Monday, January 30, 2012

Flash Metal Suicide: Fuzzbox

We've Got a Fuzzbox (And We're Gonna Use It)
Bostin' Steve Austin 
1986, WEA
By Pepsi Sheen

Speaking of girls who can't play, four foxes from Birmingham, England (Hometown of my top fave popsters, Duran Duran, the Jacobites, and Gunfire Dance) -Vickie Perks, Jo Dunn, Tona O'Neill, and Maggie Dunne parlayed their enthusiastic amaterism, and kooky fashion sensibilities into a brief but vibrant flash of pop glory in the mid-eighties. They were one of the many groups, along with early Redd Kross, and Jesus & Mary Chain, who gave our ramshackle rock punk crew, the courage to suck brazenly in front of people, back before we could really play. They were total Wendy James/Primal Scream media darlings way back in the new wave eighties, and we dug their whole trashy bubblegum, psychedelic punk-pop vibe, they seemed related somehow to other groups we dug back then, like Doctor & The Medics (who also covered "Spirit In The Sky", Dead Or Alive, and the Cult. I spent my early years in the land of sportsfans and child abuse, and really took a shining to anything that smacked of weirdo, rule defying individuality. The Fuzzbox girls really meant alot to me at the time. We used to pore over Melody Maker & NME from England and were utterly transfixed by alot of stuff that maybe hasn't held up so well, like uh, Scritti Politti, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, and Baltimora.

Prince and Rick James and everybody had their own girl groups that they produced and wrote songs for, so in a fit of my teenage megalomania, I briefly tried to get several of my witchy death rock girlfriends to learn instruments, and was billing them as Ruby & The Skate Pirates, it was a bad idea, primarily because it was a dumb name, I thought I was pandering to the thriving Ft. Wayne, Indiana punk scene that was full of Thrasher nuts and skate bettys, but also because none of these girls liked the same kindof music-one was into ethereal gothic wailing, and one was into hair-metal, one liked hardcore punk, the drummer was an abraisive,butch dyke who hated my misogynistic/cavalier way with these girls she also lusted for. It didn't help matters that I was seeing three out of four of them at the time. My narcissism knew no bounds back then, alot of them are still mad at me, and I don't blame them, but I am sorry.

I never hear much about Fuzzbox anymore, even though they cleared the land for alot of those fey K Records girlgroups Cobain & Co. liked so much. I dug 'em because they had a great sense of fun, and unapologetic abandon. Songs like "What's The Point?", "Love Is The Slug", "Rules & Regulations", etc., etc., just brimmed over with a gloating and cheerful disregard for weedling boys club musicianship, they were likeour own X-Ray Specs, or a goofier, dumbed down Slits. Punk and new wave were nowhere near to being mainstream in '86. Grown men used to become violent in the midwest when they saw Boy George on the cover of People Magazine. Billy Idol, and the Cure, Adam Ant, and Siouxsie & The Banshees were still extremely threatening to people, then. Four Cyndi Laupers drunk on their own frivolity, bravado, comaraderie, and laughs. Ade Edmonson from the Young Ones (*who also directed Zodiac Mindwarp's "Prime Mover" video) co-starred in their video for "International Rescue", and they were definitely a part of my Flash Metal Suicide teenage sleazegrinding years. But so was Bananarama.

-Like Tigers On Pepsi Sheen

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