1987/8 …. the murky years between post-punk and the emerging Madchester. The Manchester Music Scene was in some sort of flux. The nationwide scene was dull, with Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Stock, Aitken and Waterman dominating. On a wider stage the Sonic Youth influence was palpable, “Daydream Nation” was the album on everyone’s lips, the since self-disenfranchised “Moody Chops” had his first solo album out, “Surfer Rosa” was making the Pixies a thing. Michael Jackson dominated the charts. The Fall hit a pre “Brix-exit” creative high with “The Frenz Experiment” and “I Am Kurious Oranj”. Similarly Wire returned with the incredible “A Bell Is A Cup”. “16 Lovers Lane” both celebrated and destroyed The Go-Betweens as Grant and Amanda’s romance ended. Dave Graney and Clare Moore were moving between The Moodists and Coral Snakes/White Buffaloes and London & Melbourne. In Manchester clubs went in another direction, availability of ecstasy started to change the musical landscape. Towards the end of the year “Bummed” presaged what was to come.
Out of this context Boz Vile and Art Carbuncle, plus a drum machine called Sissy, conceived and delivered Flea.
The Boardwalk was a venue and rehearsal rooms at the bottom of Little Peter Street, now long gone and replaced by the “Great Northern Square” – it was the venue of choice for aspiring rock acts and a central part of an ongoing music scene. Many of the bands that would dominate the emerging scene started there. Flea were part of that collection of artists. They were active between 1988 and 1993 playing at many of the key gigs in the city around that time period.
Flea dissolved in 1993 when there particular brand “micro chip axe murdering” failed to connect to the psychedelic haze of Madchester in full flow. Another example of genuinely talented musicians with cutting edge music being lost in a morass of the mundane. Their edgy, anarchic, sound was more in tune with what was happening in America and I have no doubt that if they had relocated to America’s West Coast they would have received a warmer welcome and achieved some longevity.
“parasitic insects teach us humility” collects recordings from 1990/1 in Bedford and Manchester and the release on German Shepherd Records emerges from that labels’ relationship with Boz Hayward, and also an appearance at the Star and Garter in September 2017 supporting The Cravats when the duo (and Sissy) re-emerged after a 25 year gap. Rat’s other band Dead Objectives also played the gig. A follow up gig at this summers Manchester Meltdown lead to a continuing conversation about releasing the album. Several months later it gets general release on November 16th.
I don’t need to say any more – have a listen…..