Testimonial 1.

When I was younger, buying a CD was a major event. I would look forward to the three hour round trip to town every Saturday. There was a surge of anticipation as I entered the record shop and saw all those colourful CDs stacked up, beckoning me. I browsed, soaked up the artwork, took my time and eventually left with a shiny plastic bag in hand and a warm glow inside. On the bus home I would open the inlay, read every word – the lyrics, the acknowledgments, the silly bits bands sometimes put in. When I listened to my latest purchase, it demanded 100% of my attention. I would spin to it over and over often well into the night. I would learn the lyrics and somehow I was compelled to inflict it upon everyone else whenever possible.

As I got older, something changed. I didn’t know if it was because increased spending power meant CDs were more plentiful, or because it was only a five minute walk to town, but somehow the magic was lost. I didn’t experience the same high anymore. I would buy two or three CDs each and every week, probably only listen to them once or twice ever. I’d have to be pretty bored to even bother looking at the inlay at all. And the strangest thing was that I didn’t realise that something was wrong. The passion had gone but I just attributed this fact to my maturing years. I still persuaded myself that I liked these bands and I kept spending my money; OK I’m not in heaven but then I’m not 16 anymore.

Then I heard the Cardiacs.

I heard them on the Mark Radcliffe show one evening. I was passing HMV the next day and popped in just to see if they had anything by this mysterious band that had somehow escaped my attention until now. Four suitably evil looking faces stared out at me from a recording called Sing To God. It was a double CD pack so I knew this was the one some bloke with a strangely mild-mannered but somehow disturbing voice had been whittering on about the night before.

My recollection of my early listens are a bit hazy. I remember smiling during the day for no apparent reason. I remember looking forward to getting home from work to listen to it again. I remember being astounded to find out that this amazing band had about twelve albums out and had been going for twenty years. I remember seeking each and every available recording out (plus many unavailable recordings), taking them home, giving them 100% of my attention, poring over the artwork, the lyrics, the acknowledgments, and there were silly bits by the sackful…

Basically, for the benefit of anyone who is still awake at this point, the moral of this story is that the Cardiacs change the way you look at music.

My advice to you is to go and pick up Sing To God Part 1 (or the double CD pack if you can find it) and once you’ve got it, if you “get it”, you will never again say that the Manic Street Preachers are “OK, I suppose” or think that “I might go into town and buy the new Catatonia album at lunch time if I can be arsed”. You will rediscover what it is like to be passionate about music.

It will change your life forever.

Simon Rigden

Testimonial 2.

First saw them on channel 4’s The Tube – recorded for “Tarred and Feathered”. Must have been around 1985 and I was 15. Instantly hooked and went down with my pocket money in hand to Eastern Blok records in Manchester and bought the afore mentioned 12”. Must have played it to death. Persuaded some friends to come and see them at Manchester’s International – my second ever gig! An experience it was and have never really gotten over it. Sat in amazement as fan’s shouted “Don’t Die Timmy!”. Lost all credibility with my trendy Smith-fan friends when I joined the fan-club. Yes, I did try to grow the sun-flower seeds. Managed to even get a signed photo.
I have Seaside Treats video and tape – parents were amazed I was never sectioned. Went onto University at Guildford and an unknown quantity hit me. Here’s me thinking they were my “special find” yet at a Town & Country gig the venue was packed. Although my fan club t-shirt allowed me to stand out. Got to the front and sang along to all the words.
Tim told me to “Shut Up” – wow – what joy. There actually were other people who knew of the Cardiacs and even new the songs.

It’s seems years since I last saw them. Now a civilised Director of an advertising agency and the Cardiacs hold a special place in my record collection. Saw them in Manchester some years ago – touring with God’s CD – but the line-up had altered significantly.
My life has had strange Cardiac-related events. Met a guy at a party who did some artwork for them, new a girl who filmed a cartoon for one of their songs, bumped into Tim at Waterloo Station (was too embarrassed to run up to him in the middle of rush-hour and express worthy laudations) and heard a track played at New York’s “Tulo” club in the chill-out room. You have to smile.

