Porcupine Tree Biography
The psychedelic, experimental and progressive Rock outfit Porcupine Tree was formed in 1987 in Hemel Hempstead, ENGLAND by singer + songwriter, multi-instrumentalist & producer Steven Wilson who earned the reputation of a man-of-a-thousand-projects, while still at school.
The frontman have built up an impressive body of work over the course
of the next decade including the art-Rock trio No-Man which comprised
Wilson, vocalist Tim Bowness and violinist Ben Coleman; in the meantime
Wilson began to distribute Porcupine Tree's music in the form of "Tarquin's
Seaweed Farm" and its follow up, "The Nostalgia Factory".
These tapes built up an underground interest in the name which was added to by the eventual release of the newly named Delerium record label's first compilation album, "A Psychedelic Psauna", which featured the Porcupine Tree track "Linton Samuel Dawson".
Delerium also re-issued the first two Porcupine Tree tapes. Shortly afterwards, Steven Wilson was invited by the new label to be one of the first artists to sign to the Delerium label. The original invitation was to reissue both the tapes as double albums, but Wilson decided instead to compile the best material onto one double-LP which became "On The Sunday Of Life...", the 18-track set was finally released in early 1992 and by 2000, it had racked up sales of over 20,000 copies.
The next album, "Up The Downstair", was released in mid-1993 and was greeted with rapture, Melody Maker describing it as “a psychedelic masterpiece.... one of the albums of the year”. The disc became a major underground hit, reaching the U.K. Independent Top 20; it featured guest appearances from two future full-time Porcupine Tree members, ex-Japan Richard Barbieri on keyboards and Colin Edwin on drums. By that fall the band became a live unit featuring in addition to Wilson, Barbieri, Edwin on bass, a new drummer, Chris Maitland.
A mini-album entitled "Staircase Infinities" followed one year later. New music was already underway; the next full-length album would not emerge until February 1995, but was preceded by the "Moonloop" EP which included two song: "Stars Die" and "Moonloop"; the last two tracks to be recorded during the album sessions and the first to feature the new band.
The subsequent album, "The Sky Moves Sideways", was as expansive soundscape of melody and ambient Rock experimentation. Together with the "Moonloop" EP, this album became the first Porcupine Tree music to be issued in America in the autumn of 1995, the band supported this releases with numerous gigs throughout the year at major venues in Britain, The Netherlands, Italy and Greece.
In September of 1996 was released "Signify", the album included
the single "Waiting" which entered all U.K. indie charts and
the U.K. Official Sales chart attracting airplay all over Europe.
After the release of a limited-edition double 10-inch set titled "Metananoia", which collects several instrumental studio jams Porcupine Tree recorded during the 1995-1996 sessions for its "Signify" LP and the live-album, "Coma Divine", the last on Delerium, the quartet spent all of 1998 recording their fifth studio album, "Stupid Dream", which was issued in the spring of 1999 on Snapper/K-Scope; supported by a lengthy tour of Europe and U.S. the disc became the band's best selling and most acclaimed release to date; the three singles taken from the album, "Piano Lessons", "Stranger By The Minute" and "Pure Narcotic", all achieved mainstream exposure in the U.S. and in Europe.
The time spent looking for a record deal had not been wasted and only a few months after the release of "Stupid Dream" the band were ready to begin work on a follow-up, recorded during the transition into the new millennium and completed in February 2000. "Lightbulb Sun" was released in May 2000, preceded by the single "Four Chords That Made A Million". A sold out show at the Scala in London began a short run of U.K. shows, to be followed later in the year by European festival dates and a major tour supporting Dream Theater.
The band continued to tour through the end of 2000 and the start of 2001,
including their first major tour of Germany. In May, "Recordings",
a limited edition collection of EP tracks and outtakes from the previous
two albums, was released as the band's final release under their Snapper/K-Scope
In June 2001 the band played a short U.S. tour, culminating in a sold out show at the Bottom Line in New York City. Shortly afterwards Porcupine Tree announced that they had signed a new international record deal with Lava/Atlantic Records.
In February 2002 the band's first ever line-up change occurred when Chris
Maitland quit after eight years with the group, drummer Gavin Harrison
stepped in as his replacement.
The following spring, as a major retrospective box set of the band's early work, "Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991-1997" was released.
The band commenced recording their first major label album, drawing from a pool of 30 new songs written by Steven Wilson in the previous two years.
Porcupine Tree made their debut for Lava in September 2002 with "In Absentia"; despite little or no airplay, the record became the band's best selling album shifting over 100,000 copies in its first year of release and charting in several European countries.
April 2005 saw the release of another ambitious album, "Deadwing"; it became the band's first American Billboard Top 200 entry at #131 and rose to #4 on the U.S. Top Heatseekers Albums chart spawning The Mainstream Rock top 30 hit "Shallow"; the CD also contained the European single "Lazarus".
Porcupine Tree's next album, "Fear Of A Blank Planet" featuring the title-track as its promotional single, was released in April 2007 through Roadrunner in Europe, WHD Entertainment in Japan and Atlantic in the U.S. where it debuted at #59 on The Billboard 200. But after years of intensive touring in Europe they had made great inroads, entering the top 40 in several European countries.
The veteran prog-Rock act continued to experiment on their follow-up album, "The Incident". It was released on Roadrunner Records in September 2009, as a double-CD, the first disc containing a sort of pseudo 55-minute title-track/song cycle and the second CD featuring four shorter pieces. The set reached #23 in U.K. and made it into the top 20 in almost every other North European charts.