Terminal Cheesecake formed in North and East London in 1988 and was put together by Gary Boniface (formerly of The Purple Things and The Vibes). He formed the band along with Russell Smith and John Jobbagy – drummer (formerly of The Vibes and Purple Things)they were the first band signed to the then fledgling Wiiija Records (which later went on to spawn Cornershop, Silverfish, Bis and many more listener-friendly indie-stalwarts).
The first Cheesecake and the first Wiiija release was the 12″ vinyl EP ‘Bladdersack’, followed by the album ‘Johnny Townmouse’ which was indeed a psychedelic bad-acid trip, slab-of-noise version of Beatrix Potter’s nursery story. It was an impure mash of all things that had gone before, pushed to the extreme. The ‘Cake’s fierce, simple grooves of noise somehow gained some mainstream BBC Radio 1 airplay – much to the bemusement of the DJ’s.
Due to the demand of the first album, a second, ‘V.C.L’ was rushed through. This featured another childhood classic; a rendition of the traditional ‘Lord of the Dance’ (again performed as an acid-fried-nightmare). The album’s title track ‘Valium Chicken Leg’ is a re-purposed cover version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Careful with That Axe, Eugene’.
After a bit of time spent in the wilderness and embedded firmly in the then scene’s mind, the band had a shift in personnel, losing original rhythm section players( John Jobbagy – drums who decided to end his drumming day’s) and drafting Joe Whitney & Gordon Watson as Drummer and Bass player respectively and after being signed-up to Kevin Martin’s (GOD/Ice/Techno Animal/The Bug/KMart/etc, etc) Pathological label, the band recorded the 1990 classic ‘Angels In Pigtails’ with AR Kane main man Rudy sharing production duties with the band, which was a slight musical departure. Featuring more worldly instruments and other-worldly sounds and samples, it showed a greater depth than the fucked-up all out assault of the first two albums and introduced such delights as Funkadelic beats sampled with a chorus of hand drills playing over the top and psychedelic vocal samples dropped into the mix. There was also a great line in Stravinsky samples and what sounded like the band out fox-hunting along with more dub influenced numbers such as ‘Stinky Beads’ (‘they go in yellow and they come out brown’..), which also showcased Russell’s incredible and highly skilled Syd Barrett-influenced guitar sound. The album also had a great full-on version of The Residents ‘Hello Skinny’ along with the three part ‘Track 9’, a re-sampled version of part of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons devoted to that most annoying of the fiddle, Nigel Kennedy!
After the recording of the album Rusell & Rudy produced a record that stayed in the British charts for 14 weeks and unbelievingly reached number 1. That record was M/A/R/R/S’ “Pump up the Volume.” Apparently doing the record for a laugh, they appeared on Top of the Pops accompanied by a video with their faces covered up. Was this to encourage their mysterious persona or simply to hide from the dole office?
After this the band spent some time in Europe, though started suffering major problems with personnel, Russ departed (later re-appearing in Skullflower) along with Joe Whitney and several part-timers, and some who shall remain anon came and went. After more changes within the band, Gordon switching to guitar, the erstwhile Fez being drafted in on bass and the solid Paul Morris adding the beats, the band were then back in 1991 with the heavy-heavy sound of ‘Pearlesque Kings Of The Jewmost’. This album finally saw the band letting out all of their dub tendencies and tracks like ‘Coils’ and ‘Drug’ were pinned down by solid dub B-lines and grooves whilst the sample mayhem continued with tracks such ‘Neu Seeland’, a fine re-working of the Krautrock number (Neu! Seeland / New Zealand – geddit?!)
Time passed.. and after a chance meeting with the young Simon Doling who had previously been employed in the west of London with (similar, yet poppier and thus not that similar at all) World Domination Enterprises as drummer who had folded a year or so previously and was wasting away as promoter of North London dive, The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town. The band was on the go again, this time, after spending time in Camden Town’s ‘Camden Lock Studios’ with the one-man mountain Jono behind the desk again, the band went about recording and mixing many tracks in sessions which then went onto become the mini album ‘Gateau D’Espace’, the full length album ‘King Of All Spaceheads’ and the single ‘Oily Hotknife’. These were put out between 1993 and 1994 on the Jackass label; which although was another label unable to support the band with any budgets, helped the band have a brief press flurry, including independent chart positionings, single of the week’s in Melody Maker etc. and full-page live reviews proclaiming the band to be ‘The Armageddon that Ministry promised, but failed to deliver, waiting on your doorstep’. The album saw the band go on an all-out dub, hip-hop and beats assault. Including the blatant tracks such as ‘Oily Bud’ and ‘In The St John’s Ambulance Tent Glastonbury ’89’ firmly defining the band’s intents and past times! No sound was left untouched, with African drums, Tibetan gongs and Mexican brass finding it’s way in. Classics such as Floyd, Hendrix and Davey Allen were also sampled up and spat-out.
At this point, the band, although enjoying a good patch of activity with some highly anticipated live shows (which saw them adding Didgeridoo provided by none other than Chigwell’s Boris Botulism and guest M.C in the shape of Brentwood’s M.C Freaky – this being 1993 and a heavily noise based, psyche outfit, along with the usual mind bending films and slides provided by East Ham’s finest, Tog and Swami) felt that everything that needed to be said by a band of this type had been said. They all then went their separate ways to pursue other musical challenges….
2012, December, near Bordeaux. Monsieurs Jobbagy, Watson and Smith started the process which would lead to the super duper line up of today . First live show at Corsica studios in London in August 2013 followed by a saturday night headline slot at Supernormal festival in Oxfordshire . Back to our old tricks with a 2 guitar line up for the first time. To boldly go where we nearly went before although this time with added stain removers and fabric softeners.. We are back my friends and have much to accomplish ! See you soon cakesters ..