Cult heroes: S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men should have changed people's lives
by James Cook Tuesday 28 July 2015 06.00 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 28 July 2015 06.19 EDT
Hooligan was always one of pop’s more accomplished orators. When he emerged from Brighton in 1993 as part of TAM – four mini-Richey Manics in smudged kohl, skinny-fit Lonsdale, Adidas T-shirts and tight white jeans – his interviews were a rare treat. Energised, inspiring, adversarial, Hooligan seemed to hate everything going – from dance music to crusties. Especially crusties. He had the soundbites (“Can a band unite like the Smiths? Maybe not, but it’s fucking well worth trying”), even a manifesto of commandments (No 7: Love is good, but not as good as a wank.)
And, of course, his band looked phenomenal. Yes, TAM knew their rock
history and understood a group should be a gang: four horsemen. Four
heroes. They also grasped that pop was about surfaces and ideas; that 10
minutes of visceral onstage excitement was worth two hours of
dull-witted musicianship. Moreover, unhampered by a political
conscience, they were spectacularly right for the mid-90s – ambitious,
self-absorbed and hedonistic (the sleeve for their first single, Speed
King, featured four bank notes in a plate of white powder, artwork that
succeeded in getting them banned from a tour of school youth clubs).
Musically they were prescient too, drawing from punk’s mod-glam seedbed:
Small Faces, Mott, the Who. In any just world, These Animal Men would
have been as big as Oasis.