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The Meteors

The Meteors

The Meteors are an English psychobilly band formed in 1980. Originally from London, England, they are often credited with giving the psychobilly subgenre—which fuses punk rock with rockabilly—its distinctive sound and style. Though the origins of psychobilly are debated, The Meteors are the first band to self-identify as psychobilly, and are often credited with the distinction of being the only "pure" psychobilly band among fans of the subgenre.Fans of the band (known as the Wrecking Crew) are known to use the slogan, "Only The Meteors are Pure Psychobilly," (often shortened to "OTMAPP")BiographyThe Meteors were started in 1980 by P. Paul Fenech (guitar and vocals), Nigel Lewis (upright bass/electric bass) and vocals), and Mark Robertson (drums). This is considered as the definitive line-up by some fans. Fenech and Lewis had played in rockabilly bands before, but left their former band, Raw Deal, in order to experiment with a new sound that mixed horror and science fiction lyrics with a punk rock / rockabilly crossover (as distinct from the slower, psychedelic rockabilly sound of the Cramps. This sound would later be called psychobilly. What made them unique was that Fenech and Lewis each sang lead vocals on their own tracks. Their vocals were so different it was like having two bands in one.The Meteors played their first show during Rockabilly Night at The Sparrow Hawk in north London, but after being heckled due to their cross between rockabilly and punk attitudes, decided to begin playing shows beyond just rockabilly clubs. They developed a loyal following known as "the Crazies, or Zorchmen" who invented their own dance style then called "going mental," a cross between fighting, dancing and moshing. This would later be renamed "wrecking," and is still a staple of the psychobilly scene. This coupled with Fenech's ritual of spitting (chicken) blood during performances led many clubs into believing the band was dangerous and refusing to book them. The band began playing at punk rock clubs alongside UK punk bands such as The Clash, The Damned and later Anti-Nowhere League and the UK Subs. However, unlike many punk bands, The Meteors would (and still very much do) insist that their shows be "a politics and religion free zone" in order to focus on having a good time instead of allowing disputes between fans to break out.The band made their first TV appearance on Thames TV afternoon show White Light in late 1980. Due to their large cult following, The Meteors made a short film in late 1980 with comedian Keith Allen called Meteor Madness. It was released as a double feature with 2 Tone ska film Dance Craze in March 1981. The movie featured four songs, which made it onto the band's first vinyl single first issued on Ace Records and later on Big Beat. To date the film Meteor Madness\] has never been released on video or DVD although over the last few years poor quality copies have appeared on youtube. The tracks were also issued as a rare 12" mini-album called The Meteors Meet Screaming Lord Sutch. Soon after that they issued the double A-side anthems "Radioactive Kid" and "Graveyard Stomp". A session was recorded for the late John Peel BBC radio show in June 1981. Again to date these tracks have never been officially released. In August 1981, the band were signed to Island Records and recorded their first full-length album The Case Of The Meteors In Heaven and 7" single "The Crazed". The band were interviewed by No Class fanzine at The Marquee on the night of the live-recording of the track In Heaven. The original line-up also recorded an EP although due to contract restraints it was issued under the pseudonym of Clapham-South Escalators which featured two vocal tracks by Lewis "Get Me To The World On Time" and "Cardboard Cutouts" plus one by Fenech "Leave Me Alone". Not long after this Mark Robertson left the band after an invitation to join Theatre Of Hate (although this never materialised). He was replaced by long time Meteors fan/roadie Woodie. This line-up also recorded a single in early 1982 under another pseudonym name, this time The Tall Boys was used. The single featured two vocal tracks from Lewis, "Another Half Hour Till Sunrise" and "Island Of Lost Souls". A rare live television appearance in Paris, France featuring three Lewis tracks has recently surfaced on YouTube. This was to be the last recording featuring Fenech and Lewis together as both Nigel and Woodie left soon after.Lewis would later take part on The Escalators, The Tall Boys, The Johnson Family and the Zorchmen - see performance clip in "Trash on The Tube" feature on Youtube.The Meteors have gone through many line-up changes since, with Fenech being the only original member today. The current line-up includes Simon Linden on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann (who, though not from the original line up, is the longest serving member by far after Fenech) on drums. They have 25 official albums, countless singles, and numerous re-issues and compilation appearances. They continue to record using their own In Heaven recording studios, based in an old church — Fenech is a fully qualified sound engineer and producer — and also Maddog Studios (a 58 metre high tower in Germany), both professional studios used by many bands from around the world. The Meteors have extensively toured Japan, Europe and Scandinavia, South America, and the Middle East. At the time of writing, they have completed well over 5500 live shows (occasionally two per night).P. Paul Fenech has also released six highly regarded solo albums and plays in many side projects including, the Legendary Raw Deal (rockabilly), The Surfing Dead (instrumental), Cherry and The Devil (rockabilly), The Outsiders (rockabilly). He is also a prolific and successful writer of horror film music and has written extensively for television and many other films (using a pseudonym). Nigel Lewis and Mark Robertson went on to play together in the Escalators with Woodie (drums/guitar) and Bart Coles (vocals/bass), a psychedelic rock band (although with a similar sound to Nigel's Meteors vocal tracks) and released a couple of singles and an album which is widely regarded as one of the best on the Big Beat record label. However a serious back injury to Nigel stopped the band in their tracks. Several months later Nigel and Mark were to re-emerge as the Tall Boys, a band best known for recording the song "Take a Walk" for the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack.


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