Screamin’ Lord Sutch and Jack the Ripper Like To Smoke On The Water
Such is the life of Sutch.
In the lunatic laden years of our Lord Sutch, lunacy was street legal and deadly lethal as you will see. Lord Sutch was was not only a card carrying manic depressive, but was diagnosed by his fans as a raving lunatic, by other muscians as the mad as a hatter recording artist, and by his political foes as a politician who did not believe in the political system –or politicians. Prostitutes should run the world he said.
In addition to his bizarre and macabre persona he was clinically diagnosed with manic depression, and as a depressed maniac in the end found the hole in the wall of life, and like smoke on the water, he burned the casino down by hanging himself proving that suicide may not be painless after all when you’re left blowin’ in the wind and dangling like a deranged Christmas ornament from a maniacally depressed gothic tree with pants pissed, neck broken and bulging eyes. Aye, the eyes have it!
An Aristocrat from Old Money, Sutch Gave a New Meaning to the term Rock Royalty
Screaming Lord Sutch came screaming into the world in London in 1940, amid Nazi rockets and falling bombs in a pool of placenta as David Edward Sutch, later adopting the stage name of Screaming Lord Sutch, the Third Earl of Harrow. His stage persona was highly theatrical as he allowed his alter ego, Jack the Ripper, rose to the surface of his psyche on stage and vinyl with gothic makeup before goth was hip, before Alice Cooper masqueraded in mascara; before KISS tarted up their faces like a Warhol canvas, and well before the plethora of gothic vampires on today’s silver screen that are more ho-hum been done before losers!
His stage and recording career began in the early Sixties with a stage show that was “boot camp horror camp” as Sutch fronted for his band The Savages as the curtain rose Sutch would emerge from his coffin (Lugosi beat him to that one!) and the stage would literally be littered with plastic body parts, bloody heads, weapons, and skulls. His singles mimicked his stage antics and had dark themes that meshed perfectly with black vinyl. His most popular song was “Jack the Ripper” … slash slice cut bleed… which has since been covered by bands such as the White Stripes, the Gruesomes, Black Lips and the Horrors… all in the garage of their choice.
One of the Lords early backing band members was Ritchie Blackmore (you may have heard of him, if not, too fucking bad) who traveled and toured with Sutch until 1968 when Ritchie left to join Deep Purple. Along with his stage act and recordings, Sutch took over an old deserted British army fort on the coast of England in 1964 and started Radio Sutch, a pirate radio station in line with Radio Caroline. Typical offerings included readings of Lady Chatterley’s Lover as read by Mandy Rice-Davies, the buxom Brit showgirl and hooker involved in the John Profumo prostitution affair along with Christine Keeler (Three’s company, not a crowd in my book) if not familiar with that peculiar political scandal… look it up… hot hookers, tits and ass and Brit politicians with more than just a “stiff” upper lip… social scandal, prostitutes and politicians… now that’s my idea of entertainment! Beats voting every time.
Sutch Could Teach GaGa a Thing or Two About Rock as Art
Meanwhile back to our story… Lord Sutch eventually got bored with his radio enterprise and sold his half of the station to his partner, who in a bizarre twist of the macabre was shot dead by his new partner! This is when Ritchie Blackmore realized, it was better to sing “Smoke on the Water” than to get smoked by a loaded .38. Sutch shrugged it all off, he was depressed anyway, so a murdered friend affected him about as much as Jack the Ripper was affected after mutilating a hooker in the East End in the dark pitch black night of a desolate fog bound back alley. Ok, maybe Jack got his rocks off on that, but Sutch just kept on truckin’ and headed back to the studio with some new friends.
The studio gig led to a small tour and release of the album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends and heavy they were indeed. With backing muscians like Jeff Beck, John Bonham, Jimmy Page, Noel Redding and Nicky Hopkins, you can get high with a little help from your friends. This was followed by Hands of Jack the Ripper that included Ritchie Blackmore for a return guest engagement and Keith Moon on drums. The Stones paid tribute to Sutch in “Get Off My Cloud” where Lord Sutch is portrayed as a man “all dressed up like a Union Jack”
Screaming Politics, Beer, Death, Depression, and the Demise of Sutch
The political bug bit the Lord on the ass right after the Profumo affair and he ran for Parliament on the platform of the National Teenage Party. Later he founded his own political party, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in 1983, and in all he contested and ran in over 40 elections, never winning but having a hell of time throwing a monkey wrench of campy fun into the dull, droll political machinery of Her Majesty’s Government. In a Heineken Pilsner ad in the 1990’s they had a picture of Sutch as Prime Minister posing on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street and the ad’s caption read, “Only Heineken can do this!”
By 1999, Sutch had been suffering from severe manic depression, and even his campy romps on the political and musical trapeze were no longer exciting. So: alone, depressed and since he had enough rope to hang himself… he did. He hung himself. Unlike religious mythology, this Lord did not rise from the dead after three days, nor did he rise from his stage coffin again. Today you have Justin Bieber, and you can have him, there are no more Lord Sutch’s… or Dr. John the Night Tripper, or Frank Zappas… Bieber sucks. And probably does for real if in the same room with that kid from “Home Alone” or even on a date with Corey Feldman… either way… Sutch is life… Sutch is death… Sutch is dead!
Long live the Sutch!
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