Meteors (the) – Psychobilly Revolution
Raucous Records RAUC079 
Intro – The Crazed – Hell Ain’t Hot Enough For Me – Deep Dark Jungle – Blue Sunshine – Little Red Riding Hood – Night Of The Werewolf – Wild Thing – Chainsaw Boogie – Corpse Grinder – Maniac Rockers from Hell – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Insane – Rawhide – Mutant Rock
Recorded live in the late ’90s St Petersburg’s Spartak Club, Russia, this album is very representative of the sound of the band at the time.
Too bad that the recording quality is not top-notch and that Fenech’s voice is a bit buried in the mix because the band (Shaun Berry on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann on drums) is in fine form.
The setlist presents no big surprise and mixes classics of the band (Crazed, Blue Sunshine, Mutant Rock…) with more recently released stuff at the time of the release (Hell Ain’t Hot Enough For Me…)
This live album remains good but not essential. For example, Welcome to the Wrecking Pit has more or less the same setlist but with a better sound.
Meteors (the) – Live, Leary and Fucking Loud!
Dojo Limited 
Wipe Out – Maniac Rockers From Hell – Lonesome Train – I Ain’t Ready – Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down – Sick Things – When A Stranger Calls – Sweet Love On My Mind – Mutant Rock – Rhythm Of The Bell – Lil’ Red Riding Hood – Long Blond Hair – Rock Bop – Rattlesnakin Daddy – Blue Sunshine – These Boots Are Made For Walking – Wild Thing – I Go To Bed With The Undead – Wreckin’ Crew – Meet Me At The Morgue – Spinebender
Live, Leary and Fucking Loud is a live album gathering songs taken from the Meteors’ first three live albums (Live, Horrible Music, For Horrible People, By This Horror-Ble Band and Live Style of the Sick and Shameless.) It gives a good overview of the live sound of the band during their first decade after the original line-up split. Also present are two live renditions of Spinebender and Meet Me At the Morgue. They make a very welcome bonus since both songs, taken from The Mutant Monkey and the Surfer from Zorch, never appeared on any live album before. The line-up on these songs is probably the mid-’90s line-up (Shaun Berry on bass and Wolfgang Hordemann on drums.)
Meteors (the) – International Wreckers – Live 4
Sonovabitch Records ROTT 90062 
Mutant Rock – Dateless Nights – Swamp Thing – Corpse Grinder – Alligator Man – Death Dance – Wild Thing – Bertha Lou – Get off of My Cloud – Electro II – Wrecking Crew – Rhythm of the Bell – Psycho Cat – Get off of My Cloud – Vibrate – The Crazed – Mind over Matter – These Boots Are Made for Walking
Unlike the previous live recordings released officially by the band, International Wreckers doesn’t present a complete show but a collection of songs recorded in various countries (France, Germany, UK, Holland) and at various venues. It’s a good idea and the occasion to include rarer material that appear on a live album for the first time like Swamp Thing (that is made for the stage), Alligator Man, Dateless Nite, Psycho Kat, Death Dance, Electro II next to the band’s stage favourites like Mutant Rock, These Boots Are Made Walking, Wrecking Crew or Rhythm Of the Bell featured here in a wild version. An essential addition to your collection.
Meteors (the) – Demonopoly
Sonovabitch Records ROTT 90042 
Who Do You Love – Electro III (Die Human Die) – The Devil Went Down To Moose’s – Fool No More – Bad Boy – Shock Rocker – Stomping (With The Wrecking Crew) – Big Sandy – The Life And Times Of Chameleon Head – Sometimes (The Infernal Chord) – Between Heaven And Hell – Ballad Of A Black Hearted Man (cd bonus track)
Demonopoly is the perfect follow-up to its predecessor, the excellent Madman Roll, maybe even darker and more menacing.
Everything is clear from the intro with the cover of Who Do You Love. The Bo Diddley track is swallowed, digested and spat out to become a formidable Meteors track, ready for the voodoo sabbath. Follows Electro III, an instrumental, after Electro (on Stampede) and Electro II (on Mutant Monkey). We can hear Fenech’s know-how when it comes to instrumental pieces: an exposition of the theme supported by a perfect rhythm and then an outburst of perfectly constructed ideas. The Devil Went Down To Moose’s applies Psychobilly recipes to a hillbilly structure, like Low Livin’ Daddy on Bang Bang Fruit, with a touch of harmonica at the end.
Fool No More is a seemingly simple piece. Still, as we listen, we are won over by the richness of the textures, the intricacy of the guitars, and the subtlety of the rhythm enriched by a light, almost subliminal honky tonk piano, which gives all its disturbing side to the piece. This arrangement also transforms a seemingly simple rock into an exciting song.
