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Stump iTunes Tracks

Stump

Innovative London-Irish combo with a penchant for nonsensical lyrics and Beefheart-ian rhythms, STUMP were championed by Radio One’s night-time DJ, John Peel. The quartet’s clanking rhythms, atonal, wobbling guitars and Mick Lynch’s demented “Oirish” screams were brought to a wider audience via the inclusion of the whacky `Buffalo’ on the seminal NME C-86 compilation. Witnessing the spiky-cropped Lynch barking out the “Big bottom, swing big bottom”… “How much is the fish? / Does the fish have chips?” refrain on Channel 4’s The Tube, was surely one of the musical highlights of the mid 80s, and certainly one of the most talked about since The VERY THINGS’ `The Bushes Scream…’.
Formed in 1984 by former MICRODISNEY alumni Mick Lynch – who actually superseded SHRUBS-bound original singer Nick Hobbs – and drummer Rob McKahey, the pair were almost immediately joined by bassist Kev Hopper and guitarist Chris Salmon. The inimitable STUMP made their debut on the ubiquitous Ron Johnson imprint in early ’86, a la the acclaimed `Mud On A Colon’ 12-inch EP. Featuring the madcap indulgence of `Ice The Levant’ and `Grab Hands’, surely there was room at the world’s last barroom institution for former demented CAPTAIN BEEFHEART disciples.
For anyone who missed it first time round, the aforesaid `Buffalo’ was duly featured on STUMP’s debut set, QUIRK OUT (1986) {*7}, a 6-track mini-LP released for the Stuff label following the financial collapse of Ron Johnson. As zany, ludicrous and er… fishy as previous encounters, ideas and concepts were plucked from another planet where nutty professors head-danced to `Tupperware Stripper’, `Bit Part Actor’ and `Kitchen Table’; sanity was restored for the rather well-balanced but still weird, `Our Fathers’.
A period of furious studio beavering ensued, eventually resulting in the pirate-themed `Chaos’ single, one of a dozen pieces from their full-length debut set proper, A FIERCE PANCAKE (1988) {*8}. Fresh from their major label deal with Ensign Records (a part of the Chrysalis corporate), the set more than pleased hardcore fans of geeky SPLODGENESS/BEEFHEART-esque behaviour; second single `Charlton Heston’ (who apparently “keeps his vest on!”) received a cold shoulder from a music press now keen to distance themselves from anything remotely C-86; a 12-inch “Lights! Camel! Action!” version (with The Irresistible Force) was equally shunted. Criminally ignored, STUMP took one last shot at success with a re-vamped `Buffalo’ later that year; its failure and the band’s subsequent split remained one of indie music’s more vexing injustices. While KEV HOPPER went on to release a plethora of albums from the 90s onwards, remaining members disappeared from the music scene. Sadly, it was announced on 17 December 2015 that Mick Lynch had died.
© MC Strong 1997-2003/GA&ID // rev-up MCS Dec2015

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