Alan Moore related compilation 3 CDs

I have made this CD set last year, it contains Alan Moore related music from my collection.
First CD has studio recording of The Satanic Nurses / Emperors of Ice Cream (second incarnation). Longer version of ‘The Murders on the Rue Morgue’ (track 2) can be found on Storyteller CD, listed as The Satanic Nurses. Track 1 and 3 are sourced from the same recording so they could be Nurses tracks as well. Some Emperors tracks can be found on Storyteller CD also but there are few unreleased songs there like ‘London’, ‘Positively Bridge Street’ and Intro.
CD 2 has the live recording of Emperors UFO gig mentioned in ‘Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore‘ book, studio version of Emperors take on ‘Old Gangsters Never Die’ and 2 tracks with Pat Fish (‘Trampling Tokyo’ also available on Storyteller CD).
CD 3 has some odd tracks taken from old tapes including Alex Green’s home demos for the early Emperors of Ice Cream from ’78, instrumental demos of Mystery Guest‘s ‘Wurlitzer Junction’, live versions of Mystery Guests songs with Alan Moore lyrics, D-Go-Tees versions of 2 early Emperors songs and a D-Go-Tees song with Alan Moore lyrics.

CD 1

01, Another Suburban Romance 4:01
02, The Murders on the Rue Morgue 4:55
03, Fires I’d Wish I’d Seen 3:20
04, London 5:03
05, Me And Dorothy Parker 3:39
06, Mr A 3:50
07, Positively Bridge Street 4:29
08, Another Suburban Romance slightly different version 4:09
09, The Intro Of Ice Cream 3:00
10, The Murders on the Rue Morgue different shorter version 4:38

CD 2

01, Another Suburban Romance (live) 4:11
02, The Murders on the Roe Morgue (live) 3:42
03, Positively Bridge Street (live) 4:06
04, Me And Dorothy Parker (live) 3:29
05, Mr. A (live) 3:19
06, White Light / White Heat (Velvet Underground) (live) 4:25
07, Old Gangsters Never Die (studio) 11:32
08, London (different version) (Pat Fish / Alan Moore) 4:43
09, Trampling Tokyo (Pat Fish / Alan Moore) 5:33

CD 3

01, Wurlitzer Junction Mystery Guests guitar demo #1 1:25
02, Skyscraper early Emperors instrumental demo ’78 1:29
03, Do The Bum’s Rush (written by Alex Green for the Emperors) instrumental demo ’78 2:24
04, Whore’s Poem part 1 – Mystery Guests live ’81 0:57
05, Whore’s Poem part 2 – Mystery Guests live ’81 1:58
06, Wurlitzer Junction Mystery Guests guitar demo #2 1:27
07, Do The Bum’s Rush (written by Alex Green for the Emperors) D-Go-Tees demo 2:17
08, The Merry Shark You Are Mystery Guests live ’81 2:48
09, Sweet Potatoes Warbling (written by Alex Green for the Emperors) D-Go-Tees demo 2:42
10, The Age of Bavaria D-Go-Tees demo (written by Alan Moore/Glyn Bush) 2:39
11, Wurlitzer Junction full instrumental demo by Alex Green / Pickle 2:14

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Mr. Liquorice – Limbo Trains reissue

Limbo Trains is definitely one of my favourite release from the early 80’s, an extremely weird output from a relatively unknown genius called Mr. Liquorice (aka Pickle). The original Limbo Trains was released almost 35 years ago, after his Mystery Guests years as a solo project, but it has several songs/excerpts from Pickle’s earlier bands including new versions of previously unreleased MG tunes and one Dapper Choir song (Monster Parody). As the original cassette was a private release it’s almost impossible to get a copy now. Good news that Pickle just released it on Bandcamp in digital format.

A limited edition cassette version is also available to order on Bandcamp. Go and get your copy ASAP as it’s limited to 50 copies.

Limbo Trains tape

I just received this beauty recently from Pickle.

 

Limbo Trains tape

Tape and insert

 

Limbo Trains tape

Card case

 

 

 

 

Satanic Nurses (1989-1991)

„PT: Who are the people you’ve been working with?
AM: There’s Curtis who used to be in Venus Flytrap and before that The Gift, he’s really ace. There’s Chris Barber on bass – I’ve known him since I was 17, he used to be in the Arts Lab. Tim Perkins who’s currently also playing with Eric, he’s a brilliant violinist. Then there’s Kevin Haskins on drums from Love & Rockets. It all came together by accident. I was asked to do a track on a compilation of local bands, they wanted me on it because I was a famous cartoonist and they figured it would be good to have a famous somebody on the album even if it was a famous house decorator or something. But we enjoyed doing it and did some more and now we have two or three tracks in the can and we’re really happy with it; excitement is a good chemistry. RCA are apparently interested in bringing out the album so that looks nice.”
Ptolemaic Terrascope issue 8, 1991

Line-up [Alan Moore (Vocals), Kevin Haskins (Drums), Chris Barber (Bass), Tim Perkins (Guitar), Curtis E Johnson (Guitar)] is absolutely correct, Pete Brownjohn took over on drums when Kevin’s tour schedule for Love and Rockets kicked in. He had to give his regular band priority.
Tim Perkins

I belive that Kevin moving to America was the reason that he left although I belive that that band was called the Emperrors of ice cream.
Curtis E. Johnson

Don’t think you can say Kevin ever left as such – it was more a recording project where we got together every so often – no fixed line up really…
I remember being asked to play bass on the project, probably by Curtis E Johnson. I was involved with previous projects with Alan (Moore) since the formation of Northampton arts lab, when I was a teenager, so it was renewing an old acquaintance. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific about dates/gigs, but I don’t remember it as a gigging band, more a recording project…..
There were several tracks recorded over quite a long time period. I don’t remember all the titles. The other one that springs to mind is ‘Another Suburban Romance’
Chris Barber

