LAST OF THE TEENAGE IDOLS Satellite Head Gone Soft lp 1989
Action Man / Spider In My Head / See You After The Show / Looking For A Lady / (She's Got) Big Boots / Teenage Idol / All I Want Is A Piece Of You / Gina / Song For Absent Friends / Pretty Little Red Eyes.
Produced by Last Of The Teenage Idols.
Last Of The Teenage Idols: Buttz: lead vocals / Hovis Presley: keyboards, vocals / Franco Bianco: drums / Shuff: bass, vocals / Taz: guitar, vocals.
"After his escapades in The Babysitters, Buttz set about getting a new traveling troupe of bawdy marauders under his jolly command then henceforth he did set about rampaging around the country as The Last of the Teenage Idols, most notably supporting the Little Angels on a UK tour. Wow! What a combination. A'righty, so they both used keyboards, but jeez. And what was borne fully formed was to be a rather unique kind of up-market high class call-girl, albeit one that's had a bit too much champers and thus walks in lines as straight as a sheet of Hendrix's guitar tab, to The 'Sitters Kings Cross crack whore. For in this, the sound is a lot more streamlined, heralding supersonic psychoglam stomps like Looking For A Lady and See You After The Show. So the whole package sounds a lot more together and professional, but being The Idols, it's still performed by nutters as daft as a drunk Cocker Spaniel chasing imaginary rabbits in some mystical Isle of Avalon. And all the better for it o' course. But there's a twist in there too, like all the best tales, that comes with a hint of sobriety.
Kickstarting the party with a Queen's English BBC voice from those old World War Two info newsreels -"This...is London" - we are cart-wheeled deliriously and instantaneously across time and thru some seriously strange space and dumped unceremoniously in a dustbin in Buttz's London, electricity crackling everywhere like at the beginning of The Terminator, Buttz dusting himself off & finding his glamrags still just about holding themselves together, after his time as a Babysitter, while as the master of ceremonies he spins his eager audience surreal tales from the seedy heart and sweaty heat of the eighties London Rawk scene, fronting a gladragtastic bunch of gents as they boarded, and gleefully rode into the ground, their own non-stop to nowhere. But at least they left us with this splendiferously tattered rag. Tossed out carelessly almost and passed on to those that should know like a lost relic from the holy land, this'll never grow mould. Almost literally from another world then when it was released into a London long since deserted - The Dogs D'Amour, Quireboys, Dirty Strangers, Kill City Dragons, Soho Roses, Gunfire Dance, Wrathchild I guess, of course The Babysitters and The Idols and many more - like a tidal wave came and washed out the Rock'n'Roll leaving the barren land open to the invading hordes of firstly grungey Mega City Four / Thousand Yard Stare kinda bands...
At the time this got some condescending reviews along the lines of it being kinda funny when you come in from the pub, and that it's funnier the more you drink. Not so. See that was as patently patent as Lux Interior's pants written by an idiot. This is a masterpiece crying out for some one to write about it in the reverential terms it so deserves. The cheesiest keyboards ever? Right in there, baby, snug as a velvet glove. The most inspired widdlesome guitaring ever? Quite possibly, and all present and very note perfectly correct, SIR! (A slight aside dear reader, widdlesome in good wholesome wheatgerm-esque widdlesomeness, think Randy Rhoads if you like rather than Malmsteen or Steve Vai) Some of the most gloriously, ridiculously well crafted and bouncy fun, funny and fantastic flights of Rock'n'Roll fancy ever that still rustles up some warmhearted tearjerking n tender moments? You don't know the answer? Doormen, please gouge out the readers eyes and use them to clean their ears, while of course skullfucking them with a Trafalgar Square poisoned pigeon.
The whole slimy entity is linked together thru the opening "Action Man" ('She wants some Action.....MAN!') commencing a night out on the tiles, to the closer "Pretty Little Red Eyes", kind of an end of the night before trying to find somewhere to stay tune while 'Trying to make the bar with double sight' - rounding events off with 'So this is what I do / If you don't like it you're not supposed to.' 'Action Man' is full of cheap keyboard effects as tho they can't believe the novelty value...oh I'll just press this...sort of like the kids in our junior school, however it does boast a sizzling keyboard solo and for someone who generally despises them apart from Jon Lord on approximately 3 Deep Purple albums, this is no mean feat.
