· Guests Online: 1
· Members Online: 0
· Total Members: 23,321
· Newest Member: Verecadia
Anyone who has ever read one of Zodiac Mindwarp’s books (writing under his given name of Mark Manning) will already be aware that the man has a uniquely warped view of the world in general, and this business of rock in particular.
Although they never made a classic album – stories of excess involving drugs, women and comic books abound – their debut “Tattooed Beat Messiah” came very close, but the lean years were not kind creatively, and albums such as “Hoodlum Thunder” and “My Life Story” fell well short of the benchmark he/they’d set for themselves.
Effectively reduced to a nucleus of Mindwarp & guitarist Cobalt Stargazer, The Love Reaction were on and off hiatus for much of the nineties, touring with a succession of flunkies with such colourful names as Kid Chaos, Slam Thunderhide, Suzy X, Flash Bastard and Trash T Garbage, and no-one really expected much more of note from them.
Until 2002 when “I Am Rock” was released to a dozing public, and like an unexpected kiss from a jagged brick, Zodiac, Stargazer and co had well & truly rediscovered their mojo – and how!
Dragging Tex Diablo and Robbie Vomm along for the ride on this outing, Zodiac crafted an album which defied his naysayers, sporting fluid and sinuous guitar leads from Stargazer’s beloved axe Sleazegrinder, and an surly chip on his shoulder the size of Christmas.
The title track opens proceedings with a one-two punch to the head, Zodiac proclaiming his legendary status – “I AM rock!”. It’s heady stuff hearing the man sneer with self importance, and in many ways Mindwarp DOES embody the essence of rock, glorious in all his filthy greasy sneering elegance, his appetite for destruction still strong.
‘Jane In Blue’ changes pace dramatically – this is Zodiac Mindwarp as David Bowie, almost crooning about his girl, referencing Matisse for good measure. Give me this art rock over The Killers or Bloc Party any day thanks.
A triple shot of self-aggrandisement follows: ‘Shake’, ‘Hurricane’ and the depraved ‘The King Of Love’. This is the self-styled “High Priest of Love”, remember, and the latter song especially channels all Zodiac’s perverse dangerousness, following schoolgirls home and having his wicked way with them.
‘Helsinki Motorcycles’ is a half-crooned piece of love poetry set to the background of erm… motorcycles in Helsinki. On first listen you wonder why the hell bother, but over many repeated listens it has grown into a favourite of mine – simple, honest and darkly poetic.
‘Fucked By Rock’ sees Zodiac molesting more schoolgirls, snorting up half of Columbia and shouting from the rooftops how much he likes being fucked by rock. I love this song – it’s one of my favourites for shouting along to as we fire up for a big night of dirty sleazy rock n roll. The more cerebral amongst us may also like to take it as a cautionary tale of what rock n’ roll can do to a once upstanding man…
Of course Zodiac’s violence and danger is largely for cartoon effect, so ’20,000 Women’ is merely a braggard’s boast – not to mention physically impossible, if you crunch the numbers! A fun song though, crass and obnoxious, like many of the very best Zodiac Mindwarp songs.
‘The Devil Drives’ and ‘Call Me Baby’ are Mindwarp-by-numbers, the former featuring riff blatantly stolen from the halls of Marc Bolan, the latter a paen to love as only Zodiac knows how.
Album closer ‘Christmas Eve on the Reeperbahn’ is perverse psychosis presented as spoken work poetry – a bleak dystopian slice of cynicism and nastyness straight from the dark, mean Grinch inside of Mark Manning. “It’s Christmas Eve on the Reeperbahn, I just hope you’ve been GOOD!”.
His name is Zodiac Mindwarp, and he IS rock.