The Band of Holy Joy with Johny Brown in conversation
The band was formed in 1984, by Johny Brown in New Cross, South London. Early experiments revolved around cheap junk shop instrumentation and rudimentary electronics. After two self-issued cassettes, they signed to South London indie label Flim Flam for a string of singles and two 1987 albums; More Tales From The City and the live LP When Stars Come Out To Play.
The band reached a commercial and critical peak after signing to Rough Trade, with Manic, Magic, Majesticin 1989, and Positively Spooked in 1990, supported by a tour of the U.S.S.R. The label was forced into receivership in 1991 following cash flow problems and eventual bankruptcy. The band re-emerged in 1992 as Holy Joy, with the album Tracksuit Vendetta. They split up in 1993 and Brown moved into freelance journalism, playwriting and production.
Band of Holy Joy reformed in 2002 and released an album Love Never Fails. After a number of live dates the band became inactive between 2003, and 2006, pursuing other musical projects. In May 2007, the band began playing live again. October 2007 saw the release of Leaves That Fall in Spring, a best of released on the Cherry Red label.
In 2008, after playing nine warm-up dates in and around London during April, May and June, the band set off to the USA for the first time in their 24-year history and embarked on a successful tour of New York City.Punklore, a six-track CD was released and initially only available at the New York gigs.
In 2009, the band started to explore theatrical and multimedia based performances. As their alter ego Radio Joy, they performed two song plays Troubled Sleep and Invocation to William. Troubled Sleep was a fictional account of Sid and Nancy's last days at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. It played out over several nights in the Shunt Theatre Lounge in London and Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle.Invocation to Williamwas performed at The University of London Institute in Paris at the event celebrating the 50th anniversary of William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch, 'Lunch @ 50'. The songs from this show were released as a mini album CD A Lucky Thief In A Careless World on band's own Radio Joy label. In October 2009, they were invited to play The Wire magazine's 'Into the Vortex' festival, followed by a series of shows in Athens, Greece, later that year.
Paramour, the band's eleventh album was released on 8 June 2010 and featured eight songs that had evolved from the song play Troubled Sleep.
In 2011, the band embarked on another tour of Greece, playing in cities of Athens, Thessaloniki, and Larissa. They made their first appearance at Glastonbury Festival and performed their third song play BeuysWill Be Beuys in London and Thessaloniki. A CD release titled How To Kill A Butterfly was released on 28 October 2011 on Exotic Pylon Records.
On 15 March 2012, a CD release entitled The North Is Another Land was released on German independent record label Moloko Plus.
On 28 January 2013,a double cassette and digital download titled City of Tales: Volume 1 & 2 was released on Exotic Pylon Records. Volume 1 contains previously unreleased material from 1985 found by former band member Brett Turnbull, restored and accompanied by a second volume of recordings from 2012. This was followed up in 2014 with Easy Listening which was released on Exotic Pylon Records with an accompanying UK tour.
Their album The Land Of Holy Joy was released through Stereogram Recordings on 21 September 2015.
In 2017, the band release an EP on 10" vinyl entitled Brutalism Begins At Home followed by an album, Funambulist We Love You on vinyl and CD. Both put out by Tiny Global Productions.
Band of Holy Joy host their own radio show, Bad Punk, on Resonance FM every Friday from 10pm until 11pm.
A new album entitled Neon Primitives was released on the Tiny Global Productions label in June 2019 on vinyl and CD.