Often described as punk with a pop edge, Mega City Four came out of the sleepy Hampshire countryside to deliver tales of the downtrodden and the rights of the many.
A six year recording career saw delivery of only 4 studio albums of fast-paced and driving chords, an all too sparse legacy from one of the founding fathers of 90’s guitar bands.
With Wiz’s passing in 2006 the British music scene lost a great songwriter and it is surely time that Mega City Four were again afforded the recognition that they undoubtedly deserve.
“It’s difficult to think about people like U2 and Simple Minds without realising that they’re as far removed from us as Robert f***ing Redford and Sophia Loren. It’s as if they’re on a different planet.”
Farnborough schoolmates Darren Brown and Gerry Bryant, friends since they were 7 years old, made their first dent on the music scene with a band named ‘Stallion’. Darren, better known as ‘Wiz’, was the driving force behind the formation of a new band, adding his brother Danny and drummer Chris Jones to form Mega City Four. All four moved into a house together in Farnborough with two cats, Rosie and Gizmo. MC4’s career kicked off in 1987 with a string of local gigs and, later that year, they released their first single, a double a-side, ‘Miles Apart’/’Running In Darkness’. This earned them support slots with the Senseless Things, Carter USM, the Doughboys and Snuff and they soon established a healthy national following.
In 1989 MC4 toured extensively in support of their debut album, Tranzophobia’, criss-crossing the UK, Europe and North America and earning themselves a reputation as an energetic and ‘full-on’ exciting live band.
Another breathless ‘pop-core’ album ‘Who Cares Wins’ soon followed, accompanied by a compilation of singles under the title ‘Terribly Sorry Bob’, and with attention fully focussed on the bands from major labels, they released Sebastopol Rd on Big Life Records in 1992.
Teaming up with producer Jessica Corcoran (Senseless Things, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Shed Seven and The Wonder Stuff) Sebastopol Road, edging more towards power pop than previous outings but retaining the sweet but melancholic crunchiness of earlier albums, reached No 41 in the UK charts.
Buoyed by the success of Sebastopol Road, the band forged ahead and released ‘Magic Bullets’, their fourth studio album in 1993. However by this time MC4 and Big Life had reached a creative impasse and the band moved on to independent label, Fire Records, for whom they delivered ‘Soulscraper’, their final album.
With the band drifting apart Wiz decided to move to Canada to join the ‘Doughboys’ before forming ‘Serpico’ back in the UK with Gerry, and subsequently ‘Ipanema’.
Tragically Wiz passed away during a band rehearsal on 6th December 2006 at the age of just 44.
Following Wiz’s death a trust was set up in his memory to assist, mentor and educate musicians in furthering themselves both creatively and commercially. The Forward 4 Wiz Trust continues this great work, striving to deliver what Wiz loved most, new music.
Such was the impact of the MC4 that their track ‘Prague’ was included as the b-side of Muse’s international best selling single ‘Resistance’ in 2010,; the single was dedicating to the memory of Wiz.
Tranzophobia - 1989
Who Cares Wins - 1990
Terribly Sorry Bob - 1991
Sebastopol Rd. - 1992
Inspiringly Titled - The Live Album - 1992
Magic Bullets - 1993
Peel Sessions - 1993
Soulscraper - 1996
Miles Apart / Running in Darkness - 1988
Clear Blue Sky - 1988
Less Than Senseless - 1989
Awkward Kid - 1989
Finish EP - 1989
There Goes My Happy Marriage EP -1990
Words That Say - 1991
Stop EP - 1992
Stop (Live Single) - 1992
Shivering Sand - 1992
Shivering Sand (Live Single) - 1992
Iron Sky - 1993
Wallflower - 1993
Wallflower (Live Single) - 1993
Skidding - 1995
Superstar / Chrysanth - 1995
Android Dreams - 1996