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Band Information

From Bristol, England. Members were Bear (vocals), John (guitar), Carl (drums), Nick (bass). The band existed from 1979-1986.

Lots more information on the band at Bristol Record Archives

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Interviews

(from Final Curtain #13, July 1985)

Jumpin Bear Cow-Puncher of Lunatic Fringe was interviewed in his luxury 10 bedroomed skip behind Bristol's Tesco store in early May (1985). Questions were asked by Uncle Paul.

Okay then, so we start of with this issue of FC with an interview with Bristol's answer to Bucks Fizz.. Lunatic Fringe. Yeah, I know they've been in the zine once already, but I think they deserve more space, and besides, old Bear has sent me a large sum of money to do a second feature, so... No, seriously, though, they tend to get overshadowed alot by the other, more 'famous' Bristol bands, like Chaos UK, Disorder, Onslaught, etc, so that's why they're included here.

P: In an interview I did with you back in 82 for FC3, I asked you what you hoped to achieve as a band, and you said you'd like to be able to live off the band and get off the dole... Do you still hold these same views?

B: Yes, I think the band do still want to stop being suckled by the state, and live off our own backs. The Subhumans do it now, and I'm sure many American and European bands do it as well. Two of us do have sort of jobs now, but would much rather not work for other people, but for the band!

P: You also said you'd like to be able to play to non-punk, non-converted people. Have you done anything of the sort, yet?

B: Yes, again, we have played to quite a large number of "non punks" and such like. We try to reach as many people as possible. Aware or unaware, it doesn't matter if they're punks or not. We have played at student gigs, @ gigs, squat gigs, and with non-punk bands, and enjoy them as much as peope who know us.

P: Well, since the interview 3 years ago, you've had two EP's and a studio tape out. How's the sales figures?

B: The first EP (Who's in Control) has now sold out of all 3000. (I sold the last 200.) The tape (Forcible Drugging Agenda) at last count was about 100-110. That's through 'Manic Tapes'. And the new EP is now 750-800, but should sell a lot more. Well, I hope so, anyway.

P: What's the feedback/reaction been like to these releases?

B: Um, I still get 7-8 letters a week, and that's for the last year or two. Trouble is, I've changed address 3 times, so some people's letters might be rotting in a derilict tramp.. no, house, actually!

P: Your first EP was on Ressurection Records, wasn't it? Whatever happened to that label? As far as I know, you were the only release on that label. What happened to it?

B: Yeah, it was the only release, luckily for other bands. It was mostly a rip-off on Ressurection, and they were just in it for the money, baby! It folder when Vice Squad split cause two of 'em ran the record label, and they had to sort out a new line-up for their band!

P: So what's the deal with COR? Should we expect more slabs of grooved plastic, or is it just a one-off deal kinda thing?

B: That all depends on how well this EP sells. Hopefully, we would do a 12" EP next, and definitely doing tracks on at least one COR compilation album.

P: What's it like in Bristol at the moment? How come everyone from there is such a bunch of damn, smelly Gabba look-a-like tramps? (Ha ha ha, only kidding, Gabba, mate!)

B: Cause we're filthy hobos who live in holes and never change our underwear, and drink half meths, half cider. It's well spiffy in Bristol at this time. Demolition Diner and Demolition Ballroom (Grub & Gigs) is a squatted centre, and it's running well. People are getting dirtier.

P: (I can't see how its possible to get any dirtier, but then again, anything's possible in Bristol these days.) Is it true that Disorder and the like go round skips, looking for grub?

B: No, we just steal the skips and live in them, 'til they're empty. There's nowt wrong with getting stuff otta skips. We got hundreds of yogurts, crisps, and old pork pies (pork pies for the dog, of course!) out of our local supermarket skip. Everyone should have a go at it. Its a whole new way of life!

P: Is there any rivalry between the bands in Bristol, or is it just one big, happy family?

