Dead Can Dance Biography

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Birth Place: Melbourne, Australia
Years Active: 1981–1998, 2005
Genres: World Music, Ambient, Neoclassical, Ethereal Wave, Gothic Rock, Post-punk


Dead Can Dance is a world fusion band that was formed in Melbourne, Australia in August 1981, by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. The band relocated to London in May 1982 and disbanded in 1998. They reunited in 2005 for a world tour, and again in 2011-2012 for a new album and world tour.

The band formed in Melbourne featuring Gerrard on vocals, Perry on vocals and guitar, Simon Monroe on drums and Paul Erikson on bass guitar. Monroe left when the band moved to London, adding drummer James Pinker, bassist Scott Rodger and multi-instrumentalist Peter Ulrich to the lineup and signing with alternative rock label 4AD Records in 1982. The group's debut album, “Dead Can Dance,” appeared in February 1984 and was produced by the band. They followed with a four-track EP, “Garden of the Arcane Delights,” in August 1984.

For their second album, “Spleen and Ideal,” the group comprised the core duo of Gerrard and Perry with cello, trombones and tympani added by session musicians. It appeared in November 1985 and was co-produced by the duo with John A. Rivers. The group built a following in Europe, and this album reached #2 on the U.K. Indie chart.

“Within the Realm of a Dying Sun,” their third album, was issued in July 1987. The group now featured predominantly the duo of Gerrard and Perry along with Peter Ulrich, after the departure of Scott Rodger and James Pinker in early 1987. Gerrard's vocals appeared prominently in the second half of the album, and her singing style often had mellifluous Oriental overtones, especially on the track titled “Cantara.”

Their fourth album, “The Serpent's Egg,” was released in October 1988, and featured the song “The Host of Seraphim” which was later used in the soundtrack of a number of films. They were again joined by session musicians contributing cello, viola and violin. “Aion,” their fifth studio album, was released in June 1990. It was recorded at Perry's new estate, Quivvy Church in Ireland and male soprano David Navarro Sust contributed vocals to the track, “The Arrival and the Reunion.”

Dead Can Dance's albums were not widely available in the United States until the early 1990s, when 4AD made a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records. Subsequent releases, however, were licensed to Rhino/Atlantic Records, a sister label within Warner Music. The duo's sixth studio album, “Into the Labyrinth,” was issued in September 1993 and dispensed with guest musicians entirely. It was their first to enter the Billboard 200 Albums chart, peaking at #122.

They followed with a world tour in 1994 and recorded a live performance in California which was released as “Toward the Within,” with video versions on Laserdisc and VHS (later on DVD). Gerrard then released her debut solo recording, “The Mirror Pool,” and reunited with Perry on the Dead Can Dance studio album “Spiritchaser” in 1996. The album also charted on Billboard 200, reaching #75.

In 1998, Dead Can Dance planned a follow-up to “Spiritchaser,” but the band separated before it was recorded. One song from the recording sessions, “The Lotus Eaters,” was eventually released on the 2001 box set “Dead Can Dance (1981-1998)” and on the two-disc 2003 compilation “Wake.”

Dead Can Dance reunited in 2005 and released limited-edition recordings of 13 shows from its European tour, and eight recordings from the subsequent North American tour, as well as a compilation titled “Selections from Europe 2005.” These concerts were recorded and released on The Show record label. Sixteen years after the group’s last album, “Anastasis,” was issued by PIAS Recordings in August 2012. It was produced by Perry and Gerrard.





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