In retrospect I have always had a fascination for music stemming from the Cardiacs. I remember reading the NME, less and less, but still finding out, in utter amasement, that Blur and Faith no More were fans. How could this be – I saw them in venue’s with less than 30 people.
I can still play all of those early 12” and wonder why, on the first Radio One Evening Session’s, Simon Mayo seemed genuinely disturbed at “To Go Off and Things”. In all, my new “London” friends think that the Cardiacs should have been strangled at birth. I remind all of my old “Manchester” friends of the Cardiacs. All in all, the Cardiacs are criminally undiscovered and are pure geniuses. Many bands become famous and their early stuff escalates in value. These are the one possessions I could never, ever, sell.

Now I live in Kingston-upon-Thames. Irony or fate?

Ian Hughes

Testimonial 3.

One day in The Basketmakers pub in Brighton in 1991 I had arranged to meet an old friend, who turned up wearing an odd sweatshirt with a big daisy on it. On enquiry, he related strange tales about this band Cardiacs, who sounded so weird I decided they must be products of his over active imagination. Several pints and more than few joints later I found myself in his flat watching “Maresnest” and was astounded that such a band could have existed and yet I hadn’t heard of them before.

Cardiacs have this funny habit of periodically erasing your ability to listen to any other band at all, because nothing matches up to them for sheer exuberance, spirit, quality, and for me this phase lasted between about 1991 and 1993, when I had a nervous breakdown. (That sounds odd but its true….I’m sure it’s not connected. Or is it…??)

Over the years I discovered that several people I knew had come across them, but didn’t want to share their glorious secret for fear it would somehow spoil the magic. Discovering that secret, and attending the gigs, I suddenly found myself at home and welcomed by the most diverse fan base I’d ever come across, and felt like a personal friend of the band although I’d never met them.

I’ve seen them now far too many times to relate, but they were always good value at The Venue in New Cross. The best gig by far was at The Army And Navy in Chelmsford around the time of “Sing To God” – the band played their socks off, Tim got the whole room to dance while the band stood there and watched us while not playing a thing, and we all did a choreographed v-sign at the sound guy.

This band are astounding. Is ‘This The Life’ will be played – loud – at my funeral, and I will depart to the next life with fond memories of Jon Poole’s developing taste in eyebrow rings, picking up Wobbly Jim four times at a gig in Brighton, and having an unexpected but delicious snog with a complete stranger at the end of a gig as we had spent so long pushed up against each other in the mosh pit it just seemed appropriate. We never said a word to each other before or after. These things happen to you after Cardiacs. Enjoy.


Testimonial 4.

Well, my love affair began, as all good ones should, on a windswept and drizzly, yet undeniably romantic night in London. I’d been in the city for a year or so, studying to be a chef, of all things, after Uni at Brighton.
I was really into Levitation at the time, and thought I’d go see them at the Astoria. Support? Cardiacs and Radiohead. It’s quite nice to be able to say to people that you saw Radiohead before ‘Creep’ came out, and then go on to praise Cardiacs to the heavens. There must have been about five of us watching poor Thom and the guys go through a blistering set. I understand that Levitation and Cardiacs took turns at headlining, and so Mr Bickers’ bunch were on first. Nice set, but my memory has been all but wiped by what followed.
Oh, the confetti, oh the drones! I have never ever seen anything as wonderfully engrossing.
Tim and Jim were on superb form, and I went home in a tinnitus-numbed daze. Early next morning, I was knocking at the door of Tower Records in Kensington, and when they opened up I immediately went for a copy of ‘Heaven Born…’ And that started the ball rolling.

Back then there was little of the catalogue still about, but whatever I saw I bought. Another sleepless night preceded the re-release of the back catalogue. I only wish Mares Nest was still out there on video. Since moving back up north, I see less of Cardiacs, but their infrequent visits to the Duchess of York in Leeds make the waiting so much sweeter. And they are still the most stunning band ever. Quite how so much wonderful noise can come from four men on a tiny stage still baffles me. But thank Christ it does.
We have something very special to cherish.

Stephen Jackson
The Weavers Shed Restaurant With Rooms

Testimonial 5.

‘Ahhh, I remember it as if it were only 13 or 14 years ago!! I dashed home from work and sat down to watch the Tube, eager to spice up my dull Outer Hebridean lifestyle by catching up with the latest sounds from civilisation. The programme progressed as normal, dire videos/performances/presenters until all of a sudden my eyeballs were dragged from their sockets by a vision of a very strange bunch of people. People?? I couldn’t be sure! The threadbare costumes from a long forgotten pantomine and the over-eager use of make-up made those people scream out ‘we’re different’. As the music started I was totally transfixed. By the time the song ended I wanted to know everything about them. But, unfortunatly, I didnt catch the name of the song, nor more importantly the name of the band!!

To my despair nobody else I knew had seen the Tube that night and hadn’t a clue what I was talking about. Was I going mad? Had I imagined it all? It must have all been a bad dream!

The years rolled slowly onwards. I gave up my quest, certain that I would never find out who had created these few moments of sheer brilliance/madness. And then, in 1988, whilst visiting my wife to be in Aberdeen I happened to stroll into a passing record shop, hungry for music and what should catch my eye almost immediatly? It was the cover to a tape of The Seaside!! I was drawn towards it and couldn’t beleive my eyes when I opened the cover to see the Cardiacs staring back at me in their lovely blue polo necks and ‘artistic’ lipstick. The tape was bought and quickly carried to my girlfriends student flat where I spent the rest of my stay driving her mad with the music of Cardiacs. Almost right away I knew they were the most brilliant band ever but also discovered that the majority of people in the world (including wife to be) would never come to appreciate the finer nuances of their music. It’s so strange how much hatred has been directed towards this band by people who never make the effort to actually listen to the music! It doesn’t take much!

Still, it’s their loss.

So, I digress, I knew the name of the band now but very little else. Another year went past. Another visit to Aberdeen and the wife to be. This time I found ‘On Land……’ and once again drove my better half mad for a several days.

Then another lengthy period of nothing until 1991, when waiting for the overnight train to Inverness, I wondered into Glasgow’s Tower Records to kill some time. I must have wondered round the shop for 2 hours trying to pass the time until I at last came to the video section. The first thing I saw was Maresnest. I swiftly purchased it and spent the train journey and ferry crossing staring at the video, trying to see the images held within. It’s hard to convey the excitement in mere words but I was a very happy person that night.

When I finally got to watch it I was totally carried away and felt as if I was in the audience. I’d never seen a video like this before, nor even a live gig. The excitement and passion flowing from the band, plus the warped sense of humour made it a whole new experience for me. If I had been hooked on Cardiacs before, I was now well and truely transfixed.

I feel so privilaged to be amoungst the happy few who have found Cardiacs. I still have yet to see them live, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until they finally play the Outer Hebrides!!

With respect
Wattie (Jane Watson)


Testimonial 6.

My first memory of the band was of seeing stickers around Kingston bearing the name Cardiac Arrest (or as the jumbled lettering on the one on my guitar case reads, Cardiac Arret). Most of the musicians I was playing with instantly put the band down with the desultory grunt of “Huh… Punk!” The little man and a house logo was seen more and more and I noticed that they were gigging up and down the country and playing with people like Dangerous Girls and others.

A local country rock band called Little Sister was playing in a now demolished Kingston pub and I got up to do some backing vocals with them. Afterwards a maniacally grinning Tim Smith danced around me singing “Join the Cardiacs, la la la, Join the Cardiacs” etc.etc. When I asked for a tape of the band he said I didn’t need one and that I should just join. Maybe I should have listened to him.

