Bad News (band)

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Bad News
Origin United Kingdom
Genres Heavy metal, parody music, comedy rock
Years active 1983–1988
Labels EMI
Past members Vim Fuego
Den Dennis
Colin Grigson
Spider Webb
Bad News, in a scene from More Bad News. From left to right; Colin Grigson, Spider Webb, Vim Fuego, Den Dennis.

Bad News were an English spoof heavy metal band, created for the Channel 4 television series The Comic Strip Presents.... Its members were Vim Fuego (aka Alan Metcalfe), vocals and lead guitar (played by Ade Edmondson); Den Dennis, rhythm guitar (Nigel Planer); Colin Grigson, bass (Rik Mayall); and Spider Webb, drums (Peter Richardson).[1]

Biography[edit]

Bad News made their television debut during 1983, in the first series of The Comic Strip Presents...[1] (written by Edmondson, and produced by Michael White/Comic Strip Productions). The episode, "Bad News Tour", took the form of a satirical fly-on-the-wall rockumentary, in which the incompetent band is followed travelling to a gig in Grantham, by an almost equally inept documentary film crew: It seemed to take much inspiration from Mark Kidel's 1976 BBC documentary So You Wanna Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star? that followed the Kursaal Flyers around Scotland and northeast England.[2] The episode was also coincidentally in production at the same time as This Is Spinal Tap, which was released the following year to a much wider audience and subsequently greater acclaim.

The "Bad News Tour" episode is notable for featuring songs (written by Edmondson and Simon Brint) that do not appear on either of the Bad News albums or in the later TV episode. These rare tunes are "Bad News" (Version 1), "The Motorbike Song" (aka "Doing A Ton Down The Highway"), a brief snippet of a song whose title is unknown, and an almost complete live version of "Mr Rock N Roll". These tunes represent the only released Bad News material not co-produced by the Queen guitarist, Brian May.

The band continued to tour throughout most of the decade and released an eponymously titled album, consisting of thrashy rock songs punctuated by frequent squabbling amongst the band's members.[1] Brian May produced the record, which included a cover version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". That track peaked at No. 44 in the UK Singles Chart in September 1987.[3]

Perhaps their most memorable appearance was when they were invited to play at the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in 1986.[1] This performance was the centre piece of a second follow-up Comic Strip episode, "More Bad News", broadcast again by Channel 4 in 1988. A feature of the band's on-stage antics that day, omitted from the final cut, was a method of coping with the crowd's plastic (and often urine-filled) bottle barrage, which was then a traditional (if somewhat awkward) welcome for bands playing at the festival in those days. Before the performance began properly, the band spent time just running around on stage dodging missiles, with Mayall using his guitar as a bat in an attempt to return some. They also played a low-key London show at the Marquee Club, with guest appearances by Jeff Beck and Brian May.

In 2012, for the 30 Years of Comic Strip documentary, Planer and Richardson returned as Den Dennis and Spider Webb respectively to recall stories from their time as Bad News.

Discography[edit]

  • 1987 – Bad News - UK No. 69[3][4]
  • 1988 – Bootleg[4]
  • 1989 – Bad News (expanded reissue)
  • 1992 – The Cash In Compilation[4]
  • 2004 – Bad News (re-release on EMI International)[1]

In the "AGM" and "The Contract" sketches, the band discuss two other albums - the provisionally entitled "Satan ate my knob", and the about to be released "Every mistake imaginable" respectively. During "Cashing in on Christmas", Colin states that as a band they have released 17 records so far.

Videography[edit]

  • 1988: Bohemian Rhapsody (contains the music video for the title track and a skit entitled "EMI: Every Mistake Imaginable")
  • 1988: Comic Strip Classics: Bad News/More Bad News (the two Comic Strip Presents episodes)
  • 1992: Bad News Tour (the first Comic Strip television special)

Songs[edit]

Some songs appear on several of the band's releases, e.g. "Cashing in on Christmas (Dub)" appears on both Bootleg and the third version of the band's self-titled debut album. Also, "Hey Mr. Bassman" and "Hey Mr. Drummer" appeared as separate tracks on the second version of Bad News, whilst they appeared together as one track, using just "Hey Mr. Drummer" as the title, on the third version of Bad News.

Here is a list to show which songs are identical to which, also featuring the spoken tracks, with a track position to show where the song is on the particular release. This list does not show you the track times, which can differ for a song from one release to the next due to segueing (an example is "Bad News Rehearsal", which lasts five minutes on the 1989 Bad News but four minutes on the 2004 Bad News).

Song Bad News
(1987 version)
Bootleg
(1988)
Bad News
(1989 version)
The Cash in Compilation
(1993)
Bad News
(2004 version)
"A.G.M." 2 2 4 18
"AIDS" 5
"Bad News" 8 4 9 9
"Bad Dreams" 1 1 (listed as "Bad Dreams Rehearsal") 2 17
"Bohemian Rhapsody" (Take 1) 5
"Bohemian Rhapsody" 5 14 5 6 (listed as "Bohemian Rhapsody (Take 2)")
"Cashing in on Christmas" 16 22
"Cashing in on Christmas" (Dub) 10 13 21
"Dividing Up the Spoils" 6† 17 7 (listed as "The Contract")
"Double Entendre" 3 15 11 20
"Drink 'til I Die" 12 9 12 13
"Excalibur" 4† 13 4
"Heavy Metal Farmer" 8
"Hey Hey Bad News" 1 11 1 1
"Hey Mr. Bassman" 9† 5 10
"Hey Mr. Drummer" 9† 6 10 (track 10 is listed as "Hey Mr. Bassman" but contains both that song and "Hey Mr. Drummer")
"Introducing the Band" 7† 3 8
"Life with Brian" 8 16
"Locked In" 4
"Making of Masturbike" 9
"Masturbike" 10 7 10 11
"Maybe We Should Plug the Guitars In?" 13† 14
"O'Levels" 6 7 19
"Pretty Woman" 6 15
"Trousers" 11† 8 12 (listed as "What are We Going to Wear for Top of the Pops?")
"Vim is Angry" 2† 10 2 (listed as "We Haven't Record Anything Yet")
"Warriors of Genghis Khan" 3 12 3 3
"Wedding" 7

† Sketch present on the 1987 vinyl release, but only the songs were listed on the packaging.

Members[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Mills, Ted. "Bad News - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  2. ^ 50 Greatest Music Films Ever. London: TimeOut. 2 October 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 39. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ a b c Mills, Ted. "Bad News - Bad News : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 

External links[edit]