Curved Air Biography

Originally emerging from the classically influenced progressive band Sisyphus, Curved Air formed in 1969 with a line-up comprising Sonja Kristina (14 April 1949, Brentwood, Essex, England; vocals), Darryl Way (b. 17 December 1948, Taunton, Somerset, England; violin), Florian Pilkington-Miksa (b. 3 June 1950, Roehampton, London, England), Francis Monkman (b. 9 June 1949, Hampstead, London, England; keyboards) and Rob Martin (bass). After establishing themselves on the UK club circuit, the band was signed by Warner Brothers Records for a much-publicized advance of £100, 000. Their debut album, Airconditioning, was heavily promoted and enjoyed a particular curiosity value as one of rock’s first picture disc albums. Martin was subsequently replaced by Ian Eyre (b. 11 September, Knaresborough, Yorkshire, England). In the summer of 1971, the band enjoyed their sole UK Top 5 hit with ‘Back Street Luv’, while their Second Album cleverly fused electronic rock and classical elements to win favour with the progressive music audience. By the time of Phantasmagoria, Eyre had left because of musical differences: he wanted to capitalize on the success of the hit single with a follow-up; the rest of the band wanted a more folky, esoteric direction. Mike Wedgewood (b. 19 May 1956, Derby, England) joined, during which time Monkman and Way were in disagreement over musical direction and presentation. By October 1972, both had left the band leaving Kristina as the sole original member.

The line-up changed consistently from this point onwards. Kristina and Wedgewood recruited Kirby Gregory (guitar), Eddie Jobson (b. 28 May 1955, England; violin, keyboards) and Jim Russell (drums) to record Air Cut, before Jobson left to join Roxy Music, replacing Brian Eno. The original band members, along with new bass player Phil Kohn (b. USA), reunited for a short UK tour in December 1974. Following a hiatus, during which Kristina rejoined the cast of the musical Hair (which she had originally left to join Curved Air), the band was reactivated with Way returning for touring purposes. The new members were Mick Jacques (guitar), Tony Reeves (bass) and Stewart Copeland (b. 16 July 1952, Alexandria, Virginia, USA; drums). Two further albums followed before the unit dissolved in 1977.

Kristina pursued a largely unsuccessful solo career in music and acting. Way formed Darryl Way’s Wolf and in the 90s concentrated on composing. Monkman went on to form Sky, while Copeland joined the immensely successful Police.

There have been several Curved Air reunions in subsequent decades, one of which resulted in the Alive, 1990 release.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.