Supported by an unstoppable bass that keeps the tension throughout, Shock Rocker is one of those mini-classics like you find so many on the Meteors albums, which seems so natural to Fenech when other bands would dream of such a locomotive track for their albums.
Stomping is a simple and effective tune that refers to the first carelessness of Rock’n’Roll, these same roots that we find in the cover of Bobby Roberts’ Big Sandy.
The second instrumental of the album, the Life and Times of Chameleon Head, is a new demonstration of virtuosity and Fenech’s talent as a composer. His instrumentals are never a simple set of riffs put end to end or vain demonstrations, but on the contrary, such as the Shadows or certain film scores which must inspire him, we think of Morricone. They are subtly constructed sets. The arrangements are just as neat on Sometimes (the Infernal Chord) between the choirs, the breaks in tone and the solos. The track is the perfect launching pad for the album’s masterpiece and one of the best tracks of the Meteors, the sublime Between Heaven & Hell. This slow piece, over 5’40”, distils an unhealthy and threatening atmosphere. Behind the vocals, once again, the different textures, from the distorted guitars to the slightly detuned slide, which gives this uneasy feeling, everything contributes to creating the atmosphere that corresponds to the title.
The cd version is completed by an instrumental, the dark and threatening offspring of the Shadows and Ennio Morricone.
Meteors (the) – Madman Roll
Sonovabitch ROTT90021 
Madman Roll – Queen of the Slug People – Bertha Lou – Theme from The Hypnotist – You Can’t Touch Me – Paint It Black – You’re Mine – A Very Handy Man (Indeed) – Running ‘Round – Simply Ravishing
Released in 1991, Madman Roll opened a new chapter in the band’s history. The sound slightly changes, don’t worry, there’s no big departure, but it’s darker and even more threatening than ever. The result is one of their very best albums (and I pity those who stopped listening to the Meteors after In Heaven because they really miss something.)
The title track, which opens the album, sets the new tendency. Fenech sings like he’s possessed while Lee Brown and Mark Howe lay a solid groove for his intricated layers of guitar. Maybe it’s because that’s the first line-up I saw on stage, but I really like the Fenech-Brown-Howe partnership. Queen of the Slug People begins with a superb drums intro and evolves into a B-movie-themed masterpiece. Next is a cover of Dorsey Burnette’s Bertha Lou, a demonstration of pure Rockabilly mayhem. Theme From The Hypnotist is the first instrumental of the album. It takes time to expose the theme, with Fenech creating sound and texture with various guitars and then exploding in the middle. The first side closes with You Can’t Touch Me, a slow-paced tune with a Diddley beat that pursues the theme developed in songs like I Don’t Worry About It.
The B-side opens with a dark cover of the Rolling Stones’s Paint It Black. The Meteors have a unique talent for covering a song, keeping its skeleton and, at the same time, turning it into a Meteors song. You’re Mine is a love song, a Meteors love song that sounds like a frantic and modern version of the Johnny Burnette Trio.
A Very Handy Man is the album’s masterpiece (on one album that only counts excellent songs). Written about Ed Gein, whose picture is on the album’s cover, it demonstrates, if needed, that Paul Fenech is ten million miles ahead of any other psychobilly bands in songwriting. The slide guitar reinforces the dark and disturbing mood of the song, leaving the listener with an uneasy feeling.
Running Around is a shot of Rock’n’Roll straight to your veins. Each note of that song screams, “PLAY LOUD!”.
This magnificent album closes with Simply Ravishing, a groovy instrumental and one of the band’s very best. I could praise once again Fenech’s guitar(s), but Brown’s bass part is also equally impressive.
The Meteors career is made of excellent albums and masterpieces. Madman Roll falls, without a doubt, in that second category.
Reissued on vinyl and cd in 2022. Buy it here.
Meteors (the) – The Mutant Monkey and the Surfers from Zorch
Anagram – CDMPSYCHO12 
Swamp Thing / Electro II / The Revenge / Sidewalk Psycho / I’m Invisible Man / She’s My Baby Again / Surfin’ On The Planet Zorch / Spine Bender / Dance Crazy Baby / Rawhide / Oxygen Dog / Yellow Zone / Meet Me At The Morgue / Little Red Riding Hood
Released in 1988 and featuring new bassist Lee “Red” Brown (ex Pharaohs) and Coffin Nails drummer Toby Griffin, the Mutant Monkey is a bit disappointing. It’s not bad (I don’t believe the Meteors ever released anything bad) it just lacks of a little something that made of Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit a killer release. It contains its usual dose of solid Fenech’s originals (Surfing On Planet Zorch, Spine Bender, Swamp Thing, Meet Me At The Morgue) but some songs are just good (which is for a Meteors album disappointing) and the sound is uneven compared once again to Bang Bang Fruit that hardly contained a weak number and was perfectly produced. The cd version contains one bonus song, a cover of Lil’ Red Riding Hood.
