Breaking Hiatus, SPLODGENESSABOUNDS Bring Back Punk Fun

For all their caricature stance, original British punks rarely demonstrated sense of humor in the songs that were supposed to antagonize and unite working-class audiences at the tail end of the ’70s, and while many of them, having matured, revealed such a streak, the unjustly forgotten SPLODGENESSABOUNDS made eliciting smiles the ensemble’s schtick from the very beginning, when Max Splodge decided parody was the way to go. Various pranks and jokes fueled the band’s existence for decades, since 1978 until now, with puns complementing melodic hooks on the two albums the collective laid down in the early ’80s, one from the early ’90s, and stars-infested two from the start of current millennium, but not a lot has been heard from the veterans for the last 23 years, although the group soldier on gigging, which was reflected in a couple of live releases. Still, August 2nd is to change it all.

This is the date when the Brits issue the tremendously titled “Standing On The Shoulders Of Dwarves” album – filled with gems like “Tubular Smells” and “Wanna Be Your Frog” to name but two – that features, alongside Max, old compadres like bassist Mat Sargent who’s famous for his tenures with CHELSEA and SHAM 69, and, as a guest, former HEAVY METAL KIDS drummer Keith Boyce. Their road to this record hasn’t been short and easy, but they nailed it, so it was only logical to ask one of the players how did the platter come about.

“Hey, everyone, the new SPLODGE album, ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Dwarves,’ is finally here!,” enthuses Mat Sargent. “It’s been quite a journey getting this one together for various reasons. Max had Mongolitis, we lost our guitarist Ronnie Rocka, and of course, the Covid lockdown. We started a pledge campaign about nine years ago for signed copies of the album, T-shirts, cheese slices, and bottled farts. Thanks to everyone who pledged, we got enough in the pot to record the album.

We recorded the ‘I Don’t Know’ in 2000 and then ‘The Artful Splodger’ in 2001, so it’s been 23 years since the last album. People have been asking us for a new one for years, so it’s great to finally give them something new.Max wrote pretty much most of the songs. Myself and guitarist Richy would go over to Max’s place where he’d strum out some ideas on the guitar, give us a title, and we’d record them on a dictaphone. Richy and I would then take the ideas and record demos of the songs, working out parts to go with it. On one of the first sessions at Max’s, I asked him if he had any songs. Max said he had an idea and played me a track called ‘I’ve Fallen Down A Hole,’ which was this weird drum machine with a Mongolian-sounding violin thing and a faint voice saying, “I’ve fallen down a hole.” When I heard the song, I nearly spat my tea out. I was cracking up and said that’s got to go on the album as it is… so it did.

Richy and I started working on the songs in 2017 with keyboard player Andy Dixon and recorded the demos at his place. We spent the best part of six years arranging the songs, recording bits, adding parts, and building them into what you hear on the album. Max wrote the lyrics for the songs in the pub, as he usually does. We’d turn up to the studio, set up, and then go down to the pub for a few pints where he’d put pen to paper. We’d then go back to the studio and record what he’d written. We did four lead vocal sessions in all. Max is a genius, and his sense of humor is the foundation of SPLODGE. We recorded the album with Dick Crippen at Panther Studios, and it took about a year to record with the mixing and mastering. Keith Boyce laid all the drums down in a day, which was pretty good going. We had the demos to play along to, and we did have one rehearsal before going into the studio. I recorded the bass in a day, and Richy did all the lead and rhythm guitars in about five days. Some of the parts from the demos were used as they were good as they were, and Andy did all the keyboards in about five days. We had a few guest musicians on the album too: Laura Knapp on violin, Vom Ritchie on coconuts, John O’Neill on sax, our manager Stretchy played kazoo, and we got the pledgers in to do backing vocals.

It’s been a lot of fun recording the album, as you can imagine. It’s taken longer than we expected with the things we were up against, but I guess that’s the SPLODGE comedy/tragedy. ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Dwarves’ is classic SPLODGE, so hopefully when people hear it, they’ll think it’s been worth the wait.”

Standing On The Shoulders Of Dwarves

1. Standing On The Shoulders Of Dwarves
2. You’ve Been Splodged
3. Happy As A Pig In Shit
4. I’ve Fallen Down A Hole
5. Mavis Davis
6. TV Screen
7. Lemons
8. A Close Shave
9. Bar Snacks
10. Wanna Be Your Frog
11. Plasticine
12. Isubaleen
13. Nickerty Nackerty Nu
14. Bingo Calling
15. Stuff
16. Tubular Smells

July 11, 2024

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