Wire is a band formed in 1976 in Watford, England and after splitting in 1980, have reformed three times. They consist of Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (vocals, bass) and Robert Gotobed (drums). Founding guitarist Bruce Gilbert left in 2004. In 2008, Margaret Fielder McGinnis of Laika joined the band as their touring guitarist, but as of 2010 has been replaced by Matt Simms.
Wire's debut album, Pink Flag (1977), contains songs which are diverse in mood and style, but most use a minimalist punk approach, unorthodox structures, and several songs are under a minute in length; "Field Day For The Sundays" is only 28 seconds long.
Chairs Missing followed in 1978, and found Wire stepping back from the stark minimalism of Pink Flag, with longer, more atmospheric songs and synthesizer parts added by producer Mike Thorne. The experimentation was even more prominent on 154 (1979). Many of the songs had bassist Graham Lewis on lead vocals.
In 1979, creative differences pulled the band in different directions, leading to the Document and Eyewitness LP (1981), a recording of a performance that featured, almost exclusively, new material. The LP came packaged with an EP of a different performance of more new material. Some of these songs, along with others performed but not included on the album, were included on Colin Newman's post-Wire solo albums ("5/10", "We Meet Under Tables"), while others were released by Gilbert and Lewis' primary post-Wire outlet Dome ("And Then…", "Ritual View"). The band disbanded for the first time in 1980
Between 1981-85 Wire ceased recording and performing in favour of solo and non-Wire collaborative projects such as Dome, Cupol, Duet Emmo, and several Colin Newman solo efforts. In 1985, the group reformed as a "beat combo" (a joking reference to early 1960s beat music or even possibly beatniks), with greater use of electronic musical instruments. It released It's Beginning To And Back Again (IBTABA) in 1989, a "live" album of mostly re-worked versions of songs from The Ideal Copy and A Bell Is a Cup…Until It Is Struck, heavily re-arranged, edited, and remixed. A new song from the album, "Eardrum Buzz", became the band's biggest charting single.
Gotobed left the band in 1990, after the release of the album Manscape. After his departure, the band dropped one letter from its name, becoming "Wir" (still pronounced "wire"), and released The First Letter in 1991. Once again, the band disbanded in 1992 There followed a further period of solo recordings, during which Newman founded the Swim ~ label, and later Githead with his wife (ex-Minimal Compact bassist Malka Spigel), while Wire remained an occasional collaboration. It was not until 1999 that Wire again became a full-time entity.
With Gotobed back in the line-up (now using his birth name, Robert Grey), the group initially reworked much of their back catalogue for a performance at Royal Festival Hall on 26 February 2000. Wire's reception during a short tour of the US, and a number of UK gigs, convinced the band to continue. Two EPs and an album Send (2003) followed, as well as collaborations with stage designer Es Devlin and artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. In 2004 the band split once more.
In 2006, Wire's 1970s albums were re-released with original vinyl tracklistings. Rumours abounded of a renewal of activity to mark the 30th anniversary of the band's debut as a 4 piece and the re-release of Pink Flag in 2007. A third Read & Burn EP was released in November, 2007.
A full-length album of new material entitled Object 47 was released in July 2008. Bruce Gilbert was not involved in this recording, although according to Colin Newman, he did feature in a minimal capacity on the third Read and Burn EP. 2011 saw the release of the band's twelfth studio album Red barked trees