May 17 2009

The Cadillac Babies are released

The following is reproduced from the original Stortbeat press release, recently rediscovered in a shoebox in west London. At last, and once more, the true story can be retold again.

1 Armagideon Time: Raine fought the law and the law won

Exhibit A: The Cheque

After a 15-year legal battle, Trigger Raine, the notorious manager of The Cadillac Babies, has finally been forced to release the Babies’ first and final album, The Moordown Sessions.

Raine had duped the Cadillacs into signing an exclusive £1million deal with Stortbeat Records in the winter of 1986 – however the Cadillacs hadn’t read the small print. Under the deal, the £1million went to Raine’s offshore bank account in Jersey with none going to the Cadillacs. In fact the only payment the Cadillacs ever received from Raine was £2.50 each from their first gig in Weymouth. The crime only came to light when video footage of the £1million deal was released to the media – the shots clearly show Raine agreeing to pay the Cadillacs £1million.

The video footage was used against Raine in Bournemouth Crown Court during his trial for fraud. He was also tried for council tax evasion, non-payment of water bills, non-payment for electricity bills, non-payment of milk bills, producing counterfeit Nike trainers plus allegations that he paid a plasterer just £10 to do his wall. The Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop charges that he’d raided his daughter’s piggy bank.

As the judge jailed Raine for three years, he also ordered Raine’s Jersey bank to release the tapes of the Cadillac Babies’ only visit to a recording studio, back in early 1987. When asked by the judge if he had any comment to make, Raine said, “I made the Cadillac Babies – they were my invention.”

2 Drive! Countryboy And The Used Car Salesman

Ears. As recommended by Shane McGowan

Ears: differences

Raine first got involved in the music trade in the late ‘’70s when he founded Stortbeat Records and promoted the Bishop Stortford punks The Epileptics. He was responsible for marketing their first single, The 1970s Were Made In ‘Ong Kong/Hitler Was A Nazi and successfully got them to No 4 in the charts at Dicks’ Disks Record Shop in Bishop Stortford.

On the back of the success of The Epileptics, Raine moved to Weymouth and soon identified some new talent in trash band called The Used Car Salesmen. Raine had wanted to model the band on the Ramones – he recruited ex-goth rocker Chunky Hughes as the frontman. Hughes had told Raine that he’d co-wrote I Wanna Be Sedated with Joey Ramone – this later turned out to be a complete lie and Hughes was sacked.

Raine then brought in Ears Hall – he’d come recommended from Shane McGowan – but the only problem was that Hall couldn’t sing. Raine then tried Hall on drums but Hall’s unusual rockabilly rhythms didn’t quite fit the band’s style. Hall was then roped in on harmonica but again musical differences ruled and Hall was offered the role of saying “Drive!” at the start of Brand New Cadillac. Sadly, because of timing differences, Hall’s involvement wasn’t to be.

On the eve of the first gig of The Used Car Salesmen, Hall returned to Bristol amid rumours that Joe Strummer was in the city looking for him as he prepared to reform The Clash.

3 Unplugged: Never Let Them See You Play

The very bass

The very bass

Faced with this crisis, Raine reshuffled the pack. He brought in Graham David Parker Esq, a young lad with an obsession for mince and drumming. Parker would later become the inspiration for the classic Cadillacs hit, Crabman. Raine asked Fingers Palmer to move up from rhythm guitar to take on vocals. He’d found Palmer working on a farm and turning out for a lame punk outfit, Obvious Action. Raine decided that for this first gig he’d call the band Countryboy And The Used Car Salesmen.

A chance meeting on Weymouth’s premier surf beach brought Tough Tim Woolcott to Raine’s attention. Woolcott was a former world surfing champion but Raine thought he could play bass and Raine proved right. Woolcott developed one of the most unique bass techniques in the history of rock and roll – his down stroke pluck is still talked about today.

Raine saw the nucleus of The Cadillac Babies in this line-up but he wanted to be sure. So he brought himself in on rhythm guitar for the first gig of The Used Car Salesmen. But Raine’s involvement was truly the greatest rock ‘n’ roll swindle, as he never plugged in his guitar. A true Svengali, he appeared on stage with Countryboy And The Used Car Salesmen in December 1984 to mime to Wasted Life, Brand New Cadillac and C’mon Everybody. From his onstage position, he came to the following conclusions:

  • Woolcott was tough but he should drop the overcoat and wear a leather jacket.
  • Palmer had fast fingers and could sing a tune but needed a haircut.
  • Parker wasn’t right – his hair was orange and he ate too much mince.

