Post-Rocktoberfest: Terminal Cheesecake – King of All Spaceheads (Jackass) 2LP
Congratulations to those of you who are still reading. You have resisted the urge to say: “If it’s by a band called Terminal Cheesecake, I don’t want to listen to it, even if it’s good!” It must have taken quite a leap of faith. The name “Terminal Cheesecake” immediately conjures up the cheery, beery, dog-shit depths of British indie music from the early ’90s – where bands with names like Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine pedalled anthemic dross to drunken sixth-formers.
So, why would anyone with anything to offer name a band something like that? Reports suggest that, early on, this particular band wrote a song called “Terminal Headfuck” and – back in 1994 – if you had any commercial ambitions whatsoever, you just couldn’t have the word “fuck” in your band name, so…
But the fact that the members of this band (allegedly) chose to call a song “Terminal Headfuck” points straight at the real reason they ended up with such a goofy moniker. The reason is: DRUGS. And lots of ’em, if King of All Spaceheads is anything to go by.
“King of All Spaceheads” , the opening track, reaches its halfway point when a vintage radio announcer cuts in with a very important message: “What you’re listening to are musicians performing psychedelic music under the influence of a mind-altering chemical.” Again, you’d be forgiven for jumping ship at this point. Really, why should you be interested in this bunch of drug-addled goof-balls?
Well, the CD of this album was released by Pathological, the label headed by Kevin Martin, a prime mover in the original UK post-rock scene and the man behind God, Techno Animal, Ice, The Bug and many more genre-melting musical projects. If Martin involves himself in anything, you can pretty much guarantee it will be both heavy and interesting.
King of All Spaceheads is certainly both – a monstrous amalgam of arse-quaking guitar sludge and dubbed-out, post-acid house psychedelia. If it has anything in common with dog-shit indie, it’s only insofar as it sounds like Pop Will Eat Itself finally getting serious. Really serious.
Terminal Cheesecake’s best known single “Oily Hot Knife” (originally from the Jackass E.P.) reappears here, titled “Budmeister”. It’s a genuinely hypnotic melding of drunken brutality and psychedelic mania. “Ginge le Geezer” plays a similar trick but stretches it out until the listener is simply beaten into a state of unwilling transcendence.
The record is pressed on low-quality coloured vinyl, which reduces the sound to little more than crackle and low-end boom. Oddly, it works. The second disc is a one-sided live LP, which gives the impression that Terminal Cheesecake live was an even more murky-yet-heady experience than the recorded version. Among the hare-brained jamming, it features a reggae deejay repeatedly calling out the band’s name. You wouldn’t think he’d want to draw attention to it, would you?
Your chances of finding this excellent record are pretty slim. Check the dollar bin or – if all else fails – you can download the whole thing via Sickness Abounds.