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Louder Than war review 'The Crazed'

This collection of content from 80s fanzine The Crazed is a must for lovers of psychobilly, says Nathan Brown of Louder Than War.

In the 1980s, among the myriad of subcultures, one combined the clattering double bass, wild whoops and echoey guitar of rockabilly with some of the upbeat energy and tempo of punk. It also made people dance like Foghorn Leghorn. The fusion of punk, rockabilly and surf by the Cramps – who first coined the term psychobilly – spawned a genre, and UK bands like The Meteors helped define the new sound. The Crazed was a publication from that scene.

This volume is much more than an anthology. While it collects together four issues of The Crazed you get much more than the content. Wainwright provides an overall narrative, covering his motivations and the practicalities of printing and distributing a fanzine back in the 1980s. There is a reflective review of each issue and also a narrative setting the context to each interview, festival review or band biography lifted from the zine.

It reads like a who’s who of the psychobilly scene. While you couldn’t call this a history of psychobilly, it is certainly a historical document capturing a snapshot in time when horseshoe haircuts and wrecking crews could be found lurking in most UK towns and cities. There is a wicked irony that male pattern baldness means many of those horseshoe haircuts have since been reversed. More than just a reprint, this book is a retrospective as the author has given a backwards glance with the benefit of hindsight.

Big names like The Meteors, King Kurt, Demented Are Go, Long Tall Texans, Gaunabatz and The Caravans are featured alongside names probably only known to the cognoscenti. Most of these bands are still doing the rounds 4 decades later, even King Kurt having been resurrected for the occasional festival appearance.

Alongside the text, there are about 20 pages of photos including the zine covers, some of the bands (of course!), punters at gigs and even Klub Foot tickets. A must for psychobillies.

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