Clare Grogan - vocals; Tony McDaid - guitar; Steve Lironi - guitar; David Wilde - drums; John McElhone - bass
Altered Images was a once hyped, post-punk new wave band from Scotland that never quite found its home in the American mainstream music scene. They had some cool songs and were certainly decent musicians, but lacked the breakthrough hit necessary to make them a household name on this side of the pond.
Fronted by vocalist Clare Grogan, Altered Images was somewhere between 'Til Tuesday and Nina Hagen without all the drama. Grogan's playful schoolgirl innocence is amusing to listen to at first, but eventually her shtick gives way to limited vocal capabilities.
Hailing from Scotland, Grogan and her band mates first formed in 1979 as teenagers. They sent their demo to pioneer punk band Siouxsie and the Banshees, who took them under its punk wing. Banshee guitarist Steve Severin agreed to produce their early records for the Epic label, and Altered Images landed a spot opening for several of the Banshees' shows. They did see some limited commercial success in the U.K., with their album of mostly punk leanings titled Happy Birthday. Critics in their homeland at the time apparently loved them; in 1982, Britain's New Music Express called Altered Images the Best New Group of the Year.
The band then moved over to work with pop producer Mike Chapman, who attempted to morph them into a synth-driven, syncopated new wave act. Bite, their record released just prior to this performance, failed to garner significant attention, however, and the band soon became a low priority on its label. Grogan, who had been an actress before leading a rock group, tried a short-lived solo career before leaving the music industry entirely to pursue a career in television in her native U.K.