B: Yeah, Disorder, Amebix, us, and Chaos UK are all real good buddies. Woooah, yeah!!! I like in the same skip as two of Chaos YUK, and Boobs of Disorder often pops round with a six pack of beer and a few dead rats to chew on, cause we're so hard and crusty. Grrrrrrrr!!

P: You played in Paris last year. That's quite a feat for such an 'unknown' band, really. I've heard several stories/rumours about what happened over there. Tell us once and for all about it?

B: Well, for a start, Nick, our bassist, didn't get to France. He got pissed and got lost on the ferry. Then Steve of Disorder got lost on the train to Paris, because we were nabbed by the French customs, who stole 200 of both ours and Disorder's records, and made us pay 70 pound fine for supposedly "smuggling" them in, and they squirted us with tear gas! All went well then, until gay Paris. Loads of different gangs of skinheads, all with knives, some even with guns! Well, I can tell you, most of us were absolutely pertrified, but it all passed with only "minor scuffles" (full scale fight, that is, in Britain). We had no bassist, so Boobs played for us, and Steve from Disorder just turned up in time to play. T'was a most enlightening visit to foreign lands, and it was the first time I'd been abroad.

P: What's all this about 'The Curse of the Bogman'? It's pretty spooky, if you ask me. Tell us about the song, itself, and all the weird goings on since you wrote it.

B: Oh.. arrr.. There be strange goings on at Fringe manor. The songs all about Bog People. They've been dug up. Three thousand years old, in perfect condition, and they say they're cursed beings. Well, we don't believe in that sort of ghouls and gooks stuff, but then again... Paris, Van packing in, losing our bogman banner... Maybe the curse of the bogs people is upon us now?

P: What's with all this circled 'E' business? Does it stand for anything in particular?

B: This is a very private and confidential question. All I am allowed to say is that it signifies the mysticism of the egg. That is all.

P: Ask yourself a question, then answer it.

B: Bear, how is it that at the age of 22, you still have all your own hair, own teeth, and retained those ruggedly individual good looks? Well, Paul baby, let me say how good it is to be here, and let me also thank the boys backstage, the lighting crew, Hymie (my truly wonderful manager).. blah.. hot wind!

P: What does the future hold for our Bristol heroes, then?

B: Well, ur, um... We've gotta new live tape cominig soon, recorded last month. Hopefully, as many gigs as we can do in the next 4-6 months, and some more vinyl. Yeaaaah! We're gonna be writing new songs that will be a little bit different in style, but still hard hitting, we hope!

P: Anything else you'd like to say, add, or people to thank, etc?

B: Fringe somber thought: Did you know that if you took Scooby Doo as fact, the number one crime in America would be dressing up as a ghost? "If it weren't for those meddling kids..."

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Discography

LUNATIC FRINGE "CRINGE WITH THE FRINGE" 7" EP
LUNATIC FRINGE "WHO'S IN CONTROL" 7" EP
LUNATIC FRINGE "FORCIBLE DRUGGING AGENDA" CS
V/A "RIOTOUS ASSEMBLY" LP
V/A "BE BAD, BE GLAD" CS
lunatic fringe - cringe with the fringe - ep
lunatic fringe - cringe with the fringe - ep - back

'Who's in Control'

Do you run your own life?
Are you in control?
Can you think for yourself
Or only do what you are told?

Do you follow your friends'
Political beliefs?
Do you have to accept it
For the image that you keep?

Politicians, soldiers, whoever's in command,
Without us there is no power in their hands.
They're using us for their own aims,
Can't you understand?
Their lust for power could destroy this land.

Do you head their promises?
Do you listen to their words?
Do you find them honest
Or find them absurd?
Do they spur you to hatred
For the opposite side?
Do you remember their failures?
Do you remember their lies?

Do you think that they're martyrs?
Will they die for your cause?
When they're playing their war games,
Are you only their pawns?
Can you forfeit your image?
Can you open your eyes?
Can you shake off your apathy and rise?

Can you fight for your lives?

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