If anyone had told sixteen year me way back in 1988 that thirty years later I’d be listening to a new release by a band whose Mowdeer demo was sent my way by one of the many similarly thrash and hardcore obsessed bellends I used to trade tapes with, he’d probably have nodded his head vigorously and said “Of course you will” before completing said sentence with some dreadfully trite quote about slamming or moshing or skating ‘til death. But sixteen year old me was a bit* of a dick and if any of you ever followed his advice or took anything he ever said to heart, then all I can do is apologise. Him and eighteen year old me, with some help from twenty year old me, are the main reasons that at forty six, I’m staring into the abyss of old age without a discernible career or pension and with an increasingly bleak future waiting in the wings to gobble me up. I hate sixteen year old me.
Thing is, much as I’d have liked to have written Lawnmower Deth off as just another novelty crossover act when I first heard them, I couldn’t because one of the tunes on that tape, Watch Out Grandma was, and is, one of the most agonisingly simple and excruciatingly catchy songs I’ve ever heard. That one song made me stick with the chaps, and while they focussed on being as zany, wacky and slightly offbeat as they could instead of actually learning to play properly, there was something hopelessly endearing about them, They were like the crossover version of the three legged puppy that desperately wants to play with the big dogs; a bundle of excited energy and stubborn enthusiasm. And when you’re young, that’s the kind of thing that appeals to you, that makes you champion a band and sing their praises, because deep down, you know that they’re just like you. That and the fact that Watch Out Grandma is still one of the catchiest bloody songs that’s ever been written by any thrash band, anywhere.
Anyway, fast forward thirty years, a couple of records, a collaboration with Kim Wilde** and an extended hiatus, and they’re back at the thrashing. Recorded earlier this year during their Download performance, Live in the East…Midlands! captures the Deth chaps doing what the fifty something year old versions of themselves do best; having a laugh and playing some top notch, ridiculously silly, old school crossover. And it’s bloody brilliant. The set lists on the CD and DVD are exactly the same***, which means that you can watch the addled thrash lunatics bouncing about at Download, while various GWAR-lite props make an occasional appearance in the background, from the comfort of your sofa or you can listen to them in the car on your way to yet another, tiresome, dreary day at the office and let them fuel your fantasies of stapling your bosses balls to his desk after you’ve told him to stick his latest absolutely pointless productivity report up his arse. Either way, Live… is a testament to the fact that age is just a number when it comes to thrashing up a storm and that really, you’re only as old as you feel and watching the Lawnmower Deth chaps do their thing, makes me feel like a sixteen year old again. At least it would if my knees weren’t giving me gyp and my sciatica wasn’t playing up. And yes, Watch Out Grandma is on here, and features an appearance of the four geared mower of the Apocalypse and some bloke in a dress pretending to be an old lady, which is, if you’re of a certain vintage, hilariously bloody funny. As sixteen year old me was so fond of saying, Thrash ‘til Death… Tim Cundle
*By “a bit”, I obviously mean massive. Complete bloody dickhead.
** What I wouldn’t give to collaborate with Kim Wilde.
***Seriously, there are people out there who don’t understand that the audio on the CD and the footage on the DVD will be exactly the same because they’re taken from a recording of the same show. Some of them have emailed me about that stuff, and when they start emailing you, they never stop. It’s an endless litany of stupidity that makes your brain hurt and your soul weep. So that’s why I explain that shit, to stop the dum-dum’s getting in touch. And the fact that you had to do a double take and you’re reading this right now, that means that you’re not one of the morons and you won’t be adding your name to my list of time wasting bastards who must be killed any time soon.