Screaming Lord Sutch: Age 58 | Cause Of Death: SUICIDE
(b. David Edward Sutch 10 Nov 1940, d. 16 June 1999, UK)
Born… West Hampstead, England. – Was the leader of The Savages (They did, “Till The Following Night” and “She’s Fallen In Love With A Monster Man”) – Worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts & Nicky Hopkins – Holds the record for running for public office in the UK (Lost all 40 elections) – Founder of The Monster Raving Loony Party.
Fuller Up The Dead Musicians Directory
David Edward Sutch
Screaming Lord Sutch
Died: June 16, 1999
Cause Of Death: SUICIDE
A Fool Such as Sutch Rock's greatest eccentric hangs it up. But America still knows squat about Screaming Lord Sutch
By Serene Dominic for phoenixnewtimes.com
When the shades of night are fallin’
And the moon is shining bright
In the center of a graveyard, in the middle of the night
I get outta my big-a long black coffin till the followin’
Even if you aren’t a musician, Richie Unterberger’s recent book “Unknown Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll” is one mighty depressing read. Each chapter is gorged with somber stories of visionaries out of time, misunderstood geniuses, overlooked originators and eccentric recluses. After you plow through the inevitable descents into madness (Syd Barrett, Roky Erikson, Joe Meek) suicides (Nick Drake, Joe Meek again) or see violin bow pioneers like the Creation’s Eddie Phillips truck driving to make his daily crust, you’re ready for a few laughs. Unterberger provided a slim chapter called “Comic Relief,” outlining the careers of Swamp Dogg, the Rutles and Screaming Lord Sutch. Yet now with the hanging suicide of Sutch last week, the result of depression and financial debt, the laughs come rather hard.
Sutch is regarded as something of a national treasure in Britain, mostly because of his later involvement in politics as the founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party or the later ecologically minded Monster Raving Loony Green Teeth Party.
Alice Cooper may have sang “I wanna be elected” but Sutch really meant it — rocking the vote to run for a seat in Parliament about 40 times while never garnering much more than 1,000 votes. But consistently losing is what has kept Sutch in the public’s hearts and minds, rather like Susan Lucci.
Opposing parties may have laughed, but after the elections they did adopted Loony policies, including giving the 18-year-olds the vote, abolishing the 11-plus school exams, installing special ramps on the backs of busses to help the elderly and disabled and requiring passports for pets. Monty Python’s lampooning of The Loony Party in one of its shows couldn’t begin to approach the whimsy of some of Sutch’s more loony causes like giving large pets the vote, getting rid of January and February so that winters would be shorter and demoting John Major to Private. His views on whether there should be more than one Monopolies Commission also gave many pause.
Ditto for his incredible stage show. He took his name from Screamin’ Jay Hawkins but put back the missing ‘g’ for the added gore. Like Hawkins, he’d make his stage entrance popping out of a coffin. But like a one-man Gwar, he’d employ severed heads, hatchets, knives and swords and buffalo horns to put a song across. Look, Sutch never could sing. But man, could he ever scream!
While the bat’s are a -flyin’
And the cat’s are a-sighing
And the zombies are a-dancin’
And the skeleton’s prancin
I get back into my big black coffin’ till the following night…
So bellowed Dave “Screaming Lord” Sutch on “My Big Black Coffin,” the 1961 horror-rock platter that was the closest he ever came to having a hit in his homeland. It was later renamed “Till The Following Night” to protect the innocent and ensure radio play, both to no avail. Back in those tame times, it wasn’t unusual for the lily-livered men of the BBC to ban an artist off the airwaves because they didn’t like the cut of his trousers. Imagine the grimaces on their faces when they waded through the Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages promo pack Decca Records sent them — replete with an 8×10 glossy of a madman with shoulder length hair and fright white makeup, brandishing a twelve-inch dagger as he staggered hunchbacked through a snowy woods. The fools probably never even dropped a stylus on possibly the noisiest slab of rock ‘n’ squeal ever waxed.
