Richard Fearless, the man behind Death in Vegas, was born and brought up in Zambia. Rumour has it that Richard once played golf in the wee hours of the morning on Clapham Common with nothing but the light from a miner's helmet to guide his aim. (He lost 48 balls). A graphic artist, he met the (then) BBC World Service engineer Steve Hellier in the early nineties. They formed a band called "Dead Elvis", and were signed to Concrete records. A clause in their contract specified that Richard was to do all sleeves and other visuals for the band.
Dead Elvis's debut single, "Opium Shuffle" was released early in 1995. Sometime between then and March 1996, they changed their name to "Death in Vegas". The name Dead Elvis had attracted Elvis fans at their gigs, expecting some kind of Elvis tribute act. Their first single as Death in Vegas came out in March 1996, called "Dirt". The track was a big beat hit, and a remix has since featured in the Human Traffic soundtrack. "Rocco" was their next release, which was a favourite on Radio 1's evening sessions. 1997, and Death in Vegas release their first album, "Dead Elvis". Dead Elvis was eclectic, ranging from the aforementioned big beat Dirt to the slow tempo funk of "All that Glitters" to the reggae influenced "GHB".
Following the departure of Steve Hellier, Richard set up his own studio named the Contino Rooms. Tim Holmes, collaborator on Dead Elvis, joined as a fully-fledged member in 1998. For their next album, "The Contino Sessions", DIV managed to get a large number of prominent vocalists, including Iggy Pop, Dot Allison, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and The Jesus & Mary Chain's Jim Reid. The Contino Sessions was released in 1999.
Death in Vegas are an exciting live act, incorporating musicians and a vocalist. This enhanced their fame, as they toured the UK with Lionrock and America with The Chemical Brothers in the mid 90s. DIV have criticised dance groups for their stale live acts, and their reliance on studio mixing. Following Dirt's fame, Richard Fearless took over The Chemical Brothers' residency at the Heavenly Social, and has since DJed across the world.
"Scorpio Rising" is the group’s latest album, composed with help from Indian musician Dr L Subramaniam, who scored the strings for three songs on the album. Also featuring more star-studded vocalists: Paul Weller, Liam Gallagher (on the top 20 UK hit 'Scorpio Rising'), Dot Allison and Hope Sandoval. As usual, the album varies in it’s influences, from psychedelic rock (Scorpio Rising) to Plastikman techno (Natja). Slightly less dark then "The Contino Sessions" it still has it's dark moments, particularly on "Hands around my Throat". Scorpio Rising was released in 2002.
Death in Vegas continue to innovate both the rock and the electronica world; the latest news is that they plan to do a tour of Indian temples with a full Indian orchestra.
NME Website (www.nme.co.uk)
Death in Vegas Website (http://www.continorooms.com/)
VH1 Website (www.vh1.co.uk)