In the late '60s, the Deviants were something like the British equivalent to the Fugs, with touches of the Mothers of Invention and the British R&B-based rock of the Yardbirds and the Pretty Things. Their roots were not so much in the British Invasion as the psychedelic underground that began to take shape in London in 1966-1967. Not much more than amateurs when they began playing, they squeezed every last ounce of skill and imagination out of their limited instrumental and compositional resources on their debut, Ptooff!, which combined savage social commentary, overheated sexual lust, psychedelic jamming, blues riffs, and pretty acoustic ballads -- all in the space of seven songs.
Their subsequent '60s albums had plenty of outrage, but not nearly as strong material as the debut. Lead singer Mick Farren recorded a solo album near the end of the decade, and went on to become a respected rock critic. He intermittently performed and recorded as a solo artist and with re-formed versions of the Deviants.
by Richie Unterberger
The third and, for the time being, final Deviants album is also, according to frontman Mick Farren, the record that they should never have made. Writing in his 2001 autobiography, Give the Anarchist a Cigarette, Farren observes that even the album's title encapsulated the group's state of mind -- "so creatively tapped out we couldn't even come up with a snappy name for the damned record." He is being harsh. While The Deviants, No. 3 is still a fascinating glimpse into the state of the British underground in 1969.
A few of the songs are indeed as unrehearsed (and certainly undeveloped) as Farren has since complained -- "Death of a Dream Machine" is little more than a jingle, when it ought to be a masterpiece. But it's also a considerably more coherent album than the group's speed-freak monster mash reputation might allow you to expect, and it doesn't even sound that horribly dated. At its most seething, "Billy the Monster," the sinister Zappa-esque chant with which the album opens, captures the archetypal hippie-freak. Then, skip over the somewhat Airplane-y "Broken Biscuits" and "First Line," and you reach "The People's Suite" -- and what could be more brilliant than a suite that lasts just two and a half minutes? "We are the people who pervert your children, lead them astray from the lessons you taught them":
Again, Zappa hangs heavy over the proceedings, but if the tabloids of the day ever needed to have their worst fears confirmed, the Deviants were pleased to oblige. Musically, The Deviants, No. 3 hangs in a void somewhere between the early Edgar Broughton Band, with whom they enjoyed the wildest rivalry, and the incipient Pink Fairies, to which all the members bar Farren soon fled. Culturally, however, it is a brutal reminder of that moment when the '60s dream teetered on the brink of the precipice, and the planet went to hell in a handcart around it.
by Dave Thompson
1. Billy the Monster - 3:26
2. Broken Biscuits - 2:10
3. First Line (Seven The Row) - 2:44
4. The People Suite - 2:24
5. Rambling B(l)ack Transit Blues - 5:37
6. Death of a Dream Machine - 2:50
7. Playtime - 3:06
8. Black George Does It With His Tongue - 1:20
9. The Junior Narco Rangers - 0:28
10.Lets Drink To the People - 1:32
11.Metamorphosis Explosion - 8:57
All songs by Deviants
*Mick Farren – Lead Vocals
*Paul Rudolph – Guitar, Vocals
*Duncan Sanderson – Bass And Vocals
*Russell Hunter – Percussion, Vocals
*Tony Ferguson – Organ
*Tony Wiggens –Lead Vocal On "First Line"
*David Goodman –Backing Vocals
*Jenny Ashworth – Vocals