Counterculture guru, author, NME journalist and musician, Mick Farren arrived at Stiff in 1977 along with Larry Wallis and the group he ‘mentored’, the Pink Fairies. The Deviants already had five releases under their belt, including 1970’s Mona - The Carnivorous Circus. Mona perfectly crystallized Farren’s outlook – hippy revolution in psychedelic resolution – but it didn’t necessarily make listenable pop music. But if you were tuning in, turning on and dropping out, like the writers for the counter culture ‘zine International Times you just didn’t care…
“The greatest problem with the album is that Mick, on Germaine Greer's assertion if not his own, is not a brilliant singer,” I.T. wrote in their March 1970 edition. “One shouldn't pay too much attention to the quality of the product though, because Mick is playing games on a bigger pitch than the pop field. So if you think Mick can’t sing and the back-up band’s a bore that's your cop-out for not bothering to get beneath the surface, and a lousy cop-out at that. Let's get back to the revolution…”
Both I.T. and the Deviants’ hippy dream didn’t last for long and, on arriving at Stiff, Farren could see all too well that punk was in and his contemporaries were about to come in for a very hard time. But his Screwed Up EP (LAST 4) was one step ahead. Farren re-recorded an old Deviants song – Let’s Loot The Supermarket – in a new 1977 rocked-up way and infused it with homages to his new love of horror books and films.
It worked. “The EP had been sired somewhat by Mickey’s sudden realisation that not only was he not scorned by the new wave, (but) he was actually treated with a measure of respect,” wrote the NME in 1978. “You get people like Mick Jones telling you when you’re both drunk how he used to go and see The Deviants at the Roundhouse when he was 14 or something,” Farren told the paper. “I hope it doesn't make me sound like Lord Sutch saying, ‘Oh, we were doing all that stuff nine years ago’ - but it’s sort of true…” The late 00s finds Mick Farren an active blogger and author of Who’s Watching You? - The Chilling Truth About The State, Surveillance and Personal Freedom.