When I was a bored teenager living in Wheeling. West Virginia in the early 1980s, theabsolutely indisputable highlight of my month was receiving my subscription copy of The Transatlantic Trouser Press magazine, of which Mick Farren was one of the two main writers. As I also felt about CREEM’s Lester Bangs (who had a huge, huge influence on my musical tastes and indeed, my young mental growth, in general), when a new group had the Trouser Press/Mick Farren seal of approval, I had to rush right out and check it out.
In the post-punk era, there were fantastic new bands coming out every week and the Trouser Press (named for a Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah song, so I was already inclined to love it) was the indispensable guide to this era, musically speaking in the US, for extreme music heads (and it had a flexi-disc in each issue. This is how I first heard groups like REM, Human Switchboard. Japan, OMD and others). The Trouser Press was where Mick Farren came into my life, but British readers of the alternative press already knew Farren from his stints at the International Times, Oz magazine, and the NME. His famous essay “The Titanic Sails at Dawn” predicted that *something* like punk was bound to happen, and presented as inevitable (Rod Stewart, Queen and the Stones were the objects of his analysis, and ire) several months before the first spiky-haired, safety-pinned punk rocker appeared on the streets. Some recall Mick Farren from his time as a doorman at the UFO Club in 1967, where Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine played for the nascent psychedelic underground. Or as one of the hell raisers at the Isle of Wight festival. Or for his amazing proto-punk group, The Deviants, and their Fugs and Mothers of Invention-influenced “balls to the wall” rock.
Mick Farren’s been active for five decades now and at 67, can still outdrink you.