RIP RIG + PANIC : Bob Hope Takes Risks 12" (1981)

Most people'll tell you that Rip Rig + Panic were a noisier version of Pigbabg. Not that "most people" have the slightest inkling who Pigbag actually were of course, let alone Rip Rig + Panic. RR+P stumbled stinking, blinking, scratching their heads & (I imagine) hitching up their britches, out of the mangled wreckage of The Pop Group sometime in 1981. Initially a loose knit experimental musical collective fronted by The Group's avant garde jazzbo Gareth Sager (with drummer Bruce Smith in tow), they released a succession of irreverent singles & albums on Virgin Records that seemed commercially unorthodox at the time &, even with 20-odd years hindsight, still sound singularly radical & anarchic. Quite how or why Branson & co. sanctioned sessions in expensive recording studios for this provocatively "out there" music, let alone shelled out for full page adverts in the music press to promote it, beggars belief in the current, uber-conservative music industry climate. Simpler & more broadminded times I guess? RR+P's name was, I'm sure you're aware, swiped from a Roland Kirk album, & this grounding in jazz forms the backbone of their music - a squalling, clattering freeform chaos that's somehow been manhandled into semi-recognisable horn-led "song"-type shapes. Lyrically they doggedly persued a garbled line in surreal & slightly self-conscious socio-politcal sub-hipster scat-cum-esperanto, dutifully spouting this jivetalk in interviews at the time. I'm guessing a fair amount of drugs might've been involved but couldn't possibly say for certain. Though not particularly illuminating (& I'm guessing that might've been the point?), it did make for some mindboggling songtitles: "She Gets So Hungry At Night She Eats Her Jewellery", "Blip This Jig It's Shamanic", "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Brrod","What Are The Toads Doing So Far From The Swamp" & "Another Tampon Up The Arse Of Humanity" are remain particularly salient I think?
As per the majority of RR+P's singles, "Bob Hope Takes Risks" (their second 45) didn't turn up on any of their albums. Though Neneh Cherry (yep, that one) was already upfront on vocals, the band would have to wait sometime before achieving it's 2 major collaborative & promotional coups: (i) recording with both noted trumpeter Don Cherry (Nehneh's dad) & Nico (the latter on a 9/81 Peel, anybody got it?), & (ii) appearing as the house band on TV's The Young Ones, storming through their almost-hit "You're My Kinda Climate" (you'll find it on Youtube). Frustratingly ill-served on CD, with neither their God nor I Am Cold LPs ever having been reissued & only a long deleted compilation (the scattershot Knee Deep In Hits) ever seeing the light of day, RR+P are one of those few bands whose records must be purchased on sight, if only because the likelihood of you seeing them twice is so stupendously slim. Dig in & dig 'em...

Chemically Wet


  1. Hello, thankx for this blog. Link to bob hope seems to be broken :-) Hope you'll re-up this one


  2. New link added, I can't remember if this file includes the b-side or not though (let me know)...

  3. Anonymous25.3.10

    Bought this when it came out - still an amazing song.


  4. Great record, great band - is this stuff EVER gonna be reissued though...?

  5. Giovanni22.6.10

    Great band, still sounds as fresh as ever, still got the vinyl, but got my digital via audiohijacking spotify - yes at least its up there. The sound quality on I Am Cold is shit, but the rests ok. High time for for a RR&P revival!

  6. Thanks, for fixing the link.

    Also very happy with your Nightingales-posts. The second best band ever.

  7. "Second best"? Hmmm, I'll think about it! I've managed to see The Nightingales live on 3 occasions in the last 12 months & they've great every time, definitely see them if you get the chance...

  8. Nightingales 2nd best: Well, that depends on the occasion, isn't it. I remember hearing them for the first time on Peel: "it's a cracker" - it was.

    I bought 2 albums of 'm.

    You don't happen to own it's a cracker on vinyl, do you? No, you don't...

    Cheers, love your blog.

  9. Nah, I have most of the 'Gales vinyl but not, sadly, "It's A Cracker" (it's one of my favourites by 'em too, typically...). I can send you mp3s (both sides) if you need 'em though, just let me know? Actually... I might see if I can track an original copy down c/o eBay, etc now that you've mentioned it - a mate of mine had a copy back in the 80s, pretty difficult to find now I bet...

  10. Still like your blog. Whenever you manage to get this on vinyl, hope you'll share it with us.

  11. "It's A Cracker"? I'll upload it at the weekend if I remember. They opened their set with it when I last saw them a couple of months ago, was very pleased about that!