So. Bands break up. It sucks, but that’s the way of things. For most of them, the reason is pure and simple; on some level, they suck. Whether it’s only a little, or harder than a $20 hooker, it doesn’t matter; the world doesn’t lose a whole bunch. The members go on with their lives, and probably go on to make a greater impact in other areas of society.
Then there are bands that are forced into submission for other reasons: money, conflict – both personal and artistic – or sometimes the fanbase only comes after they’re long gone.
This is a chronicle of those bands. Most you will not have heard of, for the very reason that they’re not even around to promote themselves any more. But trust me, they are bands that you really really should have heard of.
This week heading to brown town with Fudge Tunnel.
We’re going for something a bit different to my usual fare this week, but a band I’ve really enjoyed researching. And yes, the name is hilarious.
Juvenile butt references aside, these guys were bonerfide. Absolutely hard up and they shat all over their contemporaries. Poo.
Fudge Tunnel were one of those bands that forms as a group of friends and never recruits anyone else, because no-one feels the need to leave. They were founded in Nottingham in the late eighties, and comprised of Alex Newport (guitar, vocals), David Ryley (bass) and Adrian Parkin (drums). Although never reaching much commercial success, the young trio were critically acclaimed, including ‘single of the week’ from New Musical Express for their debut EP Sex Mammoth, and they secured an opening spot for Godflesh six months later off the back of follow-up EP Sweet Sounds of Excess.
Despite being decidedly sludgey in their sound, enjoyed a certain amount of cross-genre appeal, and signed with label Earache in the early nineties, releasing their debut full length Hate Songs In E Minor.
Despite being a favourite of thrash and grind fans, Hate Songs was neither – it was far too slow, and more akin to modern stoner; think an earlier Queens of the Stone Age, but much sparser.
Accentuating their own material are two covers – Cream‘s “Sunshine of Your Love” and Ted Nugent‘s “Cat Scratch Fever“. Whilst not particularly ambitious, they’re competent covers; just slower, grungier versions of the originals.
The awesome simplicity of songs like Grey is quite unheard of these days; we either get ridiculously technical (although still awesome), or just simple (and shite). I’m generalising massively, but hopefully you get my point; this was just three guys making a bunch of wicked tunes. They lacked any kind of pretension or bravado, and were lauded because of it.
They eventually called it a day after a couple more records. Newport became wary of their media portrayal, and started focusing on other projects such as Nailbomb, with Max Cavalera. He eventually moved to Arizona and took more of an interest in production. On that side, he’s very notable for a number of albums, including At The Drive In‘s In/Casino/Out and Vaya, The Mars Volta‘s Tremulant EP, and a number of other projects for bands like The Melvins, Knapsack and Samiam.
Most recently Newport has worked with one of my current favourite artists, Frank Turner (ex-Million Dead) on his album Poetry of the Deed. The album was entirely recorded in analogue, something he seems to be something of a specialist in.
Although Fudge Tunnel never formally disbanded, they just faded into non-existence, and the other two members have attained relative obscurity. I’m sure they’re very happy though; probably own dogs and like long walks on the hills, that kind of thing.