there was a band called "Chapter One" who used to play regularly in The Crown pub at Seaford. The mouthpiece of this band was known as "Wag"
One of the pub's clientelle was known as Sheldon, a young lad who wanted to be a singer in a punk rock group. Many years later, he achieved his ambition by teaming up with Wag to form "The Southern Alliance" whose manager promptly sacked Sheldon leaving Wag with no one to play with.
4 years later the duo were back with a vengence as "The Crouch Potatoes" releasing two singles which enjoyed local radio airplay.
After renaming as Insane Society in 2006, we recorded the first album on a primitive eight track digital machine and we met Steve Dangerous in a pub in Brighton. He was bigger than us and we couldn't get out of the way quick enough. He told us how he had played for Chelsea, I thought he must have been a central defender but apparently he meant the band of which Gene October was the main man. Of course, what he failed to mention that he only had a few rehearsals with the band before he was offered a free transfer. Stefan Mniszko was then recruited on bass and the first full line up was unleashed in April 2007.
The album entitled “Upside Down” sold reasonably well with nearly 900 copies being sold within a year prompting a second pressing of 500. The second release came in 2008 as 'Buy one get one free” It wasn't long before ill health meant Stefan had to leave and was replaced by Gavin who learned the songs much quicker than his predecessor.
Gigs were still readily available and in the first three years we did well over 100 supporting all the top names on the circuit. It wasn't until 2010 that things started to go wrong. Rebellion festivals ignored us (and still do) and support slots were more difficult as the price of fuel prohibited longer trips. It simply wasn't cost effective to travel when expenses were not being met by promoters.
The third album “Inequality Street” was a disaster. Although containing some great songs, the performance was lacking, especially on Sheldon's part and prior to recording at Pat Colliers studio, Steve vacated his drum stool and was replaced by Stefan's 16 year old autistic son Jan.
Jan was a brilliant drummer, but on the day the album was released, he told us he wanted out which was a major disappointment to us all. Thankfully, he honoured all the gigs that were booked by which time Steve wanted back in the band, but a further five months passed before the next gig.
To this day, I honestly don't think we've sold more than 500 copies of that album.
Some very good demos were recorded with Wag playing most of the instruments but in August 2012 Sheldon went out on loan to “Vicious Rumours” and never returned. We played as a three piece for a lot of gigs thinking Sheldon would beg for forgiveness and want back in the band, but he found love and moved to Milton Keynes where he still lives and has very little to do with any of his old mates.
The new 3 piece was as tight as a tight thing and some may say was the best line up. Then we had more bad news when Gavin became an expectant father and didn't want to commit on a long term basis, although he continued to guest when we needed him. He continued his association with the band by completing the artwork for all the albums from Inequality Street through to Cover it Up.
JJ Kaos (Last Resort) came in to create a more stable line up and we sounded bloody good when recording 'Cover it Up' which featured a lot of guest vocalists. Randale had offered £1200 to record the album and Pat Colliers production was top drawer stuff. A brass section was added on two of the songs, most notably 'England's Glory' an old Ian Dury song. Then we were hit by another bombshell when JJ wanted out after which we never heard from Randale despite several emails sent asking for release updates. Eventually, we gave up and offered the whole project to a fella on the West coast of America who promptly went bankrupt. A year later it finally saw a release on another American independent label. This time though, we were the lucky ones as we had received 250 copies of the CD before some allegations of mismanagement of funds saw another label bite the dust.
Wag had been producing some quality material from Oi legend 'Garry Johnson' whose poems on the early oi albums were an inspiration to Insane Society. We had previously covered 'National Service' in 2008 but this time when technology allowed, Garry's vocals were stretched and tortured to fit inside some brand new Insane Society compositions. We had gained access to a private studio in Sussex where Wag was 'employed' as an engineer getting reduced studio time in lieu of hours working for the owners children's band. Being a perfectionist, Wag very soon overspent his hours owing nearly £2000. Thankfully, the debt was recovered by gardening around the very large estate.
A disagreement over a very trivial matter saw Garry decide to end the relationship between himself and Insane Society resulting in the seven completed tracks plus seven new ones with Wag on vocals being shelved. Just before Christmas 2015 Wag was contacted by a German fan who wanted to start a label with Garry Johnson's material offered as the debut release. We all thought it was a hoax, he claimed his label was called 'Black Star' not only the title of the forthcoming Bowie release but research showed was a shop in Hackney (Garry's birthplace) so we took it with a pinch of salt before the second phone call. In April 2016, a parcel arrived with 100 copies of 'Never mind the Boolocks, here's Garry Johnson, he's Kosher' on both vinyl and CD.
So there we were standing at Charing Cross waiting to see our mysterious German arriving on platform 6 and surprise, surprise he failed to materialise. To say I was annoyed would be an understatement. He'd also arranged to meet Garry and we all to go on to the evenings Gonads show in Camden. I hate being let down, so after waiting to see the next two trains arrive, I promptly took the next fast train home to Tunbridge Wells.
Two weeks later I had a call from a German lady with very poor english telling me that Dieter had died the day before travelling to London. The Insane Society curse had struck again.
With so much material stacking up without a label offering us any cash for release, we went back to our roots and self financed the next album. I say self financed but I had to mug an old lady of her savings, thankfully my sister is not pressing charges. 'Too far left to be right' far too right to be wrong' is not only our longest title, but possibly our finest. It was completed two days after the great British public decided to abandon the E.U. And I think the content of the album reflects the different views of Joe Public.
A few choice news clips were added and soon we realised we had put together a good old fashioned concept album. The sleeve was designed by a top artist in Chris Burke who also lives in our town. It is without doubt our finest work, not necessarily our best songs but a package that will remain current for a very long time and on the strength of it, we have seen an resurgence of interest and more gigs planned for 2017
Current line up -
Wag – Guitar/Vocals
CJ Vomit – Bass/Vocals
Steve Dangerous – Drums
This is Nadia, one of Mohammed's many wives, if you are still looking for Mohammed, - click here