Tuesday, 31 May 2011

From the Top Drawer XVI - Wooden Baby

'Wooden Baby evolved from a gothic /garage punk band I had called THE FUNERAL PARTY... Wooden Baby came about from wanting to explore the electronic side a bit more... plus I think the drug taking had a big influence!'

If you ever wondered what Merv was up to musically before he became the drummer for Ozric Tentacles and then main man for Eat Static, give this a listen. This tape dates from 1988 and is credited to Wooden Baby, which at the time consisted of Merv and friend Charlie. I'm not sure whether this is their first release as I have another tape called 'Forbidden Pastures' that may pre-date it.

Musically it bears little resemblance to the direction that Eat Static would follow a few years later other than the drum machine beats and some synth work, and this is definitely a product of the 1980s DIY pre-rave scene, being somewhat pedestrian in its approach like a lot of the music of the time, before it was re-energized by the dance music/free festival crossover.

Some old-school festival goers had a hard time adapting to the arrival of more electronic rhythms and the all night and day policy of the techno and house sound systems, and even as late as Castlemorton in May 1992 I remember there was still a fair amount of antagonism directed towards the increasing numbers of 'cheesy quavers' arriving on the festy scene (a lot of it directed at their ignorance of accepted festival toilet etiquette!). For myself I welcomed the changing times, as I thought that the scene needed fresh blood and enthusiasm after several years of festivals often being spoilt by the presence of more nihilistic elements like the infamous 'Brew Crew'.

I missed seeing Wooden Baby play under that name. By the time I encountered the live act Joie Hinton from the Ozrics, Ullulators & Oroonies (etc, etc - Joie was once presented with an award onstage before a 1991 Static performance by Michael and Bob Dog at Megadog in recognition for being in the most bands at the time) was on board, the name had changed to Eat Static and the rest is history...

Ripped as two side-long tracks @320kbps, get it HERE


  1. Hello, I'm Charles Daniel (Charlie), one of the original members of Wooden Baby along with Merv Pepler. It's great to see these old tapes uploaded in digital format, after way too many years. It's good to hear this stuff again. If you'd like any corrections to the biographies & notes I'd be happy to tell you what I know. I had no part in the live tapes, which were made a few months after I left the group, but I was on Stuck in the Mindcage & Forbidden Pastures. The live tapes feature Merv Pepler, Joie Hinton, Nick Timberlake & Clive Browne. I have a Funeral Party demo if you're interested.

  2. Thanks a lot for your message and compliments Charlie - always good to get feedback and approval from the artists themselves (I've had more words of encouragement than take-down copyright warnings so far ;D). Thanks also for the extra info about WB which I shall add to the site.

    Cheers for your offer of the demo as well - the trouble with taking on recordings that I don't have in the physical realm myself is the logistics of getting the music ripped to digital form and uploaded online somewhere, preferably a filehosting service. If folks can do their own rips (pref.@320k with some scanned artwork) and upload them to a filehost and let me know where, then I would be happy to link to them and post a bit of blurb to accompany them on the blog. If not, and it seems like it's gonna be a lot of trouble then I'm afraid that I'm not really up for it. Ideally I would encourage people to start their own blogs and start uploading their own collections, but I suppose we might not all have the facilities to do this. Cheers.

  3. Hi Gobbledygook, I've never ripped a cassette, but there's always a first time. I'll let you know when it's been done. Merv Pepler is currently de-hissing the other Wooden Baby tapes, so eventually there should be slightly better rips available. Nice to be in touch. Cheers.

  4. Greetings!

    You have the opportunity to put their third album "Embalment"?
    I've heard that the best album in their discography!

  5. Hi Gobbledygook,

    When I get my PC up an running again I will contact you about a couple of additional tape rips as mentioned in your 28 October 2013 post.

  6. It was a very strange happening at Castlemorton! Who would have known that when we drove into that empty field it would turn into such a massive event! PEH were brilliant, and I have got a copy of their gig if you are interested?

  7. Hi Gobbledydook, just want to say thanks in general for maintaining this amazing site. My general weirdness playlist features a lot of the stuff you've made available. To echo the earlier poster, I am champing at the bit to get hold of Embalment as and when.

    All the best.

  8. I managed to get hold of a version of Embalment, thanks to Youtuber Static Jedi. I've uploaded it here: http://www.mediafire.com/download/4kvg5vqbhg8hv1o/1990.Embalment.rar

    1. Could you update the download link of this album. Thank you!