Meteors (the) – Don’t Touch the Bang Bang Fruit
Anagram – CDMPSYCHO38 
Go Buddy Go – Midnight People – Low Livin’ Daddy – Your Worst Nightmare – Wildkat Ways / Repo Man – Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit – Crack Me Up – Shakey Snakey – Psycho Kat – Let’s Go – Revenge Of El Trio Los Bastardos – Go Buddy Go (Wonkey Donkey Mix) – Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit (Manky Monkey Mix) – Dateless Nights – Corpse Grinder
After the success of “Sewertime Blues” in 1986 (it reached #9 in the indie charts) Fenech came back the following year with a new line-up consisting of ex-Coffin Nails Toby Griffin on drums and Arms Malone on bass (if you look closely to the back cover of the reissue, you’ll see written in small characters “Arms Malone is Austin Stone”), and a new platter called “Don’t Touch The Bang Bang Fruit” one of their best and most diverse album to date.
It starts with a total appropriation of The Stranglers “Go Buddy Go”, takes a detour by the hillbilly inspired “Low Livin’ Daddy” with harmonica and ends with the Hank Marvin meets Ennio Morricone instrumental “Revenge Of El Trio Los Bastardos”. In between, Fenech, contrary to many followers, remembered the rockabilly roots of psychobilly with a cover of Jimmy Lee Maslon’s“Wildkat Ways” already sung by Nigel Lewis in the early days of the band and the frantic boogie “You Crack Me Up” previously heard on Live 1.
The production is perfect, full of good ideas to set the ambiance, slide guitar, cow bell and notice the fine use of the acoustic rhythm guitar on “Let’s go” and “Revenge…”. The listener goes from the haunting “Your Worst Nightmare” to the funny title track via the threatening “Repo Man” and the bluesy “Midnight People”.
This reissue contains the 12” mixes of “Bang Bang Fruit” and “Go Buddy Go”, which for some obscure reasons weren’t on the Anagram Single Collection, and two B-sides : a fantastic cover of “Dateless Night” and a Fenech’s own good enough to be a A-side called “Corpse Grinder”.
By 1987, despite the massive arrival of new bands, the Meteors were still the Kings of Psychobilly.
Meteors (the) – Sewertime Blues
Anagram – CDMPSYCHO37 
Ain’t Taking A Chance / So Sad / Here’s Johnny / Mind Over Matter / Acid And Psyam / Sewertime Blues / Return Of The Ethel Merman / Deep Dark Jungle / Never Get Away / I Bury The Living / Vibrate / Surf City / The Edge
Sewertime Blues marks the beginning of the fruitful collaboration between the psychobilly combo and Anagram/Cherry Red. The Meteors incarnation of 1986 was newcomer Austin Stone on bass and Ian “Spider” Cubitt who previously drummed on Stampede and Monkey’s Breath.
Fenech proves once again that he has a strong vision and delivers another set of solid originals completed by well selected covers (Bob Luman’s Deep Dark Jungle, Mac Self’s Vibrate and Jan & Dean’s Surf City). It’s also another proof of Fenech’s skills on guitar. One listen to his sharp solos on So Sad and Here’s Johnny to name but two shows how he has incorporated elements of rockabilly merged with surf to create his “monster”. Equally great is the instrumental “Return Of Ethel Merman” (don’t know how they got the idea for the name). Sewertime Blues reinforced the band status as the undisputed leader of the scene and made, for good reasons, a decent stint in the indie charts.
Meteors (the) – Night Of the Werewolf
Raucous Records RAUCD 039 
X-Men Boogie ~ Rawhide ~ Maniac ~ Rock House ~ I’m Just a Dog ~ Stampede ~ Deep Dark Jungle ~ Hills Have Eyes ~ Kit Boy ~ Domino ~ Shout So Loud ~ Night of the Werewolf ~ Graveyard Stomp ~ These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ~ It’s All Over Now.