„THE SATANIC NURSES: “…MORGUE” (4m29s) or, “MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE”
8-track master-reel. (4mins29s). Recorded 29 March 1990. Cold Spring Records, Northampton.
Group including:
Alan Moore (Vocals)
Kevin Haskins (Drums)
Chris Barber (Bass)
Tim Perkins (Guitar)
Curtis E Johnson (Guitar)
Engineer – Mark Thomas
Currently on loan to me from Justin Mitchell of Cold Spring. For further details see the Cold Spring website (discography). Trying to find somewhere to convert it to CD format cheaply… (lyrics printed in Negative Burn and then Alan Moore’s Songbook, as “Murders in the Rue Morgue”. An original song from the 1970s incarnation of Moore and Alex Green’s band, The Emperors of Ice Cream. Confirmed to me by Alex Green. All other songs from Negative Burn – except for “Another Suburban Romance” – were written or recorded in the 1990s.)”
MISCELLANEOUS MOORE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION by David Hume and Greg Strokecker

Heeler LP

Image linked from coldspring.co.uk

CSR2LP (Unreleased)
Various Artists | Feeler
Split vinyl album featuring one side ALAN MOORE and the other side was to be PSYCHIC TV. This album was withdrawn before manufacture for legal reasons.

The split vinyl LP was due to be released 1991. We had gain two exclusive tracks from each artist. The writer ALAN MOORE (famous for such works as The Watchmen, etc) had put a band together called THE SATANIC NURSES and one of the first works was a track called “…Morgue.” In the line-up of the band was Kevin Haskins of BAUHAUS and LOVE & ROCKETS infamy, playing drums. Three weeks prior to release, Justin Mitchell received a telephone call from Beggars Banquet demanding that we pay for Haskins involvement. It was insisted that it was a legal necessity that his name be credited, and then we would owe “a LOT of money”. Being a label new to the expenses of vinyl manufacture (let alone MCPS, etc), we couldn’t afford it. The album had to be pulled. We heard rumours that Beggars Banquet had been impressed with the Alan Moore idea and had basically wanted it for their own. But, they released nothing similar.

We’d gone so far down the road and worked so hard to pull this record together, so to us the album was a reality, hence it’s inclusion in the official discography. The flipside was an unedited live track by Psychic TV called “New Regeneration” with a incomparable line-up: Genesis and Paula P-Orridge, Dave Ball (SOFT CELL, THE GRID), Monte Cazazza, John Gosling, Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson and Mouse. An edited version can be found on the “Live In Heaven” vinyl LP (Temple TOPY018).

Track listing:
1. …Morgue (Alan Moore)
2. New Generation (Psychic TV)
Taken from Cold Spring discography

It was recorded in Northampton by Alan, Curtis and Tim, in Tim`s home studio.
Alan Smith did the artwork.
Justin Mitchell

Full title was “Murders on the Rue Morgue”. It was also a time when very early versions of other songs were created and roughly demoed, but not played live til the Nurses morphed into the Emperors. The earliest ones I recollect were “Rue Morgue”, “Another Suburban Romance” & “Fires I wish I’d seen.” We had a lot of fun formulating the material at this time, and would sit around at Alan’s, or my house with a few refreshments and acoustic guitars etc. We did a couple of one-off gigs  (Alan/Chris/Curtis/myself) with a drum-machine and tape-effects at poetry reading type events. It all served as a warm-up for the later rock-venue productions that were to come. The few recordings we did were on half-inch analogue tape and probably lost, though there may be some recorded evidence of Emperors still around somewhere, cassette tapes even possibly!
I actually went to school with Alex as a teenager and used to free-jam with him sometimes. He was the first person to introduce Frank Zappa to me, (“Weasels ripped my flesh” I think,) so I thank him for that! Alan tried to sing the basic tune that they had cobbled together for “Suburban Romance”, musically initiated by a another Emperors Member and musical polymath who was known as “Pickle”,(real name – Michael Chown) It was all very hazy, so I took the lyrics away and composed a brand new tune & arrangement for it..something rather Brechtian in it’s flavour. Pickle went on to form a quirky Art-punk band called the “Mystery Guests” that Alan occasionally provided words for..(“Wurlitzer Junction” for example.)
Tim Perkins

Discography

Frank – compilation cassette
Northampton Musician Collective, 1992
Tracklist: Murders on the Rue Morgue, …

A Compilation Of Songs And Performances By Alan Moore And Friends CD
Universal / ILEX, 2011
CD accompanies the book, Alan Moore: Storyteller
Tracklist:
14, The Satanic Nurses – Murders on the Rue Morgue [4:58]
Also includes tracks by The Sinister Ducks, The Emperors of Ice Cream, Alan Moore / Pat Fish etc.

