The Pink Fairies.
|Genres||Psychedelic Rock, proto-punk, punk rock|
|Years active||1970 - 1973, 1975 - 1976, 1987 - 1988, 2014|
|Associated acts||Hawkwind, The Deviants, Lightning Raiders, Motörhead|
Pink Fairies are an English band initially active in the London (Ladbroke Grove) underground and psychedelic scene of the early 1970s. They promoted free music, drug taking and anarchy and often performed impromptu gigs and other agitprop stunts, such as playing for free outside the gates at the Bath and Isle of Wight pop festivals in 1970, as well as appearing at Phun City, the first Glastonbury and many other free festivals including Windsor and Trentishoe.
The Fairies are best known for a constant shifting lineup to which all of the original members have left at some point and the three albums that came from their initial era on Polydor Records: Never Never Land (1971), What a Bunch of Sweeties (1972) and Kings of Oblivion (1973).
History[edit | edit source]
Initial Run[edit | edit source]
The group was formed after the three musicians from The Deviants (Paul Rudolph, guitar and vocals, Duncan Sanderson, bass and Russell Hunter, born Barry Russell Hunter, drums), sacked their singer and leader Mick Farren during a disastrous tour of the West Coast of the United States. Prior to the tour these musicians had collaborated on the Think Pink solo album by Twink, former drummer of The Pretty Things, using the name Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club and All-Star Rock and Roll Band, taken from a story written by Deviants manager Jamie Mandelkau. Twink (drums), Farren (vocals), Steve Peregrin Took (guitar) and Twink's girlfriend Sally 'Silver Darling' Meltzer (keyboards) hooked up in October 1969 for one shambolic gig at Manchester University, billed as The Pink Fairies, and went on to record Farren's solo album, Mona – The Carnivorous Circus. Within a few months Twink had left, followed by Farren, by which point Took had renamed the embryonic band Shagrat. In 1970 Twink recruited the remaining Deviants to a new Pink Fairies line-up. Took meanwhile continued with Shagrat as a vehicle for his own songs, and the two bands would appear as separate acts at the Phun City festival that summer.
Their music initially was upbeat good-time rock and roll, often jamming on The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows", The Ventures' "Walk Don't Run", "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and other standards. Their sets climaxed with the lengthy "Uncle Harry's Last Freakout", essentially an amalgam of old Deviants riffs that included extended guitar and double drum solos. They were closely associated with the UK underground, being based in the Ladbroke Grove scene and playing festivals, benefits and free concerts. The band had strong connections with Farren's home town Worthing, playing regular gigs for the Worthing Workshop. These included an appearance on a float in the Worthing Rotary Club Carnival Procession and a free open-air concert in Beach House Park. Playing for in June 1970 free outside the Bath Festival, they encountered another Ladbroke Grove based band Hawkwind, who shared similar interests in music and recreational activities, a friendship developed which would lead to the two bands becoming running partners and performing as Pinkwind. Sensationalist coverage in the (Mick Farren edited) International Times solidified their rebel reputation.
Polydor Records commissioned the group to record a single, "The Snake" / "Do It", and were happy enough with the results to offer the group an album contract. The debut album Never Never Land was released in 1971. It featured live favorites "Uncle Harry's Last Freakout" and "Do It" but curiously omitted "The Snake". An appearance at 1971's Glastonbury Fair led to them being given one side of the Glastonbury Fayre various artists triple album. In July 1971 Twink left to travel to Morocco. The band continued as a three-piece occasionally augmented by former The Move bassist Trevor Burton on guitar. They released their second album What a Bunch of Sweeties in 1972, which featured some contributions from Burton and peaked at #48 on the UK Charts. On the album's release and with a promotional tour pending Rudolph departed, going on to play on albums for Robert Calvert and Brian Eno. He would eventually replace Lemmy in Hawkwind.
Mick Wayne was Rudolph's replacement, having recorded with Sanderson, Hunter and Steve Peregrin Took on sessions for Took at Olympic Studios and later on loose sessions (along with sundry other underground musicians) in Took's flat in the basement of manager Tony Secunda's office, the fruits of which were released by Cleopatra Records in 1995. Feeling that Took's exceptionally heavy drug consumption would not make him a going concern, the remaining three instead formed a new version of The Pink Fairies (much to Took's subsequent chagrin), releasing the single "Well, Well, Well" / "Hold On", as well as doing a radio session for Radio One. However Sanderson and Hunter became unhappy with the musical direction Wayne was taking the band. They convinced Larry Wallis, who had played with Steve Took's Shagrat and later UFO to join the group as a second guitarist. Shortly after they sacked Wayne, passing song writing and singing duties onto Wallis. This new three piece then recorded the 1973 album Kings of Oblivion. Out of contract with Polydor, the band continued touring to a decreasing audience until finally calling it a day. Wallis went on to join Lemmy and Lucas Fox in the first incarnation of Motörhead, then became the in-house record producer for Stiff Records. Sanderson joined The Lightning Raiders. Hunter left the music business entirely.
