Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dead Fingers Talk
"Nobody Loves You When You're Old and Gay"

I'd been aware of this band for many years when I read Naked Lunch in 1991. One of the many things that jumped out at me was all the band names and song titles therein.

There it was, near the top of page 199 of my copy: "Only dead fingers talk in braille. . . ."

Seven or eight years later, my friend Aaron was thinning his record collection a bit while I was visiting. He offered me his copy of Storm the Reality Studios, and I excitedly took it. From what I'd read, they were one of the few punk/new wave bands that sang about gay life in the mid/late-1970s (the only other one I know of was the Tom Robinson Band, and DFT were far better, in my opinion). Other than that, I knew nothing about them. As it turned out, the album is fantastic!

Like many other bands of the mid/late-70s punk era, their formation pre-dated 1976 by quite a stretch. The core of the band started playing together in the band Bone in 1969! This probably accounts for the obvious Lou Reed and David Bowie influences, as opposed to, say, Iggy and the Stooges and/or the MC5.

Though lead singer/primary songwriter Bobo Phoenix wrote and sang about gay life, guitarist Jeff Parsons says in the liner notes to the (absolutely essential) 2000 CD reissue:

None of the band were gay, but there was a sense of relating to those who were out of society's norm. It was powerful, and in those days still quite shocking subject and we felt we tapped into something in the minds of our audience who could relate to that.

Bobo was not interviewed for the liner notes, however, so there's no way of knowing for certain if Parsons is correct.

About the aforementioned reissue: It adds both sides of the non-LP "This Crazy World" single, plus another six previously unreleased tunes. Had I made a "favorite reissues" list in 2000, it probably would've been at the top.

1 biased opinion:

Biki said...

nice song!

very very disturbing cover art!