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kevin shields and my bloody valentine image for timeline

My Bloody Valentine Timeline

Kevin Shields (abridged) /

This very basic time line is taken from my manuscript but neglects at least a dozen major topics covered in the book, which, at about 120,000 words, will give a much fuller picture of events mentioned below. The book will include comprehensive endnotes and a bibliography as all information here and in the book are from documented sources. REGISTER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HOMEPAGE TO KNOW WHEN THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE. 

I didn’t comprehend or appreciate their story until I actually wrote the book. Using an archive I began assembling in 1988, I was more than a little surprised at what I uncovered. This timeline is very basic and many details were only chosen to correct the record. Many redundancies will appear when examining the Discograpy on this site.

(go to end of this section to see juvenilia, i.e. pre-Bilinda Butcher joining in 1987)

As we open on 1987, the band consists of Kevin Shields, Colm O Cíosóig, Dave Conway, and Debbie Googe who are part of the thriving squatting scene. Dave Conway leaves of his own volition as he isn’t committed to the direction the band is headed in. Additionally, he faces health problems making touring difficult and is more interested in writing.

Auditions are held for new members. Joe Byfield (later of Gallon Drunk) joins as lead vocalist for a minute before being fired for his lack of commitment.

Bilinda Butcher joins at the same time, initially as a back-up singer. With the departure of Joe Byfield, and the band back to a four piece, our story begins. Bilinda changes the whole balance of the band, as she and Shields take over vocals in the second half of 1987.

The Strawberry Wine single is released on November 9th followed by the Ecstasy mini-album which is released on November 23rd. These releases are in many ways an aberration from every other recording before or after, with their 60’s beat, big tambourines and Byrds jingle-jangle from his recently acquired twelve string.

Shields and company would later express some regret that they recorded so soon after their line-up change. Fewer would have noticed these recordings had Lazy founder Wayne Morris not reissued these songs, compiled as Ecstasy and Wine, in 1989 without the band's permission. He did so little to initially promote them in 1987 that no none would have been able to find a copy of either record had he not reissued them.  

Stephen Joyce’s Woosh fanzine was there to document it all in 1987, covering the band just as they were getting it together. This is from Issue 1.

These promotional CD’s by Reaction Red were manufactured in 1993 but never went further than the prototypes seen here. The songs are from the same digital sources used in 1989 for Ecstasy & Wine.

After being blown away by My Bloody Valentine’s live show, Alan McGee and Dick Green (owners of Creation Records) offered them the chance to record a one off EP with no strings attached, resulting in the You Made Me Realise EP.

Recorded in five days in the Spring onto video tape to save money, their first EP for Creation is released on August 8th. (It becomes known in common parlance as the You Made Me Realise EP although technically its Untitled.). We couldn’t begin to touch on the how and why everything fell into place so perfectly. Best left to the book. They make their next recordings over six weeks at two studios. (It was not recorded in two weeks as erroneously reported by Simon Reynolds and repeated on Wikipedia.)

The Feed Me With Your Kiss EP is released on October 31st after a short delay due to manufacturing difficulties. Isn’t Anything is released on November 21. It goes to #1 on UK Indie Charts in December.


Cover of The Catalogue, February 1989 with flexi of "Sugar"

The band heads back to the studio around February for their first proper sessions for Creation since completing Isn’t Anything. Just prior to these sessions they recorded Sugar which is released on a free flexi with The Catalogue magazine to accompany their interview at Blackwing Recording Studios. It was actually recorded quickly using mostly borrowed studio time specifically for the magazine.

They later expressed dissatisfaction with these sessions at Blackwing and only one song (Moon Song) will be released in the near future. Some of the other tracks will have to wait to be released as bonus tracks in 2012 and 2021.

Also in February, Ecstasy and Wine is compiled and released by Lazy Records’ Wayne Morris as a 12” and CD without their permission or knowledge, confusing fans who initially believe it to be a new recording. 

They leave the studio to tour in support of Isn’t Anything. Creation is disappointed that no new single from Blackwing will be recorded in time to promote to coincide with the tour.

Upon returning to the studio after the tour, Shields undergoes a major change in the way he will approach recording. He realizes they will have to work harder and take more time to experiment if they want to continue progressing. Just because their session ends at a particular studio on a particular day, that will no longer be a determining factor as to when they will finish.

This new attitude will bear fruit although Creation is kept in the dark until February 1990 when Shields lets Alan McGee hear a rough mix of Soon.  McGee is blown away and his faith in the band is reinvigorated.

Sire signs a North American distribution deal with My Bloody Valentine through Creation Records in January (which is announced in August.)

The Glider EP is released in April and Soon garners the band a new level of attention.

While working on Glider, O Cíosóig has a type of nervous breakdown in late 1989 into early 1990 affecting his ability to play. (He is well enough to play when they tour in support of Glider.) This is due in part to personal issues exacerbated by being made homeless due to Creation's tiny monthly stipend. They solve the problem by sampling him, which works with the different rhythmic profile featured on Glider, Tremolo, and Loveless. Shields is the only member of the band consistently in the studio and the pace of recording continues to slow down through the summer.