The Sinister Ducks (1979-1983)

Edited 05/27/2017

1979

„We’d been doing things, working together, when Bauhaus was going. There used to be an event called the Deadly Fun Hippodrome that he was partly behind. It was a little like a mad anarchic surrealist cabaret. There’s another guy called Pickle who was heavily involved in that, who later formed a band called the Mystery Guests. All the eccentric artists in Northampton would crawl out of the woodwork and turn up for this event. It’d be great. A lot of cross-fertilization going on. It was held in an old Edwardian pavilion in the middle of the Northampton race course, the old racetrack. It was an ideal old haunted ballroom.”
David J, LA Weekly interview w/ Jay Babcock

The DFH was held on Saturday lunchtimes at the Racecourse Pavilion in Northampton. There were Super 8 cartoons every week and a couple of bands. I think Bauhaus did the first one and then got too big to play for the zero pounds guaranteed fee i was able to offer. As Alan says, most of my promotions at this time were financial suicide. But then so was Woodstock! The whole series ended suddenly when a water pipe burst during one of the gigs and caused flooding damage in the tens of thousands.
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

1979 summer

Critters article – page 1

„The Sinister Ducks first waddled into the limelight early one Saturday afternoon in the Summer of 1979. Local new wave compoposer, entrepreneur, and Adolf Hitler lookalike Mr. Liquorice had arranged a number of lunchtime cabaret sessions which were held in a crumbling Edwardian pavilion when the sun was at its highest and the audience figures at their lowest. Combining local New Wave or Hardcore bands with vintage Augie Dawgie cartoons, this venture operated under the alluring title of „The Deadly Fun Hippodrome”, and over the single summer of its brief duration it built up a loyal audience of, literally, dozens. One one particular occasion, when the support for the band The Shapes had failed to turn up, Mr. Liquorice asked me if I could possibly form a super-group and be on stage int en minutes time. Being pretty drunk, this seemed to me a viable proposition. If I took four minutes carefully hand-picking the correct musical personnel and two minutes writing a modest twenty-minute set, this would allow almost a full one hundred and twenty seconds for rehersal. I agreed, and ten minutes later the Sinister Ducks took the stage. Other than myself, these included Bauhaus bassist David J., saxophonist Max Akropolis from the ska band ARMY, and singer-guitarist Grant Series of Birmingham’s D-Go-Tees. The audience, muddled by glue fumes though they were, were roused to a slouching ovation by a tight and professional set that included David J. reading extracts from that morning’s paper and a heart-breaking rendition of the incomprehensible ’Debbie’s Gloss’ by Grant Series on a bass guitar and half an amplifier. Reeling from this fabulous reception and concerned lest we should peak too soon we did nothing for the next two years.”
Critter #23, Animals Rock n Roll – Alan Moore, Northampton 1987

After reading the account of the Sinister Ducks outing, I can safely say that whenever they played, it wasn’t with us. Im pretty sure we would have remembered that !
Garet Holder (The Shapes)

I was at the Deadly Fun Hippodrome but don’t remember whether they played or not. I was playing with my band the De-Go-Tees and may well have been backstage at the time. Debbie’s Gloss was one of my songs for the De-GoTees (Grant Series being my alter-ego at the time). I may have a demo of it somewhere, but the main lyric was: ’I’m mad about the motion of Debbie’s Gloss.’ I certainly don’t recall the Ducks ever playing it … the line up was: Grant Series (Gtr, vocs), Alex Green (sax) David Hunt (BS) Geoff Webb (drs). We were supporting Bauhaus 1919.
Glyn Bush

„Around 1979 Mr. Liquorice started an afternoon venue for live music and old Augie Dawgie cartoons, known picturesquely as the Deadly Fun Hippodrome. Financially it was utter suicide, but we had a lot of fun. It lasted until one of the visiting punk bands ripped out all the water pipes in the ladies’ toilets, presumably as some sort of protest against the dehumanising futility of contemporary society. Anyway, during the Hippodrome’s existence the level of organization had a kind of freewheeling Marx Brothers tendency. I suppose this was our ‘Cavern’ period. That first line-up included myself, saxophonist Max Akropolis, Dave J. from Bauhaus and Glynn Bush from Birmingham’s D-Go-Tees, who happened to be passing through town that particular lunch hour. After this first half-hour performance, we decided to follow the proven example of David Bowie and maintain an aloof, inaccessible silence. This period of withdrawal from the public eye lasted for about two years, during which we didn’t rehearse or even speak to each other. „
Alan Moore, Zig Zag article (Jun 84)

„Even though Bauhaus took up most of his time, J still found time for external collaborations. He worked with one of the original Bauhaus artists, Rene Halkett and an accident led to forming a ramshackle outfit with Moore called the Sinister Ducks. “We put them together on the spot,” recalls Moore. “There was a string of gigs at a local Victorian Pavilion that a very eccentric and brilliant musician Dr Liquorice had decided to put on at Saturday lunchtime. There would be punk bands, local bands and vintage cartoons that he would show. It had a playschool air about it that was quite interesting. Anyway, one of these particular days the main band had not shown up so he asked me and David and a couple of other musicians if we could put something together in ten minutes and do a set. We quite liked the challenge, so I did a piece of reading with music in the background.”
Ian Shirley: Can Rock & Roll Save the World?: An Illustrated History of Music and Comics, 2005

„Surprisingly enough, things were to improve. In the summer of 79, Licquorice became an Impressario and undertook the production of several curious entertainments staged in a run-down Edwardian pavillion known as the Deadly Fun Hippodrome. During the venue’s tragically stunted lifespan it was to play host to such notables as the Shapes, Bauhaus, The D-Go-Tees and the seminal new-wave skiffle combo known as the Sinister Ducks. The cream of local Bohemia would gather on those distant, golden afternoons and gaze in childish rapture at the vintage Augie Dawgie and Daffy Duck cartoons projected during the intermissions. Sadly, this idyll was shattered by a ruptured waterpipe. Those of you who have experienced the surreal enormity of a flash flood on the upper floor of a two-storey Edwardian building will appreciate the trauma entailed in such an event. The bubble had burst. There were slugs in the lettuce of our salad days. Looking back, it seems somehow inevitable.”
Alan Moore, Sounds article, Mystery and Abomination”, 1981-08-08

