There's something rather wonderfully circular about how Brix Smith Start got back into music.

It all started off with a gig back in 1983 in her hometown of Chicago and a chance meeting with a legend of the UK music industry, Mark E Smith.

"A few weeks before Mark and the Fall came to the US," she recalls, "I was with my friend looking in these record bins for cool UK imports and she pulled out a record by the band.

"Straight away just with its blury image and scribbled words, I was intrigued but then when we put the record on, I'd heard nothing like it before."

Having already given up university to start a band and write songs, Brix and her friend went along to see The Fall play.

"My friend had disappeared with this guy," she continues, "which was really unlike her and I was left just wandering about, so I went down to the bar and bumped right into Mark E Smith. We got chatting and eventually I told him I wrote songs too, and he said he'd like to hear some of them, so I handed over a tape I had with me."

As captivated with her songs, as Brix was with Mark's, it wasn't long before the two got together and Brix found herself in the UK, performing and writing for band.

The rest is a well documented story of whirlwind romance, a subsequent bitter split but some of the most remarkable songwriting in between.

After playing with the Bangles, then going on to do some solo material, Brix finally gave up the music industry and re-invented herself, instead making a name for herself in fashion, first opening up a series of boutiques with her husband, Philip Start, before becoming a telly expert appearing on such programmes as Gok's Fashion Fix.

Until that is she got invited to another gig.

"Steve Hanley (bass player in The Fall) had written a book about his time in the band," Brix tells me, "and he asked me along to the launch.

"I hadn't seen any of them since I had left the band 18 years previously but when I got there I saw they had put a little band together to play some of the songs and that's when it hit me. I felt something inside of me urging me to get up and grab that guitar and perform with them.

"Afterwards I asked why they hadn't asked me to perform and Steve was really surprised. 'We thought you wouldn't want to', he replied, and then I told him that I had secretly started writing songs again, which he was really interested in.

"After a while he said how did I feel about going to a garage and just playing together again."

And that's how Brix & The Extricated came about.

Brix is one of the few true female rock icons of the indie and alternative era, an inspiration for generations of women, not just those who play music. Her best-selling 2016 autobiography, The Rise, The Fall And The Rise, detailed a hugely eventful life including the years in which she was married to Mark E. Smith and wrote songs and played guitar in the group.

But she's not quite done with writing the final chapter on her music odyssey.

Along with Steve's brother Paul, also a member of The Fall, as well as Jason Brown and Steve Trafford on guitars, Brix & The Extricated have just released their second album, Breaking State, and are currently touring the UK.

It follows debut ‘Part 2’ which came out last September to critical acclaim and a year of gigs and festival dates including Latitude, where she met Colchester musician and photographer Krista Lynch.

It's thanks to Krista that we managed to get this interview with Brix as for the last few weeks she's been documenting the band's current tour with the incredible photography, some of which is on this page.

Brix says: "We met her at the Latitude Festival when her band SuperGlu were on before us and she came up to me after our set to say how much she liked us and what an influence I had been on her and lots of other young bands.

"We kept in touch via social media and then one day she sent me these incredible photos she had done and asked whether she could come on tour of us and I said 'these are great photos, of course you must come on tour with us'."

In another rather nice turn of events, the band are coming to Krista's home town, to be precise, the Colchester Arts Centre, where playing support will be Krista's boyfriend's band, the mighty Dingus Khan.

Brix says: "It's been an incredible experience re-discovering my love and passion for music.

"I hadn't picked up an instrument or sung a note for 13 years but after playing with the guys it just all came flooding back.

"It really was some kind of perfect storm when we got back together, we'v e all been in enough bands to know when things are going well, or not so well.

"But what's been doubly great about the band is the writing. With this new album I feel we've properly flexed our musical muscles. There's more layers and you can see that we're growing as unit and that's very exciting for the future."

Brix & The Extricated play the Colchester Arts Centre this Sunday, November 18.

Doors open at 7pm and all tickets are priced £15, available on-line at or by calling the box office on 01206 500900.