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.