Sunday Old School: Fudge Tunnel And Nailbomb
Earache Records is without a doubt one of the biggest record labels in metal music. They made their name by signing some of the best extreme bands around, but also branched out into more experiemental areas at times, including with today's featured band, Fudge Tunnel. Fudge Tunnel were formed in 1988 in the English city of Nottingham, where the original lineup of singing guitarist, Alex Newport, drummer Adrian Parkin and a bassist known only as, Mark, would rehearse above a working men’s club. After Mark decided he’d be more comfortable playing guitar, the group recruited a new bass player named, David Ryley, before Mark left altogether. The trio’s first release was a self-titled EP, which hit the shelves via Pigboy Records in 1990 and was very well received by the music press. They built on their attention by joining up and coming industrial metal outfit, Godflesh on a tour and releasing a second EP named, "The Sweet Sound of Excess," both of which helped them to gain a record deal with Earache, who were based in Nottingham and had made a name for themselves by signing such popular acts as Napalm Death, Carcass and American death metal group, Morbid Angel.
Their debut album, "Hate Songs in E Minor" drew controversy before it was even released. Just three weeks prior to the record’s release, the Earache Records office was raided by the Nottingham Vice Squad, who confiscated any "offensive material" which included the original artwork for the album (as well as, according to Carcass frontman, Jeff Walker, an Alice Cooper poster.) The setback forced Fudge Tunnel to using live images for the cover art instead (charges were eventually dropped and the original artwork appeared on t-shirts.) The album itself met a very strong reception from metal fans and featured a unique sound which remains very difficult to pinpoint, as well as some unique song titles and two covers, both classic rock staples, namely, "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream and "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent, who the album was also dedicated to. Among the album’s admirers was Sepultura frontman, Max Cavalera, who was so impressed with the record that he invited the band out on tour with Sepultura, though Newport would later express his distaste that the tour seemed to have lumped Fudge Tunnel into the metal category.
After releasing a four track EP in 1992 entitled, "Teeth," the band got to work on their sophomore effort, which surfaced a year later in the form of, "Creep Diets." The new record was noticeably more mainstream inclined than their previous output, which quickly earned them comparisons to the then huge Seattle grunge scene. The group reportedly were amused by this to begin with, but tired of it very quickly and their relationship with the press continued to sour. Although the album was considered commercial, it was a very varied and eclectic work, drawing influences from old hardcore bands such as Discharge in some areas, alternative rock in others and keeping up with the noise that they’d performed on previous releases.
Following "Creep Diets," Newport began jamming with Max Cavalera, mostly playing old punk songs, before the two began writing original material together, which culminated with the album, "Point Blank," which they released under the moniker, Nailbomb in 1994. The record was completed with the help of Max’s brother and fellow Sepultura founder, Igor Cavalera, as well as bandmate Andreas Kisser and Fear Factory guitarist, Dino Cazares and was well received by fans of both bands, owing to its constant intensity and fluid blend of both group’s styles. Nailbomb would only perform one small live show, as a warm up to their performance at the legendary Dynamo festival in Eindhoven, Holland, which featured a number of guests including D.H. Peligro from the Dead Kennedys (with whom they performed the DK classic, "Police Truck") and Evan Seinfeld from Biohazard amongst others. The show would later be released as a live album entitled, "Proud To Commit Commercial Suicide," though this would be the final effort from Nailbomb, with Newport and Cavalera returning to their respective bands soon afterwards.
Fudge Tunnel then became one of the Earache artists to be licensed to Columbia, along with other acts such as Godflesh and the major label made were adamant that their next release be a commercial success. The band completed a third album, "The Complicated Futility of Ignorance" but it was delayed for weeks by Columbia, who were unhappy with the harsh, angry tones of the album, which had less commercial avenues than "Creep Diets" presented, though they eventually released the album in 1994. After the release of the third full length record, Fudge Tunnel decided to call it a day. Although the reasons are somewhat unclear, it’s most likely owing to the usual record company politics that never understand the talent they have in their hands, along with the group’s distaste for the music press and perhaps a general consensus that they had run their course and after three high quality albums, it was best to stop at their peak. Whatever the reason, Fudge Tunnel left behind a legacy of great music and cemented their place as one of the more interesting bands in the heavy spectrum of the 1990s.
Fudge Tunnel - "Tweezers"
Fudge Tunnel - "Grey"
Nailbomb - Entire Dynamo Performance
Fudge Tunnel - "Rudge With A G."
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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