Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cadaver Finesse – Allegedly no recordings (circa 1982)

Aha! And it is mystery band time as we explore the enigma that is (was?) Cadaver Finesse. There are no videos and there are (allegedly) no recordings. This might seem at first glance to make this a fairly pointless entry, but I think it important both for the sake of completeness, and also to save overly enthusiastic Goth train spotters like myself from wasting their time searching for that which probably does not exist.

After extensive research (this is blogger’s code for “I Googled it”) I found a most excellent interview conducted in 2007 by Alex Ogg it turns out that Cadaver Finesse was in fact something of a spin off from fanzine Panache, itself an early project of one Mick Mercer Esq. who would later rise to a fame of sorts as Gothic Rock’s prime, and for many years, only, serious journalist.

They kicked off in 1977 under the charmingly subtle and suave moniker of Spermatic Chords. By 1981, we find the Chords supporting bands like The Cravats and The Dancing Did. These are both bands that when one reads “Gothic Rock” (Mercer, Pegasus, 1991) one can’t help but gain the impression as being bands the Mighty Mick was quite dreadfully fond of. Indeed, Cherry Red’s advert for their re-release of Dancing Did’s And Did Those Feet (2007) cites Mick as naming the Dancing Did as his favourite English band of all time.

The name changes in 1982 to Cadaver Finesse, which reportedly had a quite unusual instrumentation as noted by Mick in his interview with Alex Ogg:

MICK: “We added a second drummer, Paul. Eric was left-handed, Paul right. Together they’d create a drum sound unlike that which you’d normally hear, like a monstrously, impossibly dextrous single drummer playing the same thing, apart from the floor toms. It was weird post-punk stuff, but people seemed to like its adventurous spirit even though it was slightly shambolic, and all went well with more gigs, until people started bickering. I couldn’t stand the aimless approach and it fell apart, which was a shame as Neil was shaping up to be quite an inventive guitarist and the rhythmical approach was exciting.”

Mick gets coy at this point when Alex asks;
“Any chance of hearing any MP3s of this stuff, Mick?”
And Mick replies:
Spermatic Chords or Cadaver Finesse MP3s? When I say ‘not in this lifetime’, that’s the optimistic version.”

This should be an end to it, but for my recent Face Book discussion with Mick Mercer:

James Von Sutekh Will there be a photo book of Cadaver Finesse?
30 January at 04:27
Mick Mercer No, there will not!
30 January at 04:28
James Von Sutekh Ohhh. *petulantly kicks the gravel*
An MP3 download then?
30 January at 04:32
James Von Sutekh I honestly, totally, cross my heart, not to upload and review...
*crosses fingers behind his back*
30 January at 04:48
Mick Mercer There aren't any. (*phew!)
30 January at 05:47

And so, nothing remains. On the lone and level, sands stretch far away.
Not that that stopped the wily old bugger from immortalising them in his first book.

The original 1988 edition (Ominbus Press). More recent re-releases 
bear alternate cover art and many additional photos.

But wait!
There are snippets floating around. There is apparently an interview in Mick’s Punk Interviews Volume 2 (Mercer, Self Published, 2009). This seems to have been exhumed from an issue of Panache and conducted by someone called Kim (presumably Panache contributor Kim Igoe of punk outfit Action Pact) and there may even be photos. I really must get hold of Mick’s various books of compiled interviews – I daresay they’d make for very interesting reading.

A final tantalising morsel lies in a throwaway line by Mick to Alex Ogg;

I know where the tapes are buried.

Is he joking? It’s difficult to believe that some of the band wouldn’t have rehearsal tapes or demos squirreled away somewhere, and given the nature of the internet, it’s equally difficult to believe that this material won’t surface sooner or later.

Line Up:
Mick Mercer (vocals & bass), Nick (bass), Neil (guitar), Eric (drums), Paul (drums)

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