Peter And The Test Tube Babies - PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES

Formed: Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK

Peter And The Test Tube Babies - 1986 Lineup

There's always room for lowbrow in rock and roll, and these punk/skinheads from Brighton are more than willing to provide it. Unusually for most bands of this ilk, they maintained a stable line-up for over fifteen years, singer Peter Bywaters and guitarist Del refusing to give up the ghost, and original rhythm section Trapper and Ogs staying loyal until the early nineties.

Therefore, the lineup for the first fifteen years or so was:

Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Running Like HellPeter Bywaters - vocals
Derek 'Del' Greening - guitar
Chris 'Trapper ' Marchant - bass
Mark Storr-Hoggins (Ogs) - drums

They first reached a nation-wide audience with 'Elvis Is Dead', a rather tame cut on the Brighton scene sampler Vaultage ‘78, which nonetheless earned them a certain notoriety, especially amongst teds, who found reasons to complain about the following lyrics:

Elvis had an heart-attack, 'cos he got too bleedin' fat.
He weighed nearly half a ton, he looked more like a pregnant mum.

Elvis is dead, Elvis is dead
Elvis is dead, Elvis is dead
Elvis is dead, Elvis is dead
Elvis is dead, Elvis is dead

Elvis had a gammy leg, he had a gammy head.
He had a gammy kidney, he's better-off dead.

In August 1977, Elvis met his fate.
But he couldn't get into heaven, 'cos he couldn't get thru the gate.

This inspired a song called 'Intensive Care', which is allegedly where Peter wound up after encountering some irate teds. This was one of two songs they contributed to Oi! The Album, with 'Maniac' and 'Transvestite' appearing on Carry On Oi! the next year. This national exposure led them to No Future, where they released two storming singles, Banned From The Pubs and Run Like Hell.

These tracks cemented their style: exaggerated yobbishness in a faux-Cockney accent, sing-a-long choruses and very nifty lead guitar. Oddly, their debut LP was a live effort, Pissed And Proud, which captures the band in their ideal environment. The 'Banned From The Pubs' single was also noteworthy for 'Moped Lads', which suggest that Peter was maybe angling for another beating.

Their first proper album The Mating Sounds Of South American Tree Frogs saw their run of Indie hits continue unabated. 1983 saw a pair of hit singles in brightly-coloured sleeves, the slightly damp Zombie Creeping Flesh and the exuberant, poppy even, The Jinx, a typically Testies tale of a hopeless fuckwit who brings nothing but bad luck. Tellingly, it was backed by an ode about their famously useless and weedy looking bass player, Trapper ('Trapper Ain't Got A Bird'). The LP itself was a cracking affair, too, with hilarious songs about even more hopeless, socially inept and downright rude fuckwits. And it was also powered by some of punk's best and catchiest gutarisms, courtesy of Del, one of the most underrated guitarists of them all.

Peter And The Test Tube Babies - 1986 Lineup

They remained very popular through 1985's The Loud Blaring Punk Rock LP, which they claimed was actually recorded in 1979, though it wasn't. Most of the songs were written for one of Del's side projects, Walnut & The Wankers, and when their distributor Red Rhino requested a new test Tube Babies LP, everybody felt it was much easier just to use the Wankers' songs than go to the bother of writing new ones. The resulting LP was puerile from start to finish, full of sloppy playing and swear words, and all the better for it. And another youth group was dissected by their razor-sharp (!) wit.

Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Pressed For CashPeter And The Test Tube Babies - Rotting In The Fart Sack - UK 12" 1985 (Jungle - JUNG 21)

Their first international release, Soberphobia, which was a logical progression from 'Mating Sounds', with grander arrangements and slicker production (the closer, ‘Every Second Counts', resembles a punk U2). The yobbishness of olde was still there on songs like 'Keys To City' and 'Spirit Of Keith Moon', but much of the boot boy behaviour was gone. Heck, there was even a maudlin tale of lost love ('Ghost In My Bedsit').

There have been many record since, some of them great - Supermodels (1996) - some of them not - Cringe (1991) - but they remain a popular live act, and show no sign of stopping.

Lineup 1 (1977-1995):

Peter Bywaters - vocals
Derek 'Del' Greening - guitar
Chris 'Trapper ' Marchant - bass
Mark Storr-Hoggins (Ogs) - drums

DISCOGRAPHY

Subsequent studio albums: The $hit Factory (1990), Cringe (1991), Supermodels (1995), Alien Pubduction (1998), A Foot Full Of Bullets (2005), Piss Ups (2012), That Shallot (2017).

