The Vanishing was born in San Francisco, from members Jessie Evans and Brian Hock, who formed out of the ashes of The Knives. Jessie played bass and sang and Brian played drums. Shortly afterward they recruited Sadie Shaw on keyboards. Their original sound was tough and dark, melody, mania, screeching vocals, fuzzed out bass like being stuck in a washing machine, and great drums. The music was like a sci-fi horror film, lyrics reached toward beauty in dreamlike sequences. But always seen behind the eyes of a glass which might be filled with some poison. Their first EP explored the themes of a society which had become invisible. People who had become like ghosts walking inside their own skin, this theme and similar, of vacancy and the sadness and emptiness that it created, permeated throughout their music.
Their second album Songs for psychotic children was written as a musical book of fairy tales for children who had lost their mind. This was written with Jessies younger brother Anders (OTTO NERVOUS) in mind. Anders was 4 at the time and had been telling everyone in sight that he hated them and would cut their head off and flush it down the toilet, or that he would throw them in the sewer. Again the lyrics strived towards encapsulating some kind of setting where love was reached for but there was so many horrible obstacles in the way.
Soon after this release Sadie Shaw left the band and was replaced by Billy Bates on Moog. Several more split records ensued, including a split 12 with SIXTEENS, which contained the tracks Still lifes are failing and Victim Card. Still lifes was written as an anti love song to the idea of the still life painting, a painting in which the ideal of beauty is placed in a very predictable pose (usually using fruit or flowers) and is one is forced to copy it to the best of their technical ability. But with metaphorical arrows pointing toward the industry, and how the media had messed up several generations of minds with its constant barrage of imagery aimed at glamorizing youth, beauty, and the ridiculous strive toward fame, this song said no no no, we dont need you, we dont want to be part of your system, and we reject your ideals! We would rather remain underground and free ! Another great single that came out of that period was a split 12 with VON IVA which contained the track Idle Eyes. A song which simply said when you take off the disguise, Ill look into your eyes, until then you will never see me
In this lineup The Vanishing toured the US several times and arrived in Europe. On the streets of Brooklyn Jessie slept in their van Otto to guard it against burglars, listening to Tangerine Dream on her boombox, as the rain poured down. That year they played shows with Get Hustle, The Gossip, Lovelife, Gravy Train, Quintron, The Phantom Limbs, Glass Candy, and many other great bands. It was a beautiful time, in which a frenzied violent feeling could conjure up the most honesty. The show became way more improvised and chaotic. With the addition of Billy into the band, Jessie was playing saxophone again, and Billys industrial /wave-hall influence was pushing them into a much harsher sound. Eventually Jessie and Brian decided to move to Berlin, having visited there on their last tour and fallen in love with it. With the friendship of HANIN ELIAS (Atari Teenage Riot) who had offered to put out their new album in Germany, they jumped on the plane (without Billy, who opted to stay in California) and arrived in Berlin on 8.18.2004.
Their final album Still lifes are failing was released the next month, just in time for both labels to belly-flop. But the album received great reviews in Germany, and they continued to tour successfully in Europe throughout the next year, building a close bond with Bettina Kster (MALARIA!) who they invited on tour with them, and traveling all over Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Hungary, Switzerland, and to Istanbul. The first track on the record Lovesick became a big underground hit.
The Vanishing broke up in May 2005, playing their last show in Los Angeles at the dud Silverlake Lounge. It was a sad show, but the two had grown apart creatively and needed to move on to explore other sounds and worlds on their own.