Monday, 28 December 2015

2015. A pretty good year for music and 2016 looking even better !

Yep, plenty of fine releases during 2015 means there's a lot less shelf space than this time last year in the Ross household. A couple of great albums from Marcel Bontempi, a heap of Cramps releases due mainly to a loophole in EU laws concerning radio broadcasts which has allowed some UK & German labels to put out a few better than average, semi-official albums, the truly stunning Trash Is Neat 6  featuring a ton of mega rare tracks and how could anyone not be happy with the release on DVD at last of The Cramps gig at the legendary Hacienda. Our friends in Russia have been no slouches either with albums from Messer Chups and The Guitaraculas, while down in Spain a bunch of vinyl came out for The Smoggers and Charm Bag, and the excellent Ghost Highway Records put out the latest vinyl offering by Sweden's The Nomads in the form of the live LP 'Demolicion'.

Absolutely Essential.
Speaking of The Nomads, easily one of my top 5 releases of this year was the long awaited vinyl edition of 'Stagger In The Snow' and we only had to wait 31 years for it !!! For those of you that only know the Nomads from their later 'heavier' output this will come as a complete surprise ! In the early 80's these guys were at the front of the Swedish Garage/Trashabilly wave...along with bands like The Stomach Mouths, Crimson Shadows, Bottle Ups and the like. What we got with this truly amazing release was 30 tracks of pure delight with an almost even split of Rockabilly and 60's Garage Punk covers. The guys down at Bang ! Records have done a remarkable job remastering this and even managed to dig up original artwork...Brilliant considering that original copies of the cassette go for daft prices ! 

 I love this album !
There were also great releases from Diablo Records following on from the awful closure of their studio & record shop in Camden, and I can only imagine it wasn't a very nice time for 'Doyley' (Ex-Klingonz, Zorchmen and current honcho with The Guitar Slingers) trying to keep things afloat as well getting his releases out...Anyway, he did it with a couple of 12" slabs of lovely vinyl from The Guitar Slingers, including the sublime and trashy as hell...'Carnevil Of Souls' and the first new LP from the legendary 'Deltas' in many a year ! Other good news was seeing that Mark Robertson (Yes, that one !...The original drummer of The Meteors) is back behind a drum kit and will be playing gigs during 2016 with The Zorchmen !

Rockabilly Madman.
Not entirely unexpected, it's been the German labels that have been unleashing the bulk of cool vinyl on the world, couple of new volumes of 'Back From The Grave' and those brilliant revamped back-catalogue editions from Crypt, The Fuzztones 30th anniversary re-edition of Lysergic Emanations. Part Records gave us 2..Yes two volumes of the truly awesome, grand daddy of Trash, 'Johnny Legend'. Screaming Apple put out a few cool LPs and a turkey of an album by 'Cozy' (it happens sometimes but it's not to my taste at all). A shedload of quality limited editions at Squoodge from some of my fave artists kept me happy as did a few of the records released by old reliable 'Soundflat'. News of Stag O Lee's 'R-Man' being hospitalised was a low point earlier on in the year but we all hope that he's out of the woods now to keep releasing all of that fantastic stuff he digs up !

Would make the perfect LP sleeve.
One of 2015's highlight's for me was seeing the vastly under-rated 'Hillmans' get their first official release on Western Star, it's real shame it only came out on CD but then, who knows what may transpire during 2016 ? If you haven't got this album, you're really missing out on something special, Their mix of Old Scool Psychobilly, Garage Trash with a healthy dose of Cramps sensibilities gives them a remarkably fresh sound which puts them apart from a lot of the clone type bands....Yeah, you need this !

Little taster of what is coming in 2016, just the tip of the Iceberg but enough to get me looking forward to seeing the postman !
- Messer Chups : Spooky Hook LP......Coming out in early March (maybe earlier)
- Marcel Bontempi : Wolfcall 7"..........Coming out on Migraine Records during Spring.
- The Smoggers : LP.............................Coming out on Soundflat early 2016.
- The Go Go Cult : Headhunter 10".....Coming out on Western Star in mid January.
- Dr Bontempi's Snake Oil Co :  CD....Coming out on Squoodge in mid January.
- The Monsters : New LP ....................Coming out on Voodoo Rhythm during 2016.
- The Charity Case : How To Fall LP...Coming out in Spring 2016.
- Rev Beatman : New LP......................Coming out on Voodoo Rhythm during 2016.
- Empti Fish : Anthology LP.................Coming out in Spring.

