Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
UK ska revival band, formed in London '80: rose to fame on back of 2-Tone dance-music movement, although did not record initially for label of that name. First lineup: Buster Bloodvessel (b Douglas Trendle, 6 Sep. '58), lead vocals; Gus 'Hot Lips' Herman, trumpet; Andrew 'Marcus Absent' Marson and Chris Kane, saxes; David Farren, bass; Winston Bazoomies (Alan Sayag), harmonica; Brian Chew- it (Tuitt), drums; Louis Alphonzo (Cook), guitar; Martin Stewart, keyboards. Together since schooldays, their appeal centred on Trendle, a shaven-headed heavyweight whose cartooned head became the band's logo; his penchant for outrageous costumes (e.g. ballet dancer's tutu), being photographed in vat of baked beans etc. soon brought press attention. Signed to Magnet label, hit with typically ridiculous 'Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu' (no. 28 UK) followed by 'Lip Up Fatty' (no. 15), 'Special Brew' (no. 3, ode to Carlsberg lager), 'Lorraine' (no. 21, to blow-up doll), all '80. Tight ensemble of good musicians carried on with four top 40 hits '81, incl. 'Can Can' (no. 3), semi-serious 'Walking In The Sunshine' (no. 10), most successful LP Gosh It's Bad Manners (no. 18 LP chart). Only top 40 hit '82 was sex-changed revival of Millie's '64 hit 'My Girl Lollipop' (no. 9); the novelty faded and ska was unfashionable once more. Finally appeared on 2-Tone label on '81 Dance Craze soundtrack album; hits anthologized on TV-advertised The Height Of Bad Manners. Toured Europe, Middle East, USA; despite lack of record company support and previous albums not released in USA, drew 3,000-plus to gigs there; ska revival in USA (Untouchables, etc) resulted in new album Forging Ahead '83 (reissued on Epic '95). Fun never goes out of style for long; only Madness of that era's UK groups lasted longer.