DOUBLE ALBUM : LIMITED EDITION : SUPERLUXURIOUS!
"Hi! There's quite a lot of Toasted Heretic information, lyrics, and some personal reminisces on this very long page, feel free to linger... (We even got Declan to speak.) If you want to contact Toasted Heretic, you can do it through my website, www.juliangough.com (I'm now - cough, cough - an award-winning novelist). I'll happily pass on messages to any of the other lads. Have fun, talk soon..."
-Julian Gough, May 2008
"Toasted Heretic are the Withnail & I of music..."
-Pierce Healy of The Dirty Pictures
(A note, to save you time shopping around... If you're thinking of buying Now In New Nostalgia Flavour, CD Baby are the exclusive online distributor for the physical CD, because Toasted Heretic like CD Baby. We don't stock Amazon, it's too messy. You have to shrinkwrap every copy, open foreign bank accounts, sheesh, what are we, a record label? Of course, if you want digital downloads, iTunes and others can do that, and there should be links to them elsewhere on this page... OK, shopping note over!)
"Toasted Heretic's songs were decidedly outside the mainstream: comedic, obscene, irreverent, anti-corporate, intellectual, and absurd. Gough's flamboyant showmanship contributed to the image. While effortlessly borrowing from Vladimir Nabokov and Stephen Spender, the band found Frank Zappa, Camper Van Beethoven and Rabelais just as influential. In perhaps the band's best-known song Galway Bay, Gough sings:
The sun goes down on Galway Bay
The daughter goes down on me
Her dad's not due till one or maybe two
And I'm as happy as I'll ever be."
Well, after fifteen years of constant, unrelenting effort, Toasted Heretic have finally released Now In New Nostalgia Flavour. Long-awaited is too small a word for it...
Now In New Nostalgia Flavour contains both of Toasted Heretic's impossible-to-get, legendary lost cassette albums, "Songs for Swinging Celibates" and "Charm and Arrogance", each on their own delicious disc.
This is their first time EVER on CD, and bonfires will burn on the hill-tops from Spiddal to Seattle in celebration.
Or, as Ireland's leading newspaper, The Irish Times, said recently:
"Once again, we can swing to the sounds of "Sodom Tonight", "Very Naughty Party", "LSD (isn't what it used to be)", and "Love Theme from 'Yeats: The Movie'"... Let's face it, if - like Julian Gough - you'd written such timeless lyrics as "The sun goes down on Galway Bay / The daughter goes down on me", then why would you bother writing any new songs?"
-Irish Times, 2005
All the early classics are here in their original form, as recorded in Neil's living-room...
There's also a 48-page booklet, containing a full-colour illustrated history of the band, with lyrics, rare photos (many of them extremely embarassing) and behind-the-scenes stories by the band members themselves. (We've reprinted some of those reminisces further down this very long page...) Neil tells of how he recorded the albums, using a toy drum machine made by the people who make Barbie dolls...Aengus shares his photographic secrets (they involve bubblegum)... Julian tells you how to record and release an album for £400...And the mysterious Declan puts down his guitar and speaks, at last! What about? Why of course: guitars. It also contains a Nude Centrefold, for the ladies. And for some of the gentlemen.
The beautifully remastered CDs use Sony's new, retro-look black vinyl finish. You will want to lick (and possibly eat) them, they are so yummy.
We have spent so much money on this splendid reissue that we may well go bust and be put in prison and die there like dogs, but it is worth it because we love you and want you to be happy.
Buy it now! Indeed, buy two, and give one to the next lovely, broken-hearted person you meet, it will cheer them up and save them from despair and possibly death. Oh, yes and tell your friends as well.
(Our principle on "piracy" and copying stuff remains the same as it always was: copy this album for your poorer friends, and make the rich ones buy it.)
"Much beloved of the NME, the Heretics would, in a parallel universe, have been as big as the Smiths... This CD reissue of the Toasties' Songs for Swinging Celibates and Charm & Arrogance cassette albums demonstrates that Gough was capable of Morrissey-esque moments of genius."
