Sunday 9 September 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - Z: Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction - Tattooed Beat Messiah

Zodiac Mindwarp's first EP release was titled 'High Priest Of Love' in 1986.
It was basically a bit of punk mixed with recycled AC/DC riffs, with a massive dollop of sleaze added.
Band members listed on record are very likely to be psuedonyms (Kid Chaos?  Trash D Garbage? Flash Bastard?  Evil Bastard?), and the accompanying text on the back cover all feels a bit self-important, pretend poetry - like their playing up to a character, and pushing it as far as they can.  But that aside, the content is brilliant.
It sold f*** all, but Zodiac was not deterred and embarked on the follow-up (no doubt hastened by the success of The Cult's 'Electric' which re-cycled much the same AC/DC riffs).

Trailed by the single "Prime Mover" - opening with an almost gospel/quasi-religious organ herald, and then (attempted?) blood curdling scream (with a touch of Lemmy), the fun commences.
Guitar riff, thumping drums and straight solid bass underpinning a near-Lemmy-ish vocal.
In the first line he declares that he loves both TV and T.Rex.  In fact he loves T.Rex so much, he christens himself The Groover in the chorus.
At the tone is set ... over 12 tracks (13 if you have the CD which includes a brave (but ultimately unsuccessful) attempt at "Born To Be Wild"), there is little variance.
Don't go looking for arch-musicianship - there isn't any.  Don't hunt down lyrical meanings or unexpected turns of phrase, because they're pretty much absent too.
But it is immense "fun" - and calls to be played very loud whilst bouncing around like a loony.
It can't last though - by the middle of Side 2 the album begins to run out of steam and dwindles to the end.
On the plus side, the previously mentioned "Prime Mover" and other big single "Back Seat Education" rank as some of the better sleaze-infused HM/HR songs of the late 80s (if you like that sort of thing)

And then time, cynicism, and actually reading the album cover properly reveals certain back-stories and "truths" (suggestions?)

Zodiac Mindwarp was the creation of sometime artist, sometime editor of Flexi-pop magazine, Mark Manning.  The original line-up of the band included Jimmy Cauty (later of The Orb and KLF) and Kid Chaos (soon to join The Cult and play (part-time) with Guns n Roses).
Their first EP was released on Dave Balfe's Food Label, and leading up to this album the band were signed up to major label Mercury.  Balfe continued as the band's manager, and called up his old sparring partner Bill Drummond to assist production - and knowing Bill Drummond, probably artistic placement, marketing and a touch of agitation into the mix too.

And so to paraphrase Loyd Grossman "the clues are all there":
  • Sometime artist
  • created character and pseudonymous band
  • evasiveness and/or over-confidence in interviews
  • maxed out sleaze content
  • Bill Drummond
  • No long term future career ("get in, get paid, get out")
It was all a big Art Project - and not a bad one at that

Prime Mover

Back Seat Education


  1. Well done on reaching the end of the alphabet. What next?

    1. Yes - that finished somewhat earlier than planned.
      26 post every fortnight = 52 weeks - I somehow knocked it off with nearly 4 months (17 weeks to spare).
      Next up - a trawl through the compilations, and I really should do something about this pile of 2018 albums I've been enjoying.