First Reunions[edit | edit source]
Ted Carroll, head of Chiswick Records, organized a one-off reunion concert at The Roundhouse on 13 July 1975 featuring all five previous major members of the group (released in 1982 as Live at the Roundhouse 1975). Following this concert, Wallis, Sanderson and Hunter decided to give the Pink Fairies another try. This line up eventually gave numerous 'farewell tours' before disbanding. After a period of inactivity they entered the burgeoning punk scene as one of the few 'hairy' bands revered by the new guard. Recruiting former Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers guitarist Martin Stone, they toured and released the single "Between the Lines" / "Spoiling for a Fight" on Stiff Records but with little interest being shown in them, they once again split up. Rudolph and Wallis resumed playing for Farren in The Deviants circa 1977/78, releasing the EP Screwed Up as The Deviants again on Stiff, but Rudolph returned to his native Canada prior to the recording of 1978's Vampires Stole My Lunch Money and follow up single "Broken Statue". In the early 1980s, Wallis, Sanderson and drummer George Butler (ex-Lightning Raiders) recorded and played live, the albums Previously Unreleased (1982) and The Deviants' Human Garbage (live 1984) being released. The band went under many names including The Police Cars, The Police Sleighs, The Donut Dunkers Of Death and finally The Love Pirates Of Doom, the most settled line up being Wallis, Sanderson, Butler and second guitarist Andy Colquhoun (ex-Warsaw Pakt & Tanz Der Youth).
In 1987 Jake Riviera, head of Demon Records, offered a recording contract for a reformed Pink Fairies. Of the five group members, Paul Rudolph was not involved so the second guitarist position was taken up by Andy Colquhoun, who had previously played alongside Wallis. This band released the album Kill 'Em and Eat 'Em and toured following a sell-out show and London's Town & Country Club before once again splitting up in 1988. After Twink's ignominious departure they had carried on until Wallis too left at which time the remaining members toured and recorded as Flying Colours. An archive live album Chinese Cowboys: Live 1987 was issued in Japan in 2005 on Captain Trip Records.
Compilations and Further Reunions[edit | edit source]
In the mid-1990s Twink collaborated with Paul Rudolph and the pair recorded 1996's Pleasure Island and 1997's No Picture, released as the Pink Fairies on Twink's own label. Twink also issued a plethora of albums featuring outtakes, alternate versions, BBC sessions and live material including: The Golden Years 1969-1971, Do It, Live at Weeley Festival 1971 and Mandies and Mescaline Round at Uncle Harry's.
During the early 2000s Polydor remastered and released their Pink Fairies back catalogue with bonus cuts and issued the sampler albums Master Series and Up the Pinks: An Introduction.
The Kings of Oblivion line-up (Wallis, Sanderson, Hunter) were scheduled to play at one-off gig on 22 January 2007 at the Roundhouse, London and record a BBC session for Stuart Maconie's Freakzone radio programme, but activities were cancelled at the last minute due to ill-health. In 2007 the biography Keep it Together! Cosmic Boogie with the Deviants and Pink Fairies by Rich Deakin, Mick Farren's webmaster, was published by Headpress. In September 2009, the What a Bunch of Sweeties line-up (Rudolph, Sanderson, Hunter) re-united in the studio to record a new version of "Do It" for the various artists CD Portobello Shuffle: A Testimonial To Boss Goodman And Tribute To The Deviants & Pink Fairies. A compilation entitled Fuzz Freakout 1970-1971 was released in 2014 via Purple Pyramid.
In 2014 the Pink Fairies reformed with a line-up of Russell Hunter, Duncan Sanderson, Andy Colquhoun, Jaki Windmill and second drummer George Butler. Initially announcing two dates - The Robin 2 in Bilston on 15 May and 100 Club in London on 17 May - more dates were later added. A new album called Naked Radio was released after a Pledgemusic campaign ending on 12 February 2017.
Members[edit | edit source]
- Paul Rudolph - Guitar, Vocals
- Duncan Sanderson - Bass, Vocals
- Russell Hunter - Drums
- Twink - Drums, Vocals
- Mick Wayne - Bass, Vocals (Died 1994)
- Larry Wallis - Guitar, Vocals
- Martin Stone - Guitar
- Andy Colquhoun - Guitar, Vocals
- Trevor Burton - Guitar
Discography[edit | edit source]
Albums[edit | edit source]
- Never Never Land (1971, Polydor)
- What a Bunch of Sweeties (1972, Polydor)
- Kings of Oblivion (1973, Polydor)
- Previously Unreleased (1982, Big Beat)
- Kill 'Em and Eat 'Em (1987, Demon)
- Pleasure Island (1996, Twink Records)
- No Picture (1997, Twink Records)
- Naked Radio (2017, Gonzo Music)
Live Albums[edit | edit source]
- Live at the Roundhouse 1975 (1982, Big Beat)
- Mandies and Mescaline Round at Uncle Harry's (1998, NMC)
- Do It! (1999, Total Energy)
- Live at Weeley 1971 (1999, Get Back)
- Chinese Cowboys (2005, Captain Trip)
- Live At Grantchester Meadows 1971 (2008, Headpress)
- Finland Freakout 1971 (2008, MLP)
Compilations[edit | edit source]
- Flashback (1975, Polydor)
- The Golden Years: 1969 - 1971 (1998, Cleopatra)
- Master Series (1999, Universal)
- Up The Pinks - An Introduction to Pink Fairies (2002, Polydor)
- Fuzz Freakout 1970-1971 (2014, Purple Pyramid)
Singles[edit | edit source]
- The Snake / Do It (1971, Polydor)
- Pigs of Uranus / I Saw Her Standing There (1972, Polydor)
- Well, Well, Well / Hold On (1973, Polydor)
- Between The Lines / Spoiling for a Fight (1976, Stiff)
- Do It '77 / Psychedelic Punkeroo / Enter The Diamonds (1978, Chiswick)