Lead guitarist made friends wait for his dealer as terrorist attack took place

Image credit: Indie Guvanc 100 via Youtube

On the night of the 13th November, 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks were carried out in the northern suburbs of Paris, with suicide bombers and gunmen striking the Stade de France and the Bataclan theatre, as well as cafés and restaurants.

The city immediately went into a state of emergency; all concerts were cancelled and music venues evacuated. All except one. Peckham-based rock band, The Fat White Family, remained backstage at La Cigale, the venue they had been performing in that night. Under the strict direction of their lead guitarist, Saul Adamczewski, they were to remain where they were. Not caring about the impending terrorist threat, nor the safety of his friends: his only concern was that he’d arranged to meet his dealer at the venue after the gig. “Trust me”, he told them, “this really is the safest place to be”. The following morning, he was understandably and unceremoniously ejected from the band.

Two years later, after a brief stay in rehab, Adamczewski is back with 'Insecure Men', the self-titled debut album of a new project started up with school friend Ben Romans-Hopcraft. The band consists principally of Adamczewski and Romans-Hopcraft, along with the comings-and-goings of many other personalities, including Sean Lennon (son of John and Yoko). Their stage is often overflowing with instruments, with two keyboards, a vibraphone, one saxophone, one guitar, a bass, a drum kit and synths in their line-up. Their gigs have been likened to kids causing havoc in your school’s unattended music room, caged, in a state of hyperventilation, gnawing themselves free.

In many ways they are the polar opposite of the Fat White Family, a band who describe themselves as “an invitation, sent by misery, to dance to the beat of human hatred”.  Country-influenced and drug-crazed garage punks, the Fat Whites are a “celebration of everything that is wrong in life”.  Insecure Men, who blend together exotica, easy listening, lounge and timeless pop music, are, by comparison, a breath of fresh air.

The album is more eloquent and composed than ‘Song for our Mothers’, the Fat White Family’s most recent album. Whilst the lyrics do explore Gary Glitter’s post-prison sojourn in south-east Asia, Adamczewski’s brief period as a crack-addicted building site labourer in Penge, and the respective deaths of Whitney Houston and her daughter Bobbi, retold from the viewpoint of the latter’s ghost, this album doesn’t have the shock-factor that ‘Songs for our Mothers’ overused.

The closing track ‘Buried in the Bleak’ demonstrates this all too well. In a dreamy muddle of choral chords, shimmering percussion lines and an off-key piano, Adamczewski delves into the dysfunctional relationship between himself and Fat White Family frontman, Lias Saoudi. The simple melodies and nostalgic feel to this track juxtapose the corrosive guitar lines and macabre themes of the Fat White Family tracks which discuss the same topic.

However, remnants of The Fat White Family still fester within all aspects of the album. The record’s hand-painted, propaganda-inspired sleeve depicts Saul as a North Korean leader, not far akin to the inflammatory artwork the Fat White’s use: their debut album, Champagne Holocaust, featured a child’s drawing of a naked man, with the head of a pig, clutching a hammer in one hand and a bloodied sickle in the other. 

Although it’s been rumoured that The Fat White Family will be releasing their third album this year, and Adamczewski has said himself that he is still writing and performing with them, there are definitely more good things to expect from Insecure Men. 

 

 

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