Friday 23 November 2018

Bad News

A similar idea happened at a similar time on different sides of the Atlantic.
But which came first: Spinal Tap or Bad News?

Well, Spinal Tap first saw the light of day on a Saturday Night Live sketch in 1979.
Now there is a good chance that Adrian Edmondson may have seen this and been inspired to try something similar.
Or more likely, it was just one of those coincidences that a couple of people had the same idea at the same time (it does happen).
The prime difference between the two though is that whilst Spinal Tap have actually had some success (albeit minor, and festooned with reviews such as "Shit Sandwich", they are actually part of the machine (as Pink Floyd have referred to it), and do have some talent as 20 years of remaining in the machine is testament to..
Bad News on the other hand are trying to break into the machine, but are somewhat lacking in the talent department (bravado and belief are off the scale, but talent is in fairly short supply).

Bad News were first seen in early 1983 in a documentary type film entitled "The Bad News Tour" where the Four Horseman Of The Rock Apocalypse (as they later titled themselves) can be seen boarding a Transit Van for a tour of the bright lights of the UK (primarily a gig in Grantham).
The four members - Vim Fuego (real name: Alan Metcalfe), Den Dennis, Colin Grigson and Spider Webb (real name: Spider Webb) - bore an uncanny resemblance to 3 of The Young Ones (Adrian Edmondaon, Rik Mayall and Nigel Planer) and a Comic Strip Presents actor/director (Pete Richardson).
Much like the concept of synchronous ideas (stated above), everybody has a doppelganger somewhere.
As the documentary ends, you can hear the band falling apart before yours ears as Vim announces: "This band is a pile of shit"

And that was that - or was it?
The journalist they met on the original tour - Sally Freeman - wanted to get the band back together to find out what they'd been doing since the original tour - and released a new documentary.
Well, they had some minor success as the clip from The Tube testifies (although Vim and Colin are having their usual disagreements in front of Jools Holland and the viewing public).
As it turns out. they have all given up the music - Vim is a painter and decorator, Den works for Vim, Colin works in a bank (and still lives at home) and Spider - the wild man who could throw up exactly half a pint into a half-pint pot with no spillage - had to marry this strange hippy woman because he got her pregnant.
Their fist re-union is a relatively friendly affair, but becomes more volatile as the Den informs all those present that Vim's idea of "keeping the music alive" involves playing Mary Hopkins songs in Wine Bars.
Vim is angry with Den and as the barracking starts from the rest of the band, he throws a piece of paper on the table - it is a Record Contract (albeit with little know independent Frilly Pink).
The band are left dumbfounded, and Sally has the perfect opening to her documentary (titled More Bad News).
After availing themselves of the free lager in the studio, their first single is recorded and released - they go straight out and buying 350 copies.  This gets them banned from the charts and any promotion, but the record company somehow gets them onto the bill at the 1986 Monster Of Rock Festival at Castle Donnington.
Things didn't go to well and they performed in a hail of plastic bottles and much derision from the other bands on stage.
Their show ended with the crowd invading the stage resulting in Vim undergoing major surgery and Colin having his throat cut.  Spider escaped by setting fire to himself, and Den "was so scared, I went to the toilet in my trousers and most people, like, kept away from me because of the smell".

Well, it can't have been that bad because inside 6 months, the band were signed to EMI and released their first major label single - a cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody".  And then the album followed soon after.
Ah the album ... it is basically a catalogue of every Heavy Metal cliche imaginable (Booze, Motorbikes, Mythical creatures (like the beast from the Lager of Lamot advert)) and a lot of sweary arguing.
It's a bit like a Derek & Clive album with added loud guitars and strained to the point of tunelessness vocals.

They pushed on for another year which included an appearance at the Reading Rock Festival (special guest: Brian May) and a date supporting Iron Maiden at Hammersmith Odeon (special guest: Jimmy Page).
They also went one stage further in the sweary arguing stakes with the release of the album 'Bootleg' containing more of arguing an less music.
And they rounded off their EMI career with the single "Cashing In On Christmas" - except they failed to Cash In as the single failed to get past number 80 in the charts, and is unlikely to appear on any 'Best All-Time Christmas Sing-Song Tunes To Be Played In Every Shop From November 2nd ... Ever' compilation albums.

Bad News introduce themselves (warning - this clip may contain some potentially disagreeable Anglo Saxon wordage):

and then go straight into their eponymous track (or they did on the album, but not on YouTube):

No comments:

Post a Comment