Top 20 No 1: Abdoujaparov

I’m running through my best 100 top 20s in alphabetical order and for all intents and purposes Abdoujaparov are pretty alphabetical.

Richy Crockford and Les Carter, The Windmill, Brixton, 20 Feb 2005

The band were named after The Tashkent Terror – a madcap Uzbek cyclist called Djamolidine Abdoujaparov which was highly appropriate given that band founder Les Carter – Fruitbat from Carter USM – was well known for his love of cycling shorts in Carter’s early 90s heyday.

When Carter USM split up, Les formed the band initially with Alan Demontis, Andy Duke and Tasha Bayliss. Since then they have gone through 71 line up changes and counting, all lovingly recorded on the band’s website, with Les being central to each line-up.

The band released three albums, going for an odd seemingly-random four word combo each time, although the first album – 2002’s Air Odeon Disco Pub – was named after a real place in Greece. The other two albums were Cycle Riot History Gang (2007) and Seaside Arcade Bingo Patrol (2014).

I remember their first single – Punk Confetti – and possibly the next few after that were funded by a very early form of crowdfunding. I think Les called it shareware at the time, but the principle was the same – buy it in advance, and when they had enough advance sales they would record it, make it and distribute it.

Their first live performance was at the Water Rats in November 1998 and I caught them at the Y Club in Chelmsford in January 1999 at their second show, when they were supported by Pharmacy (which included ex-Sultans of Ping drummer Morty McCarthy and ex-Power of Dreams guitarist Ian Olney, who went on to join the reformed Sultans in 2005) and local band Ton Up Kid, whose demo tape I still have up in the loft somewhere. It was also my third interview I ever did for radio and I still have a transcript of that somewhere too!

Musically the band operate somewhere between punk, folk and pub rock. For a while Les and Richy Crockford toured under the name iDou, playing Abdoujaparov songs using an iPod shuffle as backing track. The iPod would be on shuffle mode so they wouldn’t necessarily know what was coming up next!

Incredibly I have caught them live 19 times since that Chelmsford show, including 5 iDou gigs and a “solo” Les gig at the Chequers in Billericay earlier this year. All but two of those shows were before 2010 – the band have been quiet for the last few years while Les has been playing guitar with Ferocious Dog. I did recently catch them at Shiiine On in Birmingham and I’m looking forward to the 20th anniversary show at the 100 Club in November 2018.

So here’s my first top 20. Decided to plump for Beer Scooter as my number 1 – a loud, slow and sleazy homage to the magical way people wake up the morning after they’ve had a few with no memory of the journey home.

1. Beer Scooter
2. Maria’s Umbrella
3. Punk Confetti
4. Aren’t We All (Hero)
5. Fish Face
6. Emergency Medical Hologram
7. There’s A Monster In My Garden
8. Benjamin and Jumble
9. Loser’s Walk
10. You Turned Me Over
11. Small & Cute
12. Really Really Sorry
13. Will She Come?
14. Ultra Cool
15. Hit Her With The Pig
16. Married To The Rock
17. Everything Is Free
18. Boris
19. Bicycle Shed
20. Fingers

China and North Korea 2018

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