Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thursday Music Special #2 - Spizz Energi

Today we are looking at Spizz Energi and Spizz Oil. For many music followers, Spizz was a bit of a one hit wonder with the quirky chart hit "Where's Captain Kirk"

Whilst this was the height of their chart success, the story is far more interesting. Their Wikipedia entry explains
Spizz attended Arden School, Knowle, near Solihull, a comprehensive school in the West Midlands, and was inspired by the burgeoning punk rock movement. After a Siouxsie and the Banshees gig at Birmingham's Barbarellas club [3] he jumped on stage and sang into the microphones on the back of which was given a recording deal. He was already performing (solo) by 1977. Spizz soon got together with like-minded guitarist Pete Petrol (real name Pete O'Dowd) with whom he released a few singles during the height of the punk's popularity. In 1978 Palmolive, drummer with The Slits, joined the band, then named Spizzoil, for a few gigs.
 I first saw the band around 77/78 as Spizzoil, as a twopiece. They may have been supporting the Damned at the time. I was fascinated. They were the most truly bizzare act I've ever seen. I was entranced. Judge for yourself from their first single "6000 Crazy"

For me their act and this single was a huge inspiration for my musical career. At the time I couldn't really play the guitar, didn't know how to write songs. This was probably the first song I ever learned to play on the guitar and it was the first song the orignal False Dots (myself and Pete Conway on vocals & bass ) played together.

Given the completely anti commercial stance of Spizzoil, I felt like my wife had run off with the milkman when they "sold out" and released "Where's Captain Kirk" becoming pop stars overnight.

I guess I am one of the few people on the planet who wishes that "6000 Crazy" had been their big hit. Having said that, I was recently at a party and the DJ played "Where's Captain Kirk" and I had to admit that it's a damn fine pop song. It even made the Mojo magazine list of best ever punk singles. Despite all that, "6000 Crazy" was probably the nearest a song ever came to ever catching the mood of insanity in my brain at the time. There is absolutely nothing about the song which is easy or nice, but somehow I love it. I can remember once sneaking a girlfriend back to my parents house, playing her the song about 20 times on the trot and getting really cross with her when she told me she didn't like it and asked to listen to "something decent".  I think she probably told everyone I was a lunatic. At the time, I'd latch on to songs and they'd become the most important thing in my life and I'd see all manner of strange things in them that I doubt even the writers saw. In "6000 Crazy", their are a couple of sections with strange screeching noises (an overdriven echo unit). For some strange reason these took on a deeply mystical meaning for me at the time. Probably just a sign of how disturbed I was back in 1978. The thing is that this is one of the songs that got me through a difficult time and convinced me that there were other souls in the world who felt some of the things I was feeling. I suppose that the idea that there were 5999 other crazies out there somewhere was deeply reassuring.

If you listen to 6000 Crazy and don't get it at all, maybe there is one thing you can take from this. It got me through an extremely difficult period of my life ( I am sure puberty is hard for all of us). If your kids, or friends are obsessively listening to really crazy stuff, maybe it is because they need to, just to stay sane. Maybe they are getting some much needed solace from the music. I know I  was.

When I decided to do this series of blogs, I originally started by trying to make a list of the songs I liked and the artists I liked. I then decided that this was a bit of a bland and uninteresting list, and decided to try and chronologically list the musical influences of my own musical career. So strictly speaking, 6000 Crazy should be no 1, but I'm quite happy with the mighty Prince Buster introducing the series, so here we go with Spizz.

As to the format of this series, I'll try and feature two clips from each artist, their "greatest hit" and the song which influenced me. I hope a few of you out there enjoy these. It is a bit left field and I guess my approach is a tad self indulgent, but hey ho, if like me music fascinates you and is a "bit of a journey" I hope somewhere you find some new gems and enjoy the ride. I have.

1 comment:

Glyn Burns said...

Fantastic. I didn't know much about Spizz Oil / Spizz Energi, but I loved 6000 Crazy and Cold Windy City. I wore the tape out...