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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Rudimentary Peni...And The Fine Art Of 'Losing It'

If there's one thing we here at the ~Streetlamp~ love, it's a bit of diversity.
So for every sun-dappled reminiscence about some beloved Sarah Record there'll be some wallowing in the grime of some caterwauling anarcho-punk scrawl; for every moody and pertinent piece on a new ukulele and autoharp duo there'll be a skreeeeee of nails-down-the-blackboard Industrial Post-Punk cacophony. And so it only seems fitting that, following some deeply ironic incense and Holy Water stained prattlings about apparitions of the Virgin Mary(see Blog here) that we should come to write about a band whose anti-religious fervour teetered on the brink of madness. Teetered...and then fell in!

Yes, welcome to the Rudimentary Peni Blog. Be's NOT pretty!
I've always loved the diversity of music! When I was at High School it was not unusual for me to buy something by Japan or Blancmange one weekend, and something by Cabaret Voltaire or the latest release on Crass Records the following.
Just last week Griff and I were discussing that many of Morrissey's fans seem to like the things that he does solely because he likes them! The trouble with this is that most of the things he likes aren't very good; thus The New York Dolls and Jobriath are held in high esteem by Morrissey's fans when in fact both are crap!
Likewise, not everything that was released on Crass Records was necessarily all that good either, yet we still bought them. Some WERE good, some were very poor, and a couple were outstanding.
And nearly 30 years on, Rudimenary Peni's 'Farce' e.p. still sounds magnificent!!

A 7" single, featuring 10 songs and lasting around 14 minutes, 'Farce' is a volatile explosion of jagged edge music and some of the angriest vocals I've ever heard; and all housed in a sleeve that seems to have been designed by a very troubled mind (more on that later!)
It's the sheer force of both vocal delivery and playing that propels this fine record along; the music, despite it's aggression, is very precise and very intricate with 1000m.p.h songs stopping dead on a sixpence. But the vocals, delivered by guitarist Nick Blinko, give the record a uniqueness that stands it apart from most other 'Crass' bands, and indeed most other Punk bands.
For an easy introduction, let's try E.P opener 'Sacrifice'. Listen to the absolute rage in Nick's voice as he bids us in with "God is nothing more than an obsessive lie// While Sunday school children are brainwashed into the line//And presented with as truth what's really just a lie//Another childs' self-belief is sacrificed"....take it away Nick:

Then, we notch the outrage up just a smidgen. On 'Cosmetic Plague', Nick's anger is threatening to take over. You can almost see eyeballs popping from head, veins in the neck bulging to bursting point:

But for all out venting of spleen, it doesn't get any better than 'Mice Race'. Remember when Ricky Tomlinson, while playing Bobby Grant on Brookside, would go into one of those fully committed rants, usually in support of striking workers, a performance he would hone to perfection playing Mike Bassett, England Manager? Or one of those performances from Michael Caine when he REALLY loses it? Well that's what we're dealing with here. This is one of the most apoplectic rantings I've ever heard from a vocalist in ANY band. Check the moment out at 1min55sec when he goes up a notch into full screaming's quite incredible. I wish I could have been in the studio to see him capture this performance. I can only imagine it must have been like watching some great method actor....or, he really was THAT angry at that moment.

Rudimentary Peni are John Greville on Drums, Grant Matthews on Bass, and Nick Blinko on Guitar and Vocals and worked with both Crass Records and Corpus Christi in the early 80s. They have continued playing, albeit sporadically due to health problems; Grant Matthews being diagnosed with cancer, and Nick Blinko's psychological illness.
Over the years, Nick has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals, having been sectioned under Section 3 of the Mental Illness Act. As you can probably tell by the brilliant but troubling artwork that accompanies RP's records, and of course by Nick's manic performances on record, this is a man with serious issues. It has been said that he creates his artwork while NOT using the medication he has to treat him. He also once created an entire album while sectioned in hospital called 'Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric', and is still highly regarded as an artist by the Outsider Art Scene.

Hugely influential upon many US Hardcore acts, RP are still viewed with great fondness by Punks and Outsiders alike. Probably because it was pretty obvious they weren't faking it, or indulging in bullshit platitudes.

Rudimentary Peni....turning the act of 'losing it' into a work of art.


You can download the 'Farce' EP here

And their mighty 'Death Church' album here

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