Procol Harum

the Pale

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home

Screaming Lord Sutch


David 'Screaming Lord' Sutch was an early musical collaborator of Matthew Fisher see here for recording details of CDs in 1972 and 1982, here for Matthew pictured with Sutch at drummer Carlo Little's 60th birthday party in December 1998, and here for a picture of DS and MF in gladiator outfits!

Sutch's career is summarised in the three obituaries following:

Dave Thompson in Goldmine Magazine, 30 July 1999, page 23

Screaming Lord Sutch, pop artist and politician
The death on 16 June 1999 of 58-year-old English rocker 'Screaming' David 'Lord' Sutch did more than remove another stanchion from the increasingly frail edifice that recalls the fiery freneticism of British beat before The Beatles. It saved British bookmakers somewhere in the region of $120 million the amount Sutch stood to win if a longstanding $8 wager on his chances of becoming British Prime Minister ever came good.

As leader of first the National Teenage Party and later, the Monster Loony Raving Party, Sutch was better known as a politician than a pop star, albeit a somewhat unconventional one. Demanding to know why there was only one Monopolies Commission, Sutch's policies over the years included subsidized heated lavatory seats for the aged; lowering the voting age from 21 to 18; legalized commercial radio and all-day pub openings. All but one of these have since become realities.

Musically, however, he was equally inventive. Cast initially (and self-confessedly) as little more than an Anglo Jay Hawkins, Sutch swiftly developed both a repertoire and a reputation that could give The Exorcist a run for its money.

In tandem with producer Joe Meek, Sutch was responsible for some of the greatest British rock records of the early 1960s: She's Fallen In Love With A Monster Man, Til The Following Night and Jack The Ripper among them; while his band, The Savages, featured such future stars as Ritchie Blackmore, Nicky Hopkins, and Matthew Fisher. Many of these past sidemen, plus sundry other superstar admirers (Jeff Beck and the embryonic Led Zeppelin among them) would reunite with Sutch later in the decade for the legendary And Heavy Friends album.

Sutch made his first run for British Parliament in the summer of 1963, and over the next 30 years, his presence graced more than 40 elections. He never won one (although one of his party members was elected a small town mayor), and toward the end of his life, Sutch's enthusiasm for making a welcome mockery out of the po-faced electoral procedure seemed to be waning, all the more so following the death of his mother, Nancy, in May 1997.

A month before his suicide, Sutch announced that due to financial constraints, the Loony Party would be fielding no candidates whatsoever in the European Parliament polls. It would be the first major British political event in 36 years not to be graced by Sutch's outlandish but often oddly logical ideas, and it suffered accordingly. Voter turnout was the lowest in British history, and in a way, that fulfilled another of Sutch's prophecies. He once described his party as representing all the people who didn't vote, on the premise that if enough people stayed at home, he would win by a landslide.

But in the end, unfortunately, simple victory wasn't enough.

Johnny Black in MOJO, obituary page 32, August, 1999

REAL GONE: Screaming Lord Sutch Loony Institution
Britain's longest-serving political party leader and rock'n'roll aristocrat died at home in Harrow, Middlesex, on June 16.

David Edward Sutch was born in Kilburn on November 12, 1940. An only child, he was raised by his mother after his father, a policeman, had been killed by a bomb during the war. Nurturing his love of rock'n'roll at Soho's 21's coffee bar, Sutch adopted his Screaming Lord persona in 1960, founded on the voodoo antics of US star Screamin' Jay Hawkins, but distinctively Anglicised by his early fascinations for Punch and Judy, Max Miller and Jack The Ripper.

Although he never scored a significant, hit, early singles like Big Black Coffin remain highly regarded, and his band, The Savages, were a potent breeding ground for future talent including, at various times, such rock luminaries as Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Nicky Hopkins, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Matthew Fisher, plus the entertainers Freddie Starr and Paul Nicholas.

Boasting green 14-inch-long hair, Sutch developed a stage act with entertainingly ghoulish goings-on, including mock-stabbings following which he showered the audience with his victims' internal organs. Enormously popular on the club circuit, he reportedly inspired the likes of Arthur Brown, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne.

In 1963, he founded the National Teenage Party, picked up 209 votes in Stratford-upon-Avon, and lost his deposit for the first time. On May 27, 1964, he launched his own pirate station, Radio Sutch. It was not until February 1983 that he stood for Parliament on behalf of his greatest creation, the Monster Raving Loony Party.

Campaign slogans like "Vote for insanity, you know it makes sense" lampooned the contradictions and lunacies of 20th century politics and endeared him to the British public. He never, however, abandoned rock'n'roll. In 1970, the album Lord Sutch And His Heavy Friends featured chums Jimmy Page and John Bonham, as well as many former Savages. In 1972, he appeared at a Wembley Stadium rock revival show, alongside Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Haley.

With seemingly boundless energy, Sutch stood in so many elections that he earned a place in The Guinness Book Of Records, and played up to 250 gigs a year until his death. Former Tory MP Harry Greenway once invited Sutch to tea at the House of Commons. Clad in his celebrated campaign costume, Sutch hung a piece of dolls' house furniture round the MP's neck, declaring "Let's have a cabinet meeting." "Everyone was in fits. He brought a chuckle and a smile to British politics - let us never forget that."

In May of this year, Sutch predicted that the Monster Raving Loony Party, which had cost him almost 100,000 over the years, was doomed by cash shortages. A close friend, Joyce Gray, said that Sutch had never got over the death of his mother Nancy. "The last time we spoke he told me his dog Rosie had died. He said, 'It's only been two years since mum died, now Rosie. What next?' "

On the afternoon of June 16, Lord Sutch was discovered by his partner Yvonne Elwood, hanged at their home. Ms Elwood immediately called an ambulance but Sutch was declared dead when it arrived.

He leaves a 24-year-old son, Tristan, who now lives in Texas, from Sutch's former relationship with American model Thann Quantrill.

Thursday 17 June 1999: Screaming Lord Sutch, An Apparent Suicide

Former rock singer and leader of Britain's Monster Raving Loony Party, Screaming Lord Sutch, was found dead in his London home Wednesday, the BBC reported.

The singer (born David Sutch), who was found hanged, apparently committed suicide at the age of 58. In the 60s Sutch fronted the Savages and other bands in which he was supported by many musicians who later became stars, including guitar greats Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, bassist Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and drummer Keith Moon of the Who [and Procol Harum's great organist, Matthew Fisher ... Ed].

He also started the pirate radio station Radio Sutch in 1964 and headed into fringe politics, forming his 'national teenage party' Monster Raving Loony, which campaigned under the slogan 'Vote for insanity, you know it makes sense.' He reportedly ran for Parliament more than 40 times.

Matthew Fisher's page at 'Beyond the Pale'

Matthew and Lord Sutch

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home