Martha and The Muffins were a playful Canadian new wave band who had their roots in a mid-70s outfit called Oh Those Pants – a 10-piece group who performed Sixties cover versions with Martha Johnson playing the organ.
This was followed by a spell in another Toronto band called The Doncasters, who specialised in revamping 60s garage band material.
As Martha and the Muffins they sent a tape to New York journalist Glenn O’Brien, who referred them to the fledgeling DinDisc label. This led to the release of their debut single, Insect Love.
Their second single, Echo Beach (1980) was their most successful. Charming and catchy with reverby keyboards, a jazzy saxophone and an unornamented vocal from Martha, the single shot up the British charts.
The band recorded follow-up singles and a few albums at England’s Manor Studio, but three years after Echo Beach, Martha & The Muffins comprised only singer Martha Johnson and guitarist Mark Gane (who were now a couple). As the band’s core songwriting duo, they’d officially rechristened themselves M+M, but played it safe by putting both names on the cover of their album Danseparc.
Johnson and Gane continued recording and moved to England in 1987, taking up residence in Bath. They moved back to Toronto in 1989 and released the album Modern Lullaby in 1992. After disappointing sales, Johnson and Gane effectively shut down the band and moved to other projects.
They have since sporadically dabbled in Martha & The Muffins projects.
Keyboards, guitar, vocals