FAILURE 0, 2012
FAILURE 0, 2012
"Pat Fish/The Jazz Butcher is one of the most brilliant incisive pop writers that Britain has produced since the glory days of Ray Davies and Pete Townshend."
Alan McGee, Creation Records
"Even an average cut of Butcher beats the prime of lesser mortals."
Trouser Press Record Guide
The Jazz Butcher and his unflappable guitarist Max Eider first surfaced in 1983 with the album Bath Of Bacon on the London independent label Glass Records. Melody Maker recommended the album to "Anyone looking for something really wild," while The Scotsman deemed it, "Quite good fun, if you don't mind being used in someone else's experiment."
In 1984 he second album, A Scandal In Bohemia, attracted much more attention, and over the next year Pat and Max together with the rhythm section of David J. and Owen Jones toured the UK and Europe in support of the album, which figured for weeks on the independent charts. Sounds called the following album, Sex And Travel, "The best pop record in the world. Seriously."
In 1986 a compilation of the Butcher's early recordings, Bloody Nonsense, was released in America, where it made No. 2 on the Gavin and CMJ charts and a successful North American tour followed. After releasing a fourth album, Distressed Gentlefolk, and undertaking another European tour, the Butcher and Max parted ways. Max went on to release his solo album The Best Kisser In The World in 1987, while the Butcher continued his career by signing with Creation Records.
The Butcher's 1988 album, Fishcotheque, was praised in Rolling Stone as establishing the Butcher as "King of his own particular musical domain," and a sold-out summer tour of North America helped to make the album the Butcher's biggest seller to date. 1989 saw the release of Big Planet, Scary Planet, which topped MTV's alternative chart. Endless touring followed, with only a brief break to record Cult Of The Basement. Described by CMJ as "A peerless piece of Britpop" on its release in 1990, Basement featured the radio hit She's On Drugs and the single Girl Go. Melody Maker found it to be "as languid and graceful a slice of slush as you could dare to dream." Reviewing the same release, Sounds wondered why the Butcher was not "As big as George Michael."
The Butcher recorded Condition Blue in 1991. West Coast DJ Deirdre O'Donoghue called it "The work of his lifetime." The album spawned radio hits like She's A Yo Yo and Shirley Maclaine. Waiting for Waiting For The Love Bus, released in 1993, was described by the Trouser Press Record Guide as "Fish at his most seductive and romantic, and it makes for his greatest achievement ...in all, the perfect Jazz Butcher recording, one that would be hard to top for sheer entertainment value." In October 1993 the Butcher was privileged to open for John Cale at London's Forum. Illuminate, the tenth Jazz Butcher album, which David J. produced, was released in 1995.
The Jazz Butcher ceased trading at the end of 1995, with Fish going on to record the Sumosonic album This Is Sumo for Creation in 1998. But unexpectedly, the Butcher and Max Eider began to perform together once again at occasional live events.
Over the next few years demand began to boil over. Fans world-wide were excited by the prospect of a Jazz Butcher Conspiracy that featured both Pat and Max. So it was decided that a US tour was in order, and in September 1999 Pat and Max played sold-out shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and New York, where they were accompanied by other old-school Jazz Butcher musicians Owen Jones, and David J. and Kevin Haskins.
There was a burst of activity at the turn of the millennium, involving tours of America and Europe and a first trip to Japan, all culminating in the middle of the World Cup of 2002 with the singer and the bassist seizing control of a digital projector in the lovely main square of a Belgian town to project the message "Has anybody got any POT?"
Apart from a brief visit to Los Angeles in 2009, activity since then has been limited to a few UK club appearances. Max has made two fantastic solo records on his own Tundra Ducks label. Pat played for eight years with his band Wilson, whose DVD No Known Predators was released in September 2012. He also plays solo gigs where and whenever he can.
Keen to play some shows to celebrate the band's 30th Anniversary, Fish and Eider began to think about making another record. Their experiment with "fan-funding" worked, producer Richard Formby was engaged...and so it is that the Jazz Butcher's 12th album, Last of the Gentleman Adventurers, was released in the December 2012.
Since then there have been further gigs in the UK, Belgium, Germany and Japan.