Browse Tag

Billy Childish


Dutronc – Mini, Mini, Mini

Wild Wild Records – WILD 4 [1995]
Mini Mini Mini – Sur Une Nappe De Restaurant / Les Gens Sont Fous, Les Temps Sont Flous – Ça Plane Pour Moi


Dutronc, as its name suggests, is a Franco-British tribute band to Jacques Dutronc, a renowned French singer and songwriter, formed in the mid-1990s. The group is made up of well-known figures of the Medway and British garage scene, including Parsley (Billy Childish and the Blackhands, The Adventures of Parsley) on vocals, Bruce “Bruno” Brand (Milkshakes, Headcoats) on guitar, Rudie Spence on bass and Debbie Green aka Bongo Debbie (Ug And The Cavemen, Headcoatees) on drums.

This EP, which was released in 1995, features three covers of Jacques Dutronc and “Ça Plane Pour Moi” by Plastic Bertrand.

Parsley sings everything in French with a very strong English accent, which gives the group its unique identity. The band emphasizes the original characteristics of the songs. “Sur Une Nappe De Restaurant” is a psychedelic blues with the appropriate organ. “Les Temps Sont Flous” is supported by a heady buzzsaw fuzz guitar, and “Mini Mini Mini” could rival the best of The Kinks. The EP closes with a powerful version of “Ça Plane Pour Moi,” also covered by the Headcoatees during the same period.

This EP, along with most of Dutronc’s recordings, is a curiosity that will interest any fan of the Medway scene.

Debbie & Jackie

The Hot Rollers

The Hot Rollers- Got Your Number

Sweaty Betty Records SB002 [2005]
You Don’t Do It – Black And Blue – Mileage – Hooker – Got Your Number – Casper Guido – Wild Man – Hello Vapid – You May Be Right – Ice Princess – Bad Word For A Good Thing -. I Wanna Go Home – Wrap Your Heart

hot rollers

This girl band comes from Seattle and includes Kirsten Ballweg from The Donettes and the Black Crabs on bass, Lori Campion from The Poontwang on guitar and vocals, and drummer Heidi Jessup. Their music mixes 60’s garage with some Billy Childish influences (Headcoatees, Delmonas), punk rock, power-pop, and a touch of Pixies. Engineered by Kearney Barton (who worked with The Sonics), their sound is wild and powerful, yet they maintain a good balance between the bass and the guitar distortion while emphasizing melody. Lori’s versatile voice can shout, scream, and sing with scorn when needed, as you can hear in “Got Your Number.” Talking about The Pixies, this one has a bit of Kim Deal style in the bridge (and a direct reference in the lyrics).
Casper Guido” has a nice Farfisa played by bass player Kirsten, and I’d love to hear more of that. As I mentioned, Billy Childish and the girl bands he led are also apparent influences. That’s why they cover The Tamrons’ “Wild Man,” also covered by the Headcoatees on Girlsville. I’m still trying to figure out which version inspired them, but theirs is the best. But the best cover is yet to come, as they play Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right.” If you’re a Rock’n’Roll geek, you can’t help but turn the volume up to 11 and play it repeatedly. Their cover of “I wanna Go Home” by Holly and the Italians is equally good, with excellent backup vocals and handclaps.
Beware, this album is very addictive, and once you’ve finished listening to it, you just want to hear it again.

Debbie & Jackie

Headcoats (thee)

Headcoats (thee) – Headcoat Lane


Damaged Goods – DamGood 7 [1992]
Headcoat Lane / Comanche

Headcoat Lane is an atmospheric tune sounding a bit like a slow version of Baby Please Don’t Go, with a groovy bass. The flip is a cover of Link Wray’s Comanche, which seems tailor-made for the band.
Limited to 2000 copies.