1981-04-18 – Roadmender Club, Northampton

„April 18th 1981 and David has booked himself into Beck studios in Wellingborough to set two of the poems; Nothing and Armour to music he had recently composed… With the session completed he literally walked out of Beck and into Northampton’s Roadmender Club on Lady’s Lane to perform at a multi media event promoted by the enigmatic Mr Liquorice ‘The Summer Shock Special’. With Bauhaus currently on a brief hiatus having recently returned from a lengthy tour of the United States David played at this event as a member of another band. The Sinister Ducks was a part time project featuring David, comic writer Alan Moore and saxophonist Alex Green with ‘floating’ members like Glyn Bush and Bridget Enever.”
Sleeve notes for David J: Etiquette of Violance reissue CD by Andrew J. Brooksbank

„Sinister Ducks consisted of Alan, myself and Alex Green, a saxophonist. Also there was a floating member,(no pun intended!) Glynn Bush, who now is with Rockers Hi-Fi. We did two performances. Alan’s role was chief provocatueur. He came on dressed like a head waiter — penguin suit — and heavy leather motorcycle gloves. We performed the two pieces that’d we recorded, March of the Sinister Ducks and Old Gangsters Never Die. Old Gangsters Never Die being a precis of a play Alan had written right around the time of the Hippodrome. They put on plays as well. … I played guitar in a quite unconventional manner, Alex honked away upon the sax, one song the entire vocal was, we used those dolls where you pull out the string and get them to talk. We put the doll to the mike and put it through effects. That would be the vocal. Alan would stare at it with malicious intent. Experimental!”
David J, LA Weekly interview w/ Jay Babcock

Critters article – page 2

„The Sinister Ducks’ first reunion performance happened at another financially doomed venture carried out under the auspices of the enterprising Liquorice, this being a one-day event known as ’Summer Shock Day’. The Duck’s lineup, expanded to include D-Go-Tee saxophonist Bridget (who used to go out with Hunt Emerson), also included a plastic Minnie Mouse doll that provided the vocal upon at least one number, the immortal ’Plastic Man Goes Nuts’. The doll’s head was detachable from its body save for a length of retractable string, which, when jerked savagely, would cause the hideous toy to utter one of six cute catch-phrases at random in between bursts of jazz so freeform that it might be better described as completely boneless.”
Critter #23, Animals Rock n Roll – Alan Moore, Northampton 1987

„In 1981 we held a reunion performance and decided we’d take longer over this one, in an effort to get everything absolutely right. Most of the material was written as far in advance as the night before, and it showed in the performance. It was that much more polished and professional. In ’83 we recorded a single, and Dave took it to the people at Beggar’s Banquet. They decided to bring it out on their Situation Two label so that nobody would know they were responsible if there was any trouble.” In addition to the Sinister Ducks, Moore and David J. have also been working together on a single based on the ‘V For Vendetta’ strip. “I’ve not actually had much to do with it save for the writing, but Dave’s kept tee in touch with developments throughout, and the test pressing sounds excellent.””
Alan Moore, Zig Zag article (Jun 84)

I can only remember one or possibly two concerts – definitely the Roadmender when they did Old Gangsters Never Die. Debbie’s Gloss was one of my songs for the De-GoTees […] I think I did it solo at the Roadmender along with some tunes where I was playing a Bontempi organ.
Glyn Bush

The second Sinister Ducks’ gig was at an event i promoted called ‘The Summer Shock Special’ at the Roadmender which utilised nearly all the rooms in the building for various events and performances. Red and green food and snacks were on sale. Was also my solo debut as Mr Liquorice. Also on the bill were The Sinister Ducks,The D-Go-tees,a performance group called Living Room
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

I’m afraid I have a very hazy recollection of the gig. I remember the toy being played held up to the microphone, but then there was a bit of a fad for clockwork toy noises incorporated into stage events at the time. I’m not sure whether John Dowie was involved somewhere, with ‘Big Girls Blouse’, but that was possibly another occasion. Setlist? What makes you think we were that well organised?? Or rehearsed?? More go with the flow…. As for myself, I joined in with and improvised with just about anybody in those days without any prior knowledge of the content – just used my ears! Still do…
Bridget Enever

1982

Bauhaus Information Club newsletter, 1982

Bauhaus Information Club newsletter, 1982

„Although Dave J has no definite release plans, amongst other projects he plans to ‘conduct’ (ha ha) a local gig, on a local bus, to „whoever happens to be on the damn thing at the time”. He’s doing it with his spare time superstars called the „SINISTER DUCKS” who feature a stunning sinister prose vocalist who goes by the delightful name of Brilburnlouge (see MASK sleeve notes). Who is this you may ask? Little do we know, except for anonymous breathtaking phone calls received from the above, reciting „old gangsters never die” to which the sinister quadruplets back up. This being a possible single on release on 4AD.”
Bauhaus Information Club newsletter, 1982

Tranks to Flavio

‘Transport of Delight’ article. Thanks to Flavio.

