No News is Good News

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

By Chris Twomey for Sky, 5 – 8th November 1987

“We’ve done away with all the Heavy Metal cliches,” Vim Fuego insists. “We just write songs about war, drink, plague and death.”

His group Bad News are fooling no one. But that hasn’t deterred Comic Strip members Mayall, Edmonson, Planer and Richardson (aka: Colin Grigson, Vim Fuego, Den Dennis and Spider Webb) from perpetuating this thin disguise. Their forthcoming UK tour has been constructed on a scale normally reserved for chart-topping acts.

Since they formed three years ago especially for a Channel 4 spoof documentary, Bad News have championed the cause of rock delinquency with admirable consistency. Playing to audiences never less than 3000 (a record in itself), they finally signed to EMI early this year. They released their first single — a ruthlessly dismembered version of Queen’s perennial Bohemian Rhapsody — a few weeks ago, and a nation of music lovers wept when it hit their turntables. Freddie Mercury is reported to have walked in disgust out of the studio where they were recording it. Yet Queen guitarist Brian May is still prepared to assume full responsibility as producer.

“Brian said he was dumbfounded,” says lead singer and guitarist Fuego. “He couldn’t believe it could be done like that. What I always say is, alright, when he plays guitar Brian hits all the right notes, but he doesn’t play them fast enough. I admit I play some of them wrongly, but I play them a lot bloody faster than him.”

Their album Bad News is thrash metal at its most tasteless, punctuated with inter-song arguments and obscenities. For all their arrogant self-confidence, though, Bad News are only too aware of the transience of the music industry. When the time comes they say they’ll quit gracefully.

“EMI have got it all planned,” says Fuego. “They’ve already decided that we’re going to die in a plane crash. There’s a clause in our contract that says when our records stop selling we take off in a plane of EMI’s choice.”