Debbie & Jackie

Guy Hamper Trio (the)

Guy Hamper Trio (the) – Polygraph Test

Guy Hamper Trio

Damaged Goods DAMGOOD339 [2009]
Polygraph Test / Sally Sensation

The Guy Hamper trio was an instrumental combo formed by Billy Childish with Wolf Howard on drums and Julie Hamper on bass. It also features another mainstay of the Medway scene in the person of James Taylor of the Prisoners, The James Taylor Quartet and many others on the organ. Their sole release was this single on Damaged Goods (DAMGOOD339) in 2009.
The result is a mix between Childish’s punk attitude and Taylor’s acid jazz/funk influence.
A-side is a reworking of Thee Headcoats’ Lie Detector renamed Polygraph Test. It’s got a strong Psychedelic feel with the organ to the fore. Sally Sensation (initially recorded by the Buff Medways in 2001) is less frantic and groovier. They planned to record an LP, but nothing happened yet.

Milkshakes (the)

The Milkshakes – It’s You

Milkshakes Records – BILK-0 [1982]  
 It’s You / Please Don’t Tell My Baby 

Mickey Hampshire (guitar and vocals) and Mark’ Banana Bertie’ Gilbert played with two friends in a band called Mickey and the Milkshakes. They also accompanied the Pop Rivets (featuring Billy Childish on vocals and Bruce Brand on guitar) during a tour of Europe as roadies. When half of the Milkshakes lost interest in the band, and the Pop Rivets broke up, the natural move was to merge both bands. Childish learned to play the guitar in the process, and Brand switched to drums.

Childish and Hampshire quickly began to pen minor classics one after another, becoming the Garage rock equivalent of Lennon & McCartney, Childish bringing the Punk energy and Hampshire the melodic side.

The career of the Milkshakes was placed under the double influence of the early Beatles and the Kinks (with always some Link Wray thrown in for good measure.) The A-side of this single is clearly on the Kinks’ side. It’s You bears more than one common point with the Kinks’ I Need You (B-side of Set Me Free.)

Sung in a husky voice, Please Don’t Tell My Baby is more desperate and shows the band’s Punkish side. But lyrics like “Please don’t tell my baby I saw her last night / I saw her kiss that boy / Please don’t tell her that I know / ’cause when I catch her gonna get it all / I’m gonna put it on the line / That I’ll take her…all her lying / She made me very mad / I’m gonna treat her bad / She gonna wish she never told the lie she had” remain close to the Beatles’ Run For Your Life.

The Milkshakes – Soldiers of Love

Milkshakes - Soldier of love

Upright records – UP-6 [1983]
Soldiers of Love / Shimmy Shimmy

By 1983, Russ Wilkins, formerly of the Pop Rivets, had replaced Mark Gilbert on bass, but that was the only change in the band since, stylistically-wise, the Milkshakes didn’t change their musical formula. Their second single was a vivid demonstration of their love for the Star Club days of the Beatles. If both songs weren’t from the pen of Lennon and McCartney (Soldiers of Love was an Arthur Alexander song and Shimmy Shimmy derivated from a traditional jazz tune), the Milkshakes versions were obviously inspired by the covers of the same songs made by the Beatles; they even got the same wrong credit as the Beatles for Shimmy Shimmy.
Soldiers of Love is also the first apparition by the Milk-Boilers who soon became the Delmonas.

Debbie & Jackie


Kyra – Kyra sings Marieke

Vinyl Japan – PAD 38 [1998]
Marieke / Die Wonderlijke Dag (This Wond’rous Day)

In 1998, Kyra, without the Headcoatees, released one single titled Kyra Sings Marieke on Vinyl Japan. She was, of course, backed by Thee Headcoats, namely Billy Childish, Bruce Brand and Johnny Johnson.
Marieke, the title track was lifted from her solo album (Here I Am, Here I Always Am) and is a cover of Belgian singer Jacques Brel (Kyra comes from Belgium, by the way). She sings it with passion, and the tension goes crescendo until the end of the song.
The B-side is a Childish original (This Wondrous Day) that Kyra translated into Flemish (Die Wonderlijke Dag). It’s one of their best songs, both for Childish, the songwriter and Kyra, the singer. It’s sad and beautiful at the same time, a song that sounds like a traditional tune and seems to exist for decades. The musical saw reinforces the gloomy aspect, while the Flemish language adds a vernacular aspect. But most important, Kyra, who was too often reduced in Thee Headcoatees as the “Punk element”, can sing in a self-assured manner, without too much effect. Great!