The Sinister Ducks 7" RARE test pressing

The Sinister Ducks 7″ RARE test pressing

1983-07-19 – on a narrow boat, Northampton

„July  1983 the celebration of another birthday, this time his brother Kevin’s 23rd. An unusual setting for a party, aboard a canal barge on the river Nene, the primary water  in Northampton that eventually feeds into The Wash in East Anglia. Amongst those providing the entertainment that day (19th July) are a duo; The Jazz Butcher and King Rolo (the latter would shortly form The Woodentops) and The Sinister Ducks who also play a couple of numbers and it’s this performance, their third and final, that prompts David to approach his record company with the idea of The Ducks recording a single. Incidentally following this “birthday show” Kevin made a surprise appearance at Kensington’s Ad-Lib club on the 25th playing drums for The Jazz Butcher.”
Sleeve notes for David J: Etiquette of Violance reissue CD by Andrew J. Brooksbank

„…the Ducks rose to the challenge by performing for the glitterati at the birthday celebration of Bauhaus drummer Kevin Haskins, on a corroded barge sailing down the river Nene int he middle of the night.” „…they provided a cursory runthrough of their hit single ([…]) before breaking up over irreconcilable musical differences on their way back to the bar at the rear of the barge.”
Critter #23, Animals Rock n Roll – Alan Moore, Northampton 1987

It must have been a really good party as I have no recollection of it! It may have happened or it may have been confused with my wedding reception which took place on a narrow boat, on the canals surrounding Northampton. The boat was called the Saucy Sue and we had a costume wedding (all guests in fancy dress). Now Alex Green along with Pat Fish were the wedding band! So there is a connection there with Alex. But it wasn’t a Sinister Ducks performance.
Kevin Haskins

Sinister Ducks Press pack

Sinister Ducks Press pack
Thanks to Andrew J. Brooksbank

„The Single was recorded at Beck Studios in Northampton (Wellingborough). ‘March Of The Sinister Ducks’ was built up in layers on top of a basic structure of Dave’s guitar and piano. The cabaret saxophones on the choruses were augmented with kazoos played by Alan and myself. Vocals and duck effect came later. ‘Old Gangsters Never Die‘ was recorded live with us all together in the same room, I seem to recall that the version released was the third take.”
Alex Green, Apollox, 1995

„Created in 1981 by Peter Kent (initially one half of 4AD with Ivo-Watts Russel) as an alternate to Beggars Banquet and to create appeal to an ever growing indie audience Situation Two funded a Sinister Ducks single; March Of The Sinister Ducks and Old Gangsters Never Die. Built largely around David’s guitar and Alex’s piano, the saxophones were augmented by Kazoos for the chorus, played by all three with vocals and assorted duck noises for March Of… added post production. Old Gangsters Never Die was originally a soliloquy in the surrealist play Another Suburban Romance written by Alan Moore and Jamie Delano. Issued in  a special fold out sleeve with stunning artwork from Edwin Pouncy better known of course as comic scribbler Savage Pencil augmented by contributions from another comic artist Kevin O’Neil. Also included within the package was a short band member biography, albeit under pseudonyms; The Translucia Baboon for example was Alan Moore, Alex Green as Max Acropolis whilst David appears as Captain Jose De Silva. The single was released by Situation Two on the 26th of August. There were vague plans for a second e.p. but this eventually came to nothing.”
Sleeve notes for David J: Etiquette of Violance reissue CD by Andrew J. Brooksbank

„The Sinister Ducks did a few concerts and it was obvious to J that they should record a single. “It was easy. We went to Beck Studios where we did all of our Bauhaus stuff and Alan wrote the words. The ‘B’ Side – “Old Gangsters Never Die” – was part of a play that he had written that dated back to the Arts Lab before I had met him. He resurrected it and made it into a pop song and me and Alan put some music to it.” The Sinister Ducks single was released in 1983 and received some intriguing reviews. Due to Moore’s appearance, the single is quite colleetable today not only for the music – uh the lyrics go “quack, quack!” – but the delightful fine art packaging. ‘It was two way traflic — comics and music.” recalls Moore. “It has got a Kevin O’Neill cover on it. There is a rare comic strip version of Old Gangsters Never Die done by Lloyd Thatcher. There is a Savage Pencil graphic on the back, which Sav was telling me was the first time that he had drawn his subsequently popular Dirty Duck character. He got the idea fiom the Sinister Ducks.” The Sinister Ducks even performed on water at Bauhaus drummer Kevin Hawkins’ birthday party on a canal barge.”
Ian Shirley: Can Rock & Roll Save the World?: An Illustrated History of Music and Comics, 2005

Sinister Ducks promo badges

Sinister Ducks promo badges
Thanks to Andrew J. Brooksbank

Discography

The March of The Sinister Ducks 7″ single
SIT 25, Situation Two, 1983

Fully signed 7″. Thanks to Andrew J. Brooksbank

Tracklist:

Suiside: March of The Sinister Ducks

Homiside: Old Gangsters Never Die

 

Critters #23 flexi disc
1033161ABX, F.B.I. Music & Noise, 1986
Tracklist:
Round Side: Teddy Payne & The Bluebears – Right To The Blues
Flat Side : The Sinister Ducks – March Of The Sinister Ducks

Critters Flexi disc

A Compilation Of Songs And Performances By Alan Moore And Friends CD
Universal / ILEX, 2011
CD accompanies the book, Alan Moore: Storyteller
Tracklist:
02, The Sinister Ducks – March Of The Sinister Ducks [2:42]
Also includes tracks by Satanic Nurses, The Emperors of Ice Cream, Alan Moore / Pat Fish etc.