And here at Trash Wax we've a whole heap of releases which should keep your turntable spinning throughout the year, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open !  And don't forget to go and buy something from the Trash Wax Webstore....the more you buy, the more we can release ! :

And if you don't see anything interesting at the webstore, go get your friggin' eyes checked !....or more reasonably go to our Discogs store where all the one off records are.....over a thousand of the buggers !:

Have a great end to 2015, Party like there's no tomorrow ! Wishing you all a Rockin' new year, Fuzz On and Stay Sick folks.

Monday, 14 December 2015

More vinyl and other great news......Munster Raving Loony Party Line-Up.

Good man you !
Well, I'm far from being Jack White's number 1 fan as I don't even like The White Stripes and could never understand what all the Hoo Hah was about regarding them...But I have to admit, he's put his money where his mouth is and has done something about an issue which is close to his heart and which he's obviously very passionate about, not only has he opened a Third Man Record Store in Detroit (I believe) but he is due to bring a substantial pressing plant (also Third Man) online any day now...Hat's off to you Dude !....damn sight more real than buying a yacht or a small island in The Carribean !

Someone had to fill in all the hand !
Squoodge Records out of Berlin celebrated their 10th anniversary this year in splendid style by releasing a series of (very) limited 7"s via the Squoodge record club, the final 2 singles turned up this week and what a pair of beauties they are ! The last to be released will probably send all of the Billy Childish fanatics into some form of collective frenzy as it's the Pop Rivets 'John Peel Session' from 29th Jan 1980...A beautiful item I'll admit, pressed in swirled purple vinyl and at just a 100 copies, it's sure that an example or 2 will no doubt appear on Ebay fetching silly money at some point. Another in the series that will have collectors salivating all over the place is the Marcel Bontempi 7", again a lovely, swirled vinyl edition of a 100, numbered copies featuring 2 previously unheard tracks, 'Mambo Jazz' with 'My Father's Grave on the flipside....very nice indeed. Other releases in the series saw Trixie Trainwreck paired with Rev Beatman, Bloodshot Bill had a release to himself as did Bill Fadden & The Dangerous curves (more news about Bill Fadden later) and the 7" from Fia Sco & The Majestics cetainly was a new one on me, pleasantly so....The other releases were by King Salami, The Laser Mutants, Gerritt & The RnR Stalinists, Travis O'Neill, Chris Almoada, Babe Miller & His Tear Droppin' Fools....A decent clutch of very desirable vinyl by anyones standards !  

As I mentioned there a little earlier, news that Bill Fadden and The Rhythmbusters were calling it a day and hanging up the instruments was put out over social media. Bill, as some of you know, was one of Marcel Bontempi's backing musicians when MB appeared in the UK and long before that he spent a couple of years as guitarist in The Go Go Cult. During his time with The Rhythmbusters they released a bunch of great 7"s for Migraine & Squoodge all of which are well tracking down incidently....Whatever comes next ? I'm sure it'll be well catching.

US edition sleeve.
It's also been a bit of a bumper year for Hound Gawd Records too, they -rereleased the classic debut album 'Lysergic Emanations' by The Fuzztones, with half the pressing housed in the UK released sleeve and the other half in the US released version. Some of them were coloured vinyl (Slime green, obviously) and all come with a nice Fuzztones logo poster....hard to believe that it's been 30 years since this first came out....I remember quite clearly seeing them as the support to The Damned at Portsmouth guildhall....was rather taken by them at the time too ! Also out on vinyl was the Legendary Shackshakers album 'Cockledoodledon't'...class album which had only ever been available on CD upto this point....