The Tremolo EP is released in February and reaches the top of Indie Chart in the UK on February 20th. Shields listens to every promotional tape of Tremolo sent out for quality control anticipating the calls that will come. When the complaints come in to Creation that the tape must be warped, Creation is ready and explains that that is just the way it sounds.      

Loveless is released by Creation in November in the typical formats in addition to mini-disc.

My Bloody Valentine do a short tours of Australia, Japan, and the UK to support the album at the end of 1991, with more shows planned for 1992.

The five person line-up in late 1991. The band hire flautist Anna Quimby who unleashes a torrent of sound.

The five person line-up in late 1991. The band hire flautist Anna Quimby who unleashes a torrent of sound.

Mini disc Most connoisseurs of Loveless  image

Most connoisseurs of Loveless will tell you the only way to really “hear" the album is on mini-disc.

Creation drops My Bloody Valentine in January.

The band continues on the road as a four piece, relying on publishing money to tour.  Shields is unsatisfied with their live setup particularly when overseas where he has little control over the PA. The band is seen investing large amounts of time and energy during their soundcheck to get things sounding their best, although the live arena is the one area they are particularly unsatisfied with. 

With many suitors to choose from, My Bloody Valentine eventually signs with Island Records working out a contract with A & R man Nigel Coxon and Managing Director Marc Marot in October. Shields expects to have their next record out by October of 1993 believing that having access to their own studio and being properly capitalized will solve some of the fundamental issues that slowed them down in the past.

My Bloody Valentine’s cover of the James Bond theme We Have All the Time in the World is released on a charity compilation, Peace Together, and is their first release for Island.

Shields closes on a house in Streatham in March that will contain their studio and a place to reside for himself and Bilinda. They buy a newly produced recording console but run into major problems with the console itself and integrating the console into the wiring of the house.

Their new recordings, which Shields refers to as his Skyscraper Music, are inspired in some part by the drum ‘n’ bass recordings he and O Cíosóig hear on pirate radio.

Major problems with their recording desk take up valuable time and momentum. By this point they cannot record, and have little to show for the money they spent. Debbie and Colm move into the house in an attempt to economize and Shields begins selling off equipment to raise funds.

Island hears about their predicament through Ann-Marie Shields and, in a show of support, step in, bailing the band out with a large cash infusion and a £5,000 monthly retainer which is all money above and beyond what was stipulated in their contract. This is in keeping with Island's and Marot's philosophy to give truly original artists all the support they need to make music. Eventually MBV are able to return the defective console and replace it with a reliable mixing board.

Clear Spot Cd Image

It may have just been an informal demo, but Colm and Simon Johns were onto something. (Released 1998)

Excellent single from Snowpony, produced by John McEntire of Tortoise  image

Excellent single from Snowpony, produced by John McEntire of Tortoise fame. 

Interviews with Shields have him recounting the studio issues and creative issues holding them back although he seems hopeful that they're getting to where they need to be. 

Colm leaves the band and moves out of their home/studio in June 1995, but remains in London without any other projects lined up. His collaboration with Simon Johns [soon to become the bass player for Stereolab] that is released as a 7" (under the name Clear Spot) is essentially just a demo they worked up. Colm abandons that project when the opportunity to work with Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Starr comes along and he joins her in San Francisco.

Deb leaves the band in November 1995 after also reaching her breaking point. She later forms Snowpony in early ’96 with girlfriend Katherine Gifford.

Island A & R head Nigel Coxon says categorically that a record will be released this year.

Shields confirms this in an interview saying that fans should expect an EP this year but he is unsure when the album will be released.

Despite his public narrative, Shields has abandoned the Skyscraper Music concept deciding the songs feel labored and are missing the spark that makes his music vital. Kevin and Bilinda, now the only members of the band, begin recording from scratch. These new recordings begun in late 1996 will consist of four to six months work and will form about 30% of the m b v album which won’t be released until 2013.

My Bloody Valentine’s cover of Wire’s Map Ref 41° N 93° W is released on March 11th. This will be the last proper new recording by the band until 2013.

Shields and Butcher confirm that Shields isolates himself in their home for a host of reasons for what may have been as long as a year beginning sometime in 1996 and continuing through 1997, but he never completely lost contact with the world as his remix work and other side-projects attest to. Part of his time is spent alone in his bedroom exploring consciousness and his particularly unique relationship with hypnagogia. 

Shields and Island reach an impasse as Shields insists on controlling all elements of the process despite a lack of progress. He will not take any of the suggestions offered by anyone at Island. Island's Managing Director Marot warns Shields that they will cut off funds if they can't find a way forward. Island, unwilling to throw good money after bad, follows through as Shields still has nothing to show for the support and money Island have invested in him. 

Bilinda leaves their shared home, feeling she must get herself well before anything else. She spells out how conflicted she felt at the time in her first in-depth interview in 2004, making it clear she was prepared to begin recording again with Shields whenever he should call.

