King of the Slums

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King of the Slums
Also known as Slum Cathedral User
Origin Salford and Hulme, England
Genres Alternative rock
Years active mid-1980s–1991 And 2009.
Labels SLR Records, Play Hard, Midnight Music, Cherry Red
Past members Charley Keigher
Sarah Curtis
Jon Chandler
Trevor Rising
Ross Cain
Ged O'Brien
Stuart Owen
James Cashan
Gary Sparkes
Pete Mason
Steve Burns
Joel Nally
Gary Burke
Notable instruments
Electric Violin

King of the Slums were a British alternative rock band. Formed in Greater Manchester in the mid-1980s, the band specialised in a kind of electric violin and guitar-driven rock music, and released their debut single in 1986. Whilst the band earned some critical acclaim from the UK music press, commercial success eluded them and the group disbanded in the early 1990s following the release of their second studio album, Blowzy Weirdos (1991). An album of new material plus some older songs appeared in 2009 credited to both King of the Slums and Slum Cathedral User, which was the original name of the group.


Formed in Salford and Hulme, Greater Manchester, England, by writer Charley Keigher aka Charlie Keighera (vocals, guitar) and Sarah Curtis (electric violin), initially as Slum Cathedral User,[1] the group made its recording debut with the "Spider Psychiatry" single in 1986 on a small independent label (SLR Records).[2] Curtis had studied violin at the Royal Northern College of Music, but dropped out after Keigher reportedly assaulted someone there.[1] Further releases followed in 1988 and 1989 on the Play Hard label, now with bassist Jon Chandler and drummer Ged O'Brien (who replaced a succession of drummers), most of which were collected on the album Barbarous English Fayre (1989).[2] The band also recorded a session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show in 1988.[3] An incendiary live performance of "Fanciable Headcase", shown on the influential Snub TV television programme, earned the band national exposure, and helped to push their EPs up the independent chart, "Bombs Away on Harpurhey" reaching #8.[4][5] After switching to Midnight Music, the band issued its debut album proper, Dandelions (1989), to favourable reviews in the British music press. Keigher and Curtis were now joined by a new rhythm section.[2] The following year, King of the Slums signed to Cherry Red Records and issued the Blowzy Weirdos album in 1991, with Keigher's gritty take on British life again finding favour amongst the critics. Later in the year, however, the band broke up without ever achieving a commercial breakthrough to match their critical acclaim. The band performed nearly 200 concerts during their career resulting in numerous bootlegs being circulated, all of which the band disowned. A cult following has remained and grown over the years since the band broke up. In 2009 the band announced the release of a new fourth album called The Orphaned Files, a collection of predominately brand new songs together with some rare and remixed older songs, released through their first record label, SLR Records.



Singles & EPs[edit]

  • "Spider Psychiatry" (SLR, 1986)
  • "Haemophiliacs on Tacks" (Debris, 1987) - split flexi-disc with Moist
  • England's Finest Hopes EP (Play Hard, 1988)
  • "Bombs Away On Harpurhey" (Play Hard, 1989) (UK Indie #8)
  • Vicious British Boyfriend EP (Play Hard, 1989)
  • "Trouble at Mill" (Getout Fanzine Flexi Disc, 1989)
  • "Once A Prefect" (Midnight Music, 1989)
  • "It's Dead Smart" (Midnight Music, 1990)
  • "Bear Wiv Me" (Fluorescent Mix) (Midnight Music, 1990)
  • "Joy" (Cherry Red, 1991)


  1. ^ a b Middles, Mick (1988) "Slum Chums! King of the Slums on the Fiddle", Underground, April 1988 - Issue 13, p. 11
  2. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
  3. ^ King of the Slums Peel session, at the BBC's Keeping it Peel site
  4. ^ a b Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (1992) The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-939-0

External links[edit]