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Bad Tune Men

- Press Reviews

What the press said about "Jail Head Rack"

"Rubbish." - The Daily Mail

   "If it was any better, it would be almost mediocre" - Turnip Breeder News

       "Pathetic.  Simply Awful" - Goat Manglers Gazette

           "Quite nice actually" - Earplug Weekly

               "Well, what would you know?" - Goat Manglers Gazette

                   "More than you, you spatula's apprentice." - Earplug Weekly

                       "Go and stick your head up an ostrich." - Goat Manglers Gazette

                           "Jo estett!  Kinek mondjam el vetkeimet?" - Hungarian For Beginners

                               "The Blob is wear hat." - Teach Youself English Nice Good

Other Reviews.... 


October 1984

Consider pop music like a map.  There are lowland plateaus where all the people are, living in nice cosy Duranville or Spandau City.

We leave the cities. The freeway becomes an A road, becomes a B road, becomes a dirt track which leads us into the swamp.

As we steer the flat bottomed boat through the half light between the mangrove trees, we see the unmistakeable shapes of the Bad Tune Men, lurching through their tunes and leaving mud-caked footprints of their dendritic melodies behind.

They abandon their wellies and stand waist high in stagnant water because that is what they love.

The logica of the Durannies on the plateau is questioned: why, fun  must count for something and I would rather see the BT Men give a 1,000,000 per cent account of their musical synicism than tip cocktails with the fools on the plateau any day.

SOUNDS     (1985?)

This may well have been our first review in the national music press, thanks to the efforts of Mr Creepy in pestering a Sounds journalist who shared his inexplicable passion for horseracing


I think this may have been the second time we were reviewed in the national music press.

I have a feeling that this gig was in November 1985.  Twizzle would probably know.  He's probably got a list of all our gigs written down somewhere!


January 1988

This time last year THE BAD TUNE MEN released a 12-inch EP entitled "Jail Head Rack". This month they are making it available again, in exactly the same form. The reasons are simple and understandable. The band are in dire need of money to be able to issue fresh material, there's not many copies left and they're hoping for a sell-out. They'd rather have it in your house than theirs.

"Jail Head Rack" is a chaotic conflict of instuments and voices, whoops and screams, stabs and slashes of wild, warped guitar and keyboards, an ever-halting, faltering beast of a beat. It's foreboding, claustrophobic, oppressive and ultimately, impressive.

"To me the music is beautiful," coos Ed Hooke. "To most people it's ugly. There is too much sugar-sweet music about; it's like a surfeit of condensed milk; it makes you sick.  We're the roughage; we're the All-Bran. The idea of 'Jail Head Rack' is quite contrived. It's been said thae head is like a jail which imprisons you and the phrase is also a deliberate corruption of Jailhouse Rock, just as the music is, acknowledging the fact that it's derivative."

"It sounds pretentious when justifying every detail, but in many ways it is purely cathartic, like telling someone your problems, getting them out of the system. We write songs and make everyone suffer."

The Bad Tune Men are intensely involved in an on-going exploration, in the physics of sound. It is not, however, utterly indulgent; there are plenty of catches to get hooked up on; the quirks are perks to relate to. Such psychology need not be devoid of humour or basic human interest.

"I want to be in a position like Robert Smith. He is allowed and able to play around; some of it's good, some is crap.  There are very few people who can differentiate between their own good and bad experimentation and I'm big headed enough to say that with The Bad Tune Men we're.... er, one of the two." - P


January 1988


Mat Smith, deputy editor of Melody Maker at the time, liked our music and travelled down to interview us in the Thornton Heath house Blob & I shared.  I'm not convinced that we actually said all the things we're quoted as saying, but hey! - we got a half-page feature back in the days when the national music press came out in broadsheet (ish).

The reproduction is a bit unclear at times, so the full text is reproduced on the right (and underneath).

Ed Hooke knows what you're thinking. He looks inside people's heads every day of his life. He attaches 27 electrodes to their scalp and watches them jerk in time with a needle on a graph.

"A lot of people think he's a menacing character," Mark, The Bad Tune Men's bassist, tells me. "And, though I tend to agree that you should never trust anyone who works in a hospital - especially the neuro-surgery department - I reckon he's okay, as long as he keeps his electrodes to himself."

The Bad Tune men have been festering under the nose of an uninterested public for nigh on two years. A four piece from Croydon, their atonal barrage of discordant electronics and staccato rhythms has so far sidestepped every indie pigeon-hole merging, as it does, the cynical perception of Mark E. Smith with the hideous row the Joke were making around the time of "Revelations".

"We like to create hooks and jars - things that disrupt the atmosphere," Hooke mutters, stroking his cat Brimstone with studied affection. "We don't make background music." Indeed, a Bad Tune Men tune is an enigmatic thing, whisking you down corridors of perceived rather than felt emotion with only the most horrible screaming for company then leaving you high and dry with no clue as to what you've just been through or why. A lyric sheet is often provided to make things . . . clearer?

"I like to give people the opportunity to understand what I'm on about even though I don't really want everybody to understand," Hooke says. "I want to communitcate but I get so frustrated at the large percentage of people who just jump to conclusions."

A recurring theme in Bad Tune Men songs is that the head is like a jail - an emotional, spiritual and mental prison from which there is no escape except perhaps that granted by insanity or death.  All the world's a cage and its bars cannot be broken. The result is painful introspection as the songs on "Jail Head Rack", the band's just-released EP, expose a raw nerve left untouched since the days of "Pornography" and "Soul Mining". Songs that are isolationist to an almost violent degree.

"I am a violent isolationist," Hooke whispers, barely lifting his gaze from the carpet. "Basically all the songs stem from revenge."

"For what? I enquire, not really expecting an answer and not really getting one.

"Oh, something in my past," he mutters.

"It's very hard to write good songs about happiness," Blob, the drummer interrupts, breaking the tension. "There's an attraction to ugliness and violence like there is to any extreme. I mean, we all had our penknives as boys."

"I didn't," Ed mutters.

"There's a certain insanity about the way we appear live," Blob continues. "We always have tremendous difficulty getting people to come to the front of the stage. There'll be a few getting really psyched up but others will just move away and stand at the back."

The Bad Tune Men say they've all developed a mutual respect for each other - all, that is, except for Ed. Ed frequently disagress with what the others say as if the original bad tune was his and his alone to understand and the rest of the band, though they cherish its outwardly ugly appearance, can't really understand how something so superficially repulsive can be so captivating.

"The only reason we're in a band together is cos we all like going UGH" Hooke elucidates. "We are all different characters. Like our guitarist, Mr Creepy, can see that Simon Bates is entertainment whereas I can only see that he is vile."

He also has little time for the rejuvenation that's occurred in the indie scene, dismissing it as merely "the first step on a very tall ladder . . . Look, the current musical climate is dire. If a band comes along and demands my attention, I want something in return. If they have nothing interesting for me to listen to, then I resent their existence. I used to think that there was no way a music like ours could break through on a populist level but the way the industry's going, I'm sure we could do it."

"I'm constantly reminded of something someone in The Leather Nun said: 'As you get more successful it's not your music that's getting better it's just that you've got a better plugger.' Well, we're gonna get the best one going."