Pretty damned decent...*****
Now, here's a thing....If you get Matt Verta-Ray (Speedball Baby & Heavy Trash) to produce a power trio which includes The Cramps last drummer 'Jungle' Jim Chandler....something pretty interesting is going to happen ! And you can take it from me that The Twin Guns album is fair awesome ! Called 'The Last Picture Show' it's a hard one to nail into any pigeon hole...There's a bit of early Gallon Drunk in there, a bit of late era Gun Club and they cover 'Harlem Nocturne' a favourite of mine (the version by The 5678's), folk who like The Flaming Stars would love this and for sure a wee nod to The Cramps in parts....can't say I'm overwhelmed by all of the vocals but it's a minor detail.     Here's the promo vid for the album :

Buy me here :
Unless you've been asleep for most of this year, well, since about'll have noticed that we've gotten ourselves into the record releasing business (Huzzah !) but it hasn't gone anywhere near as smoothly as we'd imagined (No shit, I hear)...But we still managed 4 LPs, a 7" and a CD ! Our latest release The Shockwaves 'No Way In, No Way Out' which should have been with us a couple of weeks ago still hasn't materialised so no surprises there as the factories have only managed 1 (one) delivery that was 'almost' on time ! So our last release was basically those Trashtastic Gooners from Reading (UK) The Go Go Cult ! If you haven't got this yet, I'd encourage you to asap as it's really rather good and not only that, we got Marcel Bontempi to do the artwork so it's nice looking too ! As it's pretty much pointless trying to do an orderly schedule, we have adopted the approach of 'It gets here, when it gets here ! So in no particular order we have for your delectation in 2016, the following, 12" EP 'Feline Frenzy' Marcel Bontempi, CD 'No Way In, No Way Out' The Shockwaves, LP 'Spooky Hook' Messer Chups, MLP 'The GooGoo Muck Sessions' The Raymen, LP The X-Men Vs The Vibes, LP 'Into The Syntax Era' The Sine Waves, LP or CD The Bugs & The Halflings, 7" Charm Bag, 12" 'Spider Baby' Vince Ripper and a heap more which are currently under wraps ! Just keep your eyes peeled !

Last year we had a bit of a spring break in Spain at the MUNSTER RAVING LOONY PARTY and it was a ball, yep ! We got off our faces, we were at times desperately drunk, we saw some great bands and met lots of lovely we're heading back at the end of April for what is to my mind one of the best 'meets' / 'minifests' around, with no further ado here's what's on the menu this time ! In no order whatsoever : Jack Oblivion, The Sick Rose, DeadElvis, The Mobbs, The Mokkers, The Morlocks, Sex Crime, Muck & The Mires (Looks like this years preferred letter is 'M' for bands names !) Thee Gravemen and headlining the whole shebang....The one and only Leadfoot Tea !

Most of the stuff mentioned on these pages is available for a few schillings so don't forget to go and buy some records (stock items) here :
And here for one offs, OOP stuff and expensive bits :

Have fun and Stay Sick peeps !

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Guitaraculas.....New LP 'Two Bottles Of Blood'

Available here :
The amazingly awesome GUITARACULAS have an LP out at last and it's on our very own Trash Wax label....for those of you who may not be familiar with The Guitaraculas or Messer Chups (the over talented Oleg Gitarkin plays in both) they're a Russian band taking Rockabilly and Surf into some pretty damned interesting places ! It's not easy for these guys to get together very often as Oleg is based in St Petersburg, Sasha in London and Rockin' Eugene is in Moscow and the Sax player is in The Netherlands somewhere so any chance of catching them live really shouldn't be missed !
This album very nearly didn't happen at all as Oleg explains it developed out of what was more or less a jam session....The CD release of the album was released in Russia on Oleg's label 'Gitaracula Records' with completely different mixes than the tracks on this lovely vinyl release. Here's what Oleg had to say in a recent interview for Mad Music For Bad People magazine (highly recommended incidently). I just think that these guys are the dog's bollox and if you need any more convincing just checkout the video below of 'Vampira's Curse'....Pure Magic !

Video for 'Love's Secret Domain' :

- Who are The Guitaraculas and where are they based ?
Initially we started off as a duo – myself, Oleg Guitaracula of Messer Chups on guitar and my friend Sasha Bassferatu of an old Russian 80’s goth band on bass and vocals (he also appeared as The Voxter on Messer Chups’ Heretic Channel album). I live in St. Petersburg, Russia and Sasha lives in the UK, in Manchester. Later, Ir  Vendermeulen ( who incidentally lives in Amsterdam), became our saxophone player. Recently, we grew into a four piece – we got Rockin’ Eugen from Moscow on drums. So, as you can see, we are an international outfit really.

