I try my very best to make this ever-increasing in size small corner of t’internet a reasonably easy place to navigate, which is why there are sections where you can click on each ICA, where postings are bunched up in calendar months and where every singer/band appears in an index.
The Badgers have two entries in said index. The first dates from 9 November 2015 in which SWC relates the tale of said band supporting Pop Will Eat Itself in Leeds back in 1994. The song used to illustrate the piece was called Glen Hoddle’s Ghost.
Click here to be reminded of the fun that was had that day at the expense of our great and much missed friend, Tim Badger.
The second posting dates from 5 May 2019. It’s one of our saddest occasions as SWC finds the strength and the words to tell us the news that Tim had succumbed to a sudden heart attack some three months earlier.
A few months after the Nov 15 posting, a comment was left behind leading to a post on a different blog about a band called The Badgers. A real-life band as opposed to the line-up that emerged from the brilliant mind of SWC. I had actually forgotten all about the real band until I recently stumbled across a 12″ EP of theirs on Discogs….
A bit of on-line research indicates that The Badgers were signed to the Norwich-based Wilde Club Records. The label was a spin-off from The Wilde Club, which started in January 1989 as a way to bring indie singers and bands to the town, with many of the nights taking place at the Norwich Arts Centre, a converted church that had originally been built in 1349.
The list of band to have played at The Wilde Club is ridiculously impressive and includes Inspiral Carpets, Bob, Ride, Colorblind James Experience, Boo Radleys, Moose, Slowdive, Catherine Wheel, My Bloody Valentine, Mudhoney, the Shamen, Nirvana, Curve, Cud, Mega City 4, Ash, Sleeper, Cornershop, Johnathan FireEater, China Drum, 60Ft Dolls, Heavenly, Snuff, Dawn Of The Replicants, Half Man Half Biscuit, Tiger, BabyBird, Muse, Oasis, Doves, Snow Patrol, Delgados, Urusei Yatsura, Prolapse, Coldplay, and Lemonheads.
Yup… Nirvana back in the days when they were touring hard in an effort to be noticed. It was on 30 October 1989, and they were support to fellow grungers, Tad.
Returning to The Badgers. The 12″ arrived, to my astonishment and delight (in equal measures) with three enclosed cuttings; one was a Wilde Club Records press release dated 27 May 1992, one was a copy of a half-page feature of the band in the NME on 20 June 1992, while the last of them contained cuttings of five other passing mentions in the music weeklies.
The press release advises that the band came to the attention of the label as far back as 1990 when a tape, under the name of The Railway Badgers, was sent in with the hope of securing some gigs at the Wilde Club. A later demo in 1991, by which time there had been a couple of personnel changes and the dropping of the Railway prefix, led to a deal being offered.
One of their songs, Cycleface, was included on I Might Walk Home Alone, a Wilde Club Records compilation and indeed was played and praised by Mark Goodier during one his evening shows on BBC Radio 1. Another fan, according to the press release was Jon Fat Beast of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine fame (or infamy to be more accurate!).
The press release concluded with the info that the band consisted of Robin Jeynes (guitar), Darren Long (bass), Mike Jeynes (drums) and Emma Hewitt (vocals), along with details of two June dates for gigs in London and a teaser that the band has been interviewed for an upcoming feature in Melody Maker.
The NME feature is reasonably informative, in that the band talk of them coming from a rural area outside of Norwich and mentions that they are largely self-taught rather than coming through from playing Bowie or Velvet Underground covers, before stating:-
“…they make a sound which The Sundays might have grasped had they mended chainsaws for a hobby instead of pressing flowers. Well, not quite. According to their debut Picnic EP, The Badgers are purveyors of sparkling guitar scapes which are full of strange twists and surges of power; it’s more an unpleasant alley than pleasant Valley, where the odd likes of ‘Cyberface’ demand repeated plays.”
Here’s the four songs on the EP:-
A review of the EP said it was the best record Wilde Club had released in a while where a Clare Grogan-meets-Cocteaus concoction blends the helter-skelter of Picnic with the jazzy feel of Cycleface.
The fact, however, that there was no release beyond this EP, nor was any Melody Maker cutting included, makes me think The Badgers called it a day in mid-1992. They would have been young enough to start something fresh – lead singer Emma was just 18 years old at the time – but a quick, though far from thorough, on-line search throws up nothing.
Hearing the songs for the first ever time, almost 30 years on, I’ve come to the view that as these things go, it’s a fairly decent collection of songs, albeit somewhat much indie-by-numbers. And if it turns out you don’t like them, the fact the entire EP takes just under 12 minutes to listen to means you haven’t had too much time stolen that you can’t ever get back.
It’s certainly worthy of a posting on its own, but to avoid any confusion with the later ‘band’ of the same name, they are now in the index as Badgers (2) and given there’s nothing else of theirs out there, it will be a one-off appearance on this ever-increasing in size small corner of t’internet.