Hanson? Wings? U2? Bay City Rollers? The Osmonds? Air Supply? Milli Vanilli? Little River Band? Nope.
There is one group that stands alone when it comes to shrill, tin-eared discordance that is miles from the hyped promises put about by the usual industry grifters and shonks. PR spin from media hacks has been unable to disguise either their total lack of any discernible talent or their constant in-fighting and bickering. Continual airplay of their tired old tunes is back-firing with even rusted-on fans of the genre abandoning the band. A farewell tour is in the offing.
Terry Wrist and the Hand Shandies
The Hand Shandies was formed from the remnants of Rotten Johnny & The Pistol Whippers after little Johnny's faeces flinging antics pushed audiences' grudging sufferance too far. Being out of dung range the die-hards in the dress circle loved it, but the average punters fled for the exits.
The middle-of-the-road Kevin07 took over in the charts in 2007 but fell apart with internal squabbles and a clash of egos, reforming with a more progressive sound as Julia and The Factions. Despite a promising start, after a few years many of their followers drifted away, fed up with their lost direction.
This was an opportunity for an unlikely successor. A talentless gob-shite of Bono-esque self-regard the flappy-eared, onion-breathed Terry Wrist had been waiting. Swaggering around the stage, bandy-legged from a nasty dose of sack rash, leering and winking at the women in the crowd this fan of heavy metals came across as a comical try-hard rising again from several failed careers; a ridiculous, hairy Nosferatu in a red monokini. His chief image consultant, a 6'2" Cruella DeVil, resplendent in tiger-stripe outfits (endangered Bengal tiger cub no doubt) was not the optimal choice for promoting the band's supposed family values.
Wrist was backed up by surviving Pistol Whippers such as Sloppy Joe on diddley bow, the cadaverous, charisma-challenged Spud (Warren Terra) on metronome, Shouty on tambourine, Otto Abetz pounding away on his one-handed organ and the screechy McFailure Crash on finger nails & blackboard. The Hand Shandies was born.
Rotten Johnny's influence was readily discernible - tired old tunes reminiscing about the 50s were re-jigged in the Shandies limited set:
Axe the Tax Stop the boats Stop the waste
While initially these were big hits when repeated ad nauseum they clearly showed that the Hand Shandies were totally lacking in creativity and imagination. They became as popular as a fart in a phone box but maintained the support from the hard core twaterati with constant air-play.
Rotten Johnny was trotted out by the Shandies for regular guest appearances to fire up the rusted-on fans known as The Base. But the beetle-browed, gnomic goblin simply re-hashed the lyrics he'd drafted in the '50s inviting the inevitable disbelief and derision. The Base was nowhere near as broad as they'd deluded themselves into believing; most had moved on to more progressive styles.
In a desperate attempt to regain mainstream listeners The Shandies ditched Wrist for an urbane Brian Ferry wanna-be. Mal Larkey took to the mic to schmooze the public with promises of a harmonic new style - a short-lived and futile exercise as Wristy and his acolytes at the back took to their instruments with re-newed vigour - introducing chainsaw, flame-thrower and jackhammer and drowning out Mal whose subsequent simpering subservience to the rat pack destroyed whatever credibility he'd had - which foretold his inevitable sacking.
The discontent overflowed to The Shandies' backing band - Barmy and The Gnats featuring Matt King-Coal, a hack C&W outfit whose simplistic jingles appeal to the kind of rustic oiks for whom Achy Breaky Heart and The Chicken Dance are favourites on the back bar juke boxes of country pubs. The puce-headed Barmy, whose stage act included imitating a stop light and chasing female bar staff into the women's lavs was finally sacked when the sharing of his oboe with one of the roadies came to the public's attention. He has been replaced by a ventriloquist's dummy.
Under yet another new front man, Shouty, the Shandies applied gospel to their short repertoire and took to the road on their Kill Bill tour. Shouty's gimmick is to take a gun and shoot himself in the foot, his subsequent running around in decreasing circles and yelling gets horrified laughs but has done nothing to increase sales. And he's running out of feet.
The Hand Shandies have scheduled their final appearance for May 2019. This will overlap with Bill Live At The National Tally Room which looks like a sell out. Pork barrels and setting fire to the planet as promised by The Shandies are desperate attempts to keep selling tickets. We've stopped listening. They're goners; and good riddance.
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