I started listening to Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine for reasons that are a bit sketchy. One day when I was younger I somehow ended up in a stolen car driving down the M62 Motorway in Manchester being chased by the police and whoever’s car it was must have liked Carter USM because they had the cassette in their stereo playing and the song Sheriff Fatman came on and because of the current situation me and my friends thought it was funny. When we ditched the car I took the tape with me as a souvenir and listened to it when I got home.
Carter USM are an English band formed in London in 1987 and consist of singer Jim “Jim Bob” Morrison and guitarist Les “Fruitbat” Carter. The name is apparently derived form Fruitbat’s stamina. Carter USM were originally called Jamie Wednesday but changed their name one day when they realised they had a gig booked but no other bands to play there.
The Debut album 101 Damnations was released in 1989 and is roughly about London life and is packed with humour, cynicism and puns. The album went straight to the top of the indie charts. The single Sheriff Fatman helped them to gain in popularity and is apparently based on a South London landlord.
Their next album was released in 1991 and titled 30 Something. The album was reportedly recorded in only 20 days at a cost of £4,000. It peaked the UK chart at #8 and when it was re-released in 1992 it reached #21. The song Bloodsport For All was released at the beginning of the Gulf War and was an attack on racism and bullying in the Army and was banned by the BBC.
1992 – The Love Album was strangely enough released in 1992 and was Carter USM’s first #1 album in the UK and saw them rise into pop stardom. Carter USM also performed at the Glastonbury Festival which ended badly when Fruitbat insulted Michael Eavis (Festival Organiser) because of the shortening of their set due to other bands overrunning theirs and was banned from the Festival for life.
Carter USM released Post Historic Monsters in 1993 which reached #5 in the UK charts and contains the hits: Mid Day Crisis and Under The Thumb And Over The Moon. In 1994 they released a B-Side compilation called Starry Eyed And Bollock Naked which reached #22 in the UK.
Worry Bomb which was released in 1995 reached #9 in the UK chart and also contained a limited edition CD of the live show at Doma Sportova…Live At Zagreb which was recorded in 1994. Also released in 1995 was the compilation album Straw Donkey… The Singles which reached #37 and contains some previously unreleased material.
A World Without Dave was released in 1997 which was an EP and soon after Carter USM embarked on their longest UK tour and then on to tour the US and Canada. Soon after I Blame The Government was released for their 10th Anniversary in 1998 they decided to split. Two live albums, Sessions and Live! were released in 1998 after the break up.
2005 saw the release of a new compilation of B Sides called The Good, The Bad, The Average And Unique. Another compilation album (You Fat Bastard) was released in 2007 following a reunion for some farewell gigs to celebrate the 20th Anniversary. In February 2008 Carter USM emailed their mailing list informing them that there will be two new gigs later in the year (Brixton Academy, 21st and 22nd November 2008).
My Top 10 Carter USM Songs are:
01. Sheriff Fatman
02. Look Mum, No Hands!
03. Commercial ___ Suicide
04. The Undertaker And The Hippy Protest Singer
05. Good Grief Charlie Brown
06. Johnny Cash
07. After The Watershed (Early Learning The Hard Way)
08. My Second To Last Will And Testament
09. The Only Living Boy In New Cross
10. The Final Comedown