Coffin Nails

Coffin Nails - Who's He? - Nervous
Coffin Nails – Who’s He? – Nervous

Coffin Nails – Who’s He?

Nervous 059 [1990]
Skeleton swamp – Humungus’s horse blues – Midnight hour – Unbalanced – Been around the world – Inspector Clueso – She’s a moose – Mission impossible – Dr. Frankenstein’s castle – Carling Black Label – The loch – Peter (the street cleaner)

Released in 1990 after the disastrous Live’n’Rockin’, Who’s He? is the band’s first studio album recorded with a slap bass. Needless to say that The Coffin Nails had something to prove and this platter was a mighty fine surprise. Produced by Pete Gage, they never sounded so good. Humungus’ voice has improved a lot even though he’s a bit ambitious when he covers “Midnight Hour”. The new members, Scott Milsom on slap bass and Nasser Bouzida (ex member of the ska band The Loafers), bring a welcome dose of fresh air.
In the end Who’s He? is a very good psychobilly album with touches of hillbilly (Humungus’ Hore Blues) and ska (Been All Around The World) played by a band that doesn’t take it too seriously.


 Coffin Nails – Live and Rockin’

Coffin Nails - Live and Rockin'
Coffin Nails – Live and Rockin’

Cherry Red/Anagram cdmpsycho60 {1990}

Please Little Woman – Heartbreak Hotel – Skateboard Frenzy – Brand New Cadillac – Penetration – Let’s Wreck – Myra Hindley – Do You Love Me – Loose Loose Woman (She’s A Moose) – Uncle Willy – Blubbery Love (Saintly Snails) – Psycho Disease – My Baby Left Me

The Coffin Nails have without a doubt played during their career numerous gigs that were worth recording, so why did Link records release this particular show on record remains a mystery. And why Cherry Red/Anagram reissues it is another mystery. Recorded in late 1989 in front of a small crowd (so small you can’t barely call it a crowd), they seem totally unrehearsed: the drummer (who only played on this album) is sometimes off beat and Humungus makes mistakes one after another and almost forgets the lyrics of the songs. Even Humungus admits that this records is their worst one. It’s a pity because when you see the setlist it could have been a great album including all their classics. Prefer to this album the live compilation “Sick Sick Sick” (also featuring Skitzo and Demented Are Go) or their most recent live album “Big Night Out”.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Coffin Nails
Coffin Nails


Coffin Nails – A Fistful of Burgers

Coffin nails

Link Records LINK LP 058 [1988]
Penetration (Orgasmic Mix) – Please Little Woman – Come Back To School – Trust In Me – Heartbreak Hotel – For A Few Burgers More – If Only Mother Could See You Now – My Baby Left Me – Coffin Nails – Nothing To Lose – Blubbery Love (Saintly Snails) – Loose, Loose Woman (She’s A Moose)

In February 1988, Dave Ward left the Coffin Nails. The remaining trio kept on playing and recorded their second album for Link records with Humungus taking over the vocal duties.
But the vocalist is not the only thing that changed. The production is better, and the band seems more comfortable with the studio.
Penetration is a new version of the song that appeared on their debut album, complete with ladies’ screams to go with the theme. Not essential. Please Little Woman finds the band in full Rockabilly mode. Come Back to School is excellent, and very unusual from what one can find on the run-of-the-mill psychobilly albums. Trust in Me, penned by Gra, the bass player, is a mid-tempo, on a Diddley Beat, quite similar to what the Meteors did on an album like Stampede. Their cover of Heartbreak Hotel starts relatively close to the original before changing gear and going mental. The instrumental For A Few Burgers More is a rocking tribute to Ennio Morricone. Like Paul Fenech, Humungus knows how to melt Morricone and Hank Marvin in the same song.
If Only Mother Could See You Now is a great rocking track. Listening to this song could almost convince me that the Coffin Nails were better with an electric bass.
My Baby Left Me is a good rockabilly track. The song is an original and not a cover of the Elvis / Arthur Crudup track. Coffin Nails is a shoot of Psychobilly straight to your feet and is made for wrecking. Saintly Snails (Blueberry Love) has a bit of soul in it with Reverend Humungus preaching the gospel. Loose Woman concludes the album on a high rockin’ note.

Coffin Nails – Ein Bier Bitte

Nervous Records – NERD 031 [1987]
Skateboard Frenzy – Werewolf Bitch – Greased Lightning – Humungus – Let’s Wreck – The Lone Ranger / Plasma Pool – Myra Hindley – Natural Born Lover – Wind Up Dead – Penetration – Uncle Willy CD bonus tracks: Ain’t It True – House On The Haunted Hill – Brand New Cadillac – Outta This World

The Coffin Nails formed in mid-1985 with Tony Szajer (vocals), Steve “Humungus” Clarke (guitar), Graham Farr (electric bass) and Toby Griffin (drums).
This line-up released one excellent track (Plymouth Fury) on Zorch Factor One (Nervous 023) and appeared on Stompin At The Klub Foot 3 & 4, playing Let’s Wreck and Psycho Disease (both written by Clarke and Griffin).
Shortly after, Griffin left to join the Meteors, with whom he recorded a couple of albums, including the excellent, Don’t Touch the Bang Bang Fruit. Dave Ward, a friend of Griffin, replaced him on drums. The band kept on gigging, and in April 1987, one of these shows was recorded, and the Coffin Nails appeared on the Sick Sick Sick compilation album alongside Skitzo and Demented Are Go. This was Tony’s last release with the band, as he left the Coffin Nails around the same time. Dave Ward then took over the vocal duties, and the Coffin Nails recruited Robert “Smurf” Farquharson to play the drums.
The band generated enough interest for Roy Williams to propose them a recording deal. The band found itself in the studio with Doc Stewart producing. Ein Bier Bitte is a little nugget of aggressive Psychobilly, positioning them as rambunctious little brothers of the Meteors from the outset (Steve is a big fan of the group as evidenced by the tattoo he sports on his right arm.) The use of an electric bass reinforces this closeness in the sound. But, while Paul Fenech’s voice is vicious and high-pitched, Ward has a raspy, scratchy voice.
The album opens with a quote from the A-Team, setting the ball rolling with a surge of wild Psychobilly, sometimes flirting with bad taste when it comes to lyrics (Penetration). Like all good Psychobilly groups, we come across werewolves and serial killers (Myra Hindley). Let’s Wreck, more or less modelled on Chris Montez’s Let’s Dance, is a call to throw yourself headfirst into the first pit. The band covers two songs: Greased Lightnin and Natural Born Lover (in an entirely unrecognizable version for the latter.)
Clarke provides much of the material alone (like the instrumental Humungus) or in collaboration. His guitar playing, still rooted in Rockabilly, is perfect and consistently inventive. Some songs are a little weaker, but overall it’s an excellent start for the band. In an interview with Chip Waite for Southern & Rocking in 1995, Clarke complained about the production, saying that “(Stewart) tried making Dave sound like Demented Are Go”. This is quite unfair since the producer captured the energy of the band and the final result is one hell of a powerful album.

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