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 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).