There are many people who still think that the 1984 rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap was the originator of spoof hard rock bands. These people are wrong. In 1983, the Comic Strip Presents team unleashed the self-professed ‘Four Horsemen of the Rock Apocalypse’ Bad News onto an unsuspecting world.
The short film ‘Bad News Tour’ followed vocalist and lead guitarist and lead everything Vim Fuego/Alan Metcalfe (Adrian Edmonson) and his band of fuck ups, bass player Colin Grigson (Rik Mayall), rhythm guitarist and top sausage muncher Den Dennis (Nigel Planer), and (crap) drummer Spider Webb (Peter Richardson) for a day in the life of a spoof metal band. We witnessed just how useless they were, and a cult ‘band’ was formed. The fly on the wall style of the rockumentary was brilliantly done, culminating with the band’s gig in Grantham where they entertained the audience of the journalist Sally Friedman (Jennifer Saunders), a schoolgirl they had picked up on the way (Dawn French) … they would never get away with that now… a man and his dog, and a few other bewildered looking punters.
They soon became ingrained in every metal fans psyche! The band made their live debut at the 1986 Monsters of Rock festival in Castle Donington. This was filmed for the follow up TV show More Bad News which aired on Channel 4 in 1988. In-between this, the band holed themselves up in a studio with none other than Brian May of Queen to record their debut self-titled album.
I played the album nonstop as a fourteen-year-old and loved every bit of it. From the extremely heavy metal intro to the songs themselves. Warriors of Ghengis Khan is an out and out metal classic, Masturbike has some of the best lyrics ever written… ‘See the cat on the mat, see the cat it has shat’...pure poetry. The title track is as catchy as anything you’ve ever heard. Even their version of Bohemian Rhapsody is brilliant. Badly played…obviously but still brilliant with Vim professing at the end of the song that they would ‘Blow Queen off the fucking stage’. Drink ‘Til I Die gives us an insight into the band’s liver abuse, ‘Give me another drink a Mr bartender… if you don’t, I’ll stick your dick in a blender’.
The highlights of the album are by far the hilarious arguments and constant fucking about that fills the gaps between songs. Apparently, Brian May just left the mics on in the studio and the guys would improvise on the spot. The album is a source of quotes for my friends and I to this day.
It’s great news (not Bad News) that those lovely people at Cherry Red records are re-releasing the album on a remastered CD with their second album ‘Bootleg’ on a bonus disc. The self-titled debut had songs and arguing, Bootleg is just mostly arguing.
If you’ve never heard Bad News before, now is your chance to revel in heavy metal folklore. Bow down to the Four Horsemen of the Rock Apocalypse. There will be plenty of ‘Burning, Looting, Raping and a Shooting’.
Author: Kenny Kendrick