Monday, July 29, 2013

British Rocker/Writer Mick Farren, R.I.P.

Mick Farren's Vampires Stole My Lunch Money LP
We're sad to have to report on the death of British rocker and writer Mick Farren. Performing Saturday night, July 27th, 2013 with a new line-up of his legendary 1960s-era cult band the Deviants, Farren passed out on stage and couldn't be revived. No cause of death has been reported; Farren was 69 years old.

Farren came to prominence as the founder of anarchistic rockers the Deviants, a proto-punk outfit that took its cue from the satirical rock of the Mothers of Invention and the psychedelic metal of the Stooges. The band released three albums between 1967 and '69, the best of which – 1967's Ptooff!! – is considered a legitimate cult classic. The band was part of a thriving London music underground that included Pink Fairies and Hawkwind, but when tensions with the other band members reached a boiling over point, Farren left music temporarily to become a rock critic.

Writing for the noted U.K. weekly New Music Express (NME) as well as the underground publication International Times, Farren made a name for himself as an insightful critic and music journalist, but he couldn't stay away from making music for long, and in 1978 he recorded a solo debut Vampires Stole My Lunch Money with a number of friends, including Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson, Pink Fairies members Larry Wallis and Paul Rudolph, and fellow NME writer Chrissie Hynde, who would later form the Pretenders and find the sort of mainstream success that Farren tried to dodge. Farren would go on to record a number of albums over the ensuing years, both solo and with one form or another of the Deviants, as well as musical collaborations with artists like Wayne Kramer (MC5) and Lemmy of Motorhead.

Writing remained Farren's first love, however, and he published nearly two-dozen well-received novels over his lifetime. Farren also penned eleven non-fiction books, including four on Elvis Presley, and books on the Rolling Stones and Gene Vincent; more recently, Farren was a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. A gifted writer and thinker, Mick Farren should be remembered as a dreamer, a satirist, social critic, philosopher, and underground icon. 

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