Visionary of the dark: 39 years after the departure of Eduardo Benavente, dark icon of the Spanish scene

Edward Benavente It is one of those cases in which history puts us in front of a genius. There is no other way to understand how just in 20 years of life He left a sound path that, even today, continues to influence contemporary music. A path I would have followed if a car accident, on May 14, 1983I wouldn’t have stopped him.

Producer, singer, musician, composer and band member Prism, Plastic, Shop WindowsY Alaska and the Pegamoidsuntil forming permanent paralysis, a group that, with only 24 songs recorded, became a post punk icon and symbol of the Spain of the early 80s

first groups

Eduardo Benavente’s path began when he was just a schoolboy. In the late ’70s, he formed his first band, Prismbeside Nacho Canowho would later be part of Mecano.

“I was studying as an intern at El Escorial, and there I met all the posh people in Madrid. I met Nacho because they told me he had a guitar, we went to see a movie Led Zeppelin together, then we went to his house and he played Stairway to Heaven for me on the guitar. I offered him to make a group, he accepted and we went to some places in Antón Martín”, he referred in an interview about those years.

However, Eduardo left the group because, according to what they say, Cano suggested a cover of Supertramp. After that experience, in a pub in Argüelles he met Rafa Gutierrez, who would later become the guitarist for Hombres G. With him he formed “Plástico”. Until then he only had 15 years!

“I still didn’t know how to play anything, I just sang and didn’t intervene in the compositions. But in the year I was in Plastic I learned a little to play the drums”, he pointed out in an interview at the time.

His second band recorded a single for RCA in 1981, but he did not participate. He was really more interested in another band, “The Shop Windows”, who had formed with his brother Javier and with whom he shared the sinister look that later became his personal stamp. Despite his efforts, he failed to produce any recording for them.

However, his musical path still had its most important stops ahead.

pegamoid

In the early 1980s, Eduardo successfully auditioned to become a drummer for Alaska and the Pegamoids, which were already a symbol of the Madrid punk scene. With Eduardo on board, they released their first single, “Horror in the Hypermarket”.

“When I got to Alaska my appetite to play instruments was whetted. First it was the drums, then I started playing the bass, then they gave me a guitar and I spent all Christmas playing it with a distorter, “he said in an interview.

His desire for more allowed him to advance in the band. From drummer he went on to play the guitar and compose some songs, despite the initial reluctance of Carlos Berlanga and Nacho Canutwho were in charge of composing the songs.

Nevertheless, Eduardo’s presence was decisive not only in the evolution of the band’s pop sound to more aggressive melodies, but also in the change from its initial multicolored aesthetic to gray and dark tones.

permanent paralysis

Benavente’s artistic appetite soon exceeded what the Spanish underground circuit could offer him. So, with his girlfriend at the time, he traveled to London and there he came face to face with the standard-bearers of English post-punk like Killing Joke, Siouxsie and The Banshees or Bauhaus. On a second trip she took with her to Alaska and Anna Curra. Upon his return, she was much clearer about what he wanted to do on a musical level.

Along with Ana Curra, his girlfriend at the time, his brother Javier, Nacho Canut and his brother, Johnny, formed Permanent Paralysis, the band with which he would become legendary. With a decidedly dark sound and a sinister aesthetic, little by little they would become icons of the underground but in terror of the record companies that they did not agree to put them in the recording studio.

At the end of 1982, Nacho Canut joined Carlos Berlanga in Alaska and Dynarama. Instead he entered Rafa Balsameda on the bass, and also joined Anthony Morales on the guitar and Toti Trees in the battery. Thus the final alignment of the band would be established.

A (single) ‘Act’

The only Permanent Paralysis LP was ‘The Act’, recorded in July 1982. Since no label wanted to sign them, Eduardo helped found the historic independent label Three Cypresses.

“A multinational can never offer what an independent label can offer. And it is that, in addition, with what of the big companies we are totally chosen. We have been ripped off, scammed, robbed. They are mobsters”, Eduardo used to say in those years.

Despite everything, ‘El act’ became a cult piece for the band’s new horde of followers.

The 13 songs on the album brim with rage, but also glamour; darkness, but also elegance; drama, but also irony disguised with sadomasochistic lyrics. The album has the energy of Iggy Pop, the elegance of David Bowie, and the darkness of the early groups of the gothic rock

Farewell to an icon

At the beginning of 1983, the band recorded their last single Born to Dominate/Blood. But, just a few weeks later, a rainy saturday while the band was returning from a concertAna Curra lost control of the car in which they were traveling, they got lost and Eduardo Benavente He died immediately after being thrown from the car.

The news was painful not only for the bandmates, but for a whole generation of young Eduardo fans. The group broke up after the publication of a posthumous album and, although Permanent Paralysis’ life time was short, it was enough to leave a legacy that influenced groups of the time, such as Caligari Cabinet, Tenth Victim or Chamber.

“I know that Edu was Permanent Paralysis. Look how the late Germán Coppini, of whom we were colleagues, offered to be a singer and I told him no, that Eduardo had already left and that he had left us all the best. No one could ever replace Eduardo”, Ana Curra said in an interview.

In addition, Benavente’s influence can be traced in national groups such as Feudal, Sor Obscene, Calle 13, Own Voice or the first Cardinals.

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