But there couldn't be anything else there really. And, inbetween? Woah, like one of those 22,000 or so calorie sandwiches that Elvis used to gobble, you got it all in here, packed as tight and firm as the Pandora Peroxide covergirl is into her dress and falling out of it in the process. 'Looking For A Lady' - what fucking rocka can't relate to that, being out there looking for a flash sweet thing ('Looking for a lady, she's gotta be a little bit crazy, at the bar she's a Rock'n'Roll star like me') only to have her spirited away by some chancer that's meant to be your mate ('A friend of mine said here's her number let's see if she's everything a girl should be, now I'm waiting for her, here she comes and cor blimey guv'nor, some friend you turned out to be'). 'See You After The Show' should be in some alternate universe Hall of Fame...No fuck it what am I saying scatterbrain it should be in the main one, just get the guys back together again in the guise of removal men and they can go to Cleveland of wherever it is and get the operation done, take out some of the trash and install themselves in there. And while they're at it send another rocket into space with this song on it instead of, brilliant as it is, Johnny B. Goode, for the aliens to rock around to. I don't think anyone ever came up with something so bloody good as this, so right for like going out to, while they were up there feeling famous for a while, having a bit in about wishing bassist Shuff could see him with this girl. See, this is where this record works so damn well, it's all completely real, larger than life, true, but only insofar as it's on a big slab of plastic, it really is the document of a night, or nights, out....that 'No words can describe...'.
Taken at face value this album has often (press, friends, random whoevers) been dismissed out of hand just cos it sounds like cheesy glam and/or too jokey but listen in a bit, from "Spider In My Head" (choice line - 'Meet the band well it ain't no joke / If your bums in shape we'll give it a poke') early on there's a faded glimpse thru the glass of - dunno really mate just found it somewhere, tastes like beer, tho, or maybe whisky n coke, anyway I dunno - nostalgia, regret, whatever.
Maybe it's me and too many nights living like a country song, but at times in this song and in 'Gina' too, there's already a wee bit of sipping from the nipples of nostalgia for times only just gone. Kinda brings to mind Smokey Robinson tunes, sitting dazed on kerbsides with a bottle of vino that's all jagged cos you had to smash the top off not having a corkscrew to hand, arfer you won it in a raffle in Spiders, distant New Years Eve in Hull, rather than just being the drunken singalongs they're all too frequently passed off as.
On the songwriting side alone this hunk o' hunk o' burning rock'n'roll jetsam is absolutely watertight, it'll last the test and stay afloat and around whatever waves pass over it...full of a Thunderbird n Lambrusco drenched heart all too often missing in cliched stuff that merely plods where this fizzes like popped cork topped off like a lil umbrella and a cherry on a stick is in a glass of Asti with the inimitable musings of mainman Buttz, which may well surprise any newcomers, or non-believers, as it's pretty much a cliche free zone.
Lyrically, it does share some barspace, clink the odd glass or two, with the Dirty Strangers and for the complete underside of the anthems for sluiced groups you have to check out the glorious, gorgeous 'Song For Absent Friends', which is still divinely brilliant despite, as I noticed only this very morning (15th Sept '04), having the exact same CC Deville guitar sound as heard on many an awful Poison song, especially the "Open Up and Say Aaah!" album. In the pantheon of sad songs this un rests it's weary heels, and puts it's head in its hands, and tries to rub the tears from it's smoke stung red eyes right up there near the top of that list, only it's so good and real it doesn't realise it's sat safe and secure in that hallway of greatness. Alone in a crowd, alone at the end of a party, alone when it's the last song at the school disco, whatever, beatiful tune, you can taste the spilt booze, the fag ends in the cans and it just soars. Should be picked up for a film soundtrack for a Lost in Translation type film.
Similarly 'Gina', despite it's chantalong choruses has a bleary eyed tinge to it and a bit of a lump in it's throat too and should have been a massive smash hit (can you imagine if these lot were on Top of the Pops? Glory be, they should've been parading around TOTP like the Quireboys got to do a couple of years later) purely for the fact that it's a total slice of genius, and absolutely nothing else, guv.
Like The Dirty Strangers there's a picture postcard, stale chips n trips to Blackpool or Hastings smell about the sound, firing water pistols on the beach, with ringmater Buttz again being a kinda Keith Moon but this time there is that aura of sadness to these mini epics with legendary tales. Perhaps that's just stronger songwriting, and a more complete overall record. Documenting, as it does, a certain nightlife, it's all reflecting on past glories, tho its sense of loopy tongue in cheek fun is impossible to resist, picks you up when you're feeling blue, makes you feel even better when you feel fucking great.
As it's pretty nigh on impossible to find these days it is a great tragedy that this still hasn't been picked up for CD reissue with extra tracks and so on, like The Crybaby's early stuff, say. It would be great if some enterprising label would get this stuff out on wider release, or search the vaults for any unreleased stuff....until then I hope the madcap is still laughing". Stu Gibson (Sleazegrinder blog)
Cd covers by Max !
Buy it HERE!