Midlander Kenneth Spiers, aka Spizz, is to many people largely identified by the one song, Where’s Captain Kirk? (1980). But few artists can have gone to as much trouble to continually reinvent themselves, as Spiers came up with variations on the Spizz name on an annual basis.
After a brief solo stint, Spizz teamed up with former schoolmate Pete O’Dowd (aka Pete Petrol) to form Spizz 77, before coming to prominence in 1978 as Spizz Oil, supporting Siouxsie and The Banshees on tour.
A John Peel session soon followed, as did a deal with Rough Trade, who released their minimalist but stirring debut, 6,000 Crazy, and its eerie, queasy plinky-plonk follow-up, Cold City 4.
As well as the name changes (the next incarnation was Spizzenergi) the line-up altered with dazzling rapidity, as Petrol came and went several times, and the likes of Slits drummer Palmolive joined for short stints.
After the indie success of Captain Kirk – also released on Rough Trade – Athletico Spizz 80 signed with A&M, hitting the Top 30 with their Do A Runner album, but it would be their only hit.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, Spiers kept at it – as The Spizzles, Spizzenergi: 2, Spizz’s Big Business, and Spizzivision – while working as a bicycle messenger in London, for the Post Office and as a freelance cartoonist.