Produced by the enigmatic and equally mad Briton, Joe Meek, “Till The Following Night” sounds considerably more malevolent and mean spirited than “Monster Mash,” the novelty record which became a US graveyard smash for Bobby “Boris” Pickett a year later. Instead of the eight seconds of haunted house sounds that ushers in “Mash” Sutch and Meek plastered their opus with 40 seconds of unbridled wind and bubbling noises, lonesome tack piano, rattling chains, coffin lids squeaks and the most blood curdling screams and orgiastic moans this side of a Donna Summer single spun at 33 rpm. While Pickett got his kicks dancing the Mash, the more demanding Sutch required the blood of virgins at the very least. Lock up your daughters:
I got two horns on my head and a twinkle in my eye
I got two feet of hair and it makes the chicks all sigh
When I hit them with my great club, start to holler an’ cry.
That was the Sutch touch. At a time when inoculated teen idols were ringing the cash registers here and abroad with sweater hugging blandishes, Sutch came on like Conrad Birdie and Jack the Ripper at the same time. Given this strategy, followups like “Jack the Ripper,” “Dracula’s Daughter” and “Monster In Black Tight” never stood a chance of getting airplay, except maybe on Radio Sutch, the first fort-based Pirate radio station he founded in 1964. But it mattered little, since the Savages were one of the most ferociously popular live acts on the British isle. Savages bassist Tony Dangerfield prided himself that the Savages could blow multi-hit record acts like the Searchers off the stage. He’s quoted in Unknown Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll saying “Nobody had the heart. It could have blown the whole thing if we had a hit record, you know? The mystique would have gone.” Indeed!
Such was Sutch’s cachet that he attracted the cream of Britain’s finest musicians. At one time or another, Sutch employed Nicky Hopkins, Matthew Fisher of Procol Harum and Ritchie Blackmore. The Savages’ longtime drummer Carlos Little was Keith Moon’s drum tutor and recommended Charlie Watts to be his replacement when Little quit the Rolling Stones because he couldn’t stand the booing audiences any longer.
Also doing sessions on Sutch records were Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Noel Redding, all of whom return to play with Sutch in 1970 for Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends, an album that is heavy on friends and rather light on Lord Sutch. Jimmy Page weighs in the heaviest, co-writing six songs and enlisting John Bonham to bang along. Because of this, this jam session turned album is a highly sought after curio for Zeppelin fanatics. The effect is not unlike hearing “Led Zeppelin II” if Wreckless Eric were singing it. The “Screaming” moniker is gone and so are the macabre songs. Without the ghoulish trappings, Sutch becomes unfocused or worse, like he’s taking the Michael Des Barres exam and failing.
Luckily, he had politics to fall back on. Or into. At the height of the Profumo scandal in 1963, Sutch ran for a Parliament seat as a representative of the National Teenage Party, which he founded. Essentially a publicity stunt to keep his name in the papers and his appearance fee up, Sutch finally found his niche.
The party slogan “Vote for insanity — you know it makes sense” was finally heeded in big numbers when Alan Hope became the first Loony mayor, at Ashburton Town Council in Devon this past May.
But Sutch is no more. Outside of the inevitable Goldmine article months after the fact, there’ll be hardly a random note about his demise in the States. Dry-eyed America has no equivalent of a Screaming Lord Sutch. Even strange hybrid politicians like Jess “the Body” Ventura don’t go campaigning in leopard-skins and top hats. Outrage merchants like Marilyn Manson would rather go for the public’s shock synapses than go anywhere near the funnybone. Not since the Night of 1,000 Teen Idols of the early Sixties has our pop charts been littered with so many short-haired mama’s boys who couldn’t inspire a fly onto a pile of dung. Now more than ever, we need another Screaming Lord Sutch. Hell, I’d even settle for a Whistling Jack Smith if it’d get ‘N Sync off the radio.
Zany British politician dies
Monster Raving Loony Party’s founder never won in 40 races
David Sutch, who brought a chuckle to British politics as leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party with the slogan “Vote for insanity — you know it makes sense,” has died at age 58.
