Originally comprised of Friday
, vocalists Guggi (born Derek Rowen) and Dave-id (David Watson), bassist Strongman
(Trevor Rowen), drummer Pod (Anthony Murphy), and guitarist Dik (Richard Evans
, the Edge's
brother), the Virgin Prunes baffled audiences at their outrageous first concerts, which borrowed more from the approach of performance art than the traditions of rock music. After gaining a cult audience, they issued their first single, the independently produced "Twenty Tens," which earned them a deal with the Rough Trade
label. After the departure of Pod (replaced by Haa Lacka Binttii), the Virgin Prunes released A Different Kind of Beauty, a sprawling, ambitious project made up of four interlocking chapters, released separately on the 7", 10", 12", and cassette formats.
Mary D'Nellon took over the drumming chores in time to record 1982's ...If I Die, I Die, a difficult work produced by Wire'sColin Newman
which was released simultaneously with the box set Heresie, a performance art piece which mixed studio and live recordings. In 1984, both Guggi and Dik, disenchanted with the music business, left the Virgin Prunes, prompting D'Nellon to take up the guitar and allowing Pod to return to the fold. The band then set about recording the album Sons Find Devils, which went unreleased.
When the Virgin Prunes resurfaced with 1986's The Moon Looked Down and Laughed, their music had gone through another stylistic change into melodic, ballad-driven pop, signifying Friday's
increased fascination with cabaret music. He ultimately left the group in November; the liner notes of the 1987 live release, The Hidden Lie, contained a short statement confirming the band's breakup. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi