Order King Trigger Music Now!
KING TRIGGER - FINGER ON THE TRIGGER
From MELODY MAKER - February 1982.
When Trudi lived in Grenada seven years ago, she fell under the spell of a woman - "my grandfather's mistress" - who ran the local Shango meetings. From her house all of eight miles South from the shindigs, she could still hear the singing and chanting and drumming, could picture the dancing, soak up the magic, revere the religion and sway to that rhythm.
"People used to say she was evil, because it was such a high rhythm, such an evil rhythm..." but the young girl thought, and thinks, different.
Just before Trudi left, plucked off to the short, sharp shock of a British education, the woman upped and died and the meetings died with her.
The rhythm, however, remained; survived "in my head, over here"; translated into tantalising butt-shaking with awful old Hippies Here and Now, in cellars with innumerable mismatched bands destined never to make it out of rehearsals and now, at last, potent and free, pounding drums for the fab new King Trigger.
"It was a real shock," splutters Mart through a mile-wide grin. "Stuart just said 'I know somebody who can play drums' and brought Trudi along... and she proceeded to smash every drum in the place. Well, we knew right away that was our man!"
Soft-spoken Simon's so sedate in comparison, feels no such exotic inspirations, works towards no such ulterior spiritual quests. The Methodist meetings in downtown Chippenham were pretty damn dull to be honest, and the reason he first started singing at all was simply because... "well, I'd been in the school play and thought being onstage was really quite cool, and then I met Martin who said 'would you like to join a group?', which was pretty optimistic because he didn't even know how to play guitar. But I joined anyway and it was diabolical for ages and ages..."
And now he's in King Trigger.
Martin, this aforementioned fellow old Chippenonian is part of the set-up as well. A kamikaze intellectual who quit University because he could gradually see himself "being processed into something I didn't feel I was", he started playing guitar with a bunch of art-school ne'er do wells, knocking out "sort of Fifties and Sixties TV theme tunes... only out of tune."
"At the time, I really got excited about it." He laughs at his rich recollection. "It was a way of doing something disgusting with a guitar that didn't involve trying to be a pop star of playing rock music."
Funny: so is King Trigger - a much better bet.
Carrot-topped Stuart playfully fibs that he's never heard of Wiltshire, let alone Chippenham. The others playfully hint he's never learned to play bass either, despite an illustrious early career in a Sussex school band annoying the local Wishbone Ash freaks.
When he met Sam and Mart, they were still "a punk rock version of the Beatles" called The Scoop, getting canned off-stage by thousands of up-tight Slade aficionados. "He'd turn up every now and again and slag us off," chuckles Sam. "So we thought he's obviously a bright boy, we'd better be in a band with him."
That band is called King Trigger.
Ian's really the newest around here but knows a thing or two about Mart and Sam that he's not letting on. His punk band, the Commercial Viability, were better than the desperate duo's.
"Simply," he reckons, "because their's was no bloody good!"
But he'd only been in London a couple of months when: "I can't remember how I got involved in it... a couple of months? It seems like a lifetime!"
Ian concusses percussion with Trigger.
Which just about brings us up to date with the wheres, whos, hows and whys but gets us no nearer to just what this Trigger bunch are all about. Described by Sam as a "constructive compromise between five individuals", their name's a deliberate non-clue for starters, reduced from Screaming King Trigger when the Lord Sutch connotations wedded to the reggae inflections proved all too much for most to take.
It was the Thompson Twins who finally took pity, offering them occasional support slots after their debut in "a dog's lavatory" in a wet adventure playground at Westbourne Park and a suspect Summer jam in Parliament Fields.
Still in the dark? Well try this for size...
Sam: "Bo Diddley, sub-Adam, Skids, Fire Engines..."
Ian: "You name it, we've been tagged with it..."
Stuart: "I really liked what Allan Jones said: 'Feelgoods gone native' - now I'd never have thought of that in a million years."
STILL in the dark? Well, what they're trying to say - or avoid saying - is that I, we, and they don't rightly know what they're supposed to sound like. And don't rightly care.
"The more people we get labelled with the better," says Sam. "That means people can't put their finger on it (Finger? Trigger? Geddit?), and ultimately they'll just have to say 'Hey! That sounds like King Trigger!'"
Yeah. Toss in words like Bow Wow Wow and brill, and I reckon that fair sums them up.
They've never recorded and seldom played, but their few live assaults have proved all-stops-out-stunners - Trudi leaping from her drums and frequently having trouble with her home-made garments - like loosing them all over the stage!
Their nine-song set accelerates wildly and always seems to end before anyone - least of all them - quite expects it to, and for once the ideas don't get lost in the practice. Everyone - both the band and punters alike - abandon themselves to the unfettered fun.
"Our image is nothing conscious," claims Stuart insistently. "We haven't worked on it and we don't want to. We just wanna look good, sexy and young and play good exciting music - that's all. There's no way I want to get labelled or marketed as part of, say, this trend happening here, or this trend happening there..."
"The important thing," states Mart categorically, "is to be what's happening! I mean, this band gives us all the entertainment we need - there's always someone to take the piss out of - one week it's me, the next week it's Sam..."
Well, it must be Sam's turn this week because he's just nodded off over too many beers.
Or maybe it's Trudi's, convinced till this day that Bo Diddley's white?
Or maybe it's Stuart's, pretty late for his afternoon LSE lecture?
Or maybe it's Martin's with his three Yes LPs?
Or, then again, Ian's with that moth-eaten cardy?
Well, no matter who's week, one thing's for sure: this is the year of King Trigger.