Different artwork for the Russian CD (rear).
- When did The Guitaraculas first start and why ?
About a year ago, in November of 2013 to be precise, Sasha was visiting St. Petersburg and we decided to do a cover of Coil – just the two of us you know? We got ourselves into a studio and ended up doing an albums worth of tracks. I had some riffs and half-finished pieces, plus a few complete songs. Sasha added some lyrics where they were needed, and we kinda “kept the tape rolling” – know what I mean? I asked Ir to add some sax, theremin vox  and I also played the drums on the original recording. Then I spent ages mixing the thing – between other work and touring with Messer Chups etc. 

The Linkster !
- Describe The Guitaraculas sound and what are their influences ? Where does the inspiration come from ?
Its basically the 60’s surf with some hot-rod, rockabilly, horror and any other retro psychotronic trash thrown into – you name it. We are influenced by many - From Link Wray and The Cramps to Ministry and Coil, from Henry Mancini and John Barry to Bauhaus and Nick Cave. 
- Are The Guitaraculas and The Bonecollectors related ?
Not at all, these are two very different projects.

I just like this poster !
- What is the 'Scene' like in Russia for bands such as The Guitaraculas ?
There isn’t such a thing as “retro” scene in Russia, not in the terms as it is in Europe. In big towns like Moscow and St. Petersburg there is a reasonable niche for this sort music, although it’s admittedly a far narrower gap than say in Spain. But it’s always been like this – in “retro cultural” aspects Russia is quite behind such countries. We do have some rockabilly and psychobilly bands and some surf and garage bands (they are all decent musicians, to extend) – but the situation with clubs is dire. That is probably why initially, The Guitaraculas didn’t plan to play live, but with addition of a drummer I think we just might. I reckon we may prove a good draw, purely on the connection with Messer Chups if anything else.    

Video For 'Vampira's Curse' :
- What are the plans for future Guitaraculas releases ? More albums ? singles ?
I think we are slowly gearing up for a second album. We did some video shooting this summer – there will be two new videos of us on You-tube pretty soon. One is a full blown trash overtake of the Coil number – Love’s Secret Domain. The other is going to be an upgraded version of Vampira’s Curse. So look out. 

- Apart from playing in Russia are there any plans to take The Guitaraculas on tour to Europe ?
Anything is possible. The trouble is we all live so far apart, we don’t even rehearse regularly, but if there are offers we might do it – why not?

- Can you tell us or recommend other bands which are similar to The Guitaraculas ?
Why, of course, the Messer Chups, haha ))))

- Anything you would like to say or add in closing?
There will be a double cd release in Australia soon – one disc will be a Messer Chups album and the other The Guitaraculas.  I have remixed it for the occasion – asked our drummer to overdub my original drumming (I was never happy with it). The album seems to be doing seriously well, considering we basically recorded it to amuse ourselves. But then, this is quite a common thing with many interesting objects d’art isn’t it?

Big thanks to Oleg & Sasha.

BUY THE ALBUM HERE :   or just email me at the address above.

Stay Sick Kiddies !

Sunday, 8 November 2015

THE SHOCKWAVES.....Trash blast from the past ! By Dan Whaley.

Now here's a thing, this whole 80's, UK 'Trash' scene thing has started throwing up some remarkable material since we've been digging past the more obvious suspects such as The Sting Rays, Tall Boys, Milkshakes, The Vibes, Surfadelics & even The Cannibals. And by far one of the most interesting to have come crawling out from some dark and dingey garage are The Shockwaves, not only is their sound fair amazing and deserving of a far greater audience but they all went on to significantly contribute to the various burgeoning scenes that came in the wake of the late 80's.
Dan Whaley, upside down, left handed Bassist extraordinaire, late of The Diaboliks and sometime Bassmeister for The Dustophonics gives us the inside tale of The Shockwaves of which he was a founding on and enjoy !


(New?!? Album due out on Trash Wax Records late 2015!!!)
The Shockwaves were :

Mark Ashdown - Vocals, Guitar 84-88
Dave "Stick" Carroll - Guitar 84-86
Clive Pearman - Guitar 86-88
Dan Whaley - Bass 84-88
Jon Delafons - Drums 84-88

But first of all, back to the mid 80s.

