Tag Archives: The Buzzcocks

Never Mind The Buzzcocks

Thanks to another recently converted-to-region free DVD player, I’ve been catching up on some great comedy from across the Big Pond. Although most of my also-converted money has been going for stand-up comedy shows, I’ve also been loading up on some bargains on comic panel shows like Mock The Week, 8 out of 10 Cats and an old favorite, Never Mind The Buzzcocks. In 2009, an excellent DVD was released featuring clips from the show’s lengthy run under recent host Simon Amstell with great featurettes and gag reels.

Amstell is a cocky, cheek host who (depending on which year’s hairstyle) looks like a cross between Michael Cera and a pre-weightlifting Carrot Top. The irreverent panel show features a host and two teams of comics and pop culture stars, many of whom are complete unknowns stateside but household words there, like longtime team captain Bill Bailey, Jack Dee, Frank Skinner, Catherine Tate, Frankie Boyle and Martin Freeman. Of course many pop culture celebrities would appear as guests to take the piss out of themselves and others, most of whom got into the spirit of the event, although when they didn’t (I’m talking to you, Lemmy!) that could be fun as well. Many appear on this DVD; two of the funniest are Russell Brand and Amy Winehouse, albeit for opposite reasons.

I first heard of the show years ago and tuned in because I thought it was actually about The Buzzcocks, one of the finest bands of the late 70s punk pop movement. (The show did get its title by mixing  the band name and the Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks). Although initially disappointed, I was soon swept up into the pulse of the show, which ranges from good sarcastic fun to sheer lunacy. Pop culture cows are gutted and nothing – and no one – is sacred. My younger daughter is a fan of the show, and this holiday we skipped the usual Sci-Fi marathons to watch every minute of this great collection.

Is there a Doctor in the house?

I used to watch the show on occasion as various cable packages over the years were sketchy on what UK programming might be included in the package. Perhaps like Monty Python and Benny Hill, it was the PBS station to the rescue once again. (Yet another reason to support their annual fund-raising drive when the envelopes arrive in December!) As with many successful UK shows, eventually the US tries to copy it. Hard to believe that I not only forgot that this happened with Buzzcocks, but also that the host of the US version was one of my favorites, Marc Maron. (The show lasted one season on vH-1.)

Some households gorge on college football during the Thanksgiving holidays.

I’ll take comedy every time.

The show’sWiki page and list of episodes.

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Under The Radar: Bad Rackets

Another blind grab from the CD racks today (a little musical roulette game I play when I’m not sure what I’m in the mood to hear). Gotta love an album titled Full On Blown Apart, especially when that’s what you feel like doing to your head. The band describes their sound as cheap beer sizzling on vacuum tubes.

I never heard of The Bad Rackets before or since, so I’m figuring they’re a likely candidate to have sailed under your radar as well. Unfortunately it looks like they shuffled personnel in 2009 and then finally bit the dust. But they left us this testament to the effort, so we got that going for us…which is nice.

If nothing else, you have to see this hilarious video. (No, it’s never too late to take a shot at George W. Bush).

Video:  “Somebody Dropped The Baby

Here’s my review from a 2006 issue of Pop Culture Press:

Austin’s powerpop-punk quartet fills the void between early sloppy Replacements and…well, the early Replacements if they were just a little tighter. In other words, the alcoholic vocals and off key guitar solos are propped up by the brash power chords of the Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols mixed with the throbbing bass lines and snare-snapping drums of (your favorite Britpop band name here).

It’s young, it’s loud and it’s snotty, and if that phrase reminds you of a certain band, you’re on the right track. If not, how about song titles like “Porno Magazines”, “Everybody’s A Loser” and “Atom Smasher” (that’s parts one and two, mind you). Just like the early Mats, Kevin Owens’ vocals and the raw musicianship are enough of a rough edge to terrify program directors from coast to coast. But that’s why God gave you a pair of ears, Sparky.

The guys in Bad Rackets are all Texas bar rats and club band vets, though sight unseen you’d swear it was four eighteen year olds plagiarizing their older brother’s punk pop collection for the first time. Damned if there aren’t multiple hooks in every song, and if you aren’t bouncing off the wall or changing lanes like a madman while songs like “CandyDish” are melting your car speakers, something is seriously wrong with you. Get the chairs off the dance floor and start self medicating, because you’re gonna need it.

The Bad Rackets on MySpace

Listen to clips at Amazon

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Filed under Music, Reviews