He was found hanged Wednesday at his northwest London home by his partner, Yvonne Elwood, who said that although Sutch had fought a long battle with depression he seemed happy in the days leading up to his death.
A friend said he was taking anti-depressants, and Scotland Yard said they were treating the death as suspicious.
Known as Screaming Lord Sutch, he was Britain’s longest-serving party leader and although he was never elected despite running in scores of races, one of his party members, Alan Hope, was once elected mayor in a town in southwest England.
Rivals from across the political spectrum paid tribute Thursday to the veteran election campaigner who with his top hat and gold lame suit blared his party’s madcap policies through a rusty loudspeaker from one corner of the land to the other.
“Screaming Lord Sutch will be much missed. For many years he made a unique contribution to British politics,” said a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. “Our elections will never be quite the same without him.”
Hope said Sutch had been in good spirits when he spoke to him on the phone 10 days ago. But, he added, “He was taking lots and lots of pills — Prozac, I don’t know what.”
Sutch, who legally changed his name to add the “Lord,” founded the Monster Raving Loony Party in 1963 and first ran for Parliament in 1964. He went on to fight some 40 elections over a period of more than 30 years.
He once proposed that joggers and the unemployed should be compelled to power a gigantic treadmill to generate cheap electricity, and on one occasion he unsuccessfully tried to get his dog Splodge nominated at a London election.
Sutch and his followers campaigned in a style that intensely irritated earnest candidates but delighted the massed ranks of Britain’s voting population.
And at least one of his policies — all-day pub opening — later became a reality.
Attempts to price him and other “nonsense” candidates out of the election scene — by increasing the registration fee from $240 to $800 — backfired as increasingly more zany figures, clowns and self-described clueless ones joined the ranks of the hopefuls since the eposit rose in 1985.
Screaming Lord Sutch
Monster Raving Loony Party candidate who offered leadership to Dr David Owen after helping him to see that the game was up for the Social Democrats
SCREAMING LORD SUTCH,
who has died aged 58, began his career as a rock singer, but went on to define himself in the public eye as a parliamentary candidate, latterly for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.
For 30 years his manic grin and leopard skin topper were a staple part of election night entertainment. Powerful politicians – for Sutch had a penchant for standing against party leaders – not merely had their portentousness deflated by his presence; they were even obliged to look amused, at least before the cameras.
Beginning in 1963, Sutch stood for Parliament 39 times, polling some 15,000 votes, forfeiting more than £10,000 in lost deposits and incurring £85,000 in campaign expenses. He also fought one Euro-election, in 1989, but had to admit he was no match for the Euro-loonies in Strasbourg.
Sutch’s strongest showing was at Rotherham in May 1994 when he polled 1,114 votes, only some 200 short of the number required for saving his deposit. His most significant result, however, was at Bootle in May 1990, when he scored 418 votes to the Social Democrats’ 155 – a result which helped to convince Dr David Owen that the game was up for his party.
In the aftermath Sutch offered Owen a merger with the Monster Raving Loony Party, and even spoke of relinquishing the leadership in his favour. Owen, he recalled, “gave a sad little smile and turned it down”. Sutch’s last coup was at the Uxbridge by-election of 1997, when he scored 10 times the vote of Dr Alan Sked’s UK Independence Party.
Sutch liked to claim credit for local radio, the introduction of votes at 18, the abolition of the 11-plus, and the Beatles’ MBEs. Rather more certainly, his candidacies led to the raising of the deposit for parliamentary candidates from £150 to £500.
David Edward Sutch was born at Kilburn on November 12 1940; he was not, of course, a lord. His father, a policeman, was killed in the Blitz; his mother helped to look after Sutch until her death in 1997, and was always on hand to pick up the pieces when his latest girlfriend left him.
After school in South Harrow, Sutch worked as a plumber until turning to rock ‘n’ roll. The nickname “Lord” came from his first stage headgear, a fur-lined crash helmet topped with bobbles to resemble a coronet; in 1968 he adopted the name by deed poll. (Once, he said, he had tried to change his name to Mrs Thatcher, but was told it would be too confusing when he got to the Commons.)
