Grabing the Martian by the dangly bits: Fettdog Interview

There are some people who nail the 3 minute A + B bootleg (mash up). But there are others who become better known for something longer and more ambitious. Soundhog is one, and Fettdog is another.

1. How the devil are you and what’s the weather like in Colchester?
I’m very well thanks, and the weather this morning is like a meteorological mashup – some sun, some rain, a light dusting of fog…..a kind of OOT*, OOK* day really!

2. How did you get into mash ups?

Without realising it, I’d started playing around with the concept of A+B way back in 1990 thanks to a program called Quartet on the Commodore Amiga. I’d figured out how to use brief samples on it (due to memory limitations I think the longest sample you could have was about 7 or 8 seconds if my memory serves) but after playing around with it for a few weeks I lost interest and went back to making real music and joined another band (I’m a bassist).

Twelve years later I was on and somebody posted a link to a track called Like I Absolutely Love You that had paired the instrumental of Scritti Politti’s Absolute and the Justin Timberlake’s vocals to Like I Love You. The link led me to something called Go Home Productions and for the rest of the afternoon I got no work done, but I did discover the work of Mark Vidler and from there the wonderful world of bootlegs (as they were called back then!) and I’ve never looked back.

3. What are your earliest memories of Boomselection/ GYBO?

I discovered bootlegs just a little too late to have any real history with Boomselection, although I was aware of it from the GYBO forums, but my earliest memories of GYBO are akin to those of a kid who has just discovered that it’s Christmas every day! After downloading all the GHP tunes I could find I grabbed just about anything going, by people with strange and wonderful names like McSleazy, Elektric Cowboy, Miss Frenchie, Eve Massacre, Ultra396, Essexboy, Soundhog, Tim (Instamatic, No No) and his myriad aliases, likewise Don (Blo Up to name but one), and many more.

As well as the tunes, though, I loved the banter and was soon participating myself, even finding myself justifying Nickelback’s existence for a whole week at one point! The sense of community on the GYBO forums was like nothing else I’d come across previously, a potent mix of insults, creative support and the sense that we were all doing something a little bit special, sailing into (mostly) uncharted waters at the time. Though the GYBO community was international, I soon realised that some of the bootleggers in striking distance of London were doing more than chatting on a mongboard, they were actually getting together at a place called Bastard!

4. Why was club Bastard special? [and don’t say it was small!]

I think I speak for a lot of the other bootleggers of the time as well, but for me Bastard was special because it was like nothing I’d ever come across before. I was a veteran of rock clubs, and indie clubs (and the occasional trendy club when my hand was forced), but this basement bar off Charlotte Street was something else. I think October 2003 was my first Bastard, and I remember turning up in The One Tun on Goodge Street and suddenly realising that I hadn’t got a clue what any of my fellow bootleggers looked like. Fortunately I sported a long, black leather Matrix style coat at the time and had said as much in the Bastard thread on GYBO, so after standing on my own for an hour or so, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a voice said “Are you Fettdog?”. Said voice belonged to Mark Vidler and so he was my first real life contact with the Bastard crowd.

The really special thing about Bastard was that it existed not for money, or fame, but because Mike and Jonny Cartel loved the scene enough to make it happen, and everybody else loved it enough to turn up and play for free on the tiny stage, or drink ourselves stupid while writing on each others faces, or smoke foot long stogies (as Elektric Cowboy and I did one memorable evening), or just dance our knees to the ground to the most unlikely combination of tunes possible.

There has never been anything like Bastard since, and I don’t think there ever will be again. As Mike Cartel said, it was like a ‘perfect storm’ – the unique combination of the people involved, the emergence of bootlegs (the existence of which are far too commercial now to ever replicate the continual surprise factor that existed back then), the banter on the GYBO boards and the fact that we all did it for the love of it, no other reason, just the sheer joy of making our own little slices of bastardised pop! My one regret is that I never got to play at Bastard – I was actually lined up to play twice, but both times (at the Asylum and the Macbeth) Bastard was cancelled! C’est la vie.

The most special thing about Bastard, though, are the friends that I made there and on GYBO, many of whom are good friends to this day.

5. Tell us about Radio Fettdog and your book

Radio Fettdog originally started way back in November 2005 and ran until March 2007, and came about because I’ve enjoyed making hour long mixes of my favourite records and decided to share one a month with the world. They were a mixture of bootlegs and ‘proper’ songs and used to go down well. I did seven one hour shows called Rock City Nights that were all about 80s rock music, and on which I actually talked about why I loved the songs I was playing. This in itself was born out of the book I was writing at the time, I Was A Teenage Rock Fan, which began as an autobiographical look back at growing up in the Nottingham rock scene between 1985 and 1991, but turned expanded to become part coming of age, part social history, and which I’m currently shopping around agents while also considering going down the ebook route and publishing myself (which I did in print form with my To Die For book about horror movies, available at all good online bookstores!).

I’ve recently resurrected the Radio Fettdog brand as I’m concentrating on music again after several years of full on writing, and have released four monthly mixes to date (details on my website ). I’ve been DJing again too in the last few months, and so taking a leaf out of Mike’s book, myself and another local DJ/musician are launching a new monthly music night in Colchester on Friday 7th December called MARS – Mashups, Alternative, Rock, Social (check out the facebook page – ) – and are hoping to capture some of the wonderfully anarchic spirit of the old Bastard nights!

6. Although Skank Like Me is my favourite boot of yours, you’re probably best known for your War of the Worlds epic boots. Tell us how those came about. Hardly an obvious choice of material.

I must admit I still love Skank Like Me, and have fond memories of putting together the horn solo from about 20 different samples to create what I hope sounds like something cohesive! Of all the things I’ve done, though, it is my War Of The Worlds bootleg that I’m most proud of. Like a lot of people my age (easing into my fifth decade!) I loved Jeff Wayne’s original music version as a child and always secretly wished that I could do something like that one day. Fast forward to 2005, and having been an active bootlegger for a couple of years I discovered that a full acapella was going to included on the Deluxe Collectors Edition, and so an idea formed in my head that maybe, just maybe, I could create my own version using this pella and a load of my favourite songs.

Grabbing the martian by the dangly bits, I did just that (over a period of a couple of months), releasing the original version in late 2005, and then in true George Lucas fashion I went back and tinkered with it to create the Redux version which was released in April 2006 to coincide with the first tour of the Jeff Wayne stage show, and which is the one that currently floats around the internet. Though I don’t really do many bootlegs these days (save for my annual contributions to Cheekyboy’s Halloween albums), I’m still toying with having one last crack at a definitive version, perhaps for the 10th anniversary of my original one, but who knows!

That said, if I never do another bootleg, I’m happy for War Of The Worlds to be my bootlegging legacy, and I still get the occasional email about it even now from people around the world who are discovering it.

Fettdog – War of the Worlds

Fettdog – War of the Worlds Pt2

* OOT – Out of Tune [GYBO slang]; OOK – Out of Key [GYBO slang]

~ by acidted on November 2, 2012.

2 Responses to “Grabing the Martian by the dangly bits: Fettdog Interview”

  1. […] here’s mine (clicky here!), along with a picture from Halloween 2006 when I played at Tim Bearcub’s Mutant night. Enjoy, […]

  2. […] Fettdog […]

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