Previously released on a semi-official vinyl bootleg in the 80’s, Night Of The Werewolf has been reissued officially by Raucous in 2007. Though there’s no indication of dates, place or line-up, one can affirm by looking at the track listing that it has been recorded sometime around 1985 and the sound is quite similar to Live II released at the same period. It’s heavy and compact with Fenech’s voice full of anger. They rip through the first part of the set at a pace that would make the Ramones turn red in envy. Next to the band classics you’ll find many live versions of lesser played songs of the Stampede/Monkey’s Breath albums only available here, which is a reason good enough to buy it.
Meteors (the) – John Peel Sessions (1983-1985)
Raucous Records – RAUC 044
Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down – You Crack Me Up – Lonesome Train – Long Blond Hair – Stampede – Deep Dark Jungle – Surf City – I’m Just A Dog – Torture – Meat Is Meat – Bertha Lou – Maniac
Twelve tracks recorded during three sessions for John Peel in 1983 (tracks 1-4 with Rick Ross on bass and Matthew Fraser on drums), 1984 (tracks 5-8 still with Rick Ross on bass and Ian Cubitt on drums and Steve Andrews on backing Vocals) and 1985 (tracks 9-12 with Nev Hunt on bass and Ian Cubitt on drums). These recordings totally differ from the album versions, some are even better. Sadly the cd has been deleted from the catalog I guess but maybe you can find a second hand copy on the net.
Meteors (the) – Wreckin’ Crew
I.D. Records – NOSE 1
Insane – I Ain’t Ready – Johnny Remember Me – I Don’t Worry About It – Axe Attack – Zombie Noise – Rattle Snakin’ Daddy -When A Stranger Calls – Phantom Of The Opera – Blue Sunshine – Wreckin’ Crew – Sick Things – Wild Thing – Get Off My Cloud – Mutant Rock – Hills Have Eyes – Fear Of The Dark – Scream Of The Mutants
When Nigel Lewis left the Meteors in 1982, one could fear that the band wouldn’t survive to the loss of one of its founder member. But Paul Fenech, still with Woodie Taylor on drums, far from being discouraged quickly recruited a new bass player, Mick White, switching from double bass to electric bass in the process and a guest singer, Russel Jones. White re-recorded the bass parts on some previously recorded songs by Lewis and they released Mutant Rock b/w Hills Have Eyes. This single and the Johnny Remember ep are included here as bonus. When the band went to the studio to record their second album, Taylor had already left to be replaced by Steve Meadham.
Without Lewis, the band sounded less garage/psychedelic and more rockin’. The developped what would become the psychobilly sound of the Meteors for the next decades and Wreckin’ Crew contains instant classics like Blue Sunshine, Wreckin’ Crew, I Ain’t Ready, I Don’t Worry About It and some still remains in the band’s setlist today . White’s contributation to the album didn’t limit to the bass duties as he penned two songs fort the album (Phantom of the Opera and Axe Attack) and two more that are included as bonus (Fear Of the Dark and Scream of the Mutants). All four of them are sung by Jones and if they don’t reach Fenech orLewis standards they remain quite enjoyable (especially Phantom of the Opera). Wreckin’ Crew also includes three covers The Troggs’ Wild Thing, a new version of Get Off My Cloud (that the band had already recorded for In Heaven) and the spooky Johnny Remember Me that even found its place in the UK pop charts.
In the end, Wreckin’ Crew proved to be as important as In Heaven for the band and the whole Psychobilly scene. And it was just the begining…
The Meteors – Mutant Rock
WXYZ Records – ABCD 5 
Mutant Rock – Hills Have Eyes
In March 1982, Paul Fenech, Nigel Lewis and Woody Taylor went to Alvic Studios to record what should have been the second Meteors album. Here they recorded Blue Sunshine, Just the Three Of Us, Mutant Rock, The Hills Have Eyes (written and sung by Fenech), Another Half Hour Till Sunrise, Walter Mitty Blues, Dog Eat Robot and Island Of Lost Souls (written and sung by Lewis). Two instrumentals, Napoleon Solo and Jupiter Stroll, rounded the set.
Sadly, Fenech and Lewis parted ways shortly after, before the album was released (though most of the songs resurfaced on the coimpilation album Teenagers from Outer Space a couple of years later). Fenech decided to pursue the band with Taylor and kept the name and the songs he recorded during that session. Lewis did the same, and two songs ended on the fantastic Tall Boys’ single: Island Of Lost Souls / Another Half Hour Till Sunrise.
Spud, from the band Martian Dance, played with Fenech and Taylor for a while before a permanent bass player, namely Mick White, was recruited. A second singer, Russell Jones, reinforced the line-up.
Two songs from the Alvic sessions were chosen to make the first post-Lewis single: Mutant Rock and Hills Have Eyes with Mick White re-recording Lewis’ bass part and Jones adding some backing vocals.
