Screaming Lord Sutch
Screaming Lord Sutch
For most of the next fifteen years they shared a flat and poverty in what he called a dead-end street in Kilburn, while she worked as a cleaner and shop assistant. Entertainment was Saturday morning pictures and the Metropolitan Music Hall, Edgeware Road. In 1956, after David had left school, they moved to South Harrow, where he became a window cleaner. It was the birth of British rock music; a time when the young and desperate could pursue a new escape route. What he called his 'wild man of Borneo look' got Screaming Lord Sutch a spot singing at the Two I's coffee bar in Soho.
His style evolved, or lurched, out of that slurry of music hall (he was a Max Miller fan), horror movies, Grand Guignol, pulp comics, slapstick and transatlantic pop. Thus did the black American rhythm & blues singer Screaming Jay Hawkins provide a name, and the basis of an act. In 1961 he was spotted by the curious and doomed independent record producer Joe Meek. "I was doing the horror", said Sutch, "screaming and yelling. I had 18 inches of hair and I was running around in buffalo horns and my auntie's leopardskin coat.
The scout said 'You've got a different approach. You want to make a record?'". Screaming Lord Sutch made records, and recorded with a clutch of (later) distinguished British rock musicians. The early subject matter focused on disembowelment and graveyards - on one occasion Meek posed Screaming Lord Sutch as Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel at night.
Both men, observed Sutch, were intrigued by horror films. But he had no real hits. Indeed, by 1963 his career had been swamped by the Mersey boom. It was then that he went to Stratford, campaigning for commercial radio, votes at 18, abolition of dog licences and his share of the spotlight, with the mix of native wit and puerility that marked his aimless - or dadaist - media courtship. The live act around Europe, and playing small halls and pubs, provided an income. His last political hurrah was in the 1995 Littleborough and Saddleworth byelection (the OMRLP didn't have the money to run in the last European elections).
But more than finances, it was perhaps the times that had finally run out. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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