In 1974, and at age 14, Colin Smith, aka The Cardinal Jesus Hate, left both home and school and started living on the South East London estate called Thamesmead - this was the location where Stanley Kubric filmed A Clockwork Orange.
Around this time The Cardinal formed a band with Mark Carter (Drums), Vince Carter (Bass), and front man Gary London - it was called Future Bodies. The Cardinal played guitar and began writing some of the songs with this band. At 16 The Cardinal left FB and went to Amsterdam. In 1978 The Cardinal returned to London and formed a new punk band, now as a developing writer and guitarist, it was called The Velvet Neuroids - Mark Carter was again on drums.
After the band went on the Rock against Racism march in 1978, where they saw The Clash play at Victoria Park, the band broke up. After this band finished The Cardinal and Mark Carter did a gig, in Welling Kent, with Jamie Cantwell, aka song writer and guitarist JJ Bedsore, with Gary Granger on bass. This band was called Tripe Houndz and this was the first performance between JJ and The Cardinal. It was around this time that drummer Kenny Day joined the Tripe Houndz with Mark Carter leaving after just one or two gigs.
It was very soon after this that JJ and The Cardinal went out on their own as Coming Blood and together began rewriting old songs and composing new ones whilst watching old Laurel and Hardy videos and listening to Derek and Clive tapes in JJ's parent's home. Of course the composing was done with early morning shots of Tequila or Southern Comfort. If you listen to the words from Calling the Shots an anthem about a school boy revolution you will identify that The Cardinal Jesus Hate is one of the rebellious Characters mentioned in this song.
JJ's musical influences were Hawkwind and Motorhead - The Cardinal's The Clash and The Sex Pistols. However, JJ and The Cardinal were both also avid fans of The Dammed and found a sound that connected them and inspired them to work together in The Blood.
The Blood's first professional recording came about after The Cardinal Jesus Hate met Stinky Turner, from the Cockney Rejects, in The White Swan public house in Charlton Village. Stinky introduced The Cardinal to Garry Bushell and the bands recording career began at this point under the original name of Coming Blood a name given to them by their first manager Gary Billingham.
The first song the band released was called Such Fun and was released on Oi Oi That's Your Lot an album from the Oi series. JJ and The Cardinal composed the song Such Fun whilst drinking cider in Charlton Park. Their intention was to try and write a song in the style of The Dammed. They were delighted with their result. The UK was at war with Argentina as the band recorded Such Fun - and as the band played the news came through on the radio that The HMS Sheffield had been sunk.
JJ and The Cardinal had already written the Megalomania EP, which included Parasites in Paradise, and Calling the Shots - The Stark Raving Normal/Mesrine single - And the False Gestures For a Devious Public debut Album - when they set up auditions for a bass player and drummer at Gary Billingham's squat in Lewisham. Mutley and Doctor Wild Thing joined the band at this point.
At his audition The Doc picked up the sticks and immediately puked up over the snare drum as he hit it - he then proceeded to kick the kit all over the room. JJ and The Cardinal looked at each other and said you are in the band mate. The Doc left the band after The Blood's first tour and Evo (Angelic Upstarts) played drums on False Gestures. The title False Gestures For A Devious Public was given to the band by Lol Pryor. The lyrics to the songs Mesrine and Rule 43 were written by Garry Billingham.
The Blood's second album Se Parare Nex, also written by JJ and The Cardinal, was influenced by Alice Cooper, Splat Movies like The Evil Dead and the idea of becoming more burlesque and theatrical. This work also represents the two different creative directions that JJ and The Cardinal were moving in.
The two cockney composers were always on a trajectory to split up as JJ remained faithful to the anarchic hedonistic nihilistic life journey whilst The Cardinal went back to school and became a teacher of the Humanities.
The last gigs that the two of them did together in The Blood were at London's Brixton Academy supporting Sham 69, and at The Venue, in London New Cross, supporting The Business. These last gigs of JJ Bedsore and The Cardinal together were in the early 90s. Gaz joined the band at this point.
Over the next decade JJ Bedsore went on to take The Blood to America and play a host of festivals. In this period the band released two more albums, Smell Yourself and Spillage, and two more Eps, Fabulous as Usual and Boots. Gaz was sharing lead vocals with JJ throughout this time.
JJ Bedsore passed away in 2004 leaving in his wake an illustrious and powerful legacy symbolic of a banjaxing freedom of spirit and expression. JJ's oblique individuality, and unique style, was avidly amplified by the uncompromising way in which he conducted his life. JJ was rocknroll to the end. JJ was as musically gifted as Jimi Hendrix and as witty as Peter Cook. JJ Bedsore was a one off and an authentic Punk: Respect.
In 2012/14 The Blood, with The Cardinal at the helm, toured across America, Canada, Japan and Spain, and received a glorious reception from all their avid fans wherever they performed. The were/are the iconoclasts of the iconoclasts, and if Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche had formed a rocknroll band in the 19th Century they would have called it The Blood.
Where to find starkravingnormal online
Vagabond Vendetta is a, sideways autobiographical fantasy written by The Cardinal - aka Colin Smith – the front man of the legendary, 1980s punk-band The Blood. The book literally teems with ironic twists, poetic delusions and dark episodes of vigilante serial killing.
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