Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Deviants / Mick Farren


The Deviants / Mick Farren

British ‘social conscience’ band, tempered with lots of drugs (psychedelic and otherwise), primitive recorded sound, varying levels of enthusiasm, performance ability etc. Lead vocalist Mick Farren lives in Los Angeles these days, and even has a blog:


As a young impressionable individual, I happened across the vinyl phonograph records of The Deviants in the late 1960’s. The one I found first was “Ptoof!” – and I can’t conclusively state this is their 1st or 2nd album! It has some charming late 60’s anti-social rock ‘n’ roll nonsense about it – “Nothing Man”, anyone? (UK: Underground Impresarios, US: Sire)

The next one I got was definitely album #3, appropriately titled “Deviants 3” – seemed to have a bit more going on the music – again, late 60’s UK blues-based rock ‘n’ roll. Love the “nun cover”, eh? (UK: Transatlantic, US: Sire)

And at some point, I found what is likely their 1st album, but could just as likely be their 2nd album, ”Disposable” – on this 1967/8 LP, their association to rock music would seem to be on par with, say, The Fugs (which is a compliment!) – obscenity (actual or inferred) seemed to be the order of the day. I actually chased after this LP for a number of years, as I heard that Cream lyricist Pete Brown was on it! (He is!!) (UK: Stable, US: Sire)

These three albums, together with a Mick Farren solo album (“Mona – The Carnivorous Circus”, UK: Transatlantic, no US issue) were all I ever knew about these guys for years and years. Somehow, they got ‘popular’ in Japan, and there are now way more Deviants albums on CD than there ever were on vinyl! Yes, all three of their original albums are on CD.

A cousin band to The Deviants was the Pink Fairies – who, like The Deviants, always incorporated humor into their hard rockin’ music. A little further down the line, we can also say that the original Motorhead was a cousin band to The Deviants (Larry Wallis!)

Not as mainstream as The Who or The Stones – I always felt that one shouldn’t be ignorant of The Deviants just because their albums were obscure in the USA. It’s funny stuff, but not Zappa or Bonzo Dog Band funny. Sort of an ‘evil funny’, if you will. Take a look at Farren’s blog – with a hefty dose of tolerance and humor, lots of counter-culture rhetoric, with Farren’s oddball sexism and graphic flare.

So, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em – take out and play Side 1 of “Deviants 3” and consider that there isn’t yet a movement to re-christen it “The great lost 60’s UK LP!” that, say, The Pretty Things “S.F. Sorrow” or The Zombies “Odyssey & Oracle” transmogrified into. It could happen!

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