Whip the Minister (1995-1997)

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Whip The Minister formed at the beginning of 1995 out of the ashes of Triptych. The first line-up had Steve (Triptych) Baker on guitar, Conrad Winchester on bass, Chris Cosmos on drums, Kevin Headjam on drums & Craig High on vocals, clarinet, melodica, tin whistle, tenor recorder, harmonica & percussion.

Videos at The White Swan in Greenwich 10 March 1996:
Enter Eden
New God Money with Kay on on flute and vocals
Whip the Minister
Voodoo Liberation Hex
Teenage Drug Dealing Woman

Videos from Fordham Park free festival 1995:
New God Money
Enter Eden
Voodoo Liberation Hex
Whip the Minister


Click for a larger image
Goldsmith's Tavern 06/04/96
  Goldsmith's Tavern 6 April 1996

To download individual tracks in mp3 or ogg, click on the temple icon top right, then "Full Version at Internet Archive". All music released under the Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Whip the Minister
Whip the Minister
 
K
K
 

Steve soon left to pursue a variety of solo projects & he was replaced by Wolf. Kevin left to concentrate on his work at Music City & the line-up was set for the best part of a year. The music was a mixture between space rock, punk, acid techno, drum & bass, metal, modern jazz & hip hop. Wolf not only replaced Steve on guitar but he provided samples, keyboard loops & programmed drum patterns that interwove with Chris's drumming. Some of the gigs included the main stage at The Deptford Urban Free Festival in 1995, The Roebuck in Lewisham, The Spring Fayre in West Wales in 1995, Goldsmith's Tavern in Deptford, an all-night party at Nik Turner's commune in West Wales & The Centurion in New Cross. At that last gig Wolf pinned the photos of politicians & page three girls to the wall behind the stage. He linked wires from his keyboards to sensor pads behind the pictures & handed everyone in the audience a tennis ball. When the tennis balls were thrown & hit the pictures they each triggered a specific sample. Some photos gave off grunting sounds, some keyboard loops, some squawks & howls & some triggered drum patterns. Wolf wore a demon's mask throughout the chaos that followed & this event signalled a phase of audio/visual performance that was to last the whole length of the band's career.


Slithey Tove
Slithey Tove
 
At the Goldsmiths Tavern
At the Goldsmiths Tavern
 

At The Deptford Urban Free Festival gig they conducted a series of exorcisms. Miss World was flagellated, fed an elixir & a ten foot spliff & turned into The Earth Mother as a way of expelling the demons of sexism. A businessman was flagellated, fed an elixir & a ten foot spliff & turned into a druid as a way of expelling the demons of capitalism. A Detective Chief Superintendent was flagellated, fed an elixir & a ten foot spliff & turned into a transvestite as a way of expelling the demons of militarism. Finally Jesus Christ on a cross on wheels was flagellated, fed an elixir & a ten foot spliff & turned into Pan as a way of expelling the demons of Christianity. The exorcisms were conducted by Kiran High & Karen Robinson as two High Priestesses with multicoloured cat-o-nine tails.


Wolf
At the Goldsmiths Tavern
 

Pam & Norman High said they saw two coppers watching the Superintendent's exorcism. One started laughing so the other led him away by the hand! Various members of the band started frequenting fetish clubs like Skin 2 & The Torture Garden at this time & none of them have ever looked back.

Operetta Rehearsal - Fordham Park 1995
Operetta Rehearsal - Fordham Park
 

For the Fordham Park gig the services of Richard Russell on clarinet & Nik Turner's trumpet player Dylan were employed. Jim (Music City) Woodward's brother Russell (drummer of Ponophobia) played the copper & Donald the Druid (a real life druid) played the businessman. A solo singer/guitarist Claudia played Miss World & Hippie Paul would have played Jesus but he was late for his own crucifixion so Donald had to do it. Admittedly Paul did hit the stage for the last number but he'd decided to be Currounos so danced around with antlers on his head!


Operetta Rehearsal - Fordham Park
 

The lyrics & psalms were written by Craig High & Richard Russell.

Photos by Pam & Norman High & Kiran.


Operetta Rehearsal - Fordham Park
 

After The Deptford Urban Free Festival the band nearly fragmented. Such was the speed & mania of the lifestyles of the various members that it looked impossible to drag the act into 1996. This destruction was temporarily delayed by the breath of life supplied by the inimitable K. Formerly a member of The Ozrics, The Space Pirates, Fin De Siecle & The Ullulators. He joined Whip The Minister in the Autumn of 1995. His vocals, flute & saxophone took the band into yet another phase. He co-wrote lyrics with Craig & jumped around the stage like Bob Marley on Base Speed! He was still a member of The Balloons at this time & the two acts he was now in became sister bands. Andy Copper then joined The Ministers as yet another vocalist/lyricist & the scene was set for a rock opera.


Fordham Park Free Festival 1995
At Fordham Park Free Festival
 

At Fordham Park Free Festival
 

Airstrip One was recorded at Music City at the end of 1995. It told of a dystopean parallel universe where fascists had been in power since 1945. The culmination of the narrative leads to the assassination of Big Brother by a girl influenced by the Whip The Minister exorcisms (see Whip The Minister(1)). A cast of dozens contributed to this project. Some of them included Mel Graham from Fuzznation, Toneeee from Tribal Energy, Pam & Norman High, Mark Normal, Donald the Druid, Bevan from The Sea & The Dave Howard Singers & Karen Robinson. The line-up stayed the same with the exception of Richard Russell who had gone to India with Kiran.


At Fordham Park Free Festival
 
At Fordham Park Free Festival
 

After the recording the band incorporated elements of it in their live set. Some of the venues it was performed at included The White Swan in Deptford, The Prince of Orange in Rotherhithe, The Walpole Arms in Woolwich, The Goldsmith's Tavern in Deptford & The Royal Albert (renamed The Paradise Bar by now) in Deptford.


At Fordham Park Free Festival
 
At Fordham Park Free Festival
 

Rehearsals were conducted in a ware-house space in Greenwich (organised by The Cardiacs & Sidi Bou Said) & at The Nuthouse in Bostal Woods in South East London on the border with Kent.


At Fordham Park Free Festival
 
At Fordham Park Free Festival
 

The music remained as much of a fusion as it had been before with any samples prepared by Conrad, Wolf & Craig in Wolf's flat right next to Waterloo Station. By the end of 1997 the band was burnt out &, with no regrets, the various members split away to begin other projects.


At Fordham Park Free Festival
 
At Fordham Park Free Festival
 

Craig & Andy Copper went on to form Revoltage. Conrad became one of the main photographers for The Torture Garden. K helped form The Sample Terrorists with Bevan & Dave the Drummer. Wolf began writing musical scores for his partner's plays & Chris joined the folk band East of Ealing.


Subtopia at McMillans
Subtopia at McMillans
 
Whip the Minister Live
Whip the Minister Live


Some of the bands with the dubious honour of being on the same line-up as The Ministers included Back To The Planet, Skin Job, Lord Snooty, Placebo (they played one of their first ever gigs supporting The Ministers at an all-dayer at Macmillans in Deptford), Terry Edwards & The Scapegoats (Terry Edwards formerly of Gallon Drunk, The Tindersticks & The Higsons), Headjam & Asian Dub Foundation. Many DJ's entertained the crowds before a Ministers gig. Some of these included Offshore (from The Offshore State Circus), Unknown Soldier, Raw Shark & Chris (the singer from RDF(Radical Dance Faction)).


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