THE SEARCH FOR XERXES
Johnny Moped’s “lost album” from 1990, finally gets a reissue!
I like this album, Johnny hates it. But why? I think it’s more “Johnny Moped” than any other album out there. What other album has entirely penned JM songs/ditties like ‘Soldiers’ and ‘Moped crash’ plus ad-libs and all the other little interludes in between the tracks that are pure “Moped”.
Johnny thinks it sounds like a “disco” album, which it does in places, but, hey-ho, it was 1989 and it was the age of Stock, Aitken and Waterman.
At the time there had been no Moped band since 1985-ish and certainly Slimy hadn’t been in the band since the early ‘80s. Also, there was only one album out there, Cycledelic so there was a lot of songs destined for a follow up album that never happened and it looked like we were going to be a one album band.
So, with so much unreleased material and a chronic lack of “mopedisum” I decided to embark on a little project…
This album came out in 1990 on Deltic records but the deal was that I had to produce a finished master tape that could go straight to the cutting room and be pressed, so I borrowed a 4-track Teac and a Roland sampler and Roland drum machine and got to work.
Some of the tracks sound like they were recorded in someone’s bedroom, that’s because they were, but Captain recorded some great stuff on his 8-track where I had recorded Johnny “live” and handed over a tape for him to work with (‘I’m a Spasm’, ‘Soldiers’, ‘Cut across Shorty’). Also, he provided some decent backing vocals on other tracks (‘Corpse Boogie’, ‘Hiawatha’).
The album came out in 1990 and to promote it we put the band back together… in a different format.
The Johnny Moped Big Band did a series of gigs where we started with two guitarists, bass drums and Johnny for three songs and then swapped to different musicians during ‘Wild Breed’ for another three songs. Then we’d bring the whole lot together for the rest of the set.
The photos on the back cover are taken from the “live at the Cartoon” video. Notice Johnny’s original Moped jacket had long gone missing, and he was wearing a grey tasselly “thing” I made for him. He didn’t like it at all, so I donated my own studded leather jacket and he’s worn it ever since.
The front cover is studio shots taken of Johnny for the album that were never used at the time (how did we end of with such a bad drawing of him instead on the original album?!)
So… this has been lovingly re-mastered by Jez Larder after Captain managed to retrieve most of the material from the very old DAT tapes. Some of the “interludes” were missing, and I’ve had to get them off the vinyl (see if you can spot ‘em!).
Dave Berk May 2022