Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Screaming Lord Sutch

Is there a better time than Halloween to enjoy the unique musical stylings of Screaming Lord Sutch? Actually, there is. Considering he ran for office in his native Britain as a representative of the National Teenage Party and the Official Monster Raving Loony Party numerous times, the perfect time to honor Sutch is Halloween during an election year.

"Til The Following Night," released in 1961, was the A-side of Sutch's first single, and was produced (along with his next four singles) by the legendary Joe Meek. No mere Halloween novelty number, "Til The Following Night" (aided to a large degree by Meek's bizarre assortment of production techniques) sounds genuinely macabre and deranged. It almost sounds as if it's being sung by a person who genuinely believes himself to be a vampire (or perhaps someone who really is).

Sutch borrowed his name and stage persona from Screamin' Jay Hawkins, but took the horror quotient further than anything Hawkins ever attempted. "Til The Following Night" and follow ups such as "Dracula's Daughter," "Jack The Ripper," and "Monster In Black Tights" stood zero chance of earning airplay on the conservative BBC, so in 1964 Sutch founded one of the first pirate radio stations in the UK, Radio Sutch.

Sutch also had a habit of attracting some of the UK's best rock musicians before they became household names including, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, Nicky Hopkins, Matthew Fisher (Procol Harum) and Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple). Many of those musicians, especially Jimmy Page, returned to work with Sutch on his debut LP in 1970, Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends. The collective wrath of millions of confused Led Zeppelin fans has regularly earned the album showings at the top of various "worst album ever" lists.

Sadly, Sutch committed suicide in 1999.

No comments: