Evil Blizzard’s Filthy Dirty has a new solo album – The Rise And Fall Of Blasphemouth – we needed to find out what the hell’s going on.
Only ever seen in public wearing a pink, sequin adorned, jump suit and latex mask, Evil Blizzard’s Filthy Dirty is an enigma.
Happiest when he abuses his audience, taunting them for their lacklustre booing and refusing encores on the basis the crowd doesn’t deserve one, he’s the unrecognisable face of The Biggest Band to come out of Preston.
But if the truth be known, we’d doubt you’d be interested in seeing his face anyway.
He does, however, have a tale to tell and a new solo album that’s actually not shit.
So, we dragged him into a Zoom to find out the score.
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
FD: I’ve just had my tea and I’m upstairs in my studio, it’s my little sanctuary where I can make a racket, annoy the neighbours and get away from my horrible children.
P3dro: And how are the neighbours?
FD: They’re absolutely brilliant. Next door is a wine importer, so during lockdown he was like the best milkman in the world. We’d just get a knock on the door and there would be 12 bottles of really nice red outside.
P3dro: Excellent! Tell us about the new album. How did that come about?
FD: It was just by accident, really. And through boredom. Before lockdown I had been having a bit of a bad time and was struggling a bit. But things sorted themselves out and then we went into lockdown. So, I thought: “Christ, here we go again”
It was to occupy myself. I did the same as everybody else. I did the couch to 5K, I started exercising and getting healthy. It was, actually, a really positive time for a few months.
But, then I just found myself bored. I’ve had a studio set up at home for the past 15 / 20 years doing demos, just for my own entertainment. I’ve always really enjoyed recording and everytime I’m pissed, I’ve always gone on about doing a solo album.
In Blizzard we all write bits and pieces. We’re not the sort of band where someone turns up with an acoustic guitar and says: “This one’s called Wonderwall”. It’s all based on riffs. There were three or four “songs” that I’d written for Blizzard, just basic riffs and we’d tried them out, but they’d never worked for one reason or another. The wrong vibe, or whatever. They just didn’t sit.
So, I thought, I’ve nothing better to do with my time, so I knocked them into a full song format and then got really into it. I really liked it. I’d started running, so I’d go for a run in the morning and then I’d get another idea. Before I knew it I had nine tracks sorted.
I didn’t really have any intentions to do anything with it. I’d done it. I was chuffed with it. But then I played it to Stomper and he was knocked out by it. He said: “You need to release this”.
But this was just me having a laugh in my bedroom. But he and Mark [Whiteside] said I should get it out there. So, I played it to a few more people and they all agreed. It’s kind of Blizzard-ish in terms of themes and the like. It was recorded with lots of sequence drums and an electric kit, essentially in a bedroom, so that’s a very different process to recording in a big studio with loads of amps – then you’d fire off adrenaline and volume. You’d get into the vibe.
Recording on your own, it takes bloody ages to get something done because you pick up on every mistake, whereas with Blizzard there are at least two songs per album where we just pressed record and Go! That’s the song being written as you hear it.
But with this album, it’s me going back through things, changing things, tweaking things. So, it’s ended up a lot more concise and together than anything I’ve done before.
It was good fun. I really enjoyed it. So, let’s get it out. It was something to occupy us and keep us busy for a few weeks.
P3dro: The album has a bit of a Blizzard feel to it, but there’s more electronics going on. Almost like Suicide?
FD: Oh, wow, yeah. I’ll have that! I wasn’t really aiming for anything. In terms of the music I listen to there’s not a lot of guitars these days. I listen to a lot of electronic stuff, and classical stuff. I just like really nice orchestral music. But with Logic installed on my computer, with so many effects, you can’t really avoid it sounding like electronic music.
There’s a couple of tracks that are kind of Blizzardy – there’s the drums, there’s the bass, there’s the guitar, but even then you can’t stop dicking about.
It’s the nature of how it was recorded. It was just me having fun.
P3dro: Obviously, we know you from having seen Evil Blizzard a few times, but, what’s your history?
FD: I’ve been in bands all my life. I was in a band called The Ambitious Merchants with my brother and Paddy Shennan. It was literally just us hitting desk lamps, while Paddy shouted. I was 13 at the time. Paddy recorded it onto cassette and sent it to John Peel. The NME said it was the very worst in bad music.
I’m of the age for the whole punk thing, so I was involved with a sort of anarcho-punk scene. I was involved with a band called Anarka and Poppy We played Liverpool quite a lot – the squat gigs at Lark Lane and places like that. We were just little punk rock kids, didn’t know what we were doing, but having great fun.