Later in a Surbiton pub called the Oak Tavern (now the Grove) I spotted Tim selling copies of the e.p. A Bus for a Bus on the Bus and bought a copy. It really was like nothing I’d ever heard and was quite special. Then I caught a glimpse of the bizarre theatrical stage act… this band is all you could ever wish for.

So far this year I’ve been to two of the band’s gigs and they just get better and better. Worthy of laudation? The Cardiacs play music of fadeless splendour and our loyalty demands that it should be so. Why not tell a friend?

Cheeri-bye, Noel Jones.

Testimonial 7.

I first saw Cardiacs supporting Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians at what was Kentish Town T&C, I think in 1986 or 87. It was the first “club” gig I’d been to – the only show I’d been to before that was Live Aid, so I wasn’t expecting to be that impressed. This support act was on when we got there. They looked for all the world like someone had dug up a badly-decomposing brass band, and they sounded like a punk version of the “last night of the proms”. All around me, Robyn Hitchcock’s fans were looking either mildly amused or vaguely non-plussed, but me…me!!

It was a Road to Damascus encounter, a moment of clarity, Revelations 1 to 1,000,009 inclusive. I had found my “thing”. You know that scene in The Blues Brothers when the light shines through the church window and illuminates Jake, and James Brown is shouting to him “Do you see the Light?”? That was me that night, not an ounce of exaggeration I promise you, and every subsequent gig I’ve been to has felt like Cardiacs kept that original promise to bring me to life. I was about 17 then. I’m almost 30 now, and I don’t think my passion or enthusiasm have wavered once. I had a “Cardiacs flower” tattoo done as a 27th birthday present from my friends.

I immediately started writing to the band, and soon became a Family member. I went to see them in London every time they played for the next 2-3 years. I moved to Leeds in 1989, where I tried to convince everyone I met that I knew a fantastic secret and was ready to share it with them all. As you probably know, it’s not quite everybody’s cup of mud, but my enthusiasm obviously has effect, because I dragged many people to gigs in Leeds, London, Hull, Bradford and anywhere else they played through the 1990’s. I once came to a compromise with my then girlfriend on planning a trip to London; we could go to The Venue in New Cross for the “Snowy in the Pond” show, as long as I went with her to a big Monet exhibition that same weekend. A greater sacrifice was never made in the name of art. Hours I had to stare at fuzzy pictures of haystacks.

On the day of the “Maresnest” film shoot in Salisbury I was meant to be moving house across Leeds; my flatmates-to-be (bless every one of them) accepted the fact that I was going to be in that church no matter what, so they moved house for me. I had no money and had to beg and borrow to get there, but I got to travel on the Family bus from Euston, and you can see my day-glo orange afro bouncing around in the video! Worth every bit of the trouble.

I live in Edinburgh now, which more or less rules me out from seeing them live. My favourite memories are still of final numbers, when strobes would go on, illuminating the confetti which filled the air. I would be the happiest person on the planet then; spinning around, grinning like a loony, drunk on the spectacle. Then Miss Swift & The Consultant would come on with flowers and Champaign to celebrate the end of another successful show, and we celebrated too because it was ours as well.

I used to gather the confetti and keep it in a bag at home.


Testimonial 8.

I have long been under the impression that Cardiacs meant all to me. This was entirely accurate up until 11th December 1998. The performance was expected and revealed to be as per, the appearance of Mr.Drake and the good lady Smith an additional boon. The train back to Brighton was brimming to the point of a thing too full. Myself and my associate, Mr.Baker made our way to the only place of refuge – the mail van. With scant regard for our personal safety and/or hygiene, we sat on the dirty, splintered floor and exhaled with relief. T’was then I met the woman of my destiny Miss Barrett. She and her two companians had also attended the same performance and so a common bond between strangers was immediately formed. After a few attempts at impressing her with the only feat of origami I have ever mastered, that being non-flapping bird, she left my life at Preston Park station. For a week. A week of torture for my body and mind. As fortune had it Cardiacs brought us together again seven days hence at a performance in Brighton. I impressed her further with my newly learnt origami, flapping bird, and we’ve been in love ever since.

