Dead End Drive-In: Now Showing - ‘Livin' Out Rock 'n' Roll: The Story Of The Babysitters And The Last Of The Teenage Idols’ (The Buttz Edition) Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Saturday, 25 January 2014 03:20



‘Livin' Out Rock 'n' Roll: The Story Of The Babysitters And The Last Of The Teenage Idols’ (The Buttz Edition)


YESSSSSS!!!! I’ve finally managed to get myself a copy of this long sought after documentary (well it is in my house anyway) and of all things it came in a fashionably decorated (and autographed) Buttz edition sleeve direct from the man himself. Before I do start waxing lyrically about this DVD though I should perhaps point out that like pretty much everything these boys touched this is self-released affair, so if you do decide to take the plunge then don't go expecting DTS sound or even a full colour Amaray case. Nah what you get here for your £10 is a release straight from the pulsing heart of punk rock, throbbing away just like the Buttz drawn spunking cock I had on my “illustrated” copy.


So with that elephant out of the room let’s get on with livin' out rock 'n' roll, and I am doing this review with one small proviso, which is as this 61 minute long film basically tells the story of both of these legendary 80s glunk rock bands right from The Babysitters’ beginnings in 1982 I'll skip doing any history lesson here. Instead I’ll jump 21 minutes into the film and my first encounter with Buttz, Jimbo, Boo and Stik, when I caught them opening for Hanoi Rocks and Johnny Thunders at Cardiff New Ocean Club. That night back in October 1984 me and three of my gigging amigos were there to see Finland's finest, the band that should have been the next Rolling Stones. Of course we knew all about Johnny Thunders too but with his reputation for being a bit “hit or miss” we didn’t know which version would actually turn up. Thankfully from what I remember Thunders, who headlined that night, despite an initial on stage stumble played a bit of a blinder, but having had to follow an on fire Hanoi anything less would have left his reputation in tatters. However credit where it was due to the night’s openers too, who also played a bit of a blinder even slipping in a killer version of ‘Overkill’, as a “fake encore” from what I remember. After that night I went out the following weekend and picked up a copy of the 'Rock Pretty' compilation album on Heavy Metal Records that featured two songs by The Babysitters (‘The Beard Song’ and ‘Rock En Roll Chicken’) and that was it…. I was hooked.


livin-out-rock-n-roll PosterBut it wasn’t just me who was hooked, as ‘Livin' Out Rock 'n' Roll’ proves, in fact even music journalists loved The Babysitters, and as it is intimated here without a certain Carol Clerk at the Melody Maker and her infamous Rock ‘n’ Roll Table at the Oporto pub in Holborn a lot of the opportunities and good fortune that befell Buttz and the boys probably wouldn’t have happened,. And when you consider Sounds once called the band “Potentially the worst band in the world, they are that good” you know people were properly taking notice, well in between the pissed up antics anyway.


These antics, and there are far too many to mention here, are all retold in glorious technicolour-yawn-o-vision by the likes of Dave Beal (the band’s manager only because he had a briefcase), Billy Hunt, (The Babysitters and LOTTI long suffering roadie who conjures up some not so magical moments like a mini riot backstage in Dudley), Ben Marshall and David Stubbs from the Rock N Roll Table, plus let’s not forget Buttz (who appears to have turned into Steve Jones since the last time I saw him), Jimbo (speaking from his home in US), the legendary LOTTI bass demon Shuff, and perhaps the most famous LOTTI ex-member Vom Ritchie. Throughout the first 35 minute segment of this most enthralling of documentaries we get amazing insights into amongst many things; Heavy Metal Records alleged business plan, the formation of Buttz & Spike’s Rock Club, the band’s mammoth UK tour with Hawkwind (where Jimbo recalls telling their merch guy to stop selling Babysitters T Shirts to people in dungarees), before the band’s Buttz-less appearance at Reading 1987 Where someone named Four X stepped in to replace the irreplaceable and in the process signalled the end of the band.


Seemingly undeterred by these matters and with the rest of his former bandmates having decamped to the US to seek their fortune, Buttz continued his quest for rock ‘n ‘roll fame in Last Of The Teenage Idols, a band he really didn’t need to spell out to me they were more influenced by the works of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band than anything else. I personally never connected with this band as much as I did with The Babysitters and as a result I kind of missed out on the fact that they were the only unsigned band ever to headline the Astoria, or that they once sprayed Little Angels in cow shit at the end of a jaunt around the UK together. So it came as a surprise to me to hear the ex-members of LOTTI admit that the demise of the band was probably caused by them perhaps rather foolishly agreeing to co-write a song with The Krays….I kid you not here folks.


Again I’m not going to go into too much detail here as the documentary tells the story of Last Of The Teenage Idols far better than I ever could, however it is a crying shame that there was never any video footage of a tutu wearing Dumpy Dunnell joining the band for a version of ‘You’re The One That I Want’ during their first sold out appearance at the Marquee club back in 1989. And however much I didn’t really connect with Last Of The Teenage Idols, plenty of people did, and listening back now to tracks from ‘Satellite Head Gone Soft’ and watching this documentary I kind of feel like I missed out on something rather special first time around. I know my partner in grime Mr Gaz E had the pleasure of supporting the band in London once upon a time so perhaps one day he’ll share that experience in a new ‘Gigs From Heaven’ slot right here on Uber Rock? Who knows eh.


Concluding with footage shot in London in 2013 looking at the band’s old haunts in the here and now it is perhaps ironic that my love of The Babysitters is still as strong as it was back in 1984. Why I only recently finally managed to pick up a copy of the ‘Live At The Marquee' mini album in Sister Ray for just £1 on a weekend stay up in the Big Smoke. That fact will no doubt make someone chuckle, but not as much as The Babysitters have made me chuckle over the years I can tell you. And when the two journo talking heads pose the question right at the end of ‘Livin' Out Rock 'n' Roll ‘of “where are all the bands like The Babysitters right now in 2013?” I can’t stop myself shouting back “Dirt Box Disco” and “The Sick Livers” at the TV screen almost as like some wakeup call to those who proudly once had their fingers on the pulse of the UK’s music scene, that the legacy of The Babysitters does still live on.


Anyway why not pay a visit to Buttz TV (link below), and say “hello, hello, hello, hello” to the man himself and then pretty soon, just like me, you'll also be watching (and listening to) some of the best rock ‘n’ roll music a tenner can buy you.


This Paolo Sedazzari directed film is simply fucking phenomenal…do not miss it.