Known for its outrageous and controversial stage performances led by the bands' theatrical singer/songwriter Friday, they first began playing small shows in Dublin gaining them a cult audience and ridicule from the culturally conservative community. With an audience the band were able to issue their first single in 1980, the independently-produced Twenty Tens (I've Been Smoking All Night), which led to a deal with the Rough Trade Records.
Gavin Friday and Guggi, along with third vocalist 'Dave-iD Busaras' (David Scott Watson), guitarist Dik Evans (brother of U2's The Edge), bassist Strongman (Trevor Rowan, brother of Guggi) and drummer Pod (Anthony Murphy), completed the original lineup. Soon after the release of their first single the bands drummer, Pod, left the group and was replaced by Haa-Lacka Binttii (aka Bintii, aka Princess Tinymeat, neé Daniel Figgis), who was in turn replaced by drummer Mary D'Nellon.
1981 to 1982 would see the band release many innovative and creative projects such as A New Form of Beauty, a project that contained four chapters, each on a different format. In 1982 the Virgin Prunes released their debut album ...If I Die, I Die. Heresie, a French boxset, was also released. The boxset contained two 10 inch records, one with studio recordings from just before the "If I Die I Die" sessions and one with a registration of a Paris concert .
In 1984 both Guggi and Dik Evans, unhappy with the music business, left the band. This forced drummer, Mary D'Nellon to take up the guitar and allowed Pod to return as the band's drummer. The Virgin Prunes started to record the album Sons Find Devils, which has never been released.
In 1985, confusingly enough, a retrospective video titled Sons Find Devils was released; this video had nothing to do with the unreleased album of the same name. Later that same year, Over the Rainbow, a compilation of rarities, was also released.
In the summer of 1986 the band, now a four-piece recording music written for Sons Find Devils, finally released a new album, The Moon Looked Down and Laughed. Also that year frontman Gavin Friday left the group. His departure was confirmed in the liner notes of the band's 1987 live album The Hidden Lie which contained a short statement confirming the band's break-up.
After disbanding as The Virgin Prunes, D'Nellon, Strongman and Busaras formed an offshoot group called The Prunes, which released three albums between 1988 and 1990 (Lite Fantastik, 1988; Nada, 1989; and Blossoms & Blood, 1990). Dik Evans played on The Prunes' album Lite Fantastik.
In 1998, Cleopatra Records re-released the Sons Find Devils video, along with a soundtrack album on CD. This was the first commercially-available Virgin Prunes material to be released since 1993 and, for a few years, the only commercially available full-length Virgin Prunes album on compact disc.
Gavin Friday has since had a reasonably successful solo career in both music and film. Guggi remains an influential artist in Dublin. Dave-id still records as a solo artist in Ireland. After 20 years of self-imposed seclusion from the rock world, Dik Evans recently gave an overview of his and brother Edge's early years in U2 for the December 2005 issue of 'Word Magazine'. Trevor, Mary and Anthony Murphy live quietly throughout Europe.