David J : Etiquette of Violance reissue CD
CDBRED604, Cherry Red, 2013
Tracklist:
CD 2 / 16 : Old Gangster Never Die (remastered) [6:42]
CD 2 / 17 : March Of The Sinister Ducks (remastered) [2:41]

England Their England : Monsters Maniacs And Moore
Central TV documentary, 1987
Tracklist:
March Of The Sinister Ducks (ducks video, see below @1:30)
Old Gangster Never Die (excerpt, lip-synched performance by Alan Moore, see below @8:12)

Song list

The March of The Sinister Ducks
An original song with lyrics & lead vocals by Alan Moore. Released on 7″ single and played live.
Old Gangster Never Die
An original song with lyrics & lead vocals by Alan Moore. Released on 7″ single and played live.
Debbie’s Gloss
Regarding the Critters article it was played live at the very first Ducks gig by Grant Series (although he has no recollection of it). Also played live by the D-Go-Tees.
Plastic Man Goes Nuts
Also mentioned in the Critters article by Alan Moore. It could be an original song.
Nightflyers
An original song with lyrics & lead vocals by Alan Moore.
Last Night
An original song with lyrics & lead vocals by David J.
Poem
A spoken word piece by David J.
I Get A Kick Out Of You
An (almost) acapella cover of Frank Sinatra’s classic with lead vocals by Alan Moore.

The Mystery Guests (1979-1981)

1979

The original Mystery Guests were just 3. Buster, Alex and myself. Alex then left to join the Army and we had an almost never ending series of one-night sax players. Later Punky alias Titus Aaron joined on bass.
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

Mystery Guests live

Mystery Guests: Pickle, Punky and Buster (left to right). Thanks to John Ristway

„And then came the breakthrough. In 1979 Licquorice resolved the sprawling ambiguity of the Dapper Choir into a hard and lucid whole.
With the aid of a near-terminal Akropolis he recruited the shabby, eccentric and comically-named Buster as lead guitarist.
Buster lived in subhuman squalor, nut was an electronics genius who could convert a vaacum-cleaner into a particle accelerator using only a wall can-opener.
Before fong the trio metamorphosed into a quartet with the arrival of bassist Titus Aaron. In many ways the most enigmatic of the group, Aaron shared a strange physical similarity with his fellows… a baffling, haunting uglyness that hovered on the edge of sublime ethereal beauty.
The Mystery Guests were now ready to submit themselves to the bloodshot scrutiny of the general public.
THE REACTION was violent and schismatic, divided mainly between those who merely loathed them and those who wished them actual physical harm. A few, it must be said, had the wit to appreciate that the abrasive and cruel music, coupled with the sniggering delerium of the lyrics displayed the early thrashings of a monstrous and disturbed genius”
Alan Moore, Sounds article, Mystery and Abomination”, 1981-08-08

1979-09-08 – The Mystery Guests / Bauhaus @ The Paddock, Northampton

1979-09-08 – The Mystery Guests / Bauhaus @ The Paddock, Northampton

1979-09-08 – The Mystery Guests / Bauhaus @ The Paddock, Northampton

1979-09-08 – The Mystery Guests / Bauhaus @ The Paddock, Northampton

The Mystery Guests / Bauhaus fanzine review

The Mystery Guests / Bauhaus fanzine review

1980

Wurlitzer Junction / The Merry Shark You Are 7″
Boys Own Label, BO 1
Lyrics by Alan Moore

Wurlitzer Junction also appears on “Nation of Saints, 50 Years of Northampton music” compilation CD that came with the very first issue of Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic magazine in 2009. CD includes songs by Alan Moore, The Jazz Butcher, Tom Hall, Venus Fly Trap and David J.

Early version of Wurlitzer Junction was written back in April 1978 by Pickle & Alex Green for The Emperors of Ice Cream / The Dapper Choir. Instrumental home demo has been taped. Alan Moore contributed with lyrics later.

‘Wurlitzer Junction’ and flipside The Merry Shark you are’ were recorded in Northampton somewhere…
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

Wurlitzer Junction

I never talk about the sensation
I keep the wallets and I stack the tacks behind the factory
I do not do it for remuneration
In fact the lack of tax is actively unsatisfactory
Furniture Baby, who
Are you all relating to?
And why do the pavements move
In time to the tread of empty shoes?

You never thought she’d be a people sarny
You don’t believe in something till it’s right beneath you feet
I blame identity on dainty living
No one is what they seem but everyone is what they eat
Why don’t you take me to
the imaginary zoo?
You’ll be on the News at Ten
Where ambulance men give empty views.

He’s sitting talking to his daily paper
Just tried to contact the contractors to the manufacturers
They’re not related and his name evades her
He has a stammer and………..still affects her
Always the same old faces
only the eyes have changed
Your lipstick has just stopped smiling;
empty shoes waiting for a train

The Merry Shark you are

You never hear the bomb that hits you; anaesthetic.
Here’s a steady man with thoughts like shrapnel.
You piss in the dark just like
the Merry Shark you are.

And if she’s dead she died in flames
In cheap hotel rooms where the petrol scent remains
What becomes of slim young women
Born at best on best-forgotten days?

Lyrics in green are Alan’s, the others mine. I wrote all the music.
For Wurlitzer Junction I sang the first thing that came into my head while playing electric guitar and Alan seated over the other side of the room wrote down his impressions from what he could hear.
So in a sense I guess they belong to both of us.
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

„One such aesthete was the astute Tom Fawcett, prolific eminence gris behind, amongst other things, Fawcett’s Design for Living. Recognising the Mystery Guests as a potential ultimate deterrent in his arsenal of cultural subversion. Fawcett cunningly contrived that their first single, “Wurlitzer Junction’, should be released upon his fledgling Boy’s Own label.
There were several stanzas of deft linguistic beauty, although I most admit that my personal favourite was the one which rhymed ‘bachelor’ with ‘manufacturer’.
Akropotis and Buster vanished again . . . one to a Swiss sanitarium for a complete blood-change, the other to the cobwebbed obscurity which had spawned him. Before he left, however, Buster suggested the title of their second gramophone recording, “The Sparrow that Ate New York”.”
Alan Moore, Sounds article, Mystery and Abomination”, 1981-08-08