-Hot Press magazine, selecting Now In New Nostalgia Flavour
for the Hotlist, September 2005
TOASTED HERETIC : A HISTORY
(This is extracted from the 48-page illustrated booklet that comes with Now In New Nostalgia Flavour. So are the personal reminisces from the band members which follow.)
Once upon a time, in Galway city, in the West of Ireland, there were two little boys called Neil and Declan. They liked Pop Music, and so they began to write Pop Songs together. To their surprise, they found it was as easy as falling off a log. (There is a nice photo in the booklet of Neil and Declan, age 10, falling off a log...)
Their friends Aengus and Breffni soon joined them. Now they were almost a Band. But they still didn't have an egotistical buffoon to stand at the front "singing" and making an awful fool of himself. "Wait a minute," said Neil one day. "What about Julian?" Everyone cheered, and their friend Julian joined the band. (Julian later became an Internationally Acclaimed Literary Novelist, but was at this point a teenaged egotistical buffoon.)
The band practiced in Neil's livingroom, and wrote more songs. Soon they were good.
They played their first Gig on the back of a lorry in the Salthill Festival Band Competition, sponsored by Harp Lager. Toasted Heretic did not hold with alcoholic liquors. Julian drank a nice pint of milk during the gig, and lectured on its many health-giving properties. They did not win the competition, but they were VERY, VERY GOOD, and exciting, and came off stage intoxicated with adrenalin and vowing to do this for the rest of their lives.
And so they set out to record an album... and another album... and another... and another... and they travelled to such places as London, and Paris, and New York... and they knew the love of beautiful women, and the manly companionship of strong, silent men... and they had many adventures, some of which are in this little booklet.
On these two albums, Toasted Heretic are:
LEAD GUITAR: Declan Collins
DRUMS: Neil Farrell
SINGING: Julian Gough
BASS GUITAR: Aengus McMahon
RHYTHM GUITAR: Breffni O'Rourke
Later, when Breffni left, Aengus took up rhythm guitar and Barry Wallace joined on bass.
HOW TO DO AN ALBUM FOR £400
by Julian Gough, singer and novelist.
We were all on the dole. Ireland was banjaxed.
I worked, that summer, in an old Jesuit seminary in Spain, teaching English to the children of the rich. I returned with £400, and opened the Toasted Heretic bank account. We would record and release an album. For £400... We recorded it in Neil's living room, on cassette. Neil's mum made us tea whenever we stopped. Gareth did the sleeve, for £20. (He offered to do it for nothing, but that didn't seem fair.) We printed a few thousand inlays for £240. Just the red and blue, to save £40. We drew in the yellow by hand.
We hadn't enough money left to mix the album onto a 1/4" master tape. So I found the RTE studio in Galway, walked in, and asked could we use their mixing desk, to mix our album onto 1/4" tape. Their tape. Amused, they rang Dublin and asked Ian Wilson, the producer of the Dave Fanning Show, to officially book us in as a Dave Fanning session. We mixed the album to 1/4", they made another 1/4" copy for Dave Fanning, and gave us our precious reel... We had a master, and Dave could play us on the radio. Now we just had to make a lot of albums. But we only had a hundred quid left...
As the bank account emptied and we still had no album, I would lie awake at night, pouring cold sweat. Vinyl was far too expensive (you had to pay for metal pressing plates), CD even more expensive. Cassette, then. So we had a hundred cassettes made, for a hundred quid. But we had no distribution...
So I asked would they take some in Gateway Books on Quay Street. Face out, strikingly sleeved, they sold well. Then Star Records took them... Then, to Dublin by bus, and Comet Records in Temple Bar took fifteen... We sold the first hundred, paid for two hundred more, sold them, paid for 400... Dave Fanning was playing us, and reading out Neil's address! Five pound notes came through the post! We'd send them a cassette and a free packet of Tayto. Soon, we had enough money saved to record another album. Back into Neil's livingroom... His mum put on the kettle. The room was full of love. And Toasted Heretic began to record Charm & Arrogance...
WARNING - THESE ALBUMS ARE EXTREMELY LOW-FI
by Neil Farrell, drummer and producer.
These two albums were originally recorded onto good old fashioned Cassette Tape, the People's Tape, not your fancy reel to reel or inch wide multitrack tape. So this means that although now it is on CD, there are a lot of expensive frequencies missing. But never mind, what they lack in frequency, detail and transparency they more than make up for in attitude. And hiss.
The albums were recorded in 1988 and 1989 in the "Burnt Stakehouse", my front room, on a wonky 4 track cassette based portastudio ( a Tascam 244) which affectionately became known as "twitcher", due to the servos getting shorted, causing the play/record head to twitch in and out of position randomly. We think this was caused by tiny little mites which we would see occasionally running around the controls. One minute you are playing a song, the next a track is being wiped clean of a lovingly crafted guitar or vocal recording. Or drum track...
Aah, the patented Heretic drum sound, how to describe it? Rain against my window? A Tayto bag being whipped gently by a shoe lace?
It was in fact a "Synsonic", a toy drum machine with bashable pads, made by Mattel (famous for their Barbie dolls). The Synsonic was quite nasty but really cheap like everything else on the album (£55 new). The icing on this sonic cake was plugging it into an old record player with a tiny built-in speaker. Dec had ripped the needle out and replaced it with a 1/4 " jack for input. The result was distortion-tastic, as long as you didn't mind regularly having to "pretend" to put on a record after it switched itself off, thinking it had finished playing a record.
The whole recording process had the feel of a "Make & Do" children's TV program.
Julian's xylophone (£7.99) came in a shiny happy blue plastic case, and had the advantage of being able to remove the keys you didn't plan to use, so you couldn't hit them by mistake. Our rubberband sounding bass guitar for Celibates was an ordinary guitar tuned down.
And Julian's microphone... well, he took a job in Supermacs in Eyre Square for a week so he could buy a proper, £60, microphone, but was traumatised after the first day. He went back the second day just to see was it really that bad, and it was, so he left, and bought a horrible red microphone with no brandname for £30 instead.
Thus was Celibates slowly chiseled, with unpromising tools, into the living granite in 1988. And then, in 1989, on Charm & Arrogance, we did it all again, but better. And, somehow, produced what is almost certainly the cheapest classic album in the long history of pop...
It's exactly 20 years since cult Galway band Toasted Heretic played their first gig, on a truck in Salthill, and were denounced in the local papers for blasphemy. Fronted by internationally successful novelist Julian Gough, they went on to release four albums of the most literate, witty and intelligent songs in the history of pop, from early classics like Sodom Tonight to their top ten hit, Galway and Los Angeles, and played their lunatic literary rock to acclaim and bemusement (and shouts of "Libel!") in London, Paris and New York...
They hadn't been sighted since the early 1990s, when their rhythm guitarist Aengus McMahon disappeared from a train en route to a gig in Austin, Texas. (He met a woman, they hopped off the train at her stop in Dallas, got married, and had four children).
Now, Toasted Heretic return, to finally bring out the lushly packaged double CD, Now In New Nostalgia Flavour, which contains their first two legendary, impossible-to-find albums Songs For Swinging Celibates and Charm & Arrogance. Both were originally recorded in drummer Neil Farrell's living-room. Well, his parents' living room...
Hugely acclaimed and hugely influential, but only ever available on cassette, distributed by post and through bookshops, Toasted Heretic's early albums pioneered an Irish, home-recorded, anti-industry aesthetic which has since gone mainstream with the success of such bedroom masterpieces as Damien Rice's O.
Guitarist Breffni O'Rourke has since become a professor of Linguistics in Trinity, Aengus McMahon an award-winning photographer, and singer and lyricist Julian Gough an internationally successful novelist, published from Sweden to Japan. "One reason we took a decade off was so I could revolutionise the novel," says Julian. "I've spent the past seven years writing my masterpiece, it's just finished, and I think I've done it. But it's very lonely work, and it's brilliant to get back on stage with Toasted Heretic. Pop music will always have this advantage over novel-writing: no matter how well you're writing your novel, excited women never throw their underwear at you."
SO MANY PHOTOGRAPHS...
by Aengus McMahon, guitarist and photographer.
Ah, the photographs. So many photographs. Where did it all start?
Well, it was the bubble-gum. Bazooka Joe bubble-gum, to be precise. It was 1979.
I bought the gum, saved the wrappers (ten of them, I think), and sent them off with a postal order for 50p (to England). Back in the post, nine weeks or so later, came my very first camera.
It was a thing of beauty. Well, it was a thing of plastic, but I treasured it as if it were gold.
Finding myself in the music business sometime later (after university took a dim view of my non-attendance at lectures, failures at exam-time, and the less than believable accounts presented to them by the Photographic Society), it was only natural for me to record the events of the band on camera.
It was easy enough to take photos of the other guys: in the van, at rehearsals, during sound-checks, or just asleep in their beds (Neil...) ...but there came a time when we needed 'band shots'. What to do? I couldn't fathom any other photographer doing the job, so I just did it myself. Lots of long cable-releases, lots of setting up the shot and running around to get in myself before the 10 second timer took the picture. Lots of cut-off heads and lots of blurry Aengus.
What started out as fun eventually became my business and the photos I take now feed the kids and pay the mortgage.
But I still get the greatest buzz out of looking at the photos that I never got paid to take.
Yours in bubble-gum,
(Bass player, guitar player, photographer & father of four.)
A RANT ABOUT ALBUM LENGTHS
Each of these short albums is on its own disc. Why?
Because human beings can only concentrate for a maximum of 45 minutes. Ideally, thirty-something minutes. And when people concentrate, artists have to raise their game.
Vinyl albums could fit a maximum of 45 minutes of music into their grooves. Result? Golden age of albums. CDs can fit 74 minutes. Result? Shit albums, decline and fall of the music industry, and the rise of global terror.
But let us not end this page on such a stern and negative note. Let us end with some lovely lyrics...
Some lyrics from the album Charm and Arrogance...
(Disc 2 of Now In New Nostalgia Flavour)
YOU MAKE GIRLS UNHAPPY
She looked at you, walked past, and asked the next stranger directions
Contrary to your belief girls don't just want erections
You make girls unhappy
You've got all the girls money can buy
It's fewer than you expected, why?
'cause you make girls unhappy
Stockbrokers want to break your stocks
Oxfam will not feed your ox
Aunties knee you in the rocks
'cause you make girls unhappy
Some drugs make you funky, some drugs make you twitch
Some drugs take your money and some drugs make you rich
Some drugs raise revenue, some drugs don't
Some drugs will do anything, some drugs won't
Some drugs make you better, some drugs make you worse
Some drugs lead to half completed dream-induced romantic verse
Some drugs give you pain, some drugs cure it
Some drugs give you so much pleasure you just can't endure it
Some drugs take your money, some drugs give it back
Some drugs make you so damn beautiful, some drugs turn your teeth black
Some drugs kill your cancers, some drugs give you worse ones
You can get some drugs in public houses, more drugs when the nurse comes
Some drugs make you handsome, some drugs killed your mother
People tend to have some, one way or another
Some drugs make you ugly, just look at your father
They may say they love you, but you know they'd rather some drugs
HERE COMES THE NEW YEAR
Here comes the new year
Oh no, not again
I've been playing Ziggy with my friends
Neither keen on dying nor on being bored
A year of careful hand-stands
On the high-board.
I don't want to get up
I'm tired of everything
I've watched the pornographic film
I've worn the wedding ring
The kitchen's full of food I do not want to see
Downstairs there's a letter for me.
Things to be and things to do
Nothing that I want to
Read a book or write my own
I fumble with a telephone
I wish that I was not alone
My little girl is far from home
Here comes the new year.
I talk too much, I bore my friends
I bore myself then bore my friends again
Here comes the new year.
LOST & FOUND
Got an album and a book I wanted,
Look around, everybody's haunted
By the thought that nobody will miss them,
Ah, I just want to kiss them.
Hate their jobs and hate themselves,
Little bottoms stuck to shelves
Nobody will ever love them
Oh, but I think highly of them.
Here is contrast, here is variety
Here are the necessary evils of society.
I am pride, they are shame
In their garden it shall always rain.
I am arrogance, they are mock humility
It has come to pass, their opinion of their ability.
I've been lost and I've been found
Wandering the underground...
I got on a train to get out of the rain
And I found a girl like me.
I am happy as a tree, I've found a girl like me.
We have arrogance and charm, these people cannot do us harm,
How they hate us, how they scowl
Laying it on with a trowel.
La la la la la...
Laying it out on a tea tray
How they fibrillate when we say
La la la la la la lah...
L.S.D. (isn't what it used to be)
The sun goes down like honey, like money like rain
The boy who took the credit, is the boy to blame.
On your three-figure mushroom debut
Heaven knows what got into you
Did he turn to liquid too?
I don't wanna know.
LSD isn't what it used to be
You're growing tiresome and I'm growing up
Listen sometime to the useless things you say
Why don't you listen sometime.
We have known each other
Since we were ten
I'm too tired
To begin again...
I never believed in love
I once believed in you
You called me uncool
DROWN THE BROWNS
Their mother had children and, thinking she should
She attempted to love them, but my God who could?
Kill your children, Mrs. Brown
Do your bit for Tidy Town
Remove your white trash from the gutter
Melt your sons for soap and butter
And every time I take a bath, I'll think of Malachi and laugh
And I'll recall each punch and boast, as I spread Martin on my toast.
Drown the Browns
Their father had squatters' rights in three prisons
Their mother, when conscious, could not make decisions
Imbibers of cider and pre-teen joy-riders
Sharpening screwdrivers, as I made a glider
Which they later smashed, in woodwork class
They stole all the tools but they still didn't pass.
Drown the Browns
CHARM & ARROGANCE
Very broad of shoulder, slightly less of mind
Here is the boy she left behind
His the behind she left before she met me.. honestly
And he says "Hey", and I say "What?"
And he says, "What cha got that I ain't got?"
And I say "Pardon?" and he says "Hey! What's she see in you, anyway?"
And I say
"Well, I'm sexy as hell, I'm an excellent lover and reasonable cook,
She likes my wit, and the way that I spit
And she adores the narratorial voice of my book
Her love of my lyrics is only surpassed
By her great admiration for my vocal inflections
She approves of my charity, complexional clarity
Dress sense, intelligence, all day erections
Delights in my habit of quoting from Nabokov
Can't get enough of my Old World gentility,
Thinks that my sketches of local letches,
Show an exceptional technical facility,
Found it charming that on my disarming a recent intruder
at four in the morning
I fined him his trousers, wallet and gun,
let him off with a warning, and forgot to tell anyone...
Some, if not all, of these characteristics
Lead to her lipstick's being on me."
YOU CAN ALWAYS GO HOME
Beware of your dreams, they just might come true
Oh, these are wild, wild times
As what I wanted turns to what I do
And I am King... of nursery rhymes.
You can always... go home
You can always go home.
If I'm really so bad
If I'm really so cold
You can always go home.
And why not a few lyrics from Songs For Swinging Celibates too, while we're at it? (Songs For Swinging Celibates was Toasted Heretic's first album, and is therefore Disc 1 of Now In New Nostalgia Flavour. Why are we quoting lyrics from the albums in reverse order? Because we like Charm & Arrogance the best...)
