Rich DeakinJul 23, 2023
The Loud & Lousy Story of Gaye Bykers on Acid and Crazyhead
In Grebo! The Loud & Lousy Story of Gaye Bikers on Acid and Crazyhead (Headpress, 2021) Rich Deakin explores West Midlands 1980s, home to heavy metal. Black Sabbath and Judas Priest are household names, but over the smoking chimneys and factory yards something new and equally ugly forms... 'Grebo' was a media constructed music genre that even today sends a shudder down the spines of discerning music fans and critics.
A homegrown proto-grunge -- counterpart to the likes of Butthole Surfers, Mudhoney, early Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden -- grebo was a British phenomenon that drew on an eclectic range of influences, from punk, 60s garage and psychedelia, through to 70s heavy rock and thrash metal. It foreshadowed rave culture and was steeped in class politics. GAYE BYKERS ON ACID and CRAZYHEAD hailed from Leicester. They were not the first bands to be labelled grebo but they were the most unashamedly unkempt and came to be considered its greatest exponents. They were "a burst of dirty thunder" and almost no one liked them. Based on interviews with band members, friends, fans, and roadies, this book is an uncompromising history of an overlooked music scene. Rich Deakin charts its course via the changing fortunes of the Bykers and Crazyhead, taking us on the booze-filled tour buses, behind the dodgy deals and onto the international stage and back again (with a pitstop for a rock movie that swallows lots of money). Their careers were short, but the two bands managed to shake up the UK indie scene and along the way became Britain's unlikely ambassadors of rock following the collapse of Soviet Russia.
Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music.