Mick Farren

Mick Farren  (3 September 1943 - 27 July 2013) was an English journalist, author and singer associated with counterculture and the UK Underground.  Farren was the singer with the proto-punk band The Deviants between 1967 and 1969, releasing three albums.  During the early 1970’s he contributed to the UK Underground press such as The International Times, also establishing Nasty Tales which he successfully defended from an obscenity charge.  He wrote 23 novels and 11 works of non-fiction, a number of biographical (including four on Elvis Presley), autobiographical and culture books (such as The Black Leather Jacket) and much poetry.   (More from Wikipedia)

Shortly after Greg Shaw’s death, his ex-wife and business partner Suzy Shaw had her own mission:  to cement Shaw’s place in the rock and roll firmament.  The result was a gorgeous 2007 hardbound book called Bomp! that was subtitled Saving the World One Record at a Time.  In the “Dedication”, Suzy Shaw writes:  “The idea for this book came in the early 1980s right after BOMP! magazine first folded. . . .  When Greg died I knew it was the most important job I had, as this book is not just the story of BOMP! and Greg Shaw, but a unique document of a time, place, and perspective in the history of rock and roll.” 


The co-writer is one of my very favorite musicians (and a prolific writer as well), Mick Farren of the bold English underground rock band, the Deviants.  The book opens with the modestly titled “Introduction” by Farren that is as good an overview of the rock music scene as any that I have ever read. 


(May 2013)

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Twink is also renowned as a founding member of the hard psych band the Pink Fairies, along with the Deviants’ Mick Farren and Steve Peregrine Took, who was Marc Bolan’s partner in the original Tyrannosaurus Rex band.

Besides Twink, the other bandmembers in Tomorrow – originally called the Four Plus One – included guitarist Steve Howe, which was later in YesJunior Wood; and Keith West, who was evidently the best known member of the band when their album came out.  Of note is the fact that Tomorrow was featured on the very first of the Peel Sessions by DJ John Peel on BBC Radio 1, on September 21, 1967


(July 2013)


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I have already noted my sorrow about the recent passing of Andy Colquhoun’s bandmate in the DeviantsMick Farren.  

(August 2013)
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I have previously written of The Sound of San Francisco and quoted nearly all of Mick Farren’s liner notes for that album; Boyskout is the first (though not the last) UARB to be drawn from the roster.  My tribute to Mick Farren is coming up later this year; his death last year upset me as much as any I can think of from the music world since that of John Lennon


(January 2014)


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To read the Mick Farren tribute in Part 1 of this post, go to The-Sons-of-Fred-Part-1 
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The plan was always to move directly from the Mick Farren tribute to a description of the Fairies as the Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the MonthTwink was in that band in 1964-1965.  That would be three different likely homosexual references among the band names that I have mentioned, including the Deviants and the Pink Fairies.  None of the bandmembers in any of these groups is gay as far as I know – Mick Farren certainly wasn’t – and none of their music could be described as wimpy or lightweight either, so I guess this is guerilla theatre mostly. 


(March 2014/2)
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Mick Farren starts his liner notes for Destroy All Music by noting:  “On August 16th, 1977, at least two events occurred of major rock & roll significance.  Elvis Presley died on his Graceland toilet, and the Weirdos cut three songs for Bomp! Records, ‘Destroy All Music’, ‘A Life of Crime’ and ‘Why Do You Exist?’. The session – in a home studio in Tujunga – was produced by Craig Leonwho had overseen the Ramones’ first album.  It was a hot damp night in Los Angeles, and, by all accounts, the weather was much the same in Memphis
“Even the Weirdos copped to the fact that the death of Elvis was fractionally more important than their first record.  ‘The King Is Dead’ was scratched into the metal stamper of the Bomp release Destroy All Music that became a classic of late 1970’s L.A. punk, and prompted critic Mark Deming to call the band ‘one of the best and brightest American bands of punk’s first wave.’” 
In 1979, backed by a studio rhythm section – Billy Persons on bass and Danny Benair on drums – the Weirdos enlisted top L.A. producer Earle Mankey (formerly a guitarist in Sparks) to engineer six songs for a mini-album called Who? What? When? Where? Why?; these tracks close the Bomp album, though the masters were difficult to locate after so many years.  But as Mick Farren put it:  “Finally, though, the 30th Anniversary collection of the Weirdos was assembled, proving beyond any shadow of doubt that, among seminal punk bands, the Weirdos were one of LA’s finest.” 
(March 2017)
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My proudest achievement is my tribute to legendary underground rock musician Mick Farren, which appeared in March 2014.  I garnered a lot of praise that my friend Suzy Shaw of Bomp! Records forwarded to me – from past UARA and fellow bandmember in the Deviants, Andy Colquhoun (who posted a link on the band’s Facebook page), from Mike Stax of Ugly Things Magazine (who published my article on Milan year before last), and from Suzy Shaw herself. 


I was not sure how long I would be able to keep this up; but every month, these articles seem to expand to fill up a sizable post and then some.  With the Mick Farren tribute, I exceeded the Facebook limit of 65,536 characters for an entry under Notes, for the second time. 


(Year 5 Review)


Last edited: April 3, 2021