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...