Over the weekend British author, political observer, career anarchist, party animal, journalist, and musician Mick Farren - best known as the leader of the '60's counterculture rock band The Deviants - died on Saturday night (7/27) after collapsing onstage during a concert with his longtime band at London's Borderline club. He was 69 years of age. Pre-dating the British punk movement by a decade, The Deviants have been accurately described as the first true anarchist rock band. Following close in their footsteps were The Pink Fairies - the band that The Deviants spawned when formed by three other members in 1970. The Deviants, who first formed in 1967 and broke up in 1969, would get back together intermittently over the decades. There is a great quote by Mick Farren that has been circulating online since news of his passing surfaced in which he famously told an audience, "This is British amphetamine psychosis music and if you don’t like it you can fuck off and listen to your Iron Butterfly albums!"
Always a master of words Farren turned most of his energies to writing about music and culture back in the early '70s sometime after releasing his solo album Mona – The Carnivorous Circus, which included his version of "Summertime Blues" (below). He never gave up music completely but focused on writing primarily, contributing to such British underground, counterculture publications as The International Times, as well as (later) for such music mags as the NME and The Trouser Press. He has written dozens of books over the years including both fiction (fantasy lit been his forte) and non-fiction, including several books on Elvis Presley and his entertaining autobiography Give The Anarchist A Cigarette. Up until recently Farren had lived in Los Angeles, where he wrote for the Los Angeles CityBeat from 2003 to 2008, before returning back to his English homeland a few years ago.
As well as tributes planned in Britain, there will also be a wake at The Cat & Fiddle in Hollywood on Saturday, August 3rd at 3pm.
Below are a series of random videos related to Mick Farren - truly a one-of-a-kind individual. One is a look back at when Farren and company hijacked The David Frost Show. Another great one is a live concert clip of the Deviants, or Social Deviants as they were also known, at a free concert in London's Hyde Park in which they demonstrate how they both predated and clearly influenced the British punk scene not only in philosophy but also in sound.
Mick Farren Frost Show Freakout When Hippies Fooled World
The Deviants Live @ Hyde Park 1969
Mick Farren's Aztec Calendar with Tim Rundall
Mick Farren - Summertime Blues
Mick Farren & The Deviants "Screwed Up"