Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine: how we made Sheriff Fatman | Indie

James ‘Jim Bob’ Morrison, vocalist/guitarist

I had examine a dodgy landlord in the South London Press. The drug-dealing, the “phoney prescriptions”, the terrible dwelling situations for his tenants: it was all in the newspaper, even his bodily stature. All I needed to do was change his identify – and I’d turned an terrible story into poetry and pop music.

Fruitbat and I recorded the monitor in the identical place we recorded the first 4 Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine albums: a brick shed in producer Simon Painter’s backyard. There was no room to swing a cat, not to mention arrange a drum package – two vital elements in the band’s sound, since we used a drum machine. We knew the monitor was one thing particular and it shortly turned a stay favorite, nevertheless it wasn’t actually successful till we signed a significant document cope with Chrysalis, who rereleased it.

I used to like the chaos when we carried out the music stay in 1989 and 1990. There could be so many people moshing round the band, it was tough to inform the place the stage ended and the auditorium started. We made heavy use of strobes in our units they usually’ve left my neck scarred. On good days, it appears like I’m sporting a complicated scarf. When it’s scorching in the summer time, the tingling on my neck makes it seems like I’m being adopted.

The lyrics namechecked some celebrities of the time, together with the businessman Nicholas van Hoogstraten and the Prince of Wales, and we even talked about Crossroads. Apparently Paul Henry [the actor who played Benny in the soap] obtained a bit miffed about Fruitbat appropriating his blue woolly hat. I’m undecided if bands as we speak may get away with the “More aliases than Klaus Barbie” line. Big Cat Records, our unique label, didn’t ever query something in any of our songs. Maybe that’s why Fatman wasn’t on daytime Radio 1 as a lot because it may have been.

Sheriff Fatman was my Ralph-McTell-Streets-of-London-in-Big-Train second – the place the singer’s compelled to carry out his huge hit again and again. But I’ve fully come to phrases with all of it – being “Jim Bob from Carter”, filling my solo sets with nearly nothing however Carter classics. Everyone is aware of Sheriff Fatman is coming: they only want to attend for it. And, now we’re all a bit older, I simply get pleasure from an prolonged clap-along in the center part of the music.

When the Bohemian Rhapsody or Rocketman producers start casting the Carter USM film, I’d like Sheriff Fatman to be performed by both Michael Caine or Christian Bale in a fat suit.

Les ‘Fruitbat’ Carter, guitarist/vocalist

I truly had a really first rate landlady at the time, though the flat’s rest room was a bit rank – it’s the one we used on the record sleeve. I coated the prime of my guitar in a plastic bag earlier than I shoved it down the bowl for the picture.

The 7in single cowl for Sheriff Fatman by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Photograph: Big Cat

Jim Bob had seen a couple of documentaries on the topic of slum landlords. I’d lived in some shoddy locations after I first left residence and skilled some terrible situations. Around this time, I labored for the Ministry of Defence. If I let you know what I did, I’d be in violation of the Official Secrets Act and must kill you.

When Fatman was first launched, it solely obtained into the indie charts. It was rereleased when we had been extra fashionable, and that’s when we made Top of the Pops. I believe Chris Evans was a fan of the tune: he interviewed us in the toilet when we were on The Big Breakfast. When we performed Fatman at gigs, the bouncers would get swamped. Surfers and stage-divers all the time broke by. Jon Beast, our larger-than-life compère (RIP), used to get them revved up with the “You fats bastard” chant.

I beloved listening to Fatman coated by our Japanese tribute band, Clinton USM. They had been form sufficient to hitch us for the afterparty at a couple of of our reunion gigs. The real-life landlords who impressed the music are most likely in a tax haven now. They’re the cause the song’s lyrics haven’t dated: they’re still accurate, unfortunately.

I’m a landlord too now, by the approach. It simply form of occurred. My tenants have principally been unbelievable. The just one who wasn’t is now buried below the patio.

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