Sunday Old School: Lawnmower Deth
Self-parody has been something of a tradition in heavy metal since the early 1980s when such television shows as "The Comic Strip Presents… Bad News" and films like, "This Is Spinal Tap" made fun of the lyrical content and fashion in heavy metal. Subsequently, some bands were formed to solely mock the genre, even if they were metal fans themselves. One of the best examples of such a group is Lawnmower Deth, a thrash metal outfit from Ravenshead in Nottinghamshire, England. The band was formed in 1987 by Chris Flint and Joseph Whitaker along with School mates Pete Lee, Steve Nesfield and Chris Parkes, who all took up bizarre and comedic stage names such as Concorde Faceripper (Nesfield,) Qualcast "Koffee Perkulator" Mutilator (Lee) and Explodin' Dr Jaggers Flymo (Flint,) amongst others. They made their debut recording as part of a split album with Metal Duck and named their side of the record, "Mower Liberation Front."
The band’s side of the album was surprisingly well received and the positive responses allowed them to record a full length studio album, which came in the form of 1990’s. "Ooh Crikey It’s… Lawnmower Deth." As well as their own songs, the band became known for their satirical take on other artist’s hits such as "Crazy Horses" by The Osmonds and perhaps most famously, the Kim Wylde smash, "Kids In America," which Wylde later claimed to enjoy. The album was well received by fans with a sense of humour and a second album, "Return Of The Fabulous Metal Bozo Clowns" followed in 1992. It was around this time that they began to produce music videos, which like the music, were tongue in cheek in nature and humourous.
Lawnmower Deth then found themselves on the receiving end of a critical backlash when they released their third album, "Billy" the next year. Owing to the lack of interest in metal music at the time, the band approached this album with a pop punk style in the same vein as the likes of Green Day and The Offspring. The record sold poorly and turn outs for live shows were abysmal, on top of long time fans voicing their displeasure with the album’s direction. As a result of these factors, the band decided to call it a day shortly afterwards.
Fifteen years later however, the group announced that they would be getting back together for a one show supporting Welsh metalcore band, Bullet For My Valentine in London. The show went well enough for the band to be offered a slot at the popular Download Festival at the legendary Castle Donington, an offer which was rarely repeated the next year. Since their reformation, the band has continued to make sporadic live appearances, with most of these being intimate club shows and festival performances, a trend which will continue this year when they hit the Sophie Lancaster Stage at Derbyshire’s, Bloodstock Open Air Festival. Regardless of how they are viewed by the humourless, the young or the ignorant, Lawnmower Deth certainly deserve a mention when it comes to the British thrash metal scene, not least for continuing the English tradition of self-deprecation. They may not receive the same attention as countrymen Onslaught and Sabbat, but they’ll always be considered the killer clown princes of comedy metal.
Lawnmower Deth - "Did You Spill My Pint?"
Lawnmower Deth - "Sumo Rabbit And His Inescapable Trap Of Doom"
Lawnmower Deth - "Buddy Holly Never Wrote a Song Called We're Too Punk"
Lawnmower Deth - "Kids In America"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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