Sutch was the first long-haired pop star. He would emerge from a coffin with buffalo horns on his head and a lavatory seat around his neck, set his hair on fire, and with his leopard-skinned group The Savages launch into frantic rock ‘n’ roll, with ghoulish lyrics.
He hit the headlines in March 1961 when a woman police sergeant sent her 17-year-old daughter to Coventry for planning to marry him. That July he tried to elope to Gretna Green with a 16-year-old, only to be foiled by her mother. The next week he was fined £12 for assault after an on-stage brawl at a Dumfriesshire miners’ club. On the whole, though, Sutch presented a genial image on stage; it was in private that he was prone to depression.
The nearest he came to a hit in Britain was the Draculoid Till the Following Night in 1962. But the act which Sutch developed was soon earning him £1,000 a week on the road. In 1963 he spent a month’s pay on a Chevrolet. “Why be normal and earn £10 a week?”
In the early 1970s he enjoyed a minor success in the American charts with an album called Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends. The Friends included Noel Redding, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon and Jeff Beck. The album was voted the worst rock LP of all time in 1998, by record-buyers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Sutch’s first venture at a by-election came in 1963 when he stood as National Teenagers’ candidate at Stratford-upon-Avon, a seat rendered vacant by the resignation of John Profumo. He gathered 209 votes and provoked the deputy Mayoress into walking out when he sat in the mayoral chair.
In 1964, after a brief involvement with pirate radio, Sutch announced that he would stand against Harold Wilson at Huyton in order to fight discrimination against long hair and to promote knighthoods for the Beatles. But his nomination papers were rejected. Wilson, who was anxious to corner the Beatle vote himself, at first refused to shake Sutch’s hand, but later relented to the extent of giving him a cigar.
In 1966 Sutch did stand at Huyton, polling 585 votes. At the next general election, in 1970, he appeared in the City of Westminster as a Young Ideas Party candidate, offering to build council flats in the Buckingham Palace garden as a boost to Prince Philip’s finances.
Rejected by the voters, Sutch turned to direct action. In 1972 he was arrested when he accompanied five naked women to Downing Street to protest at the shortage of rock music on the BBC. Yet he was also capable of shrewd political thrusts. “Why is there only one Monopolies Commission?” his manifesto demanded. And many warmed to his campaign slogan: “Vote for Insanity – You know it makes sense!”
In October 1974 Sutch contested Stafford and Stone for the GB – “Go to Blazes” – Party. But he continued to insist that he was serious about entering Parliament, and in 1980 drew great encouragement from the triumph of Ronald Reagan. “You elected a B Movie actor,” he told the Americans. “We can all make good, you know.”
It was not until February 1983, at Bermondsey, that he first appeared as a Monster Raving Loony candidate; this was the by-election in which Simon Hughes, for the Liberals, trounced Labour’s Peter Tatchell; Sutch, while scoring only 97 votes, obtained as much publicity as either of them.
In the general election of that year the Loonies, having merged with the Green Chicken Alliance, fielded 11 candidates. Sutch himself stood at Finchley against Mrs Thatcher, who proved rather less adept than other leaders at pretending to be amused by his antics. He finished fifth out of 11 candidates, with 235 votes.
By this time Sutch invariably finished well ahead of the other fringe candidates. But when he stood for Southgate in 1984, he was disqualified for proposing his dog Splodge as a candidate as well as himself.
In April 1987 the Monster Raving Loony Party won its first seat, its chairman, Alan Hope, being elected unopposed for Ashburton parish council in Devon.
For the general election that year Sutch put together a Rainbow Alliance of fringe parties. “We are quite confident we’ll get 400 to 500 seats,” he said. In fact one of the Loony candidates did attract as many as 747 votes. That autumn the party held its first conference, at Alan Hope’s pub; and two years later it even managed a split over the leadership style.
On Mrs Thatcher’s overthrow in 1990, Sutch wrote to The Daily Telegraph noting that he had seen off his fourth Tory leader. “Thatcherism may come and go,” he declared, “but Loonyism, which we believe represents the true spirit of the British people, will go on for ever.” Nevertheless he joined the Conservative Party in order to stand for the leadership, only to suffer the indignity of being ruled ineligible.
