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Wild Billy Childish & The Buff Medways: Steady The Buffs

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Frankly, Britain does not have to look over to Detroit for their dose of garage punk that’s sending the musical trend-followers into a much-hyped frenzy. For 25 years, a certain cult legend has operated under the media radar, self-financed his own independent releases, published 30 collections of poetry, written two books and exhibited more than 2000 of his paintings. He’s a poet, a painter, a punk rocker that influenced people from Kylie Minogue to Kurt Cobain to Jack White. And he’s none other Billy Childish.

Responsible for now-defunct underground bands like Thee Headcoats, The Mighty Ceasars, and The Milkshakes, Billy Childish returns with his 100th release “Steady The Buffs” with his new three-piece The Buff Medways (who debuted last year with their first LP “This Is This”) on Graham Coxon’s label, Transcopic.

Considering the fact that it’s Billy’s 100th release and yet, none of the stripped down garage spark has been lost, “Steady The Buffs” is an instant classic rock ‘n’ roll album without a doubt. Unpolished with an honest simplicity, it’s impossible to resist the infectious immediacy emitted by less-than-three-minute stompers like “Troubled Mind,” “Dawn Said,” “Vanessa Does Flavours” and “Archive From 1959.” Humor is not absent too. The Edwardian-clad, moustache-donning Billy delivers the implicating working blues with exaggerated theatrics on “Times Up,” hollers “you piss me off” on the second last track “You Piss Me Off” only to rectify the problem with “Ivor” — their interpretation of the “You Are Forgiven” verse from The Who’s “A Quick One While He’s Away” — on the last. Sure does sound like Billy’s having more fun than the listeners on the record!

The current trend of back-to-basics rock ‘n’ roll and The White Stripes plug might levitate Billy Childish and The Buff Medways a step higher from the underground, but it will always be the raw and powerful music that will see Billy Childish into another 25 years and perhaps, another 100 releases.

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About Lennat Mak

  • http://maurices.bloginteractive.com Maurice

    Nice article, but why do I see this spam everywhere lol

  • Eric Olsen

    good old Lennat, he’s long gone and the spam appears to be as well

  • Eric Olsen

    I have to admit I miss members when they drift away, which many inevitably do – it’s the nature of the beast and purely a function of statistics. Many simply stop blogging. But I’ll always have a soft spot for our original members, relatively few of whom are still with us as writers or readers, as far as I can tell.

  • STM

    Yes, great article. The dyslexic Childish is a genius who is an author and a painter also responsible for The Stuckist art movement, a loosely-knit anti-conceptual group that believes to be regarded as an artist, you actually have to be able to paint.

    It’s a reaction to all the rubbish conceptual art – you know, like a plastic-covered lump of shit stuck in a shoe or a shark in formaldehyde contained in a perspex box. Or better still, an installation where the main attraction is the lights you switch on and off (just like in your lounge room at home).

    It came about in part because Tracy Emin, Childish’s famous and infamous conceptual-artist former girlfried, invited him to a conceptual art show in London.

    Childish refused, and Emin accused his art (and you’d assume his personality, in her view) of being “stuck, stuck, stuck”.

    He went off with a group of mates and began The Stuckists. After it got going and became a cause celebre, Childish – as usual – left it and went back to his music.

    The name of The Buff Medways supposedly came about because he and some friends were trying to re-breed a type of English chicken known as a Buff Medway, which is from the area around Chatham where Childish grew up.

    Don’t know what happened to the chooks, but the band looks great. They dress up in old WWI era British army dress uniforms (boots n’all) and Childish himself has a great, twirly Sergeant’s moustache.

    The music’s pretty bloody good too. I’d love to go back to the Old Dart and see him play live before I cark it. Hopefully, we’ll all still have our own teeth when or if it happens.

  • HARPESCHORDS

    LENNAT and OLD DART…thanks so much..we love the leads you gave us with decades of blogs…and LOUISIANA U just ” fucked” you!
    LOGBOOKS!
    NATALIE!
    NETHERLANDS – HERSEDOT!
    OLDS to IRA and RITE AID just shot LESLIE CARON in the HEADWEAR….and with SUMMER.
    Billy Boo 222…WE LOVE U!