Sunday Old School: New Wave Of British Heavy Metal Trilogy - Ethel The Frog, Dumpy's Rusty Nuts And A II Z
This week in Sunday Old School, we're going to be doing something we've never done before and taking a look at the careers of three different bands. We've established by now that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal had a lot to offer, going back to the early days of the column when we looked at big names in the movement such as Venom and Diamond Head, to more recent editions examining Atomkraft and Tokyo Blade, but there were a number of bands who had very short careers but remain cut favourites amongst the NWOBHM afficianados. Today, we'll be looking at a trio of these treasures, starting with...
Ethel The Frog
One of the strangest names in heavy metal, quite literally, was Ethel the Frog. Their name came from a Monty Python sketch about the Piranha Brothers, themselves a parody of sorts of the infamous Kray Twins. They were formed in 1976 in the Yorkshire city of Hull and steadily built up a strong following in the north, which grew after they gained attention for their first single, a heavy take on the Beatles' classic, “Elanor Rigby.” Shortly afterwards, they joined prestigious company by contributing to the Metal For Muthas compilation series and signed a record deal with EMI, who had recently picked up Iron Maiden. The band released one self-titled album in 1980 before calling it a day soon after.
Ethel The Frog - "Fire Bird"
Ethel The Frog - "Fight Back"
Dumpy's Rusty Nuts
Dumpy's Rusty Nuts are another of metal's most bizarre monikers who were around for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. Unlike many of the other bands from the era, Dumpy's Rusty Nuts have never broken up, although recording is something that's never really come natura to them, having only released two singles, “Just For Kicks” and “Box Hill or Bust.” For the former, they briefly changed their name to Dumpy's Rusty Bolts, as record company execs thought that the word “nuts” could hinder their commercial success, though they soon returned to their original moniker after the single was not a hit. They're still a popular live act today, performing at biker festivals and supporting the likes of Hawkwind and Status Quo.
Dumpy's Rusty Nuts - "Just For Kicks/Route 66"
A II Z
Finally, we come to the most convential of band names in our feature (which isn't saying much!,) A II Z. The group was formed in Manchester in 1979 and began establishing themselves as one of the most popular bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the North West, and for a short time, the country. They were signed almost immediately after forming by Polydor Records, who were eager to get in on the flurry of NWOBHM acts that were being snapped up by labels and they released their full length debut, “The Witch of Berkeley” in 1980. It was actually a live album, recorded at Hazel Grove High School in their home city, but it did not perform very well commercially. They tried to rectify this with the singles, “No Fun After Midnight” and “I'm the One Who Loves You,” but were dropped from Polydor after they also failed to chart. By this point, internal tensions were becoming a problem and soon A II Z, like so many other bands in the NWOBHM movement were put to rest.
A II Z - "Valhalla Force"
A II Z - "Walking the Distance"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.
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Very cool. Thank you for this. Great idea, and really enjoyable.
The lead guitar/singer of Dusty's Rusty Nuts reminds me of a chuffed doppleganger of Woody from COC!