12 December 1958|
|Years active||late 1970s–present|
|Website||Carter USM, Abdoujaparov|
Fruitbat (born Leslie George Carter, 12 December 1958, in London) is the stage name of the English musician, most famous for his part in Carter USM. As well as his official birthday he also celebrates a second birthday "like the Queen and Paddington Bear" on 12 February. Fruitbat says his second birthday was given to him in 1992 by Smash Hits.
Carter played in a number of bands during the late 1970s, before meeting Jim Bob (James Robert Morrison) at The Orchestra Pit in Streatham, where their bands The Ballpoints and Dead Clergy used to rehearse. When The Ballpoints' bassist quit at the end of 1980, Les joined the band, who then went on to change their name to Peter Pan's Playground. When Peter Pan's Playground split Carter and Morrison continued to write together and formed the band Jamie Wednesday.
Jamie Wednesday broke up in 1987 after some limited success. Jim Bob and Fruitbat stuck together and formed Carter USM, a band in which the two both played guitars and sang while a sequencer and drum machine played backing music. Carter USM had 14 Top 40 singles, one number one album and played over 800 gigs all over the world. A cycling enthusiast, the cycling hat Fruitbat wore onstage in the early years became a strong visual trademark for the band. He would often take his bike with him on Carter tours, much to the annoyance of Jim Bob as detailed in the book, Goodnight Jim Bob.
One of Carter USM's most talked-about moments was when Fruitbat rugby tackled presenter Phillip Schofield on live TV, in front of millions of viewers at the Smash Hits music awards. Schofield made some remarks about the band's performance and Fruitbat has said that he was "severely hammered" after drinking a crate of beer supplied by The Farm. The incident made the front pages of most of the UK tabloids, and generated some infamy for the band.
Carter USM split in 1997, although they continued to play semi-regular gigs until bringing the band to a close in 2014. Carter still runs the Carter USM website, fan club and sells the band's merchandise. He currently lives in Folkestone, and has two current bands; his own, Abdoujaparov, and Nottinghamshire folk/punk band Ferocious Dog, for whom he plays guitar. He also regularly plays bass in Keith Top Of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band.
- Morrison, James (1 May 2004). Goodnight Jim Bob. CHERRY RED BOOKS. ISBN 978-1901447231.
- Brown, Joe (23 October 1992). "England's Carter Era". Washington Post. pp. n.15.
- "When Philip met Fruitbat... and was totally bowled over". Worcester News. 1 November 2002. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Ferocious Dog interview". Nottingham Live. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.