With Island pulling all monetary support and Butcher's departure, My Bloody Valentine was over for the time being. Shields got by doing remix work and other side projects and eventually joins Primal Scream

hypnagoia image

Island releases Shields from his contract in early 2002 after trying many avenues to get him to accept help and/or release some of the music recorded on Island's dime.

In collaboration with Brian Reitzell (who demonstrates an amazing amount of patience and commitment to Shields), the Lost In Translation Soundtrack is released and features four new Kevin Shields songs and one song from Loveless. Reitzell sees the Primal Scream gig as both a help and hindrance to Shields, as it helps support him but is keeping him from working on his own material. Reitzell will arrange another payday for Shields for two remixes for the next Sophia Coppola film soundtrack he oversees.

Lost-In-Translation cd image
Coral-Sea picture. My Bloody Valentine

Shields leaves Primal Scream around this time to work on his My Bloody Valentine projects full time.

Shields does an important collaboration with Patti Smith, entitled The Coral Sea, that sees him pick back up his 'glide guitar' techniques for the first time since 1997.

With the world finally catching up with MBV's unique vision over the last fifteen years and lucrative offers to play live on the table, the Valentines begin the process of preparing to tour with financial backing from Barry Hogan of All Tomorrow’s Parties. Shields sees this as their first opportunity to finally buy a proper PA and all the other equipment needed to finally project the music in a live setting as he always envisioned.

Reunion shows begin in London and continue through 2009.

After several false starts in 2004 and 2008, CD remasters are finally released of their whole Creation catalog after several run ins with different regimes at Sony (who bought out the rest of Creation Records in 1999).

Ep’s 1988-1991, Isn’t Anything, and a two CD versions of Loveless are all released on CD.

The m b v album is released on February 2nd on the band’s website which promptly crashes. Some songs were initially recorded by Bilinda and Kevin in 1996 and 1997. Shields came upon them around 2004 and, realizing their true value for the first time, began reworking them over the intervening years.

More live shows follow. 

Remastered, fully-analog vinyl editions of Loveless and Isn’t Anything are created for the first time and released through the band’s website. Loveless is particularly time-consuming and expensive to create in analog form and requires a great deal of trial and error to recreate the segues that make the album flow.

More live shows follow.


My Bloody Valentine signs with Domino Record Company (one of the larger independent record companies) who re-release the remastered CD’s from 2012, m b v from 2013 and the remastered vinyl albums from 2018, which are all also still available on the band’s website. Their Creation recordings and m b v are also made available to streaming services for the first time.

New versions of Isn’t Anything and Loveless are released on vinyl taken from uncompressed hi-resolution digital files.

Also of note, two previously unreleased songs are added to the second CD of the new version of Eps 1988-1991. As the songs are unlisted, look for the Domino logo on the back to ensure you are getting a copy with the additional tracks.

FYI: none of the four Creation EP’s have been remastered or repressed on vinyl and remain out of print. Nor has the work for Lazy been remastered or repressed.


Shields gives several interviews in 2021, one of which on Double J indicates he is now planning an album, two or three EPs, and a double album. Additionally, we find out that while he has studios in both London and Dublin, he now resides in Dublin with wife Anna Davolio, a Danish model.

This first band to use the name My Bloody Valentine was formed by Kevin Shields, Colm O Cíosóig, and Dave Conway in addition to a loose collection of friends who would show up at various gigs in Dublin. This first band known as My Bloody Valentine was an altogether different band then the world has come to know when Bilinda Butcher joined in 1987.

My Bloody Valentine is reduced to a four piece as Kevin, Colm, Dave, and Tina Durkin (who plays in the band mainly as a favor to boyfriend Dave) leave Dublin, following the advice from Virgin Prunes leader Gavin Friday, heading to the Netherlands and then Germany over the next year or so.

This is Your Bloody Valentine mini album is released on Tycoon. The album actually received good notices and may be the best release by this incarnation of the band when their main influences were the Cramps, the Birthday Party, and the Scientists.  

The Man You Love to Hate is released on Amigo. This low quality live album is a cassette only release. Re-released in 2007.
After a few detours, Kevin, Colm, Dave, and Tina move to London and become part of the squatting scene. Tina Durkin drops out of the band, only really having come along for the adventure and to be with her boyfriend Dave. 

Debbie Googe joins as their first proper bass player while the other members transition to London.
The Geek! 12” is released in December on Fever.

A 7” with two songs from Geek! (No Place To Go/Moonlight) is also released with a different cover.

The New Record by My Bloody Valentine (an EP) is released on Kaleidoscope Sound.

They sign with Lazy Records and soon enough realize it was a huge mistake as owner Wayne Morris wants to turn them into the next Primitives.

The Sunny Sundae Smile EP is released in February on Lazy Records. (Recorded in Dec. 1986) This is the last recording with Dave Conway on vocals. Dave decides to leave the band in February due to his desire to write, stomach ailments and less interest in the musical direction of the band.  

This marks the end of recordings of this first iteration of My Bloody Valentine. To continue, go to top.

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