The British Flyer Tour

Flyer panels in Newport, Wales

In May 2004, the Texas Biscuit Bombs, featuring Randy “Biscuit” Turner of the Big Boys, who was notorious for over two decades worth of handmade punk art and soul punk singing for bands like the big Boys, Cargo Cult, and Swine King, was invited to tour England with his band the Texas Biscuit Bombs, formerly known as the Slurpees. They were accompanied by the longtime Welsh punk band Four Letter Word, featuring Welly, the editor of Artcore fanzine and punk poster practioner who made the whole tour possible.

To make the tour an event, Welly and David Ensminger, drummer for the Bombs, pooled resources and designed a rough and readymade poster exhibition, featuring large plywood boards that could be quickly assembled before every show. In doing so, they were able to show hundreds of works of art, representing nearly thirty years of posters forged in the punk/DIY art tradition.

Flyer panels in Leeds, England

With the help of everyone involved, including our driver Graham from Crime Scene Records, the show traveled to towns small and large across spring-thawed Britain, including Brighton, Boston, Leeds, Newport, and more. Although at times the drives, work load, and cramped spaces sometimes tested the nerves of all involved, the shows helped the bands and curators forge friendships and instigate a candid, multi-angled, and longlasting dialog with fans, artists, and musicians from both sides of the Atlantic who have spent their lives tryng to be true to the ethics and aesthetics of punk rock.

Key memories include staying with Marv, editor of Gadgie fanzine, in Boston, where Biscuit got up in the wee morning hours to make crayon drawings with his daughter. She cried terribly as the van pulled away. In addition, Graham was able to coax some rare flyers from the hands of the former guitarist of Ripcord, an infamous late 1980’s U.K. thrashcore band, in a hush hush deal while the van rested in the quiet block of his neighborhood. Then there were two lads who followed the bands to four different shows, even jetting alongside the band on the highway. We were also honored to meet “old school” fan Paul Cooper, now a journalist for Left of the Dial, who was basically left out in the rain with his family in Brighton because they would not allow children into the venue, even before opening hours. Lastly, we played two shows with the rather glum “crustcore” band from Portland known as Tragedy, who were surprised to find the Bombs playing ZZ Top’s “Heard it on the X,” which they too covered, but without our redneck gator speed boogie. At the Leeds skate park, both bands played to 800 kids who were mostly packed into giant bowls and half-pipes, only partly conscious of the music blaring from a tiny stage. In the end, David Ensminger brought home an entire box of records, a pile of English fliers, and memories thick as a book.

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