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Pink Fairies

Formed 1970 in Ladbroke Grove, West London (out of proto-punks The DEVIANTS), PINK FAIRIES were by far ahead of their time. Colchester-based drummer-turned-singer TWINK (aka John Alder) – ex-PRETTY THINGS, ex-TOMORROW, ex-In-Crowd – had only just dropped a solo LP, “Think Pink”, and now with reformed “Social Deviants “ characters from that recording: guitarist Paul Rudolph, bassist Duncan Sanderson and drummer Russell Hunter, Polydor Records were only too happy to let the contract run on in the shape of the PINK FAIRIES.
Although inaugural single, `The Snake’, failed to generate much support in sales, its B-side (`Do It’) hit a nerve if not the charts; it has since become regarded as one of the first punk 45s. The classic barnstormer in its 4:14 entirety opened the quartet’s debut set, NEVER NEVERLAND (1971) {*8}, a blistering balls-out monster of discordant hard-rock(’n’roll) (akin to MC5, SPIRIT or EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND) that also featured the near 11-minute live fave `Uncle Harry’s Last Freak-Out’.
1972’s follow-up, WHAT A BUNCH OF SWEETIES {*7} – recorded without TWINK, who’d briefly formed The Stars, together with acid casualty, SYD BARRETT – scraped into the Top 50. To supplement this heavy loss, the trio added guest guitarist Trevor Burton (ex-MOVE) to re-boot the clarion calls of `Right On, Fight On’ and a jaw-dropping prog-length re-hash of The VENTURES’ `Walk Don’t Run’. Not a group to do things by halves, the 8-minute `I Went Up, I Went Down’ was no “Close To The Edge” YES track, although another Pink… Floyd, came to mind in its delivery and execution. On the other side of the spectrum, The FUGS-esque mock-country of `The Pigs Of Uranus’ was a million miles from the head-shaking reading of The BEATLES’ `I Saw Her Standing There’.
A refugee from JUNIOR’S EYES, Mick Wayne (vocals/guitar), was duly found to replace Rudolph (who joined UNCLE DOG), however only one single, `Well, Well, Well’ (b/w `Hold On’), was issued with this line-up. Wayne’s tenure was short-lived when Larry Wallis (ex-UFO, ex-SHAGRAT, ex-BLODWYN PIG) was installed for KINGS OF OBLIVION (1973) {*7}. Wallis was also a competent songwriter, and with opening number, `City Kids’ (soon-to-be MOTORHEAD’s debut), PINK FAIRIES assumed a position waiting in the fringes. `I Wish I Was A Girl’ had moments of power-pop, and coming at a time when that genre was in the loop, they allowed the song to extend to a jam-friendly nine minutes. Whilst the NEW YORK DOLLS and IGGY POP were toughing it out in order to be heard across the pond, the ‘Fairies were finding it equally difficult to find an audience for `Chambermaid’, `When’s The Fun Begin’ and `Street Urchin’; though young London punks had been listening.
The troubled trio decided to disband in March ‘74, although Twink, Wallis, Rudolph, Sanderson and Hunter re-formed for one-off reunion gig at The Roundhouse on 13th July 1975; that autumn they officially re-united without Twink and Rudolph, when they added guitarist Martin Stone (ex-CHILLI WILLI, ex-MIGHTY BABY, ex-ACTION) for a one-off studio single for fledgling Stiff Records: `Between The Lines’. All affiliated members were now unsurprisingly flirting around the punk and new wave fringes.
PINK FAIRIES (Wallis, Sanderson and George Butler) decided to release a “group” recording from ’82, rather than a Wallis “solo” set. The 6-track mini-set, PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED (1984) {*5} was given the green light by Big Beat, though all three alumni duly teamed up with Mick Farren and Wayne Kramer to re-form The DEVIANTS for their “Human Garbage” album.
The PINK FAIRIES re-formed again 1987 with Twink, Wallis, Sanderson, Hunter, plus guitarist Andy Colquhoun (ex-Warsaw Pakt). Demon Records unfettered their psych-punk comeback album, KILL ‘EM & EAT ‘EM {*5}, but in essence they’d been too long buried in their own time-warp burrows listening to other proto-metal acts.
Almost a decade on, Twink and Paul Rudolph took up the PINK FAIRIES mantle when they dropped the concept set, PLEASURE ISLAND (1996) {*6}. Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” and into two, the record was anchored by the 32-minute piece, `Cargoe in Jamaica’. 1998’s NO PICTURE {*4} was just as forgettable.
A mutant PINK FAIRIES re-formed in 2014. Consisting of Hunter, Colquhoun and Sanderson; plus Jaki Windmill (keyboards/vocals) and George Butler (drums), Gonzo Multimedia sanctioned the release of NAKED RADIO (2016) {*5}, a live-in-concert multi-package recorded in Newcastle and Derby the previous April; note that Butler died in January 2018.
A bona fide PINK FAIRIES were subsequently re-formed by journeyman Paul Rudolph, bassist Alan Davey (ex-HAWKWIND) and drummer Lucas Fox (ex-MOTORHEAD), and with a fresh set of songs released on the Purple Pyramid-endorsed pink-vinyl LP, RESIDENT REPTILES (2018) {*6}, things had come full circle. Sadly, former member Larry Wallis died on 19th September 2019.
© MC Strong/MCS 1994-1997/GRD // rev-up MCS Sep2019

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