triumvirate - the mighty Bladder Bladder Bladder.
Bladder Bladder Bladder were real English punks residing in Hollywood. That sounds a little bit like a movie premise, but it's the god's honest truth. They actually predated most of the '77 revivalist bands of the day - releasing their first single in 1991. The band was originally formed in England by Mick Bladder (vocals) and Alex Van Der Chaos (bass). After undergoing a number of lineup changes, the Bladder boys relocated to Los Angeles - "their cynical outlook sitting uneasily beside the swimming pools and palm
trees." In L.A., they met up with London expat guitar slinger Sterling Paramour - and the classic American Bladder Bladder Bladder lineup was born. Given that English punk circa 1977-79 is my favorite music ever, it was no surprise that I immediately took to Bladder Bladder Bladder. Or more likely it was partially because of this band that I became such a geek for '77 U.K. punk. From the moment I heard Bladder's split 7" with the Dimestore Haloes, I was hooked. These guys were like nothing else that I was hearing in the punk world of 1996. They had swagger, style, and a sense of humor above all else. Their lyrics explored such topics as the glories of heavy drinking and the high strangeness of American life from a Brit's perspective. And their sound was steeped in the timeless traditions of The Clash, Sex Pistols, and Generation X. In 1997, the Pelado compilation Punk Rock That's Real gave us perhaps the two most defining songs of the band's career in the anthems "Crime Pays" and "Living A Lie". I eagerly awaited a full EP, which arrived a year later and did not disappoint. A brilliant and sadly overlooked full-length album - On The Job - followed in 2000. And just like that, the band was done - bowing out that same year with the "No Control"/"Slots Of Fun" 7" on 77 RPM Records.
It always disappointed me that the punk world at large never fully embraced Bladder Bladder Bladder. For sure, they had a decent local following in L.A. and played shows with many of the big So-Cal punk bands of the day. And their records garnered some solid reviews in the major punk rags. But it never seemed like American punks fully "got" this band. Perhaps they were "too English" or too over the top in their mission to swankify the western world. These guys, the self-proclaimed "international ambassadors of the Britannic punk rock", may not have garnered a following like the Stitches, U.S. Bombs, etc. But if you followed that whole scene, you probably have fond memories of the compilations listed below and might have owned a single or two from Bladder Bladder Bladder. And looking at the great number of English punk bands playing in the classic style today, Bladder Bladder Bladder (along with like-minded outfits such as Apocalypse Babys) deserve much credit for keeping the fire burning back in the '90s. Check out the clips below if you're not yet familiar with this great, much-missed band. And the original records, if you can find them, are well worth owning.
Bladder Bladder Bladder Discography
"Down Town"/"Passport To Women" 7" (Blart Records, 1991)
Bladder Bladder Bladder/Dimestore Haloes split 7" (Pelado Records, 1996)
No-Go Girl 7" EP (Pelado Records, 1998)
On The Job CD (Pelado Records, 2000)
"No Control"/"Slots Of Fun" 7" (77 RPM Records, 2000)
"Designated Drinking Driver" - on Battle For The Airwaves, Volume 1 7" EP (Radio Records, 1996)
"Crime Pays" and "Living a Lie"- on Punk Rock That's Real CD (Pelado Records, 1997)
"U.S. Dole Queue", "White American National Killer", "No Control", "Crime Pays", "Living A Lie", "Demand The Impossible" - on The British Punk Invasion Volume 5 CD (High Society International Records, 1998)
"U.S. Dole Queue" - on Scene Killer Volume 1 CD (Outsider Records, 1998)
"On The Wagon" - on Three Minute Heroes CD (Pelado Records, 2002)