Posts Tagged ‘Professor Paul Edwards’

Gone to the Dogs

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

It’s more than fifteen years since Teenage Dog Orgy ground to a sudden unseemly halt. We were writhing around on the floor of an Edinburgh nightclub playing an incongruous version of Feed The World. More accurately, we were welding the lyrics of Feed The World onto one of our soundscapes – for soundscape read god-awful racket – and somehow along the way it had morphed into F**k The World. The management considered this to be in bad taste and, as the saying goes, pulled the plug on us. This deterred us not one jot, we soldiered on gamely with an acoustic guitar and four-part, ahem, vocal harmonies. We had settled into a Zen like repetition of the F**k The World refrain, when bouncers started appearing from all corners, beady of eye and firm of intent. I like to think that the chorus of boos that greeted our eviction from the venue had everything to do with the bouncers over zealous manhandling of the four of us, and nothing whatsoever to do with the performance that had gone before.  

It had all started so well. We conceived the band as a break from our day jobs in bands that were trying to achieve some sort of commercial success i.e. compromise. There would be no compromise with Teenage Dog Orgy. The rules were simple: no songs; no rehearsals; no concert should last longer than 20 minutes; we would all take equal amounts of amphetamine sulphate before going on stage so we could all play at a synchronised breakneck speed; on leaving the stage, we should ensure that amps were at full volume and all guitars leant against them, thus creating hurricanes of deafening feedback whilst we exited the venue through the crowd and the front door; we would not return to the venue. Oh, and employ a great sound engineer to make sense of the senseless. Our mission statement was – leave them wanting less – how could we fail?

And for a while we didn’t. Knickers were thrown on stage at our debut, which was attended by rather a lot of girls, causing us to immediately regret that rule about leaving the venue and not returning. Our fourth gig numbered among its throng three eminent professors from Edinburgh University, one of whom had written an almost unreadable academic treatise on Bob Dylan. We were in the middle of playing Noise No3 when I decided to vacate the stage and have a chat with them. I handed my guitar to a guy in the front row, telling him to, “Just thrash it.” Professor Day surveyed the crowd, observing wryly, “Isn’t it Barthes who postulates that if there is such a thing as artificial intelligence then there must also be artificial stupidity?” Whilst Professor Nicholson offered a metaphorical bon mot about, “Deconstructing and reconfiguring the wheel.” At this I noticed that the chap I had left playing my guitar was doing a decent job of deconstructing and reconfiguring said guitar. He was bouncing it on the floor and catching it on the way up – it has to be admitted the resulting noises were in no way detrimental to the overall racket that was bleeding from the stage. I headed back to rescue the much-abused instrument.

Things rapidly deteriorated. The late John Peel announced on air that if anyone could get the wonderfully named Teenage Dog Orgy into a studio he would play the results. A journalist, referring to one of the major league noise merchants of the time, said, “They are not fit to lick the mighty Teenage Dog Orgy’s boots.” It was never meant to be like this, we were meant to be dreadful. Properly, comically, dreadful. We went into the studio. At this point we had never heard ourselves. The live stuff was just a blizzard of feedback, speed psychosis, alcohol and egos. This was different. At the playback we all looked dumbstruck and then burst out laughing. We were dreadful! The unheard lyrics, when not borderline obscene, were downright actionable and the music…well, the music. If molten lead seeping through urine soaked mattress had a sound, this would be it. The journey from here to being barred from our last ever gig was swift and sure. We had achieved what we set out to achieve. We went out in a blaze of mediocrity.