(l-r: Me, Stick, Jon, Mark)
It all started in leafy West Kent sometime back in 1984: a bunch of teenagers with little or no interest in the mainstream music of their generation, and brought up instead on a diet of punk, rock'n'roll, garage and noise decided to pick up instruments and give it a bash themselves. Following a few personnel changes (hello and indeed goodbye Al Cormack and Andy Crane), and bandname changes (by summer 84 we'd settled on The Untold), the line-up coalesced around Mark on vocals and guitar, Stick on other guitar, me on bass and Jon on drums.
With the addition of Stick (2nd right), now definitely a Garage(door) Band
Rehearsal tapes from the time (usually recorded round at a parents' house with guitars, bass and vocal and drum mics all going through a hifi system or home organ, with the unsurprising detrimental effects on said "amplification" equipment) suggest we were quite heavily influenced by The Fall around then.

By late 1985 a final name change meant we were now The Shockwaves, and the influences had shifted more towards the 80s trash scene, especially The Vibes & The Purple Things, whose vocal stylings, filthy guitar tone, jazz-inflected rhythms and high-rise barnets we joyfully appropriated.

By early 86, we had amassed a set, roughly half of which were originals and the other half covers, and were ready to play out first gig. The top local venue of the time was The Cavern, beneath Sevenoaks cinema, where we were booked to play supporting local public school rockabilly combo The Memphis Rockets. This being my first ever time on stage, I was nervous as hell, and things looked far from rosy when I slung my bass over my shoulder and the strap promptly broke. This was followed up by me picking up a can of beer with trembling hands, popping it open, and getting a jet of foam square in the mush.

However, it all got better from that point on, no doubt helped by the fact that all our mates were there to cheer us on for our first gig. What also helped was the 2 narcissistic guitarists from the Memphis Rockets decided to engage in onstage fisticuffs as each thought the other was trying to upstage him. The entire audience, and for that matter the Rockets' bass player (top chap Gav Smith, nowadays with The Urban Voodoo Machine) and drummer quite rightly derided these two preening buffoons, and totally unprompted by us, starting chanting "Shockwaves! Shockwaves!" which succeeded in making them even more irate.

Following another gig at Kemsing's St Edith's Hall (bizarrely I've been back there recently to the folk club there...), we decided we could do with beefing up the guitar sound, so we drafted in Clive from pals The Dangerman, and Mark concentrated on singing. A recently unearthed bootleg of the first gig as a 5 piece from 23rd May, 1986, back at the Cavern, gives a good, and frankly quite surprising idea of how tight we were by that point. It also helped to remind me which covers were in the set around then (Courageous Cat, Joe 90, Brand New Cadillac (played twice, once fast and once slow, I Hear Noises and Scratch My Back from the Vibes' Inner Wardrobes... ep).
Clockwise from front: Me, Mark, Clive, Stick, Jon
After a few more gigs that summer (one of which was supporting mod combo Contrast featuring future Clique guitarist Jon Paul Harper) we went into a tiny recording studio in East Peckham and recorded 4 tracks: 3 originals and another Vibes cover, this time Looking in a Mirror from their Peel Session. Naive kiddies that we were, we didn't even come away with a 1/4" mixdown - all we had was a cassette copy of the mixdown, which amazingly sounds not bad (and has now been backed up digitally for posterity).

Me, before I worked out that if you don't pull a face when you hit a bum note everyone just assumes it's jazz. Either that or I've stubbed my toe.
Following a particularly raucous gig at the Green Hut in Tonbridge that autumn (by the end of the set both Jon and Mark had jumped off stage and were getting busy with the punters down the front), Stick decided he'd had enough and so hung up his guitar. (Actually, he left it round my house, and after 18 months with him showing no interest in having it back, I flogged it).

Stick's last stand, at the Green Hut Nov 86

Stick, Mark & Clive, and in orange shirt a very bored looking Paul Hartnoll, a year before he'd play keyboards on a Shockwaves recording session (see below), and a couple of years before he'd conquer the dance music world with Orbital.

The first gig back as a 4 piece was supporting The Guana Batz at the Angel Centre, on 7th March, 1987. I was still at school in Tonbridge then, so had the slightly bizarre experience of playing a set of hi-octane rock'n'roll on the Saturday, then having a PE lesson in the same place 3 days later. This gig was recorded, although the tape appears to be lost, but I do remember in a moment of silence between songs one of the Batz fans, hollering "Ffffaaahhhrrrkkk Orrrffff!", displaying that broad minded attitude for which psychobillies are so well known.

