Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Pink Fairies—
The Snake/Do It


Released 1971 on Polydor
The Seth Man, September 2000ce
It took a full year after their formation (and playing live throughout Britain from cheesy Top Rank Ballrooms to underneath the Westway in Ladbroke Grove to stoned and nekkid at the legendary Phun City Festival) for The Pink Fairies to finally get their first record released. And on both sides of this debut release they burn full steam ahead with not a care for anything else in the world except in going for broke with unlimited raw power. Here everything follows the awesomely HUGE and ever-widening guitar sounds of Paul Rudolph as he navigates both sides of this screaming single into exuberant proto-metal rave ups fuelled by dope, rock’n’roll and fucking in the streets as lifestyle and shoved into the tiny confines of a 45rpm single. It’s out there, purifying, and sheer genius without thinking all at the same time.

“The Snake” opens with only the guitar running roughshod, beating its breast, running down a twisted riff and then into a solo, interrupted by a cry of “C’mon!” and then the band enters with a thumping, festival boogie beat, immediately mutating into a fully unleashed, strafing guitar assault. The mandied-out percussion line rumbles on until THAT BREAK where Rudolph’s guitar swoops out from the speakers, wipes out the entire audio field as chaos reigns all around. He then directs his Baby Les Paul into a single, all-sustaining, vibrato-ing note, and after it breaks down at full velocity into smaller clusters of going for it notes, it reigns itself in at top speed and neatly lurches back just in time for the vocal entry, over a heated bass line and the buffalo stampede of double drums from Russell Hunter and Twink. It is truly one of the most unrefined and blistering pre-punk tracks ever released.

But the full-blown characteristics of this single are not limited to the A-side alone: “Do It”, inspired by Jerry Rubin’s incendiary book of the same name, is every bit as unbridled and ass-kicking rock’n’roll. Twink sings -- or rather, SHOUTS -- this anthem, going hoarse at one point during a brisk, reiterating series of chants of the title over the furious backing. A final “DO IT!” makes everything stop for an instant as Twink clambers back behind his drum kit to join in with Russell Hunter, and Rudolph goes completely haywire. The double drums now beat out all around as his redoubtable guitar gets wah-wah fever during a splintery guitar attack, colliding with perfect sync over his pre-recorded raw rhythm guitar. A near screeching wah wah/distorted solo lifts everything off and into the stratosphere as all four Fairies sprout wings and begin to ascend effortlessly into the furthest regions of oblivion, powered ever onward by Rudolph’s banked and massive guitar deliriums.

“The Snake” was non-LP until it appeared on the now deleted 1976 Polydor compilation, “Flashback.” But recently, Polydor issued a compilation called “Master Series” which includes both sides of this single. Also of note is the live compilation, “Mandies And Mescaline Round Uncle Harry’s”, which features an extended 1970 BBC version of “The Snake”, showing how even more massive it was live, and in a VERY BIG WAY. This is by far the most brutal Pink Fairies material extant, and that’s saying quite a lot, cause they meant it, man.