Steady the Buffs


As soon as Thee Headcoats split up in 2000, Billy Childish formed the Buff Medways (full name: The Friends of the Buff Medway Fanciers Association) with bassist Johnny Barker and drummer Wolf Howard. The changeover was literally instantaneous; the first Buff Medways songs were recorded at the end of the final Headcoats session. Buff Medways were a 19th century breed of chicken, unique to the region of England where Childish grew up, and the band dressed in Victorian era military uniforms, in contrast to Thee Mighty Caesars’ 1960s suits and Thee Headcoats’ deerstalker caps. Songs like “A Strange Kind Of Happyness” and “Ivor” were closer to the early Who than the bluesy garage rock of Thee Headcoats, though the shambling acoustic number “Time’s Up” comes as a surprise, and “You Piss Me Off” is a classic blast of Childish bile.

Phil Freeman