HNE, a Cherry Red record label, have recently released a two-CD set devoted to comedic heavy metal band Bad News. The set, Every Mistake Imaginable, features all of the music recorded and released by the band. As per usual with Cherry Red, this set comes with bonus tracks and liners notes, making this the most complete Bad News release out there.
A Little History
Bad News were the creation of the British television skit series The Comic Strip Presents. The band made their debut appearance in the 1983 episode “Bad News Tour,” a half hour mock rockumentary on the band. While most rockumentaries would show bands that were already popular, “Bad News Tour” showed the exact opposite: Bad News were a band just starting out with no management, no crew and no record contract. On top of this, the documentary film crew are shown to be amateurs too, with shots of boom mics and cameras being seen throughout. The titular “tour” isn’t much of a tour either but rather one gig with little to no audience. The half hour episode got some attention when it aired in January 1983. A year later, a similar mock rockumentary was released. It’s name: This is Spinal Tap. While now considered a cult favorite, Spinal Tap would go achieve a wider audience compared to Bad News.
In 1986, Bad News became a real band when they were invited to play at Castle Donington at the Monsters of Rock festival. All four actors reprised their roles and played several shows at the Marquee Club and even opened for Iron Maiden. As far as a line up, Bad News consisted of:
Vim Fego (played by Ade Edmondson)- guitar/vocals
Den Dennis (played by Nigel Planer)- guitar
Colin Grigson (Rik Mayall)- bass
Spider Webb (Peter Richardson)- drums
The band would release two albums between 1987 and 1988. Along with this, a follow-up to the “Bad News Tour” episode was aired on TV in 1988, entitled “More Bad News.”
This CD set features two albums: Bad News (1987) and Bootleg (1988).
The self-titled debut is a fun album, though it’s not your typical heavy metal album. Similar to Spinal Tap, the Bad News debut features the actors playing their characters’ instruments. Unlike Spinal Tap, however, the album consists of only 23 minutes of music. With the album having a runtime of 45 minutes, one might wonder what that other half consists of and the answer is simple: it’s 22 minutes of the band arguing about everything imaginable. Whether it be about who overdubbed which parts to a debate over whether there are cows in Mongolia, it’s all capture here as a “fly on the wall” deal. For those expecting the album to consist entirely of music will be disappointed. Then again, that’s what makes this album unique: it captures a band trying to create an album while getting into pointless arguments throughout. As far as the music goes, Bad News deliver the goods. Though keep in mind: the band aren’t the best musicians and the lyrics are horrendous. That’s just all part of the fun when listening to this album.
The second album, Bootleg, seems to be a 50 minute album consisting of unused dialogue meant for the debut album. With that, there’s little to no music on the album. Even then, some of the comedy bits are amusing. Though listening to this and knowing it was meant for the debut, it’s not hard to hear why this didn’t make the final product. Still, it’s worth at least a listen.
There are a few bonus tracks included with the debut album, including their Christmas single “Cashing in on Christmas” and their rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman.” Those looking for more music from the band might be happy with these tracks.
Every Mistake Imaginable is a solid set of albums and CDs. If you’re new to Bad News, this set has everything. Still, you could probably just get the debut and be happy with that. While a complete set, the set could’ve benefited with the addition of a DVD that had both Bad News TV episodes and specials. Though with YouTube’s existence, it isn’t difficult to find these specials at all. If you’re into both rock music and comedy similar to Spinal Tap, you might get a kick out of this set.
Overall set: 7/10
I'm a writer/journalist with a passion for music and pop culture. Having graduated from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 2014, I've been looking for a platform in which I can share my passions. Since 2009, I've been posting to my own blog- The Walrus' Music Blog- via Blogger. I'm also the author of two self-published books, "The Camp: Stories from the Summer" and "The College: Stories from King's." Together, the two books cover the story of my life from 2004 to 2014. I've been lucky enough to interview several of my favorite musicians over the years and go to concerts from time to time. I'm also very devoted to the CBS reality TV show Survivor, which I started watching in 2002 when its fourth season started. I currently live in New Jersey.