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Mick Farren – Vampires Stole My Lunch Money (Remastered) (1978/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Mick Farren – Vampires Stole My Lunch Money (Remastered) (1978/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/44,1kHz | Time – 00:33:55 minutes | 367 MB | Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Garage Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Munster

Digitally remastered! After three albums of raw, rabble-rousing psychedelic street punk with the Deviants, and an esoteric solo album (1970’s Mona – The Carnivorous Circus), Mick Farren put his musical activities on hold at the dawn of the 1970s, and focused instead on his writing. By 1976 Farren was making his mark as a staff writer at the New Musical Express, where he was instrumental in chronicling, and to some extent nurturing, the nascent punk rock movement as it jerked awkwardly to life in the streets and pubs of London. Farren felt a natural affinity with the new youth fashion line of pimple-faced punk aspirants, full of piss, vinegar and amphetamines, ranting about anarchy and boredom over a simplistic rock ‘n’ roll backbeat.

Inevitably, it wasn’t long before Mick was off the sidelines and back in the musical fray. Farren got a call from Logo Records who had just acquired the Transatlantic catalogue and were re-releasing the Deviants’ third album. Mick suggested they also release a new solo album, and to his surprise, after some initial hesitation, they agreed.

Andy Colquhoun, the Warsaw Pakt’s lead guitarist, soon became his primary musical foil -in fact, some of the songs on this album were originally intended for the Warsaw Pakt. Also, Farren put a band together, including guest musicians: Wilko Johnson of Dr Feelgood, Chrissie Hynde who was still in the process of forming the Pretenders, Sonja Kristina, the lead singer of Curved Air, and Will Stallibrass who’d played with Graham Parker, Lightnin’ Slim and Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers, to name a few.

Due to the limited budget, they ended up spending most of their time working on a half-dozen of their favorite tracks, while the rest were “banged down as little more than jamming, art-school R&B, with only a thin coat of metalflake.”

“One of the key albums made on the periphery of the late-1970s punk explosion, Deviants frontman Mick Farren’s return to raw rock, following most of a decade spent in journalism, was less a timely resurrection than it was a vicious reminder that none of this new noise was actually very new. He’d been doing exactly the same stuff a decade before, and would still be doing it two decades hence. In the 1960s, after all, the Deviants depicted the underside of the peace and love rhetoric by asking just one simple question: what will happen if the revolution succeeds? In the 2000s, they pinpoint the formless agitation which has sucked the optimism out of everything. And in the 1970s, Farren solo snagged the tabloid nihilism which now dominated the punk scene, and played it up for all it was worth. Vampires was released hot on the heels of one of the most glorious singles of the era, the seething teen riot anthem “Let’s Loot the Supermarket Again Like We Did Last Summer”; indeed, combine that one track with the best bits of Vampires and there’s probably no better illustration of Farren’s (continued) ability to press the pulse of the period. Possibly unintentionally, and now certainly unbelievably, Vampires marks the closest Farren has ever strayed towards becoming a true commercial proposition. He opens the album with a Frank Zappa cover, rather than a mutated approximation of what he thought the Mothers should sound like – at the height of Britain’s late 70s culture wars, “Trouble Coming Every Day” had been screaming out for reinvention, but Farren did more than that. Shortened and sharpened, stripped of weary cynicism and imbibed instead with apocalyptic foreboding, it became the statement of intent and detente which the punks had been trying to elucidate all along, and proved that all the latest generation were really doing was mainstreaming the imagery of the radicals of ten years before. In truth, the remainder of Vampires cannot live up to such an incendiary beginning; in its favor, it doesn’t even try. With the exception of the remarkably prescient “Bela Lugosi,” dedicated to the man who would, a year hence, be subpoenaed by Bauhaus to create the gothic movement, Vampires plays a hard-drinking, beautifully wasted game, living up to a dissolute image which may or may not have been Farren’s personal modus operandi at the time, but certainly summed up his public persona. “Half Price Drinks,” “I Want a Drink,” “Drunk in the Morning” – there’s a definite conceptual angle here, and a rewarding game of spot the rock star, too, as Farren ropes in Chrissie Hynde, Wilco Johnson, Curved Air’s Sonja Kristina, Pink Fairy, Larry Wallis, and sundry past and future Deviants to add to the dyspeptic ambience. It’s probably the least essential album in Farren’s canon, distilling his dark visions into bite sized morsels of fairly catchy poppy songs. But it is also the most enjoyable; a rolling, boiling, sassy swagger which makes only one persistent demand on the listeners. They have to buy the next round.” (Dave Thompson, AMG)

1. Trouble Coming Every Day (03:21)
2. Half Price Drinks (03:29)
3. I Don’t Want to Go This Way (02:32)
4. I Want a Drink (01:44)
5. Son of a Millionaire (02:58)
6. Zombie Line (02:40)
7. Bela Lugosi (02:05)
8. People Call You Crazy (02:48)
9. Fast Eddie (02:05)
10. Let Me in, Damn You (03:09)
11. (I Know from) Self Destruction (03:02)
12. Drunk in the Morning (04:02)


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