CHOU PAHROT

Back in the mid 70’s, when the progressive rock scene was slowly disappearing up it’s own drug-addled arse, and the fledgling punk scene had still to fully take flight, a truly strange hybrid of prog & punk appeared on the Glasgow music scene in the form of the mighty Chou Pahrot ( pronounced Chow Parrot), a four-piece hailing from the small town of Paisley, just outside Glasgow.

At that time, Chou Pahrot were nothing less than an amazing burst of vitality, musicality, and deafening vibrancy. Their humour, originality and bizarre antics were a welcome change from the po-faced seriousness of their hip contemporaries


.

MONICA ZARB – (Bob Donaldson)

Everything about them was unique

The band, Monica Zarb (bass & vocals), Fish Feathers McTeeth ( drums & hitting things), Mama Voot ( guitar, vocals and saxophone), and Eggy Beard (violin), and,  eventually, The Amphibian,  were a Zappaesque conglomerate of Beefhartian elements &  influenced by the US band The Residents, whose stage-presence was truly shocking to the uninitiated at that time. Uncompromising, deafeningly loud, agressive, and whimsical in equal measures, with Mama Voots trademark appearance in wedding dress and aged crone face-mask leering through the smoke and flashing lights.

I was a FAN … big style

I helped promote their gigs, here in Cumbernauld, and the band I played with, Flat Out, filled various support slots with them

I also designed posters, badges, their record sleeve … and even made the odd apearance with the band, playing the doppelganger clone of Mama Voot, in dress & mask, at a couple of their more memorable gigs … even resulting in me being hit with a bottle at their final Kelvingrove Bandstand appearance!

.
FISH FEATHERS McTEETH (Dave Lewis) / EGGY BEARD (Martin McKenna) / MAMA VOOT (Tony O’Neill )

.

Their impact at that time is indescribable, as they truly were a LIVE phenomenon, and that experience was never even remotely captured on tape.

The recordings of Chou Pahrot, good as they might be, come nowhere even close to the monsterous tsunami of cacophonic noise and the sheer tornado of sound they could create … a sound which could change, in a heartbeat, to the most melodic of riffs … the contrast and relief creating a dynamic tension of beauty that few musicians have ever achieved, in my experience

Chou Pahrot were a child of their time, and a bratty, self-indulgent, nursery-rhyme screaming wee demon he was … but oh how I loved him, and remember fondly those blisteringly sublime moments his tantrums could create!!

Here’s some of the stuff I helped produce, including unseen artwork from the time

This poster was for a gig at the Glasgow Film Theatre – an unlikely double-bill – The Pahrots & The Beatles film, “Yellow Submarine” …. Oh there were a lotta stoners present THAT night, as I remember!! … and as Monica’s demonic form loomed through the dark, and  jumped from the stage in his manic splendour, I sprang from behind him, identically dressed & scared the crap outta the stoned front row!
.

.

Here’s a design for a Chou Pahrot badge that never actually materialised … badges were very popular at this time, as badge-making machines were on the go, and soon became standard memorabilia for every fan of every band

.

14 thoughts on “CHOU PAHROT

  1. Finding it exciting to find so many people who felt the same and still do about this brilliant and unique band.,

    Jennifer Loy Fairhurst, Greenock

  2. hullo, can you help please, i am trying to contact john o neill from the pahrots,i have a pal who imigrated to australia whois desparate to speak to john , his name is jim campbell i have tried non stop for two weeks you are my last chance,
    thanhs in anticipation, robert donald tele, 01 472 823049

      1. I think that john o neill may be a member of staff at perth or dundee college but i do not have a contact for him.

  3. I’d like to print up a couple of tshirts with the chou pahrot poster at the top. The band was the first proper gig I went to. Stirling Uni in about 1976 I’m guessing. I had a copy of the poster on my bedroom wall, and seeing it again clobbered me with nostalgia for all things cooler than mince. I am now living in Canada and would like to be better prepared for the guy I ran into at a gig in Manitoba who thought his vintage Japanese Joy Division tshirt was an obscure item on the Prairies. Anyway was wondering if you could give me permission to print a couple of shirts for personal use. I am happy to send you some beer vouchers via Paypal in consideration. Love the artwork.

  4. John, you most certainly can … no problem!!

    A ll I want in payment is a foto of you, wearing one of the t-shirts … that would make me smile to see someone wearing my artwork, after all these years … it’s still one of my own favourites, of the hundreds I’ve done

    In fact … you’ve rather inspired me … I might just get one printed for myself!!

    Cheers

    Love’n Peas~ Stu

    1. Ideal. Thank you sir. I have a couple on order. I’ll let you know how they turn out – one on a black shirt, one on white. I don’t see an email link anywhere here however, so if you want a snap email me. Cheers, John

  5. Stu, you mentioned the Kelvingrove bandstand bottles throwing incident. Well, again as stated in comments on your ‘Chou Pahrot Live’ piece, I was the drummer, Proton Earsticks (Robert Purse) on that gig. I remember discovering further bits of shattered beer bottles, thrown by some drunken fascist metal-heads, inside my bass drum for weeks after. I can also remember Radio Clyde DJ Tom Russell berating them from the stage.

    We all repaired to my flat in Pollokshields, drank a lot of wine and then headed to the after gig reception in some glasgow pub I can’t remember (the State Bar?), determined to show we hadn’t been intimidated.

    1. I have to say I was furious at those metal bottle throwing morons. I had to endure almost every metal band in Glasgow performing “get it on” like it was a bizarre contest to see who could mess it up the most, only to see those metal idiots ruin a perfectly good set from the Pahrots, selfish b@stard$.

      I had my then other half with me who had never heard the lads and she said to me half way through the first tune………. do you like that? (with a screwed up face) to which I replied Do you not like that? (also with a screwed up face)

      sadly it was a doomed relationship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s