In 1991 Sutch ventured into print with Life as Sutch: Autobiography of a Monster Raving Loony. Enoch Powell, reviewing it in The Daily Telegraph, concluded that Sutch was “only another specimen of that boring old species, the general public”.
In the by-election at Islwyn, Neil Kinnock’s old seat, in 1995, Sutch pulled in 506 votes, well over half the number polled by the Conservative. At this time Barclays Bank was threatening to foreclose on a loan of £194,000. But William Hill agreed to finance his election deposits, and the bank re-scheduled his repayments, so that in July he was able to record one of his best results (782 votes) at the Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election.
Sutch had hoped to stand for the second time in John Major’s Huntingdon constituency at the general election of 1997, but was compelled to stand down when his mother fell ill. Recently he was compelled to admit that, with the deposit at £5,000, the Loony Party could not afford to stand in the Euro election.
Sutch never married, but is survived by a son, Tristan Lord Gwynne Sutch, born in 1975 to the American model Thann Rendessy.
All-Music Guide He couldn’t properly be considered part of the British Invasion — he never had a hit in the U.S. or the U.K. — but Screaming Lord Sutch laid some unheralded groundwork for the phenomenon. With a rock’n’horror act based to a large degree on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, David “Lord” Sutch was one of the first genuine rock & roll longhairs, and his bands employed such sterling instrumentalists as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Nicky Hopkins, and Mitch Mitchell before they became famous. His early ’60s singles — mostly over-the-top Halloween novelties or covers of early rock and R&B standards — aren’t brilliant, but they are genuinely energetic and fun performances that rank among the few out-and-out raunchy rock & roll records waxed in Britain before the ascension of The Beatles. Twiddling the knobs on his first five singles was the legendarily eccentric Joe Meek, who embellished Sutch’s modest talents with his usual grab bag of treated instruments, compression, and odd effects. While he holds a position of undeniable importance in the history of British rock, Sutch was not a talented singer or musician, and the records he made after the mid-’60s were pretty lame, despite the presence of some stars who remembered him fondly (and had even sometimes played in his band in the old days). A well-known public figure in Britain, he ran for Parliament several times in the ’60s representing the “national teenage party,” and founded the pirate radio station Radio Sutch in 1964. He published his autobiography in the early ’90s. — Richie Unterberger, All-Music Guide
From a November 14, 1997 Hampshire Chronicle article
Screaming out for a touch of Loony power…
Screaming Lord David Sutch is the longest serving political leader in the country and has contested the most elections.
The Winchester re-run is the 43rd time the life president of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party has thrown his hat into the electoral ring.
His party claims to have a Loony deputy mayor and six councillors but Lord Sutch (57) who is married with one child, has yet to keep his deposit.
But Loony party campaign manager, Peter Byford, also known an Uncle Belly, is confident Screaming Lord Sutch will be the next Winchester MP.
He said: “We are going to win it hands down. The Winchester people want a Loony in power. No doubt about it.”
Before launching the Loony Party at Bermondsey by-election in 1983, Screaming Lord Sutch stood in four elections as The National Teenage Party and the Go to Blazes Party.
He started life as a musician, entering politics in the “swinging sixties” when he called for the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18.
Other Loony platforms which have now become mainstream, include scrapping the 11-plus, all-day opening for pubs and commercial radio stations.
Mr Byford said: “Being Loony is commonsense. Everything we push for is commonsense. We don’t get bogged down in the detail.”
It remains to be seen what happens to the Loony proposal for bed sharing in the NHS “to reduce costs and bring some enjoyment to being ill.”
Or the call for a return to the four Rs, “Reading, Writing, Rock and Roll.” Or indeed replacing the Ecu with the Yahoo, “featuring a picture of prime minister in waiting, Screaming Lord Sutch.”
The Loony Party headquarters is at the Albion Inn, in Stockbridge Road, Winchester.