Hollywood Brats – ‘Sick On You’

Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with? Hollywood Brats frontman Andrew Matheson did, and as a result he wrote the trashiest, most obnoxious, anti-love song you’ll ever hear – Sick On You.

That’s not Sick OF You, it’s Sick ON You.

It was a short-lived romance, but it sure did piss him off!

You been with me six weeks
Well that’s six weeks too long
You thought we was Romeo and Juliet
Well you couldn’t have been more wrong

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It’s a ferocious tirade of filthy guitar riffs, booming drums and cathartic vocals that celebrate finally getting rid of someone who just had to go. And once he starts venting, he really can’t stop:

You wanna know what it’s like
Condemned to live with you?
It’s some kind of daily suicide
Some phase that I am through

I ain’t sadistic, masochistic
You and me we’re through
I’m sick to death of everything you do
And if I’m gonna puke, I think I’m gonna puke on you

Matheson started the Hollywood Brats in 1971 as a British equivalent to the The New York Dolls. They had to change from their original name The Queen when a band called Queen started to get noticed – supposedly resulting in Matheson giving Freddie Mercury a smack in the mouth at one point.

Having begun with the intention of becoming the biggest band in the world and ridding the music scene of prog rock and bubble gum pop, they proceeded to offend and alienate every record company, potential manager (including Malcolm McLaren) and contemporary they came across with their snotty, nihilistic and abrasive attitude and pretty much did the same for their audiences.

Sick On You featured on their one and only album Grown Up Wrong, recorded in 1973 but not released until 1975 and then only in Norway. It barely sold 500 copies. By that time the punk scene was on the verge of exploding but the Hollywood Brats – with typically self-destructive timing – had fallen apart.

Andrew Matheson continued a low-key musical career in various countries, but it’s the Hollywood Brats that represent his greatest missed opportunity. The blistering punk of Sick On You shows how massive they could have been if they’d emerged a couple of years later, when the UK was ready for their brand of trashy, violent rock. Matheson has recently published a memoir about his time with the band entitled Sick On You: The Disastrous Story of Britain’s Great Lost Punk Band and their recorded output is available from Cherry Red Records.

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Nick Perry

Nick writes fact, fiction and opinion in various places including
his music blog noisecrumbs.com. His musical tastes cover indie, grunge, golden-era hip hop, punk, funk, psychedelia and a big portion of distortion. You can and should follow him on Twitter @NoiseCrumbs.

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