AKA: ARTHUR COMICS
Formed: London, England, UK)
Like the Moors Murderers and The Pork Dukes, London's Snivelling Shits were - at the time - a mystery band who attracted a fair amount of press interest amongst those who wanted an answer to the simple questions: who were they, and did they really have no shame? Rumours at the time suggested Vibrator John Ellis was a Shit, and indeed he was, albeit briefly.
Their singer Giovanni Dadomo's day job offered a clue: he was a Sounds journalist, and it turned out one of the other Shits was one of his scribe pals, Pete Makowski. The Shits were never a "proper" band, and at various times included producer Steve Lillywhite on bass and Hot Rod drummer Steve Nicol. They kicked up a nasty racket in someone's garage and released the classic, certifiably insane Terminal Stupid (b/w 'I Can't Come!') single in late 1977. "Setting back the cause of militant feminism back ten, maybe fifteen years", said one critic. Both songs are superb identipunk characterised by the unceasing snotty vocals and complete lack of finesse. The B-side, a six minute ode to drug-induced impotence, is wonderful.
Damaged Good's I Can't Come is a welcome rummage in the archives that probably didn't make it to Mary Whitehouse's turntable very often, with ditties about teenage sodomy ('Only 13') and the ancient mysteries, like "isgodaman!." As a matter of fact, "isgodaman!" had initially appeared on the Streets compilation with the band listed as Arthur Comics, apparently because the Beggars Banquet boss didn't want the name Snivelling Shits in the cover of his label's first LP!
Their music is super scratchy, lo-fi garage punk built on repetitive riffs, over which Dadomo sing-speaks a string of dodgy one-liners. However, there's more to it than that: production-wise the chief influence is dub, with layers of echo and weird sound effects. 'I'm Waiting For The Man' is a re-written as a homage to a British soap opera ('Crossroads'), while the John Cooper Clarke-style 'I Want To be Your Biro' is a yearning love song told from the viewpoint of a cheap writing implement.
Funny, vicious, stoopid and charming, this band is not to be missed.