RUDIMENTARY PENI

Formed: Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, England, UK

Grant Matthews - bass, writing
Nick Blinko - vocals, guitar, artwork
Jon Greville - drums

One of the most imaginative anarcho bands of the 80's, Rudimentary Peni were lumped in with the Crass crowd and did indeed attack the status quo with a decidedly left-wing slant, but their slogans were a lot less generic than their peers. Their world view fired by the mental problems and literary leanings of singer/guitarist/former art student Nick Blinko - whose incredibly intricate, spooky artwork was also a constant unique feature - and the more earnest political leanings of bassist Grant Matthews, both of whom were the main songwriters.

Their astonishing and original music was only part of their mystique: they rarely gigged and never toured, they did not dress like punks, they did not have pictures of themselves on their records, they rarely did interviews in the mainstream press, and they left long gaps in between records. The aura of gloom and darkness that hung around them was not helped when, just before recording their first LP, Matthews was diagnosed with cancer (he survived) and when in the early 90's Blinko was detained in a psychiatric hospital under Section 3 of the 1983 Mental Health Act. It was there he wrote the band's third LP.

Rudimentary Peni evolved out of Jon and Blinko's former band The Magits, an experimental keyboard-heavy group which released the 'Fully Coherent' EP on their own Outer Himalayan label in 1979. A second Magits multi-track single (A Pawn In The Game) was recorded in 1980 but never released. Rudimentary Peni formed soon after, taking their name from a science lesson in which Matthews was told "that in the fetal stage the clitoris is a rudimentary penis." They made their live debut in early 1981 at a village hall just outside of Watford, where they played with the S-Haters and Soft Drinks, and their London debut that September, supporting Subhumans and Flux of Pink Indians. Neither gigs were successes for them, with the punks failing to get their heads around their image or their songs.

1981 also saw the release of their first EP, the startlingly manic Rudimentary Peni, also released on Outer Himalayan. Cramming twelve very fast and very short songs into as many minutes and housing them in Blinko's highly distinctive black and white artwork, itself suggestive of an unstable, obsessive state of mind, the record is a classic. Blinko's vocals are mad enough without somebody deciding to master the original single at the wrong speed (too fast), but this makes them seem even weirder and more highly strung. A second EP, Farce, recorded in summer 1982 and released on Crass, sticks to the formula and has a Crass-ier type sound (Penny Rimbaud produced) but sacrifices nothing else. Hilarious scary classics, the pair of them, they were collected on The EP's Of RP in 1987.

THE BILE BALLRudimentary Peni EP Artwork

A stagnant pool of bile contains as much interest...
...As the bible
And is much less harmful
And is much more helpful
And is much more reverened
And is much more irreverent

TEENAGE TIME KILLER

Teenage time killer,
When it gets old it can wish it was young
Teenage time killer,
Skull of James Dean haunts the dream of the teen
Teenage time killer,
Youth of nausea, youthanasia

Teenage time killer,
When it gets old it can wish it was young
Teenage time killer,
Skull of James Dean haunts the dream of the teen
Youth of nausea, youth of nausea, youthanasia

HIM HYMN

For fifty-four years he worked hard
On five foul factory flaws
Boredom ranking low on his list of fears
Though they say his tears they cried dry tears

He's no teenager
He's a real neat rager

He's got trust encrust in lust
Though his high finance is low low low
He may look like a heavy metal dealer
But out on the road he's a true freewheeler

He is an buddhist saviour
He is an christian aider

He is an buddhist saviour
He is an christian aider

CRAZY CHAIN

Crazy crazy chain we're strung up again
Umbilical cord around the neck and pain is sane
Crazy crazy chain gagged & bound inane
Crazy crazy chain label underachieve & plain

Black statue looms in doomsday rooms rap
Fetish worship motivation life-span trap

Crazy crazy chain we're strung up again
Umbilical cord around the neck and pain is sane
Crazy crazy chain gagged & bound inane
Crazy crazy chain label underachieve & plain

Black statue looms in doomsday rooms rap
Fetish worship motivation life-span trap

Crazy crazy crazy crazy chain!

COSMETIC DISEASE

Being honest is no means of survival
Avoid your inner-feelings like the plague,
This is what it takes to comply with the images this structure will accommodate,
But things aren't what they seem when they're partially hidden behind walls of pretence built for peace of mind.
The barriers between us are forever maintained by our acceptance of the roles others choose to define.

In a world of competition life's portrayed as a contest where we're forced to live by making gains at others expense,
But no-one's really gaining when perpetual conflict's the result of our relationships based on pretence,
We don't need this cultural cosmetic division it upholds the self-interest on which the system feeds,
A deconditioned consciousness of mutual respect is the only way to cure this cosmetic disease.

Rudimentary Peni Farce EP Art

ABOVE: Foldout poster from the Farce EP

September 1983's Death Church varies the assault somewhat, with some songs at a much slower tempo, a handful of longer tracks and better production, but retains the same grey guitar barrage and general weirdness. On the 21 songs the band lay into standard punk subjects - sell-out punk rock stars ('Rotten To The Core'), the government ('Slimy Member'), religious intolerance ('Army Of Jesus'), multinational corporations ('Quarter Dead') - and some very strange ones. What could 'When You Are A Martian Church' possibly mean? The LP was a hit, reaching No. 3 in the Indie chart and rmsining in the charts for three months.

ROTTEN TO THE CORERudimentary Peni - Death Church - UK LP 1983 (Corpus Christi - CHRIST IT'S 6) A-Side

Have you Realised that Rock Stars
Always seem to lie so much?
John Lydon once said he cared
But he never really gave a fuck
Said he'd use the money he made
So that people would have somewhere to go
But now he lives in the USA
and Snorts Coke after the Show.