„The artistic intelligentsia in Northampton is pretty closely knit, due largely to the fact that there’s only about six of us.
I’d been hanging around doing the odd stage performance since the early 70s, though these were largely for my own amusement (at least if the reaction of the audiences was anything to go by). I knew some of the younger musicians and artists around the town — people like Mr. Liquorice and the Mystery Guests. The Mystery Guests even recorded a couple of singles that I wrote the words for — they came out on the Boy’s Own label and immediately soared to the furthermost pinnacles of obscurity. „
Alan Moore, Zig Zag article (Jun 84)

1980-05-02 – Magazine / Bauhaus / The Mystery Guests @ Guildhall, Northampton

1980-05-02 – Magazine / Bauhaus / The Mystery Guests @ Guildhall, Northampton

We [Trance] did a mini tour with Mystery Guests in 1980 – Brighton, London, Manchester and maybe one other gig – I went up in the van with them and Alan Moore for the Nottingham Rock City gig where they supported Bauhaus but don’t have any of the memorabilia anymore. Trance also played with them at Lings forum in June ’81 – I’ve lost touch with them now – Shrivs, Buster, Pickle and Ian. I know there was talk of a tour with Mystery Guests and the Diagram Brothers – remember talking to Diagram Brothers about it at the 101 club in London but then Pickle moved to Birmingham and we lost touch
Barry Hale

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1980-07-19 – The Mystery Guests / Trance / Where’s Lisse? / Religious Overdose @ Lings Theatre, Northampton

Mystery Guests+Trance-Moonlight club- 1980-08-27

1980-08-27 – The Mystery Guests / Trance @ Moonlight Club, London

Oh yes at the Moonlight club gig – Steve Cook and Paul Jones, then in the Professionals, people from John Foxx’s Metalbeat label and half of Ultravox were in the audience.

Watching Mystery Guests rehearse was strange – they had a gizmo they could all plug into and wore headphones so they could hear each other play without need for amps but onlookers could only hear the vocals and the sound of unamplified guitars.
Barry Hale

1981

The Sparrow That Ate New York / The Nude 7″
Boys Own Label, 1981 (BO 3)

The next single was done on a farm somewhere. We recorded ‘The Sparrow that ate New York’ and two other songs.
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

Wurlitzer Junction and The Sparrow That Ate New York were both released on my BoysOwn label of course, and I do recall going to a recording session at Wild Willy Barret’s place in Northants, but I’m not sure either we’re recorded there.
Tom Fawcett

We did a freeform session there with members of Stanton Walgrave and Tom and his mate and then later we did ‘the Sparrow that ate New York’ there.
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

I think Shrivs and I only did a couple of gigs with MGs but there was lots of other things which I may be confusing with Stanton Walgrave 4 or 5 years earlier. We were involved in the farm recordings at Wild Willy Barrettes place. This included reworking of some some of Shrivs lovely songs such as Bend me like a tambourine.
Seaweed

„It is interesting to reflect that at this point, reduced to en avant-garde duet of limited commercial appeal, the Mystery Guests might simply have vanished without trace, thus averting the soul-chilling catastrophes that were to follow.
But it was at precisely this point that History chose to deal it’s most brutal card by engineering the return of Seaweed and Spawnwash.
They were not the men that Mr. Licquorice had known of old. Seaweed now had prominent gills and a vestigal dorsal fin. Spawnwash had become a communist, converted by his patronage of Radio Albania.
But they were to have seismic repercussions upon the very raison d’etre of the Mystery guests. Music alone could no longer contain them.  They were filled with an unholy zeal, urging them to spread their blight across the entire cultural firmament.
A cassette and booklet package entitled ‘The Bigot’ was released, voyeuristically detailing the real-life xenophobia of an anonymous and unwitting middle-aged couple.
The born-again Max Akropolis lurked ominously in the wings with a full brass section. Betty Wayne and her Lady Choristers waited demurely to take the field.
And there were new songs… the lovely and heartbreaking “Don’t Treat Me Like A Treacle Tart”, the clammy and seductive “Corrugated Fever”. The mystery deepened. The guests prepared to eat the party.
I do not wish to tell you too much concerning the Mystery Guests. I will hint that they are a group, and that they come from a small town somewhere between Billing and Nether Heyford. In the name of Christian charity you cannot ask me to do more.”
Alan Moore, Sounds article, Mystery and Abomination”, 1981-08-08

Much later after Buster left, we teamed up with two old Stanton Walgrave chums Seaweed and Shrivs (yes Spawnwash) and Alex returned for a final couple of gigs, this time on guitar, i think.
I do remember one of these last gigs was at Nottingham’s Rock City supporting Bauhaus. The crowd really didn’t know what to make of us. Pete Murphy was in the audience watching our set and the guy standing next to him nudged his arm and asked when we were going to start. He looked round puzzled and replied ‘That’s it…they’re doing it.’
The new songs were coming a lot from Shrivs -improvised lyrics that became bona fida songs later. ‘Don’t treat me like a treacle tart’, ‘ Bend me like a tambourine’, ‘Corrugated Fever’
‘The Bigot’ I don’t remember who found it but in those days we all used to hunt round the junk shop for those old Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorders. We were into tape loops a lot then. Anyway this tape came with one of the machines we bought and it was one of those tape letters people used to send to distant relatives. A middle-aged couple speaking to their son in Australia, describing their everyday lives and revealing almost unrepeatable xenophobia, quoting Hitler even. Just ordinary folks you pass in the Supermarket. So anyway we had plans to release it as a social document, sent it to some labels even. Then at some point the original got lost and the project became just another myth.
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

The Mystery Guests live tape (circa 1981)

The Mystery Guests Live Tape

The Mystery Guests Live Tape

Tracklist:
01, unknown song #1
02, Pornography
03, unknown song #2
04, unknown song #3
05, The Nude
06, Vamp Advertising
07, Whore’s Poem – part 1
08, Whore’s Poem – part 2
09, The Sparrow That Ate New York
10, The Merry Shark You Are
11, unknown song #4

Again I was the main songwriter.
Alan contributed lyrics to Wurlitzer Junction,The Merry Shark you are
Song 8 was an adaptation of The Whore’s Poem by Alan Moore.
All the other stuff was mine i think.