Also around this time we started venturing up into London, playing at some of Mike Spenser's legendary trash nights downstairs at The Clarendon. As well as playing with some great bands, like Folkestone's mighty Green Hornets (not to be confused with the equally excellent Portsmouth combo with the same name), this led to Mike offering to put out a Shockwaves record. We'd recently been back into the studio in East Peckham and recorded 4 new songs, all originals (and had remembered to come away from this session with a 1/4" tape) which gave an indication of how the sound was getting tighter and dirtier. Following a summer of gigs at the sadly long gone Clarendon and another much missed London garage venue, Finsbury Park's Sir George Robey, we were booked into Cherry Studios in Croydon with Mike's mate, the legendary pistols soundman Dave Goodman.

A snap from the Clarendon, 1987
On 3rd and 4th December, 1987 (I had to bunk off school...) we went into the studio to lay down the tracks for the album on Mike's Hit Records. Dave Goodman was a joy to work with; professional, talented, patient (he may have sighed inwardly when we asked him if we could put the whole of one track through a flanger) and slightly bemused when rather than asking about the Pistols, we bombarded him with questions about the recordings he did with The Sid Presley Experience and The Unholy Trinity. Paul Hartnoll, of orange shirt and bored expression above, came in to lay down some keyboard overdubs on a couple of tracks. I bumped into him a couple of years ago, and whilst reminiscing about the session, he gave a whole spin on the tale that I hadn't really appreciated at the time...

Paul was playing at that time in Noddy & The Satellites with Jon, and had agreed to come and play keys with Jon's other band i.e. us. Both Paul & Jon were warmly embracing the emerging dance music scene; the rest of the band less so (I still fucking hate it), so Paul's recollection was that he wandered into the studio with a bunch of synths, effects and other electronic gizmos to be greeted by the slightly intimidating sight of three large bequiffed and bemused blokes staring at him like he'd walked in with a box full of turds.

Anyway, the end result was a collection of 8 expertly recorded songs that we looked forward to seeing released on vinyl. Alas Mike's label was undergoing a cashflow problem at the time, so the record was temporarily shelved. What we didn't immediately appreciate is that shelving period would be slightly longer than expected (28 years so far, although read on for an unexpected turn of events...)

Clive & Mark at the Cavern
1988 started with a flurry of gig activity; The Robey again, supporting a band containing ex members of the very excellent Margin of Sanity, Folkestone with The aforementioned Green Hornets, and a hometown gig back at the Cavern in Sevenoaks. Not that we knew it at the time, but that was to be our last gig, as a combination of the usual elements; disappointment at the record shelving, teenage boredom, diverging musical tastes, me moving to Blackpool(!) meant that the band just sort of ground to a halt. However, there was no animosity - circumstances had just changed in our lives, and we are all still good friends now.

Fast forward 19 years to 2007, during which time Jon has had a stint drumming for The Shamen, and then spent many years with Alabama 3 and Clive and I have carried on down the rock'n'roll path, both together (The Charles Napiers, The McDeath trio/DC3) and separately (Clive with the Gene Drayton Unit and JB & The Wolfmen, me with all the other stuff). In fact it was due to the mention I'd made of The Shockwaves on my website that Charlie Spliff, regular Clarendon gig goer and 80s trash fan, got in touch saying he remembered seeing us down there and how much he'd enjoyed our stuff. A man of exquisite taste, clearly, and pressing on the fast forward button once more to 2015, and Charlie S. is launching Trash Wax records with Darren Ross, a label dedicated to releasing lost and forgotten trash obscurities from that golden age. In the pipeline for a Trash Wax release is none other than those Croydon recordings from late 87! Watch this space for further details...

UPDATE : The Shockwaves recordings are being released on CD in late Nov/early Dec 2015.         (to be followed later by a limited vinyl release)

(with thanks to Jez Nixon for unearthing many of the photos above)

Check the website     for updates and availability.

Dan's website :

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Bugs & The Halflings...Their story by Charlie Spliff and Rich Smith.

(Doodle) Bugs over Germany.
Ok bozo's, the Ross has been on my case for ages to do a piece about my favourite bunch of creepy crawlies from the 80's, the wonderful fuzz fuelled sounds of.... The Bugs....
The first video I ever uploaded for Trasharama on pootube was by The Bugs, I saw them many many times back in the day (though nowhere near as many as The Sting-Rays) & I adored them. They were loud & raucous, they had screaming fuzz guitars and their singer Martin, jumped & rolled around onstage like a freaked out monkey on acid......It was Trash Baby! & I fucking loved it!!