Thank you Cardiacs for helping me find somebody I love more than you.

Toby Clarke (Mr.)

Testimonial 9.

I was heading home from a night of debauched abandon in 1986,and was looking at a copy of the “Sunday Sport” Newspaper over the shoulder of a man on the bus…in the centre pages,there was a tale of disgust and horror concerning a band called “CARDIACS”. It seemed that these perverts were indulging in some weird and somewhat familial sexual practices with each other… Hmmm. It Sounded sick enough for my tastes,so I went and bought the paper. However, I never heard much more about them, until I went to see the toy dolls. One of the roadies was wearing a CARDIACS t-shirt. That band again…I should check them out.

Then in July,1987,I treated myself for my birthday,by attending a two night residency at the MARQUEE hosted by CARDIACS. I was astounded by what I heard,and instantly fell in love with the sound! I ran to the shops the next day,to find whatever I could from this weird band of degenerate clowns. I found “BIG SHIP” It seems so long ago,and yet I feel like I have only just discovered them! I have seen them so many times that I could never count…but still,I shall return for more. See you in the pond!

Evil twinky gnome,
Humphrey J.Yoghurt http://www.angelfire.com/biz2/LiveYoghurt/

Testimonial 10.

I think of The Cardiacs and I get that tight, slightly sick feeling at the top of the chest/ bottom of the throat that you’d get as a kid being driven over a hump-backed bridge. It’s strange and you’re not sure if you like it really but you want it to happen again. Every time I’ve seen them live, I’ve stood there not sure that it can feel as good this time as it did the last – for various reasons I’ve only seen them a few times with long gaps in between – and then they come on stage ( a little wider and a little greyer each time) and you feel this excited surge of relief because you know quietly that everything’s going to be alright. Then you look around and can see that lots of nothing-in-common-with-you-at-all total strangers feel exactly the same way. They start to play and you crawl inside the noise and just EXPLODE. (When you first get to a venue, everybody seems to know each other and you think ‘oh. they’re real fans then.’ and it can be a bit intimidating because they know all the words, but when the music kicks in you realise that that’s why you’re all there.)



Testimonial 11.

Spring 1987. Living in a Box were living in a box. Madonna had buggered off to La Isla Bonita. Ferryaid were at Number one with the latest in a long line of celebrity guilt trips also known as ‘charity records’. Patsy Kensit was attempting pre-Gallagher superstardom with help from the Pet Shop Boys. Level 42 were crap. I was 15 years old and happy. Or so I thought.

Good Friday of that year was a relatively warm day. That evening, I switched on Channel 4 to catch the (soon to be axed) Tube – A much lauded music show from the 80’s. This was a moment that changed my life.

Within that hour, I had been confronted by a video of what I eventually discovered was Tarred and Feathered. It isn’t easy to describe the exact emotions that you go through when you are faced with something you don’t understand, but watching six manically grinning/moving adults covered in flour and make-up, and playing music that seems to be following a unique path of it’s own and yet sounds like it come from a fairground organ, left me in shocked confusion. Somehow, all of my pre-conceptions of life and society had been brought crashing to the ground in one foul swoop!

At the time, I hadn’t caught who they were. But the images and sound stayed with me for the next few years. It wasn’t until I saw the lead singers manic grin blazing out at me in a branch of Our Price in Portsmouth that I realised they were called the CARDIACS! At least I knew I hadn’t imagined the strange encounter from a few years earlier.

When I came to College in London in 1991, they were continually being played on the radio. Just as well really, because I only had an electricity pylon outside my window for company. They added colour and a smile to a grey city – ‘Joining the Plankton’ became a call to arms for a de-motivated first year to get off his arse and do something!!

