With a 28-year history, IQ are widely regarded as one of the world’s most highly respected progressive rock bands. The group was formed in 1981 by guitarist Mike Holmes and keyboard player Martin Orford. They recruited bassist Tim Esau, later that year, followed by vocalist Peter Nicholls and drummer Paul Cook in 1982. The year 1982 saw the release of their first record Seven Stories Into Eight. Constant shows throughout the UK led to them becoming a regular fixture at London’s legendary Marquee Club. Their next album Tales from the Lush Attic was released in 1983, followed by the classic The Wake in 1985.
Tensions within the band, plus a punishing live schedule, resulted in the departure of Peter Nicholls in 1985, at the end of a UK tour with Wishbone Ash. With new singer Paul Menel, the band headlined London’s Piccadilly Theater and secured a lucrative record deal with Phonogram. New studio albums Nomzamo (1987) and Are you Sitting Comfortably? (1989) were promoted by extensive European tours with Magnum and Mike and the Mechanics.
The 1991 release of the live and rarities album J’ai Pollette d’Arnu” was a significant event as it was the first release on Giant Electric Pea, a new label founded by members and associates of IQ. 1991 also marked the return of original singer Peter Nicholls, as well as the arrival of John Jowitt as the band’s new bassist. With a stable line-up once more, IQ resumed live work in the UK, Europe, and North America while also writing new songs which would serve as the basis of the album Ever (1993).
In 2005 Paul Cook left IQ after 23 years of service. He was replaced by Andy Edwards (ex-Robert Plant Band). Another line-up change followed in 2007 when Martin Orford left after 26 years to pursue a solo career. Mark Westworth (Darwin’s Radio) joined the line-up, and after a short tour in autumn of 2007, IQ set about completing work on their next studio album.
2009, sees the release of Frequency, IQ’s ninth studio album, a musical tour de force which finds the band still at the top of their game. The return of original drummer Paul Cook for this year’s live work ensures another exciting and memorable year for these popular and innovative prog rockers. Albums:
Seven Stories into Eight (cassette) (1982)
Tales from the Lush Attic (1983)
The Wake (1985)
Are You Sitting Comfortably? (1989)
The Seventh House (2000)
Dark Matter (2004)
Frequency (2009) IQ Official Website M