So....Tuning in my Trash antennae, I springtailed it to former guitarist Richard 'Midge' Smith & asked him if it mite be possible for a quick refresh history lesson as we shared a bite to eat & puffed on a few roaches.... this lousy piece is the result (apologies for the Bug puns, can't resist!)

Charlie x

Rich, Lloyd, Malcolm X, Martin & Anton.
The Bugs (or what would be finally called the The Bugs), first crawled into the sprawling twilight world of garageland late in 1985, after The Vibes had split (or were possibly about to).

In a genuine garage somewhere in hometown Colchester, double bass player Lloyd Tripp had started rehearsing with several different line-ups for a new band that didn't contain any members of the old one he had left (or was leaving). One of these early line ups featured Jonny Bridgwood from The Sting-Rays, who was temporarily living with Lloyd at the time.

Meanwhile... less than half a mile away from Lloyd, a bunch of local degenerate teens were working up a set of raging trashy garage sounds in their parents' garage under the moniker of The Half-Lings. They were influenced heavily by The Vibes, The Sting-Rays and The X-Men before turning on to 60’s garage punk obscurities for covers and inspiration.

The Half-Lings comprised of brothers Richard Smith - Guitar & Martin Smith - Stand-up Drums, Sean Smith - Guitar (no relation to the other 2), Jon Clarke - Vocals & Woodsy - Bass.

Promo Shot.
Woodsy left the band before they had started gigging & it was decided that they would just carry out without a bass player & not bother to replace him as they were 'Fuckin' Trash' anyway & too lazy to find someone else. They then went on to terrorise the local community with their raw, teenage fuzz-based trash sounds & got to support their idols, The Sting-Rays, for their first ever gig (courtesy of Jonny Sting-Ray) at The Works in Colchester. The gig itself was a rather bloody affair for one Half-Ling, as drummer Martin cut his hand & bled profusely all over the borrowed Mondrian drum-kit of Alec Palao due to some over enthusiastic skin bashing. This may have been caused by the dubious energy sources that the band fuelled up on, or maybe it was just the fact that they necked loads of booze & degenerated into pissed up mayhem (& a little psychosis).
The band went on to gig in London, including Mike Spenser's famous Garage Club, downstairs at the Clarendon Hotel in Hammersmith & recorded a 3 track demo at Pathway studios in 1986 assisted by Bal & Jonny from The Sting-Rays. The demo's (which will hopefully turn up on Trash Wax one day), include a cover version of The Live Wires' 'Love' (complete with Bal rattling chains & smashing bottles in the background) and two originals, 'People Land' & 'In Retrospect', the latter of which had Jonny playing bass & would become part of The Bugs set the following year.

However, despite a growing following and burgeoning reputation, a couple of the members parents pulled them out of the band to focus on studying for their futures (singer Jon Clarke allegedly leaving to become an astronaut) & the Half-Lings were laid to rest in the garage graveyard.

Supporting The Cannibals (That's Mike Spenser's back).
It was shortly after this that dejected Half-Ling siblings, Martin and Richard spotted The Vibes transit van with painted logo on the side, parked up somewhere and plucked up the courage to finally meet Lloyd in person. With Jonny Sting-Ray still living at Lloyds, it also presented a further opportunity for Richard to learn how to play guitar properly under his tutelage.

After some original members of Lloyds' outfit went their separate ways, Richard and Martin then started rehearsing with Lloyd & Jonny. Once Jonny had moved backed to London, a permanent and exciting line-up was formed which consisted of: Martin Smith (vocals), Richard Smith (lead guitar), Lloyd Tripp (Double Bass), Malcolm X (Rhythm guitar) who had replaced Jason (?) after the first few gigs, & Anton (Duane Ripley) Rapley (Drums). Anton had earned his place banging on the tubs in the band by previously being the roadie for The Vibes, The Sting-Rays and also The Cramps.

Green vinyl no less !
Bringing an 80's awareness to a bunch of esoteric 60's punk covers & some raw, wild originals, The Bugs struck out quickly and without remorse. The band first gigged in London under the names The Bedbugs & The B-Side Bugs, first supporting The Blubbery Hellbellies (one of Lloyds' former bands) at the Fulham Greyhound, before finally setting on just The Bugs as their name. Within weeks of their first London gig, a 3 track single was recorded for Mike Spensers' Hit records and was produced, no less, by former Sex Pistols producer, Dave Goodman! The single contained 2 cover versions, 'Leavin' Here' by Eddie Holland & 'See If I Care' by Ken & The Fourth Dimension plus one original 'Leave Us Alone', it came out on green wax in early '87.... & it's demented, raw, fuzztastic, garage trash!