I think the MG gig is at Warwick University with Fawcett’s Design for Living. The date…? Line up was me on guitar and electric piano, Buster on guitar, Punky on bass and someone else(Paul?) on sax and xylophone. Line-ups were always changing. No-one could stand it for very long..
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

My band certainly played live with them, I remember playing Warwick university, from which the live cassette ‘Jumping off at the elephant’s nest’ derives.
Tom Fawcett

Another Suburban Romance songs

Old Gangsters Never Die

„Another Suburban Romance – that was a play co-written by Alan Moore and Andrew James (Old Gangsters Never Die came from this play).
Glyn Bush

‘Old Gangsters Never Die’ was originally a soliloquy in the play
Alex Green, Apollox 1995

Regarding Alan Moore: Storyteller book, the original Old Gangsters Never Die monologue was written a bit earlier for Northampton Art Labs performances but later incorporated to the play.
Alan brought it into the Emperors and later The Sinister Ducks. The Ducks version has been recorded at the Beck Studios in 1983 and appeared on the B-side of The March of The Sinister Ducks 7” single. Remastered version released on the second bonus CD of David J – Etiquette of Violance 2013 reissue.
Alternate 10 minutes long version has been recorded by the second incarnation of The Emperors of Ice Cream around the ’90s and also appeared in their live set.
First comic adaptation appeared on the cover of The Sinister Ducks single, later reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics (Robinson, 2008). Second comic version appeared in Alan Moore’s Another Suburban Romance (Avatar Press, May 2003)

Whore’s Poem

I wrote some music for the play along with my friend Pickle (PK) and we performed a song called the Whore’s Poem at the Racehorse.  I can’t remember if Alan was involved, he may have been in the audience. The play was never finished or performed anyway. The music was pretty crazy and tricky to play, very prog/Zappa ish.
It was largely instrumental apart from the Whores poem. Alan left us to our own devices.
Glyn Bush

‘Another Suburban Romance’ was an early Alan Moore/Andrew James collaboration. Written in play form, Glyn and I wrote and recorded the incidental music. Each Character had a signature tune. Hence the Whore’ Poem.
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

Whore's Poem

Whore’s Poem lyrics by Alan Moore

Guitar demos have been recorded for Another Suburban Romance play including Whore’s Poem. The song also appeared in the live set of The Mystery Guests around ’81. Audience recording of their Warwick University gig exists.

The Mystery Guests Live Tape

The Mystery Guests Live Tape (incl. Whore’s Poem)

Another Suburban Romance

Short piece of Another Suburban Romance horns intro was podcasted as part of The Dandy Hour Episode 8. It can be heard in the background from 10:55 to 11:27.

That was re-recorded recently from the original score. We had an idea to do it as a Dandelion Set track but it didn’t work out.  The recording was never finished ..no bass drums organ etc and what there was …. just horns is not even mixed.
Pickle (Mr. Licquorice)

At least two versions have been recorded by The Satanic Nurses and The Emperors of Ice Cream later in the ’90s, although they have nothing to do with the original music written by Pickle and Glyn Bush.

I actually went to school with Alex as a teenager and used to free-jam with him sometimes. He was the first person to introduce Frank Zappa to me, (“Weasels ripped my flesh” I think,) so I thank him for that! Alan tried to sing the basic tune that they had cobbled together for “Suburban Romance”, musically initiated by a another Emperors Member and musical polymath who was known as “Pickle” […] It was all very hazy, so I took the lyrics away and composed a brand new tune & arrangement for it..something rather Brechtian in it’s flavour. Pickle went on to form a quirky Art-punk band called the “Mystery Guests” that Alan occasionally provided words for..(“Wurlitzer Junction” for example.)
Tim Perkins

First illustrated version of Another Suburban Romance lyrics was printed in Negative Burn #9 (March 1994). Second comic strip adaptation appeared in Alan Moore’s Another Suburban Romance (Avatar Press, May 2003).

Judy Switched Off the TV

It was mentioned in Alan Moore : Storyteller book and at Glycon website. Comic strip adaptation appeared in Alan Moore’s Another Suburban Romance (Avatar Press, May 2003).

Carnelian (1975)

Marvellous to think we had the nerve to write music we couldn’t play!
Coach York

First band by Pickle (Dapper Choir, Mystery Guests) and Glyn Bush (D-Go-Tees). Carnelian had a residency at the Racehorse pub in Northampton.
Lineup as follows:
Andy Kennedy – clarinet/alto sax
Pickle – xylophone/oboe
Glyn Bush – guitar
Paul Necus – bass
Coach York – drums

Carnelian Live @ Northampton Grammer

Carnelian tape
1, Untitled Piano and Drums
2, Victorious China
3, To Awaken The Queen
4, Soliloquy
5, Variation Honour
6, Mute Consonant
7, Ravenvander
8, Reindeer Rip

After the demise of the band Andy Kennedy and Coach York went to form Escalator with Alex Green (Emperors of Ice Cream), Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Ballard (bass).