Why is it that Rock Stars
Always seem to lie so much?
Joe Strummer once said he cared,
but he never really gave a fuck
Said he'd use the money he made
To set up a radio station to make the
Airwaves full of something more than Shit
Have you noticed we're still Waiting?

You must realise that Rock Stars
Always seem to lie so much
Some will always tell you that they care,
But they don't really give a fuck,
Still you suckers don't ever learn
That rock stars deal in money not truth
It's good business to exploit you
Just look at Lydon or Strummer for Proof.

ALICE CRUCUFIES THE PAEDOPHILESRudimentary Peni - Farce Artwork

smash cash smash trash,
not long now to the sub-teen revolution,
the winding up's gone on too long,
babies bite back,
alice crucifies the paedophiles

COSMIC HEARSE

Floating round the Universe
Fucking in our Cosmic Hearse
You Know time don't ever End
Cant evade those dead Zen Men
You're the meat in Big Buddha's Dinner
One day you'll eat us all Up too
One day is now.

THE CLOUD SONG

The Black Cloud gathers smothers my Brain
As i cry another tear in this struggle of Pain
Another hurdle to clear is it all the same
Is the conquest of pain my only Aim?

The Pain has got to Stop, it's eating into me,
My apathy upholds this misery,
this hatred for myself will Destroy me
If i don't to give it the love it needs

Have you ever realised you must love Yourself
if you don't than can you love anybody else?
Nobody can reach you through your personal hell
You'll just eat yourself away in your tortured shell.

Ditching politics for Poe (and Lovecraft), intellectual psychosis and inscrutable musings on the mysteries of life and death, the long-awaited Cacophony defies criticism with over fifty "songs", many of them bitty noodles that are over and done with in a matter of seconds, some of them deliriously catchy and fervid (e.g. the manic opener 'Nightgaunts'), often descending into utter gibberish. As close to true madness as rock music ever gets, this is funny, frightening, unsettling, infuriating, frustrating and downright fascinating - punk rock's 'Troutmaskreplica'.

Rudimentary Peni - Cacophony - A-SideRudimentary Peni - Cacophony CD Art

ABOVE: Cacophony: label for the original UK pressing (left), cover art for the original CD (right)

NIGHTGAUNTS

Hairy flesh impinges from all directions
Somnambulistic ramble around the room huddle in a corner
Giant pink fleshly worm wolf's head round the door
Dark petalled sensitive plants scuttle over carpets
Black statuettes animate square heads firestokers
Skewer me in flame, paradise lost dore aient no rowboat

Nightgaunt nightgaunt, hellish barb bifid
nightgaunt nightgaunt,impossible bat wings
nightgaunt nightgaunt, they took my father today 1697
nightgaunt nightgaunt, but science foils our phobias
nightgaunt nightgaunt, noiseless faceless for faces frighten neighbours
nightgaunt nightgaunt,bloated somnambulistic shoggoths plash
nightgaunt nightgaunt, hpl paraphrased ad nauseam
nightgaunt nightgaunt, obscene clutch indigestion? gripe? cancer!
nightgaunt nightgaunt, recurrent nightmare of death
nightgaunts nightgaunts, epistolarian oneupmanship/soliloquy-lecture

hallo sonny! i suppose you know...

Blinko, Brand and Greville took a turn for the ultra-minimal on 1995's Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric, a typically bewildering record with just twelve songs, all of them built on simplistic, monochromatic guitar riffs repeatedly endlessly. Written three years before it was recorded, while Blinko was in the loony bin, the subject matter relates to Blinko's delusion that he was "Pope Adrian 37th" — a reference to Pope Adrian IV. The lyrics themselves make early Discharge seem positively wordy: 'Pogo Pope', 'Muse Sick (Sic)', 'Vatican't City Hearse' and the brilliantly-titled 'We're Gonna Destroy Life The World Gets HigherAnd Higher' consist of the titles being chanted over and over; 'Hadrianich Relique' is an instrumental; 'Iron Lung' is nothing more than coughing noises. Even the band members hate this irritating and boring release.

Further records beginning with 1997's Echoes Of Anguish, continue to be released, more often than not multi-song EP's similar to the first two singles.

Nick Blinko - The Primal ScreamerNick Blinko -  artwork 1Nick Blinko -  artwork 1

Blinko has also written a novel, 'The Primal Screamer' (1995). Above - art by Nick. On the left is The Primal Screamer. in the middle is an image from Cult Nation, and the image on far right is from the Henry Boxer Gallery

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

Rudimentary Peni - Rudimentary Peni Rudimentary Peni - Farce Rudimentary Peni - Death Church Rudimentary Peni - Cacophony  
Rudimentary Peni
(7", 1981)
Farce (7", 1982) Death Church
(LP, 1983)
Cacophony
(LP/CD, 1987)
 

Extraneous Releases

Rudimentary Peni - The EP's Of RP        
The EP's Of RP
(LP, 1987)
       

Bootlegs

Rudimentary Peni - Catastrophe Rudimentary Peni - The Underclass      
Catastrophe
(LP, 1982)
Live (7", 2001)      

Various Artists

1984 And All That... UK Tape 1980s (no label): Bloody Jellies

A-Sides (Part 1. 1979/1982) UK CD 1992 (Crass): Sacrifice / Cosmetic Plague / Subdued Violence / Only Human / The Bile Ball / Farce

Anti-Capitalism: Anarcho-Punk Compilation Vol. 4 UK CD 2007 (Overground): Teenage Time Killer

Links

PISSING IN A POD - Rudimentary Peni fanpage with discography, interviews etc

GRIND AND PUNISHMENT - High Priests of the Death Church: A Rudimentary Peni Retrospective

OUTSIDER ART - Nick Blinko

BRITISH OUTSIDER ART

 

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

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

COMMENTS

Back To Top