Rosetta Stone Biography

Rosetta Stone were

. Porl King : Guitars & Vocals .
. Karl North : Bass .
. Madame Razor : Drums .

. Porl Young : Guitars between 1991-1993 .

This is a condensed version of the biography by Porl King, which can be found here

The Class Of '84

In September of 1983 Keyboard player Karl North and Singer Neil R. Garner form a band, "Jam and Jerusalem", after meeting at art college in Wirral, Merseyside. The line up is completed in 1984 when a friend of a friend of Karl's, Porl King, joins as guitarist.

Neil soon leaves to follow up his education in fine art and Karl moves over to bass. Neil will be back in the years to come in the form of sleeve artist and live engineer.

Come 1986 Jam and Jerusalem are (after changing their name to "Virtue") no more. Singer Ali McWatt steps up to the mic and "Third Enigma" is formed. Third Enigma support Batfish Boys (ex-March Violets) with drummer Andy Curtis before splitting up.

Of The Beginning

It's 1987 and Porl and Karl are writing and rehearsing songs constantly. The very first Rosetta Stone gig was in 1988 at Planet X in Liverpool, the first demo "Recreate And Emulate" is recorded at around the same time. The line-up stands at Porl King on guitar and vocals, Karl North on bass and the newly acquired Casio RZ1 drum machine, dubbed "Madame Razor".

Gigging locally, the band is spotted by producer Lazarus (Rolling Stones, Mike Oldfield) who requests to produce them. A session is undertaken at the Marquee's studios in London resulting in 'Six Before Dawn' and a remake of 'Hour by Hour'. At this point in time the band toy with the idea of re-naming themselves 'Six Before Dawn'.

"Chapter And Verse" recorded at Stationhouse with producer Paul Madden, which is followed in 1989 by "Retribution" and "And How They Rejoice".

Darkness And Light

After, by personal invitation, opening for the Mission at their fan club shindig in Sheffield, Wayne Hussey offers to produce the bands debut single but due to commitments with the Mission, he is forced to pull out. None-the-less Rosetta Stone move onward, and Eastwards, to Slaughterhouse Studios in Driffield, where "Darkness And Light" is recorded with in-house studio engineer/producer Colin Richardson. Sadly, Slaughterhouse burns to the ground shortly afterwards.

Darkness And Light was the first and only release on the bands own label "Futurity".

Despite being met with "a wall of silence" from the British press, Rosetta Stone go on to tour successfully, performing gigs all over the country, including the Marquee in London.

"Better Than The Nephilim But Not As Good As Rosetta!"
- Wayne Hussey on The Sisters Of Mercy at Wembley, 1990

September 4th 1990 Rosetta Stone sign a deal with Expression Records (run by Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music). In 1991 the recording of the debut album "An Eye For The Main Chance", co-produced by Ash Howes and Porl Young, is finished. Porl Young joins as second guitarist shortly after.

"Leave Me For Dead" is chosen as the debut single followed shortly by the albums title track "An Eye For The Main Chance".

God Speed Be With You

1992 sees the release of "Adrenaline", possibly the bands biggest single to date and "The Witch" a cover of the 1970's hit by The Rattles.

The following 2 years see activity on both sides of the pond in the form of "On The Side Of Angels" (a CD compilation of various 12" singles) and deal signed with American label Cleopatra.

Rosetta Stone continue to gig and begin writing material for a follow album to "An Eye For The Main Chance".

Cleopatra release several compilations around this time, including "Foundation Stones" which features many of the bands early demos.

Touching On Nothing

1994 saw the premature release of the single "Nothing", which the band was felt was rushed. None-the-less the single did very well, reaching number 7 in the Indie top 10.

The single preceded the album "The Tyranny Of Inaction" and heralded a dramatic change in sound, featuring a harsher more industrial edge than previous releases. The album itself was also considered unfinished upon its first release, and was re-released in the states as "The Tyranny Of Inaction revised edition 1.1"


1996 saw the release of the EP, "Hiding In Waiting" featuring 2 excellent new songs as well as remake of "Six Before Dawn".

Live versions of the songs preformed in the following 2 years were recorded, in studio, and released in the form of "Chemical Emissions", which featured some dramatic remixes of classic tunes, a new track or two and some wonderful cover versions.

And Into A Hole

Whitby Goth Weekend, October 1998. Rosetta Stone are "sick and tired to do with all the bullshit surrounding the scene" and announce that the show will be their last. Although there is much speculation as to the events at Whitby that lead to this, the band themselves had planned for it to be their last show.

Although various remixes, and a complete album of covers done under the name "Rosetta Stone" appeared after the official split, Rosetta Stone are now dead.

And Out Again?

Karl North went on to join an already established band "The Dream Disciples" who after the release of "Asphyxia" have gone on hiatus. Porl, after developing his skills as a remixing artist emerged under the name Misery:lab, with releases still pending, although some tracks have been aired via the internet.


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