There are two kinds of legends in rock & roll. Those who had make it big (commercially or artistically acclaimed) and those who didn’t.
Mike Spenser sadly belongs to the second category. He was the original vocalist of the Count Bishops and I LOVE the Bishops as a few bands in the world. I do understand why so many fans of the band or the music press dug the second singer, Dave Tice cause he had a hell of voice but sorry, I go for Mike all the way! Dave had a gutsy gravel throat but Mike was the caveman here! The Bishops on “Speedball” were the true sons of the Pretty Things! I have never heard such rawness since the early days of the Sect and the Pretties (always talking for UK).
With Mike behind the mic, Bishops were the garage punk version of the Pretty Things. And there’s not much really more to say cause what I’ve already wrote, I believe strongly speaks for itself!
There’s a big confusion for what Mike did and what not after the Bishops. There must be one or two bands before the Cannibals but that’s a mystery to me. I have searched over the internet countless times and still no complete bio or discography for Mike. I guess when I found the time, should I try to track him for an interview.
The Cannibals are what the name exactly pronounced. The most primitive thing came outta England in the late 70s and all the 80s. They were the originators of ‘Trash’. For some strange reason, only a small amount of compilers around the world include them in the so called ‘Garage Revival’ thing, but the Cannibals were more garage and definitely more punk than say, the Fuzztones or the Chesterfield Kings of this world! They had great originals (I mean GREAT!) and they preferred to cover Bo or Chuck just like the Sonics & the Stones did, than “Psycho” or “99th Floor” as most of the other like minded used to. And although I adore toons like these, sorry but I go better for a cool rendition of “Nadine” than “Dirty Water”! Oh and the Cannibals really did justice better than others on cover songs of 60s punk bands like the Standells “Good Guys” for example. I know that you may be a little bit suspicious on what I’m writing now but like all other times here, I’m for sure a jubilant fanatic but no blind man to not spot you on the bad things even from the ones I really have a taste for. And the Cannibals were and still are the shit! It’s often mentioned that the B side of the “Good Guys” single (on Cock Records), was one of John Peel’s favorites. The famous (now) Black Box of 142 with his all time faves, secured them a place in the pantheon of rock & roll publicity for ever. With a credit like this you simply can do no wrong, right? Prepare the cauldrons and put fire above...it is time to feed the Cannibals!
A Jean Philippe contribution exclusively for White Trash Soul!