Ironically, it wasn’t until quite recently that I started buying their records. But I’m glad I waited – it’s great to explore such a large and diverse body of work. Hearing the old stuff brings back lots of odd memories. And besides that, each song has so much going on. Each listen draws attention to new sounds, new events, new atmospheres etc. – on this level, one almost feels compelled to draw comparison with the discipline and work ethics of one Brian Eno. Add to this a seam of tongue in cheek humour and you’re always guaranteed to have your spirits lifted when listening to Cardiacs.

To sum up, I would say that Cardiacs have changed my life (and my outlook), and they always entertain, be it on record or at a gig.

I thanc ewe.

Bradley Martin
London UK
September 1999

Testimonial 12.

I beleve my introduction to the cardiacs came when I still donned a mullet, had Iron maiden pathches on my denium jacket, and needed a daliy dose of death metal a least once a day. Now whatever your views on death metal, I don’t think the power of the music cab be denied, and it was difficult tracking down non-heavy metal music that really had the oomph that I enjoyed. Until a friend of mine played me ‘Is This the Life’. That one simple gesture did it for me, I was hooked. What an introduction! I then, like so many before and after me, went on the quest of finding Cardiacs vinyl (extremly tricky in rural Dorset) but after months of trawling the record shops in the various local towns find some I did in the shape of ‘On Land and in the Sea’, Oh what joy! All I had ever wanted. 45 minutes of manic musical mayhem. Needless to say I needed to see these crazy people, see if they can really play all that glorious pandemonium live, and lo and behold there was a gig coming up in a church in Salisbury. Off came the mullet, on went a suit (with flower in lapel) and to Salisbury I went. The gig was the best thing I had ever heard and seen. But this was to be the last I heard of them and their music as I was to move to Spain for some years. Obviously I took my tapes with me, but things happen, and slowly I found myself listening to them less and less.

Until…….1999-Glastonbury festival, playing on sunday at midnight on one of the ‘alternative’ stages, yes, the Cardiacs. Lost a few members, gained a few pounds and a few grey hairs………they sounded better than ever, I was awestruck, mesmerized, and as an encore they played Stoneage Dinosaurs. What more can I say. It’s a joy to be back.

With respect,


Testimonial 13.

Its easy to get carried away once in the world of Cardiacs, for me they were instantly appealing… the band that I’d been waiting to hear…

In 1994, when my ears were full of The Cure, Sheep on Drugs and Miranda Sex Garden, I yearned for a little something more. Like a gift from the Gods, a friend of mine was lent ‘On Land and in the Sea’, he knew that it would appeal to me, and played me it at the earliest opportunity. I will never forget that moment – the opener ‘Two bites of Cherry’ was so entirely unlike anything I’d ever heard before, it completely blew me away. What astounded me more, was the incredibly consistent quality throughout the album, completely unique and inspirational. How come I’d never heard of them? Surely these guys are distinguished geniuses. What’s wrong with the world?

It wasn’t long before I needed more.

Only a few weeks later I was privileged enough to borrow a copy of the ‘Seaside Treats’ video and a tape of ‘Rude Bootleg’ which revealed more aspects of the band to me. Everything clicked and I could hear so much in their songs beyond the music itself: their use of humour and surrealism without detachment from reality or seriousness. The volatile schizophrenia of music and performance embodying the fragility of the human mind and the futility of existence..

Well, from that point on I made up for lost time I bought the entire back catalogue over a number of months and the new album Sing to God on the day of release. Then came the live experience. It was staggering, pretty much as I’d expected, a cut down modified version of the fabled extensive line up of years gone by, without the theatricalities or confettit but all the energy, intensity and faultless musical ability.

I’ve always loved the bands that I listen to and I gain an incredible amount of joy from hearing their music, but I genuinely can not believe the pleasure that I derive from listening to Cardiacs. Nor could I believe how lucky I was to have been pointed in the direction of their world in the first place.

Holy holy mother of Mary and the Craig Charles Spaniel

(Martin Kettle)

Testimonial 14.

