King Of The Slums
Publication unknown, c. 1987.
King of the Slums are the last ever garage band. Not musically, but in their set-up. Talk about primitive... Their debut single, Spider Psychiatry, came from those almost unimaginable, pre-Letraset days when bands would draw their record sleeves in Biro, then they'd spend hours in a back room, diligently cutting and sticking them together.
"Our budget for the covers was £12," explains vocalist Charlie. "So we took three photos, scribbled a few things down and went to the local shop and did some photocopies... It's not the sleeve that counts, but the record in it..."
Unfortunately, Charlie is a bit naïve. With everybody from The Bodines upwards now making colour videos on foreign beaches, black and white Xerox is sure to send any record to the bottom of the stack, where it will remain unheard and undistributed like Spider Psychiatry.
Thankfully, things are changing. As well as the impending EP, you can hear King Of The Slums on the Head Over Ears compilation LP and the next Debris fanzine flexi.
All the tracks are incredible. Like nothing you've ever heard before. Charlie listens only to classical music and has this amazing concept of the sound he wants. It's all to do with the most manic, feeding-back electric violin ever played. Underneath this there's Charlie singing like a kind of male Hilda Ogden, telling Mancunian stories with a beginning, middle and end.
"The song [on] Head Over Ears is called King Steptoe And The Strangeways Headcase," Charlie informs. "It's about all these weird characters. It's about walking down this street called Temperance Street and seeing this nutter coming towards me, looking like he's just got out of Strangeways."
And have King Of The Slums ever been in Strangeways prison?
"Well, I'd rather not comment," says Charlie. "Let's just say we've been visiting a few times."
King Of The Slums are far more likely to end up in jail than in any kind of charts, but give them a listen. Not only are they the last ever garage band, but they're probably the last really original, truly independent band to come out of Hulme - or anywhere.
King of the Slums
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