late 1970s. For
Noko used two late 1970s Marshall JMP 2x12" combos with
Marshall 4x12'cabinets and a Fender Twin. A Variax 700 Acoustic was
used for the intro of "I Want To Burn Again" through another late
1970s MXR flanger.
Noko used a 1978 Black Ovation Magnum II bass guitar with Levyathan
through a Boss CE-2 and boss OC-2 into a Sansamp Bass Driver and EBS
Fafner Bass rig.
Whilst on tour with Tomoyasu Hotei, Noko's bass rig was as
follows : Ibanez Black Eagle(Reissue), 1978 Antoria Snow Eagle,
1982 G&L L-1000(natural), 1978 Ovation Magnum II (black)
into : EBS Fafner MkI through EBS Neo 210 and EBS Neo 115 cabs,
with the top-end (up an octave through electroharmonix POG2) split
through Kemper Powerack into Marshall 1936 cab.
^ "Google". Apollo440.com. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
^ "Magazine Guitarist Announced van Magazine op Myspace".
Blogs.myspace.com. 13 November 2008. Archived from the original on 18
October 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
^ "Google". Apollo440.com. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
^ Magazine :
Noko / Ipso Facto Archived 21 February 2009 at the
The Stealthography (
Apollo 440 and related discography)
Apollo 440 (official page)
Electro Glide in Blue
Gettin' High on Your Own Supply
Dude Descending a Staircase
The Future's What It Used to Be
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"
"Ain't Talkin' 'bout Dub"
"Lost in Space"
"Stop the Rock"
"Heart Go Boom"
"Cold Rock the Mic / Crazee Horse"
"Charlie's Angels 2000"
"Dude Descending a Staircase"
"A Deeper Dub EP"
The Correct Use of Soap
Magic, Murder and the Weather
After the Fact
"Shot by Both Sides"
"Touch and Go"
The Armoury Show
Jerky Versions of the Dream
Public Image Ltd.
Siouxsie and the Banshees