something more about brahma chop
brahma chop's insane, parodic publicity stance was to pretend that the members had been selected for maximum marketability by race, looks, personality, height and so-on in some sort of contest. This was partly inspired by Pepsi-Cola's contemporary sponsorship of Michael Jackson tours, and partly by the fact that we knew we were named after some company in Brazil, but had no idea what sort of company it might be. It just so happened that I had been watching Brazil play England at football ('soccer', to you) in the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro. On television, of course, I have never been to Brazil. (Rick Patten, Dave Bailes and I were keen footballers.) John Barnes, then a young star who seemed the first representative of a breed of black english players scored a wonderful goal and the words 'Brahma Chopp' were inscribed right round the stadium as if in salutation.
As the band was starting to play live under such appellations as 'the many-headed beast' and 'love acts' it was necessary for us to have a name. We didn't know what to call ourselves and we'd already been offered money to record by Hopewell Records of the U.S.A. (who had funded Live Sex). In fact, I think 'we' (that is in this case Angel Paterson - formerly of the Rezillos, Dave Tribe - Goat, Greeting no.4, Richard Miles and myself, who had been playing together with limited success for some time) had already recorded basic tracks for 'Distance' and 'Love Train' and an (unfinished) version of 'She's Gone Wobbly' with Wendy Halsted (Live Sex) on Farfisa organ.
B. Chop was, therefore, funded from the outset by a mysterious organisation from beyond the Atlantic, and it seemed only right and proper to the militant vegetarian/ecologist satire commando wing of the politbureau that 'Brahma International S.A.', the imaginary parent organisation should be a multi-national food conglomerate wishing to break into the E.U. market, using music as a publicity tool. A press-release to this effect was swallowed by the august theatrical/entertainment newspaper The Stage, where it made a small article on the front page. Apparently, the dedicated rock press Press thought such shenanigans beneath their notice.
In these days of manufactured pop acts, boy bands and 'Pop Idol' type contests spawning market-crafted designer bands and solo acts the hoax seems no more than a run-of-the-mill marketing strategy, but while it is difficult to think of the 1980's as more innocent times, they actually must have been, since the whole thing looked cynical, sinister, evil, manipulative and unlikely back then. In fact it was merely prescient.
So, Brahma Chop was named (Richard said we couldn't use the double 'p'). It was several years before we discovered that brahma chopp is a sort of beer.
Advertised as 'an exciting new range of meat products' brahma set about playing as many gigs as possible with a line up which soon settled down as Rick Patten (guitar, percussion, keyboard, rarely bass and sometimes even flute); Richard Miles (guitar); Colin Reading (percussion, bass, drums); Alan Baker (bass, percussion, drums); Dave Bailes (drums, percussion), and Peter Pick (sax, vocals). Sometimes Sco came and played with us, and we had many guests over the years, most of whom we can't remember. You might have played with us, god knows. After a few years we had recorded the album but ran out of money and sneaked into Derek Austin's studio 'Abbeydale' to mix it. Abbeydale went bust, Derek went bankrupt, we lost several members and a 45 rpm album 'HEARTH' was released in 1990 to universal indifference. Marcus Ripley (percussion) Paul Kennedy (guitar) and Matt Lowerson (bass, guitar) replaced Colin, Alan and Richard, who all left, but Richard rejoined later on. Many of these musicians went on to play in the remarkable HOOFLUNG.
ALAN BAKER has worked for many years for GREENPEACE and was on Muraroa Atoll when the French wanted to blow it up, and also the Piper Alpha oil platform among other boys own adventure yarns. He has built a house with a turf roof near Inverness where he lives with children.
COLIN READING works for the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. Or possibly Spain.
DAVE BAILES plays keyboards with THE LAS VEGAS MERMAIDS.
RICK PATTEN is the best blues guitarist you never heard. He works at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, moving scenery.
PETER PICK got a Ph.D in English Literature and broke his back in a car accident. He sometimes teaches 'cultural studies' (whatever that is) at Sussex University.
RICHARD MILES is very tall and works for the council.
MARCUS RIPLEY makes art and is associated with UNDER MOTHER BUNGALOW.
MATT LOWERSON lives in Japan. His work in the visual and musical arts can be explored via http://wildchurch.com. I particularly recommend his videos.
DAVE TRIBE plays and teaches guitar and bass and plays with the Brighton Samba School.
ANGEL PATERSON lives and works in Germany where he is an architect.
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