Mutant Rock is a pure moment of Psychobilly genius, with sound effects and a discordant piano break that launches the wild guitar solo. Hills Have Eyes is slower but way more threatening, as the psychopaths from the movie of the same name.
It took only two songs to Fenech to demonstrate that the Meteors were far from finished. And though this line-up didn’t last long (Woody Taylor left around July 1982), it was clear that, with Fenech at the helm, they were launching a new era of creativity.
The Meteors – Radioactive Kid
Chiswick Records – CHIS 147 
Radioactive Kid / Graveyard Stomp
In April 1981, less than three months after the Meteor Madness session, the Meteors were back in the studio. The band was evolving fast, and the single marked another step in their evolution. Lewis’ Radioactive Kid is a punk-garage number that takes no prisoners. On the flip, Fenech’s Graveyard Stomp begins with an eerie and sinister introduction. Then after a quick call from Robertson on the snare, the song erupts into a manic Rockabilly number.
Like the previous EP, it was recorded by Adam Skeaping, who also worked in the classical music field. His knowledge of recording live music probably helped to capture the energy of the band in the studio.
Meteors (the) – Meteor Madness
Ace – SW 65 
Voodoo Rhythm – Maniac Rockers From Hell / My Daddy Is A Vampire – You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down
Very few bands or artists can brag about having created a style. Elvis Presley could, and the Meteors can. What the original trio of Paul Fenech (guitar and vocals), Nigel Lewis (double bass and vocals), and Mark Robertson (drums) achieved is to gather the influence of three individualities and launch a monster over the world: Psychobilly.
Before forming the Meteors, Lewis and Fenech played in the Rockabilly band Raw Deal with Pat Panioty (Deltas) and Terry Earl (Flying Saucers). But they wanted more, which eventually led the band to split. They teamed with Mark Robertson and formed the Meteors named after Junior Thompson’s band (who also sang Raw Deal.) The trio recorded a batch of Rockabilly tracks for Alligator records. Still, the sparkle that ignited the whole Psychobilly movement can be dated with the release of this four-track EP.
The EP kicks off with the Cozy Powell-inspired precise yet raw drumbeat of Robertson on Voodoo Rhythm, quickly followed by a hypnotic bass and guitar and Fenech’s hiccuping vocals. The second Fenech’s original is Maniac Rockers From Hell, a fast-paced rockabilly number sung with rage by Fenech.
The B-side features two Lewis’ self-penned numbers that he also sings. His toneless and cavernous voice makes the perfect contrast with Fenech’s one. On My Daddy Is A Vampire, Robertson once again sets the pace while Lewis sings the sad story of his family while Fenech keeps the Rockabilly element throughout. The following song is You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. Imagine a country tune played by a garage band with a mean Rockabilly guitar.
Meteors (the) – The Lost Album
Raucous Records – RaucCD144 
I Don’t Worry About It – Your Wildkat Ways – Maniac – You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down – Ain’t Takin’ A Chance – Psycho For Your Love – The Room – Love Me – Red Headed Woman – Long Blond Hair – Haunt You Baby Rock – Your Baby Blue Eyes – Honey Roll – Domino – Drowning All My Sorrows – Crazy Crazy Lovin’
Psychobilly fans and radioactive kids knew the existence of this recordings for years. Those were demos paid by EMI in 1980, when the young Meteors were looking for a contract, before Island got the deal. This is the original line-up (Fenech/Lewis/Robertson) halfway in their mutation from rockabilly to psychobilly. This ain’t no longer the clean sound one can hear on the “Alligator recordings” (My Baby Loves Me, Go Away, Crazy Love) but not yet the sound of “Meteor Madness” or “In Heaven”. Songs like Long Blonde Hair, Domino and Red Headed Woman are true (and wild) rockabillies while you can hear the seeds of psychobilly on Meteors’ songs like Psycho For Your Love, The Room and You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. It’s very interesting to compare this demos with the definitive version recorded on later albums and ep’s. The drums are lighter here for example, but you know rockabilly will never be the same after that. “Your Wildkat Ways” and “Crazy Crazy Lovin’” sung by Lewis will resurface later on albums but this time sung by Fenech. This album gives you a chance to see what psychobilly is. Just compare Johnny Burnette’s “Sweet Love On my Mind” on these demos to the version the band plays on “Monkey’s Breath” to understand. A great album, indeed, you even have a blues (Honey Roll). So, as you – clever reader – have already understood, this is essential listening. More than music, history.
© Fred “Virgil” Turgis