After witnessing frantic sets by the boys, offers of record deals poured in from amongst others, Chainsaw, Red Rhino, Big Beat (Ace Records) & Media Burn. The Bugs eventually settled & signed for Big Beat, which delighted the band as Ted Carroll was a decent bloke & they got lots of free records, as well as a bit of cash.

The one and only Big Beat release.
After a slew of gigs in London and around England, the Bugs took to the studio to record their first album, the classic 'Darkside'. The 12 track album contained 10 originals plus 2 cover versions, ('Hate' by The Stoics & the title track 'Darkside' by The Shadows of Knight). Album & promotional artwork was done by Bal Sting-Ray using his Go Teen moniker & the LP went down a storm in the UK & abroad, prompting invites for tours in Europe. With a head of steam & a label that wanted them out on the road, the band went on to promote their debut album with tours of Europe including dates in Holland and Austria as well as the length and breadth of Germany. These tours were the stuff of legend and The Bugs went on to develop a decent sized European fan-base as dates & records sold well.

Unfortunately, the toils of touring took their toll though and the band split months later, with Lloyd eventually moving to the States to start a new career & Malcolm & Anton moving on to whereabouts unknown.

Sorry it's in German.
As the only members left & now living in London, & with potential further European tours in the offing, Martin and Richard sought new recruits and with immediacy hired friend and fan, Miki Berenyi on bass guitar (Miki went on to form indie shoegazers Lush with school friend & former Rover Girl Emma Anderson). Geoffrey C. Clarke joined on drums and Dave Arbon on rhythm guitar, this new incarnation of The Bugs had a much heavier sound but the fans still loved them & they had a number of successful tours abroad throughout the rest of 1987 & 88.

Nicked in Germany!
The band found time between the touring in '87 to record 4 tracks in a Colchester studio which have yet to see the light of day (not if Trash Wax has it's way!). Covers of 'Hate' by The Stoics, 'I Must Be Mad' by The Craig & 'The Bummer' by Lincoln St. Exit accompany original track 'One Of These Days'. Both 'Hate' & 'One Of These Days' appeared on 'Darkside' but these versions are a lot different & a lot beefier.

When Miki departed to join The Baby Machines (who later renamed themselves Lush) in late '87, Mark (?) joined on bass & Pete Long joined as guitarist (replacing Dave) to fulfill yet another European tour. Band members were travelling between London & Colchester & it wasn't much longer before the logistics of the situation caused the band to sadly split up.

By Bal Croce.
Still in London, Martin and Richard teamed up with former Huddersfield based fanzine writers/musicians, Jeff & Suzanne who had published 'The Outer Limits' and had been members of garage punk outfit 'The Tyme Eliment', to form 'The Shiny Hour Watch Company'. Still influenced by 60’s garage punk/psych the band also embraced a more Byrdsy, jangly, psychedelic sound and gigged a couple of times before the inevitable happened and the members got haircuts, had a bath and got regular jobs (or..... just buggered off to India travelling & got into house music & ecstasy).

There was a third incarnation of The Bugs which only Martin was involved with, operating around the early 90's & doing the odd gig in London. Gone was the fuzz filled garage sounds of previous line ups and in came a flute player & a more mellow vibe, needless to say it wasn't what the kids were after & again the band split for the last time around 1993. Old midgey is a bit vague on this period as he wasn't involved & doesn't really know what was going on.

In 2006, The Bugs “Darkside” was re-mastered and reissued on CD by Big Beat, gaining the band a new audience and bringing them back from obscurity. Who knows? A reform? Everyone else seems to be doing it but with Martin now living in Spain. Richard soon following suit, Lloyd in America and other members whereabouts unknown it seems most unlikely.

You never know though & there's always the possibility that some Trash that shoulda got waxed, will get waxed eventually. It's certainly time for people to rediscover this garbage & I'm sure they'll like how it smells.............. some of us know our shit from our shit..... capiche?

Charlie Spliff
Trasharama/Trash Wax