This UK post hardcore rock band was formed in London, England, in 2000 by Will McGonagle (guitar) and Joe Birch (drums) following the dissolution of their former band, the heavily hyped but under performing Symposium.
Joined by Justin Schlosberg (vocals), Tom O’Donohue (guitar), and James Finlay (bass), the quintet took their name from a 1962 war movie starring Steve McQueen. They released the limited edition double a-side ‘Sick/Happy’/‘Cut Down’ through Superior Quality Recordings in June 2001, and shortly afterwards signed a major label recording contract with Chrysalis Records. The quintet decamped to Los Angeles to record their debut album, which took its unusual moniker from a phrase coined by Birch to describe the city’s shallow culture. The release of the album was delayed for several months, by which time fellow UK rock revivalists Hundred Reasons had stolen some of Hell Is For Heroes thunder with the release of their own highly acclaimed debut album. Nevertheless, The Neon Handshake received uniformly excellent reviews when it was finally released in February 2003. The video for the single ‘You Drove Me To It’ was the first ever promo to incorporate ‘red dot’ digital interactive television technology.
Creative differences with Chrysalis prompted the band’s departure from the major label in 2004. They forged ahead with the recording of a new album, Transmit Disrupt, released the following year on Scholsberg’s Captains Of Industry label.