Mick Farren Dead; Deviants Live On

mick farren

Mick Farren, who died last weekend after collapsing onstage while he was singing with a bunch of crazy geezer friends, was known as the rocker who became a writer when that was still all but unheard of. The couple of his many titles I have looked at indicate that cranked out would be a kind term for his oeuvre:


He diddled around with various music projects over the years, none very significant, though often involving semi-famous co-conspirators. But every time his name appears, it’s noted he was the leader of The Deviants, one of the first weirdy Brit bands who were jagged rather than fey. The Deviants released three albums between 1967 and 1969, all of which acquired an aura of Underground Milestones.

I got all three and they don’t live up to their rep. The shortest summary is that Farren’s literary pretensions were a prime problem and most of the players went on to become a far superior band, the Pink Fairies. Chuck Eddy makes a persuasive case for the Deviants’ debut Ptooff! in his Stairway to Hell. And I’m sure I’ll spin that one sometime in the future. The biggest trouble I have is that the influences lie too heavy and limp on the performances — Van Morrison here, Bo Diddley over there, Mothers of Invention in that place.

Sure, Farren would be first to say he was more into havin’ fun than makin’ masterpieces. Often enough, that comes through. One of his best turns happens early in the first track of the first album, “I’m Comin’ Home,” which is sorta “Gloria” as sung by Mick Jagger, all atmosphere of Big Stud Oozing Up To Get Some Nookie. Then Farren knocks everything sideways with this:  “I step into your home/Mirror on your wall/So I check my hair/See I’m lookin’ good/Mmmm so good.”

Cracks me up every time.

4 thoughts on “Mick Farren Dead; Deviants Live On

  1. If I didn’t like Mick Farren and think his work was important, I wouldn’t have bothered to write about him. This has been up here for months and you’re the first one to misread it this way. You also fail to note that in a later post I linked to a strong piece of his writing and a very astute obit in the New York Times. My prime point is that Mick Farren was irreverent. You get that? Exactly the sort of artist not honored by some dead-sober, down-in-the-mouth remembrance.

    • Well shut my mouth! I must have been blinded by grief. Given the lack of comments here,I might have been the only one to read it at all. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

  2. For the record, this post has been specifically sought out and viewed — as opposed to part of a general visit to the blog that includes multiple post views — 25 times.

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