Sunday, 7 April 2013

Wall of Sound A-Z: Bad News : Bad News

Colin Grigson, Den Dennis, Vim Fuego and Spider Webb
Wall of Sound A-Z part 2: B:Bad News

Thumbing through the B's in the CD rack, Bad News jumped out, the spoof Heavy Metal band formed by the comic strip presents, 3/4 of the young ones (Ade Edmondson, Rick Mayall, Nigel Planer with Peter Richardson). This was a cherished tape (home taping is killing music) that was made for me by my mate Russ, who was into heavy metal music and could play a number of the tunes on the album.

Listening back to the album (a later compilation on CD, capturing all sorts of outtakes, sketches stuff) its amazing how I can recite the songs and band banter (think troggs tapes) word for word some 25 plus years later. A number of the songs bringing a big beam to my face.

It was not surprising that I loved this having watched The Young Ones on video to death, taped the bits off Friday night live with Rick and Ade as the Dangerous Brothers, watched the Comic Strip Presents on the fledgling Channel 4 later Bottom whilst at Uni, and other things with these guys whenever they crop up, sadly Rick and Ade no longer acting together. But this week Ade in 'Ade in Britain' and Rick and Nigel Planer on 'Jonathan Creek' both made it onto the sky box.

What's the album like, well depends who you ask. Someone coming to it fresh will probably be claiming its a rip off of Spinal Tap, although Wikipedia claims "The episode was also coincidentally in production at the same time as This Is Spinal Tap, which was released the following year to a much wider audience and subsequently greater acclaim." The album is definitely a nostalgia piece for me as the songs I don't know (B Sides etc) just sound like a bit of a racket. But the songs I do know throw me over to the Comic Strip, 'Warriors of Ghengis Khan' bring back the thoughts of the band running through a darkened warehouse waving flags as they run up and down slag heaps, Colin Grigson stumbling and falling. Brilliant 'Monkey / Water Margin' Chinese voices impressions and finishing with a bomb dropping and exploding (the symbol of the  Comic Strip Presents).

Listening back to it, its clear this will have been a firm favourite on my Red Sanyo Walkman as there's plenty of F Bombs, the album will never have got on the Rover on the way to swimming. But then the 6 week summer caravanning holidays touring europe always allowed a lot of listening to tunes. Mom and Dad will often tell me about places we have visited in Europe, which I have missed with my head in a book and ears in tunes.

My favourite bits though are where the songs and the humour are mixed, for example in 'Bad News' when they are all calling in each others solos and they get to 'Den Dennis' to silence, then 'Yeah, What' and also the appearance at a festival where you can hear the incredibly well acted (possibly not acting as Ade has gone on record as saying he would have loved to have been in a band) desperation as they sing 'Hey Hey Bad News' only for the Crowd to sing back 'F*** Off Bad News' and Vim Fuego (Ade) shouting for the crowd to stop throwing things.

All in all I love Bad News and their 'Peculiar Brand of Heavy Metal Music' and amazingly here they are on Wogan!

Having been out to the pub quiz and come back, the overwhelming thing that I had forgotten was how important the song 'Drink 'til I die' was for me. As a youngster discovering alcohol (Station and Half Way) this song seemed so pertinent it was my heroes singing

'Lager makes me happy
Vodka makes me mean
I'm a heavy metal drinking driving alcohol machine'

No need to look that up, I will always remember that verse, and have rattled through it in my head so many times over the years. That coupled with the going through the scales La La La La Ger Ger Ger really chimed with the Adolescent Mr P getting into Alcohol.

Great Album!

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