Phil Shoenfelt is a veteran of the London, Manchester and New York punk and
present, Phil is writing songs for the next Southern Cross CD and working on
Book 3 of Stripped.
After getting caught up in the London punk explosion of 1976-1977, he moved to
New York where he played with several Downtown bands, such as The Nothing and Disturbed
Furniture. In 1981 he formed the post-punk band KHMER ROUGE with Barry "DJ
Scratchy" Myers on bass, Marcia Schofield on keyboards and Paul Garisto on
drums. DJ Scratchy worked with The Clash on their first three US tours. Marcia
went on to play keyboards with The Fall, and Paul played drums with Psychedelic
Furs and Iggy Pop. Another Khmer Rouge drummer was the artist Claus
Castenskiold, who has designed album covers for The Gun Club and Kid Congo
The first performance of Khmer Rouge was at the 1981 White Columns Noise
Festival, which was organised by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. The band later
played shows at CBGBs, The Peppermint Lounge, Danceteria and The Ritz. They
also supported artists such as Alan Vega, The Gun Club, Tom Verlaine, Nico and
The Clash at concerts on the east coast of the USA.
Khmer Rouge was managed for a time by legendary photographer Nat Finkelstein,
famous for his books “The Factory Years” and “Edie”. Finkelstein collaborated
with Andy Warhol on “Andy Warhol’s Index” and was responsible for many of the
classic black and white photos of the Velvet Underground. He also filmed a
ground-breaking video for the Khmer Rouge song “New Assassins”.
In 1984 Phil returned to London, where Khmer Rouge continued for another two
years. During this time the band supported The Fall on two UK tours. They also
recorded several songs with the English producer John Leckie and played
regularly in London clubs. The band split up in 1986. A double Khmer Rouge CD, New
York-London 1981-86, was released by the UK label Voiceprint in 2004.
For the next two years Phil concentrated on writing songs and making demos. In
1989 his first solo recording, a 12 inch single “Charlotte's Room” b/w “The
Long Goodbye” was released on Mark E. Smith’s Cog Sinister label. The recording
was produced by Tony Cohen, renowned for his work with The Birthday Party and
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
In 1990 the UK label Paperhouse Records put out Phil’s first solo album Backwoods
Crucifixion. In 1993 his second album, God Is The Other Face Of
The Devil, was released by Humbug Records. During this period Phil
supported Crime & The City Solution and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds on UK
In the summer of 1994 Phil toured in the Czech Republic, backed by the
musicians from Tichá Dohoda. One year later he moved to Prague on a permanent
basis. There he formed his current band PHIL SHOENFELT & SOUTHERN CROSS
with Pavel Krtouš (bass guitar), Jarda Kvasnička (drums) and Pavel Cingl
(violin). In 2014 Pavel Cingl left the band and David Babka joined on lead
With Southern Cross Phil has recorded five albums to date: Blue Highway,
Dead Flowers For Alice, Ecstatic, Paranoia.com
and The Bell Ringer.
In 1997 Phil founded FATAL SHORE with Berlin-based Australians Bruno Adams and
Chris Hughes (Once Upon A Time; Hugo Race & The True Spirit). The band
toured Europe and became a popular act on the Berlin club scene, notable for
their intense live shows and sonic improvisations. Fatal Shore made 3 CDs between
1997 and 2007: The Fatal Shore, Free Fall and
In 2004 Adams became sick and was diagnosed with colon cancer. Fatal Shore
continued touring, but in June 2008 the band played its final concert at
Ebensee Kino in Austria. Bruno died in 2009 after putting up a long, brave
fight, and Shoenfelt and Hughes decided to discontinue the band. A final CD, Setting
The Sails For El Dorado, was released in 2011. The album is
dedicated to the memory of Bruno.
Phil also collaborated with Nikki Sudden, playing lead guitar in Sudden's band
on European tours in 1997 and 1998. After the second tour the pair went into a
Berlin studio and recorded Golden Vanity, an album of co-written
songs that was released by the UK label Easy Action in 2009.
In November 2010 Phil Shoenfelt & Southern Cross released their fourth
studio album, Paranoia.com (Easy Action Records). The album
marked a change in the band’s musical direction from atmospheric indie rock to
a more edgy hard rock sound. With nine original songs and a James
Williamson-approved version of Iggy Pop & The Stooges' "Open Up And
Bleed", the album features a remarkable cover painting by ex-Khmer Rouge
member Claus Castenskiold. One song from this CD, “Stupid Rock Star”, was
included on the 2014 compilation, “Shark Infested Waters”. Also included on
this CD are tracks by Iggy & The Stooges, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Patti
Smith, Johnny Thunders and many other classic artists.
In 2011 Phil started a new band, DIM LOCATOR, with drummer Chris Hughes and
bass player Dave Allen. Based in Berlin, Dim Locator is an outgrowth of the
work Hughes and Shoenfelt did with Fatal Shore and features music co-written by
all three members. The sound of Dim Locator is based more on drones and guitar
loops than conventional song structures, taking inspiration from the
“kraut-rock” bands of the 1970s. To date the band has released a Download-EP Immortalised
(a three song tribute to Rowland S. Howard), a 7 inch single of two of Howard’s
songs, “I Ate The Knife” b/w “Undone”, Wormhole, a mini album
containing four original songs. In July 2016 a live CD Six Miles Deep was
released on the German label Moloko +.
In addition to writing and playing music, Phil has also written several books.
To date, he has had five titles published: Junkie Love (a
fictionalised autobiography); The Green Hotel/Zelený Hotel
(poetry and song lyrics); Magdalena – Books One and Two
(a collaboration with the poet and artist Kateřína Piňosová), Kamikaze
Skull (twenty poems co-written with UK performance artist Sophia
Disgrace); and Stripped (a trilogy of books set in New York in
the years 1979-1984). The first part of the trilogy was published in Czech
translation in December 2012. The second part - Underground Incognito -
was published in May 2016.
Junkie Love first appeared in Czech translation as Feťácká Láska.
It was published in English in 2001 by Twisted Spoon Press and went on to win
the Firecracker Alternative Book Award (New York, 2002). Since then it has it
has been translated and published in Italian by Fazi Editions of Rome. An
extract from Junkie Love was featured in Erotika – Drogen und
Sexualita, an anthology edited by the German philosopher Wolfgang
Sterneck. In 2006 Junkie Love was licensed to Ebury Press/Random House
for UK and Commonwealth distribution. Shoenfelt’s writing has also appeared in
literary magazines such as Gargoyle, Prague Literary Review, Optimism,
Hele, Blatt, Apple Of The Eye, Morgana, Vlna
A new Phil Shoenfelt & Southern Cross CD, The Bell Ringer – Live At The
Shot-Out Eye, was released in June 2015. The album was recorded in the
summer of 2014 to mark the 20th anniversary of the band.