So there I was, dear reader, having just finished a Bob Dylan review and wondering how I could possibly take 1537 higher and bigger. So I mentally scrolled down the List Of The Gods* chiselled into the side of Mount Olympus looking for the next potential Nobel Laureate candidate. Then I saw his name, carved in letters 10 feet tall, picked out in flame eternal … Porkbeast. Of course.
Now as even the smallest child in some of the most remote undeveloped backwaters on earth** knows, Porkbeast was the bassist for Leicester grebo outfit Crazyhead.
Together with his friends Reverb, Anderson, Fast Green Dick and Vom they made various unsavoury loud noises in the late 80’s, released a brilliantly named debut single called ‘What Gives You The Idea That You’re So Amazing, Baby?’ and played the Namibian Independence Day concert to an audience of over 50,000 people. Truly that decade really wasn’t all about Spandau Ballet, my friends.
For the unenlightened ‘Grebo’ was West Midlands slang^ for a rocker and was used briefly by the music press to describe a scuzzy, oily, (pre-Seattle usage) grungy rock sound, which briefly took off when played by the likes of Gaye Bykers On Acid and Pop Will Eat Itself; not when Crazyhead did though.
I picked up a 12″ called Baby Turpentine a little while ago and it’s great. One of the first few records on Food Records, produced by former Teardrop Explodes dude and record company head David Balfe^^.
The band’s sound is a scuzzed-off rock, with similarities to touring mates the Cult and label and touring mates, Zodiac Mindwarp. ‘Baby Turpentine’ kicks like a cold turkeying punk on a rockabilly bender, it’s a brilliant propulsive track with the killer refrain ‘don’t get sick baby’. It sounds like a million dingy pubs with suspiciously sticky floors and broken toilet seats. Everything about it sounds thrillingly inadvisable.
Second track ‘I Don’t Want That Kind Of Love’ is another real jolting rocker. The guitars churn and bite in a decidedly misanthropic way. The other two tracks on Baby Turpentine are a sinister rocking cover of Cher’s ‘Bang Bang’ (which is a great track anyway) and a bit of a lesser, in this company, track called ‘Sinking Feeling’.
I have to say Baby Turpentine and Crazyhead both really stood the test of time for me. It’s a gloriously raucous, slightly abrasive, unsafe treat delivered by some dudes who really should have known better and have been better known.
All hail the bass playing beast of pork!
PS: Porkbeast’s real name is, I just found out, Dr Alex Peach – well, his name is Alex Peach and he did a doctorate. I’m running out of hails for him.
*capital letters just seemed appropriate here.
**I’m talking to you here Carmarthen, pay attention!
^or so my mate Vince from Stourhead told me.
^^Food Records first LP was Crazyhead Desert Orchid in 1988, which may or may not have been playing in the background when I lost my virginity. True story.