Curiosity Killed the Cat was a British pop band that found success in the UK Singles Chart in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Career

The band played soulful, jazzy, and funky pop music and was initially signed to Phonogram Records' Mercury imprint. They first came to notice of the UK music press when they hooked up with Andy Warhol for the video of the 1986 single "Misfit". This featured the band in New York and at one point featured frontman Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot dancing down a side street whilst Andy Warhol referenced Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by dropping pieces of white card in time to the music (an effect originally done in a long-form promotional film by Bob Dylan for "Subterranean Homesick Blues" in 1965 and also copied by Warhol as well as INXS in their video for "Mediate" in 1988 as well as many other bands).

The band's first album, Keep Your Distance, entered the UK Albums Chart at number one in May 1987, and stayed in the Top Ten for 13 weeks, although the release of that album's "Free" as a single only reached number 56 in the UK Singles Chart. Just before that, a re-release of the first single, "Misfit", had reached Number 7, continuing the group's Top Ten placement which ended with "Free". "Misfit" was also their only U.S. chart single, peaking at number 42.

The band's second album, Getahead, was led by an upbeat funky track called "Name and Number". This record was a hit, reaching number 14 in 1989, but the "Hey How You Doin'" refrain would find itself in the Top Ten two years later as part of the De La Soul song "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)".

After the lacklustre performance of Getahead and second single "First Place", Curiosity (as they were now billed) found themselves dropped from Mercury Records. However, three years after the release of that single they returned to the UK Top Ten as a three piece on RCA Records, with a cover of Johnny Bristol's "Hang On In There Baby". However, the band's follow ups (covers of "I Need Your Lovin'" and "Gimme the Sunshine") flopped, which resulted in the album Back to Front only being released in Japan and selected overseas markets.

In the 2000s (decade), the band reformed for an appearance on a National Lottery midweek show on BBC 1, and since then Volpeliere has toured under the name Curiosity Killed the Cat, on a number of 1980s revival packages.

Band members

Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot (vocals; born Martin Benedict Volpeliere-Pierrot, 19 May 1965, Earls Court, London),

Volpelierre-Pierrot was best known for wearing a beret in most pictures of the band. He later revealed it was in fact a peaked fisherman's hat, turned round with the peak to the rear so that it resembled a beret. Ben VP (as he was billed on a number of solo singles in the mid 1990s) was frequently referred to as Ben Vol-au-vent-Parrot in Smash Hits magazine. He also appeared as a male model on the front of Mike Read's Pop Quiz board game.

Nick Thorp (bass guitarist; born Nicholas Bernard Thorp, 25 October 1964, Sunbury-on-Thames, London),

Migi Drummond (drummer; born Miguel John Drummond, 27 January 1964, Strawberry Hill, London),

In 1995, Migi Drummond and Nick Thorp set up Naked Records which was acquired a year later by software maker Eidos Plc.

Julian Godfrey Brookhouse (guitarist; born 15 May 1963, Putney, London),

Antimo Rivetti (manager; born Antimo Rivetti, 14 October 1959, Peterborough, England),

Toby Anderson co-wrote all tracks and played keyboards on the album Keep Your Distance. Session guitarist/keyboard player Mike McEvoy (Michael J McEvoy) co-wrote the songs on their Getahead album and drummer Jeff Porcaro played on three tracks ("Cascade", "Can't Grow Trees on Money", "Who Are You").

Albums

Keep Your Distance (1987) UK #1,

Getahead (1989) UK #29,

Billed as Curiosity:

Back to Front (1994),

Singles

"Misfit" (1986) Mercury / CAT 1,

"Down to Earth" (1986) UK #3 Mercury / CAT 2,

"Ordinary Day" (1987) UK #11 Mercury / CAT 3,

"Misfit" (re-issue - 1987) UK #7 U.S. #42 Mercury / CAT 4,

"Free" (1987) UK #56 Mercury / CAT 5,

"Name and Number" (1989) UK #14 Mercury / CAT 6

On "Name and Number", the band and co-writer get writing credits; however, on De La Soul's "Ring Ring Ring" only the co-writer gets a credit, even though it utilises the chorus of the Curiosity song.,

,

"First Place" (1989) Mercury / CAT 7,

Billed as Curiosity:

"Hang On In There Baby" (1992) UK #3,

"I Need Your Lovin'" (1992) UK #47,

"Gimme the Sunshine" (1993) UK #73,

"Relax"