We did a load of gigs and played with various bands and did a single for The Mob’s label, but the label went bust, so it never got released. This was 1983. Then someone put a post up on Facebook a few years ago saying they’d emptied a loft and found loads of reel to reel tapes and what could they do with them. And one of them was our Anarka and Poppy recording. So, our single from 1983 will be released next month!
It’s called ‘If It Dies, We Die’. 16 year old, snotty punk rockers!
Then I ended up touring with The Mission, hitching around and having a great time. I did a fanzine and through that I got accepted at art college and did a graphic design degree at Liverpool. Then I moved to London with the idea of growing up, but I formed another band and carried on refusing to grow up.
I’ve never had anything resembling success, but I’ve never cared about it. I just like making noise.
Then I ended up moving back to Preston, but still carried on playing in bands, even when we had kids.
Blizzard just happened by accident. There was no idea of being a real band. Well, we’re still not a real band, but that’s what’s occupied myself, band-wise, for the last ten years or so.
P3dro: How did all that deprecation of Blizzard – the “You’re Shit” stuff come about?
FD: We’ve never taken ourselves too seriously and right from the early days we were just playing to our mates, so when you do that there’s always bits of banter going on and bits of abuse. But then there was a guy called Stephen Dunkley who started making cardboard signs that he’d hold up to the stage. One of them was a comment from one of our reviews that called us a “Poundland Slipknot“. And then one of his signs just said “BOO!” So, Stomper took it off him and turned it around to the crowd. It’s stuck ever since.
It’s great because we don’t know whether people like us or not. It’s fantastic.
P3dro: The first time we came across Blizzard was Pzyk Fest in Liverpool in 2015, you were on quite late and you appeared deliberately to have fucked up the sound check just to annoy the crowd.
FD: I wish we’d had that level of intent and thought process, but we’re incapable of it. I remember that because we were dead excited about playing, it was a great place to play. We came to set up the gear and there were a few friendly faces, so we thought this will be OK. We did the line check and everything was plugged in, but there was no mic for Side [the drummer]. It took 15 minutes to find one. Some people were thinking it was just us being bastards, but that wasn’t the case. It was one of the few gigs where we wanted to be quite good!
P3dro: So what’s next for the Filthy Dirty project? Are there any plans to gig it?
FD: No, definitely not to gig it. But, I think it gave me a confidence boost because I’ve always been in bands where I’ve written bits and pieces. I’ve always chipped in and been a good ideas person. But this is my record and I’ve done everything on it. It’s gone down really well, but I won’t gig it. I can’t be bothered.
P3dro: That’s a classic Blizzard response!
FD: If I’m gigging, then I want to be gigging with Blizzard. They’re my mates and that’s where the fun is.
But I’ll definitely carry on recording stuff. I’d like to release some ambient and piano music. Any time we can get away from this big horrible beast that’s called Evil Blizzard, I like to listen to something that’s really nice and chilled. I’ve got five or six tracks recorded and I’m a bit more encouraged now to do some more under the guise of Filthy Dirty.
P3dro: We once compared Side’s One Sided Horse project to The Levellers, which he hated. If we could compare you to anyone, then who would you most not like to be compared to?
FD: Well, the running joke in the band is my hatred of prog. I’m a punk rock kid at heart. I can’t stand prog. But when I started playing my album, Side texted me to say: “It’s fucking prog”. I think he might be right in places.
P3dro: Recommend a band or an album that you think we should be listening to right now.
FD: One thing that’s been great about lockdown is that I’ve been listening to more new music in the last 12 months than I have in the last 12 years. I’ve bought a new turntable and been buying vinyl. I’m not spending money in the pub, so I have to spend it somewhere.
A Winged Victory For The Sullen – very neo-classical, lovely, beautiful strings and piano. That’s the sort of stuff I love listening to.
Polypores – Preston band, all performed live and analogue synths. Really nice background music. I’ve known him for years. He used to be in a glam metal band called Baby Bitch and then got himself a synth and produces this beautiful music.
And in terms of guitar-y music, the recent Tunng album is really interesting. It’s a concept album about death, but it treats it in a really heart warming and touching way.
And then there’s Oranssi Pazuzu. A Finnish death metal band and I can’t think of anything worse. But it’s jaw droppingly good. I’ve never heard rock music like it before, really inventive and takes music away from where it was before. Loud and really heavy, but with loads of ambient sections as well. So, I’d really recommend that.