It's so nasty out there, it's perfectly horrid
People walk around with numbers on their forehead
All of the prophets are moving out of town
The lambs are being slaughtered as the abattoir falls down
Well we'll have to spend tomorrow in Gomorrah
But baby, Sodom tonight
Oh, all the dirty bookshops are full of revelations
They're crucifying winos in the railway stations
Mouths full of dust, they've got eyes full of mud
Deep down town they're turning whiskey into blood
A guy with holes in his hands, waving a Bible
Runs under our window, naked, screaming 'Libel!'
The whore on the corner has her red dress on
Back from a weekend with her mother in Babylon
Well the bread's turned to rock in the bread-bin
It's getting dark awful early, shall I turn on the light?
Well we're gonna have to spend tomorrow in Gomorrah,
Begorrah, but baby Sodom tonight
VERY NAUGHTY PARTY
Ah weirdos and thickos & bigots & wackos
On smack and on crack and on Balkan tobaccos
Giving hand jobs in toilets and head on the stairs
Wall to wall mattress and there aren't any chairs
They haven't any Pepsi and I've lost my comb
This is a very naughty party and I think I'll go home
Very naughty party... this is a very naughty party...
This is a very naughty party
And I wanna go home
The music is loud and dreadfully depressing
Young ladies in black are slowly undressing
Young boys mumble lines like "I've nothing to lose"
Sniff Ajax and sneeze and then puke on their shoes
I can't bear to see scenes of such degradation
So I turn my attention to the girl and alsation...
Children these days, I just don't understand
As I'm trapped by a girl who drums in a band
I merely asked quite politely for a small glass of water
She must have misheard... if she were my daughter...
What on earth is she doing, the excesses of Rome
Have nothing on this, Christ I'd better go home
How she can do that with only one hand
Is something I'll never ever ever understand
And what on earth is he doing, why he could be my double
Oh dear it's a mirror, I'm in serious trouble
The floor is unspeakable, the ceiling is scummy
I can't take any more, beam me up mummy...
Well, I'm in the bay city and I'm sitting pretty pretty
And you're pretty pretty and you're sitting on me
And I'm pretty witty and you're itty-bitty
And isn't it a pity the city can't see
The sun goes down on Galway Bay
The daughter goes down on me
Her dad's not due till one or maybe two
And I'm as happy as I'll ever be
You're so cute in your birthday suit
And I'm so cool in mine
I could play all day with your exotic fruit
If you didn't have school at nine
I'm the kind of boy that fits into your bed
You give me everything I ever wanted
You're the kind of girl that fits into my bed
I'll give you everything you ever wanted
BLACK CONTACT LENSES
All you ever wanted was to write a song as perfect as
"Take the Skinheads Bowling" but of course you never did
Ah, you would have settled for a lifetime in that lover
Who swapped you for another and much inferior kid
You lost most of your money and your tan and your muscles
On your last trip to Brussels with your Italian pet
And you didn't get laid and you didn't get paid
And you haven't even made a good song of it yet
And all the words she wrote to you were spelt wrong or were lies
And she bought black contact lenses when you said you liked her eyes
BOUNCING OFF THE BOULDERS
She waited for me once, beneath a dead tree
To tell me by moonlight, she'd never loved me
I was surprised, though I should have suspected as much
Since she'd stolen my wheelchair, and broken my crutch
And as she dumped my body, over the cliff
I said to myself, "I wonder if..."
I said to myself, as I began to descend
"I wonder if this could perhaps be the end"
I wondered aloud, as I bounced off the boulders
"Has the burden of love been removed from my shoulders?"
I pondered aloud, as I bled on the sand
"What she's trying to say here? I don't understand"
I said to myself as my blood stained the sea
"Now what could it be that she's saying to me?"
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE MINE
The spirit is weak, so she adds a little vodka
Goes to bed, perchance to sleep
Count the men who've been there, then she counts the cost
She murmurs "Everything I touch turns to me and says
'Can I stay?'"
She says "I feel fine
The best things in life are mine"
She says "God, I'm wrecked"
She is perfectly correct
"And sometimes I feel so young
And sometimes I feel like this
But the best things in life are mine