4 The Cadillac Babies are born

Colbert Hamilton championed The Cadillac Babies

Colbert Hamilton: cheers

The drummer issue was solved by the appearance of Slim Steve. It was rumoured that he was the fifth Ramone. He’d denied that he was one of “da bruddas” but there as an uncanny resemblance with Joey Ramone. Raine brought in Slim and the trio was in place, but Raine didn’t like the band’s name. As for Parker, he hitched up with a psuedo hippy–mod outfit called Look Left – the band consisted of the gothic Hughes on lead vocals, a hermit-like Julian Gurr on guitar, a bloke called “Tish” and Johnny Wilson – a size 13 Mod shoe man with unusual toes. The last known whereabouts of the band was Switzerland, where they’d gone arty and were supporting Bob Geldof – it sounds a bit Swiss but it’s true.

Back in Weymouth, Raine was looking for a name for his new trio of Slim, Fingers and Tough. The new moniker came from the Black Elvis, Colbert Hamilton. Tough had roadied for Hamilton back in the US and on a chance meeting on Weymouth High Street, Hamilton suggested one of his song titles – Cadillac Baby – as an idea. It worked – and rock ’n’ roll would never be the same again.

The Cadillac Babies’ first gig took place in the spring of 1985. Raine put them top of the bill at The Chapel in Weymouth. Raine still wasn’t convinced if the formula would work so he tried a few experiments. He trawled the streets of Weymouth for some sassy women with rock ’n’ roll hips and voices. Two girls came forward – their names were never known but Raine dubbed them “The High School Harlots”. They came, they sang, they went down well, but Raine felt they weren’t right and it’s alleged he sold them to Barry White and they’re with him to this day.

Raine also tried a guest vocalist that night – Nick Slob. Slob’s style was slobbish and Raine felt that Slob’s burger grease breath wasn’t in tune with the Babies but he couldn’t be ruled out for the future.

5 No Cash From Chaos: The Stortbeat Empire

Fingers and Tough on TV

Fingers and Tough on TV

The Cadillac Babies gigged continuously for the next 18 months. They made several television appearances – The Pipe and The Tube – and also made a couple of videos, most notably Crabman and The Winston Avenue Movie. The camera-shy Raine appears in the Winston Avenue production when he infamously signs the £1million cheque. There’s a controversial appearance by a spliff toting Young Lad, although the Crown Prosecution Service viewed the tape and decided that no further action should be taken against the Letchworth Liar.

Nick Slob also makes a cameo appearance but more importantly he does the camerawork – an art he honed in the world of Mini rallying. Also joining the team on these collaborations was Johnny Chong. Chong came to the band after being sacked as Billy Idol’s roadie. Idol took offence when the Penarth punk started promoting himself as a “Billy Idol Lookalike DJ”. Chong was a valuable recruit – he became chief roadie (Ears Hall was also on the books but Raine sacked him after he drank all the rider). Chong’s natural musical ability also helped the band – his skill at tuning a guitar brought water to Fingers’ eyes.

The manager, the band, the harlots

The Magnificent Six

In the meantime, the Stortbeat empire grew. Raine brought several other bands in: The Binmen, Gary Parr Cooper And The Extremely Professional Musicians and Bontempi Slim (this last outfit was in fact Slim from The Cadillac Babies playing greatest hits on his bontempi organ – his version of Thriller is still talked about today). But as Stortbeat spread, so did dissent in The Cadillac Babies. Despite all the TV appearances and gigs, they didn’t see the colour of Raine’s money. The band were pissed off when Raine arranged for a guest guitarist, Gary The Janitor, to play at one of their gigs after which Raine presented the band with a bill for loaning Gary his guitar. The band had also signed a five-album deal with Raine and yet had not been into a studio.

6 Hey Ho, Let’s Go! The Moordown Sessions Tape

Rock ’n’ roll would never be the same again

Rock ’n’ roll would never be the same again

With the band threatening to leave the Stortbeat stable, Raine broke the habit of a lifetime and opened his wallet. His heart hasn’t recovered from that incident – he is still scarred by the memory of the £10 he paid Alan The Technician to man the control room.

Anyway, on that afternoon in the radio studio at DIHE, there was an earthquake in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. The Cadillac Babies let rip their vicious blend of rock ‘n’ roll surf punk reggae with songs such as the Tough and Fingers collaborations Crabman, Brand New Cadillac, Take No Prisoners and Police And Thieves plus Slim’s co-efforts with Joey Ramone, Blitzkrieg Bop and Do Ya Wanna Dance. But as the session ended, Raine arrived and took the master tape. The Cadillac Babies went on to do a couple more gigs – most notably Alison’s Party (which featured Nick Slob’s last appearance with the Babies and new numbers such as The Guns Of Winton, Should I Stay Or Should I Go and Wasted Life).

The final gig by The Cadillac Babies was in May 1987 when they did a CND benefit at the Charivari Club in Bournemouth. Raine was enraged. The idea of doing a gig for no money hurt him to the core. He vowed that The Moordown Sessions Tape would never see the light of day, but following today’s conviction, you can now skin up, chill out and remember, Crabman’s coming…

The Cadillac Babies are go go go

The Cadillac Babies are go, go, go