Singles / Albums

Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Banned From The Pubs Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Run Like Hell Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Pissed And Proud Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Zombie Creeping Flesh Peter And The Test Tube Babies - The Jinx
Banned From The Pubs
(7", 1982)
Run Like Hell
(7", 1982)
Pissed And Proud
(LP, 1982)
Zombie Creeping Flesh
(7", 1983)
The Jinx
(7"/12", 1983)
Peter And The Test Tube Babies - The Mating Sounds Of South American Frogs Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Pressed For Cash Peter And The Test Tube Babies - The Loud Blaring Punk Rock LP Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Rotting In The Fart Sack Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Wimpeez
The Mating Sounds Of South American Frogs
(LP, 1983)
Pressed For Cash
(12", split with The Fits, 1984)
The Loud Blaring Punk Rock LP
(LP, 1985)
Rotting In The Fart Sack
(12", 1985)
Wimpeez
(7", 1985)
Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Key To The City Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Soberphobia Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Peter And The Test Tube Babies    
Key To The City
(7"/12", 1986)
Soberphobia
(LP, 1987)
Peter And The Test Tube Babies
(LP/CD, 1987)
   

Extraneous Releases

Peter And The Test Tube Babies - ourney To The Centre Of Johnny Clarke's Head Peter And The Test Tube Babies - 3 X 45 Peter And The Test Tube Babies - The Best Of Peter And The Test Tube Babies Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Live And Loud!! Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Totally Test Tubed
Journey To The Centre Of Johnny Clarke's Head
(Tape, 1984)
3x45
(12", 1985)
The Best Of
(LP/CD, 1988)
Live And Loud!!
(LP, 1989)
Totally Test Tubed
(CD, 1989)
Peter And The Test Tube Babies - The Punk Singles Collection Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Peter And The Test Tube Babies / Splodgenessabounds - Live And Loud!! Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Test Tube Trash Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Best Of Peter And The Test Tube Babies - The Albums 1982-87
The Punk Singles Collection
(CD, 1995)
Live And Loud!!
(CD, split with Splodgenessabounds, 1996)
Test Tube Trash
(CD, 1997)
The Best Of Peter And The Test Tube Babies
(2xLP/CD, 2001)
The Albums 1982-1987
(6xCD, box set, 2018)

Promos

Peter And The Test Tube Babies - Louise Wouldn't Like It        
Louise Wouldn't Like It
(12", 1987)
       

Bootlegs

Peter And The Test Tube Babies - The Mating Sounds Of West German Frogs        
The Mating Sounds Of West German Frogs
(LP, 1989)
       

Various Artists

Vaultage 78 - Two Sides Of Brighton UK LP 1978 (Attrix): Elvis Is Dead

Oi! The Album UK LP 1980 (EMI): Rob A Bank (Wanna) / Intensive Care

Carry On Oi! UK LP 1981 (Secret): Transvestite / Maniac

The Secret Life Of Punks UK LP 1982 (Secret): Maniac

Punk And Disorderly UK LP 1982 (Abstract): Banned From The Pubs

UK/DK - The Original Video Soundtrack UK LP 1983 (Anagram): Up Your Bum

There Is No Future (The History Of No Future) UK LP 1984 (No Future): Banned From The Pubs / Up Yer Bum

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie - Out! Out! Out! UK LP 1987 (Anagram): Keep Britain Untidy

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 5 UK LP 1989 (Link): On Yer Bike / Transvestite

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 6 UK LP 1990 (Link): The Jinx

The Best Of Oi! Volume 2 UK CD 1992 (Link): Transvestite

No Future: The Singles Collection UK CD 1993 (Anagram): Banned From The Pubs / Run Like Hell

Punk And Disorderly - Further Charges UK CD 1994 (Anagram): Run Like Hell

No Future: Punk Singles Collection Volume Two UK CD 1995 (Anagram): Moped Lads / Up Yer Bum

The Punk Generation UK 4xCD 1995 (Castle): Maniac / Transvestite

Oi! The Singles Collection Vol 2 UK CD 1996 (Captain Oi!): Banned From The Pubs / Moped Lads / Peaceheaven Wild Kids

Attrix Records - The Vaultage Punk Collection UK CD 1997 (Anagram): Elvis Is Dead

Links

PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES- Official website

WIKIPEDIA

ALL MUSIC GUIDE

 

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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