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The Deviants: Reissues

Defiantly deranged triptych from Mick Farren’s Apocalyptic Horsemen.

Incensed, anarchic and socialistically inclined writer/rocker, the recently deceased Deviants frontman Mick Farren was an epoch-spanning rabble-rouser.

His 1968 counter-cultural anthem Let’s Loot The Supermarket – represented live on 1999’s The Deviants Have Left The Planet (610) – could have soundtracked riots in any era. When it came to mangling Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker in far-flung – and all too real – horror-struck, sci-fi scenarios, The Deviants lead the way.

Like his literary hero William Burroughs, Farren specialised in hot-wired, time-shredding connections, and Andy Colquhoun’s telegram-to-the-moon guitaring on Dr. Crow’s (710) psyched-out sea chanty The Murdering Officer fitted that programme to a T. As befits a man who expired in pursuit of his craft on stage at London’s Borderline, Mickey’s work paid special attention to end times.

Thus the scabrous Aztec Calendar that opens Barbarian Princes (710), a lurid and celebratory Japanese close-of-the-century show (complete with DVD – look away now, kids). The Beatles (Strawberry Fields Forever) and Dylan (It’s Alright Ma) covers are excessive, true, but the evidence shows these counter-culture heroes kept their humour and commendable strangeness alive to the very end. The time to encounter it is never too late.

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.