17 October 2008

"Coffee and toast, you're back from the dead..."



As ever, I was looking for something this morning and got distracted entirely by finding something else in the process. A blank tape of some old show was what I wanted, but when my tape copy of Big Bang!, the Fuzzbox album of 1989, showed itself, I suddenly became 16 again. I haven't bothered resuming my search for the other tape.

Fuzzbox were ace. Excellent, in fact. You should agree with me right now, as I am right and it will make reading this entry much easier for you. All that XX Sex, we-can't-play-and-don't-care, faux-Goth garbage was usurped by an album which was brimmed with musicianship and wit. And, as a 16 year old lad of reassuringly normal hormonal imbalances, they were most welcome on the eye.

Big Bang!
was a fine album, for the sort of audience it targetted and the state of British pop at the time. There were big guitar bits (Self!), dotty synth-based nonsenses (International Rescue), mad cover versions (Walking On Thin Ice), subtle samples (Versatile For Discos And Parties using Slave To The Rhythm) plus some real double-take moments, such as the semi-operatic Irish Bride. I doubt Vicki Thingy, the ultra-sultry singer, has ever been required to sing like that before or since.

The album represented their only period in the spotlight, during which time they proved they were dreadful mimers on telly, accepted they didn't take themselves remotely seriously and forever seemed to slag off Gloria Estefan. Vicki's facility to find a dual use for her microphone stand as some kind of self-pleasure device tipped lads like me over the edge. Please don't be offended by such an image (of me, not of Vicki - that image could never be offensive). Then there was Pink Sunshine - the great single, the big intro which was a Radio 1 Roadshow starter at least once a week through that whole summer.

Heritage: Vindaloo. That was the last liner note on the sleeve, a throwback nod to their old record label. Class. And while they had the sense to shorten their name for consumption purposes, they maintained the initial We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It moniker in the small print throughout the album, including on the front. That's the name by which you'll still find them in your well-thumbed copies of well-known Guinness publications.

Any ideas what any of the Fuzzbox ladies are doing now?

9 comments:

Valentine Suicide said...

My guess is you knew this was coming, so I'll prologue it by saying I thoroughly approve of you and your blog.

I hated Fuzzbox with a passion. Just remembering ''When it's good it's wicked at the same time...'' and ''Thunderbirds are goooooooooo..'' Makes me want to smash things.

Sorry.

Matthew Rudd said...

A fair, intelligent and lucid comment ... which I look forward to deleting.

I have worked out that you are considerably older than me, so when you were 16 it was probably the Belle Stars that kept your boat afloat...

Bright Ambassador said...

"Any ideas what any of the Fuzzbox ladies are doing now?"
Working at McDonalds I fancy.

Big Dave said...

"Pink Pink Sunshine!"

Nowt wrong wi' a bit of Fuzzbox.You'll be playing Rockin' With Rita next...

Anonymous said...

Rocking with Rita...Head to toe...oh the memories...
I was walking down the road the other day....

Phil Norman said...

They made a rod for their own back with that early incarnation - I remember their purposefully tuneless version of Spirit in the Sky on Whistle Test, complete with random fiddling (and fuzzbox, of course).

The Mk II version was the quintessential Smash Hits pop band though, and one of those acts who go on Top of the Pops and spend the whole time giggling hysterically in disbelief that they're on Top of the Pops. Which is what you wanted in 1989.

Well done for not using the word 'midriff', too...

FeedbackReport said...

There was a story at the time - not sure quite how true it is - that their career stalled because one of the girls (the one with blonde ringlets, as legend had it) had been at the scene of gangland 'hit' and had to go into the witness protection scheme, hence No More Fuzzbox...

Simon said...

Don't ask how, but I know Vicki now has a band called Vix 'n' The Kix, who sound pretty much as you'd expect a 2008 band fronted by Vicki who wear associations with the Wildhearts and Fun Lovin' Criminals proudly to do. People do kind of forget Fuzzbox, but you'd never come within a hundred miles of a major label pop band like that now.

Mark X said...

Fuzzbox were indeed utterly splendid. In fact, I'll happily admit to owning not one, but two different "Best Of" albums by The 'Box (the second one, 'Look At The Hits On That' - yeah, I know - included a DVD of all their videos, and was at an impulse-buy-triggering price). Also, they did a cracking cover version of the theme to Barbarella on the B-side to International Rescue, the video for which saw a cheap and cheerful fusion of Thunderbirds and Barbarella, with (as everyone will recall) Adrian Edmondson playing Duran Duran.