As a child, my parents choice in music was quite scary! That is until I reached the age of 13/14-when the strange “fairground” style music that I had been used to since I was a little person suddenly meant something wonderful to me. As I became more and more in love with this music I began to take more notice of it and began to cherish my parents Cardiacs albums and videos.

My first Cardiacs gig was at the tender age of 14, at the Venue in New cross, London. My parents came with me and we had a fantastic night to say the least.

I am now 21 and have been amazed by the Cardiacs music for some time now. I have taken so much criticism from friends who can’t quite accept the genius of Tim Smith etc. and who find it too bizarre to get their little heads around- but that is now just the way I like it!

I have given up trying to convert people to listening to the Cardiacs. The way that I now view it is that the Cardiacs are special, they are original, they are truly amazing! They are for those who have a crazy mind and a huge amount of luck!

I feel so lucky that my parents exposed me to the Cardiacs music and I thank them. But most of all I thank the Cardiacs themselves. They are the band of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. And I hope all those who have been lucky enough to find the Cardiacs will make them the band of the new millennium.

Forget Prince’s 1999- I’ll most certainly be blasting the Cardiacs on new years eve and Beyond!

Alicia, London.

Testimonial 15.

One day my big brothers friend Paul slipped an extra cd into the pile he was lending me. We shared a common love of all things black and dark and metal in nature, and as he was much older than me he was able to acquire evil sounds way beyond my means.

“Listen to this.”, he said. “It’s really weird. I really like it.” and left it at that.

I studied the strange blue cover, and all I could think at the time was “This isn’t metal. Do I have time for this.”

I decided to give it a token listen and sceptically appraised the ‘Big Ship’ sailing out of the speakers. Little did I realise what that song would mean to me given a few more listens. Then ‘Tarred and Feathered’ came on, picked me up, swung me around the room by my nostril hairs, mangled my brain and left me dazed with a big smile on my face.

Several years later when I was at University I finally got to see Cardiacs live. It was like eating a big box full of the best chocolates ever only better. The rest is history. Even though I listen to loads of metal and opera and very little in between, No One compares, or even comes close to the majesty of Cardiacs.

Thanks very much for listening

Justin Morley


Testimonial 16.

I hated the cardiacs for a couple of years. It was too mad. Just a bunch of random key/chord/tempo changes and a honking Saxophone that I couldn’t understand, follow, or dance to.

But my friend Neil kept saying… “The Cardiacs are great aren’t they?” Then one day it clicked. I think it was ‘Is this the life?’ that did it. I went from Hating them to loving them in 3.5 minutes. Since then (almost 10 years ago) I’ve seen them too many times to recall in some fantastic places. The first was the Church in Salisbury (I still didn’t like them then, doh!) and I’ve moshed with the rest and the best over time and through space.

Sometimes when times are hard and no-one understands, I’ll phone up Neil and say “The Cardiacs are great aren’t they?” and everything is alright again…

Live long Cardiacs. I for one will keep travelling across the planet to catch your gigs.

Everything keeps changing. They change but also manage to stay the same at the same time.

How do you do that then?


Testimonial 17.

The first time I ever heard the Cardiacs was when I had heard, somewhat loosely, that they were an immense band and unlike anything else I had come across.

I went out and bought ‘Little Man And A House…’ and within one listen I was sucker punched. I remember then taking a tape to a party and playing it over and over and absolutely everyone but my friend Tom hating it.

Near enough ten years later and over a dozen concerts under our belts I am still surprised by the reactions of people to the Cardiacs – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em – there is no in-between.

One of the few bands that can create a tune to make you laugh and cry with their child-like nightmare visions and merry-go-round maniacism. A band to grow old remaining young to.

Chris King

Testimonial 18.

1978ish, somewhere in Yorkshire. Leaving behind the Kaleidoscope Community Project, (a retreat for social misfits like myself in Kingston upon Thames), and after a hilarious 1977 mostly at the expense of the social services, I found myself keeping tabs on friend Tim Smith by the simple expedient of mailing him tapes. For his part, Tim did the same. They contained exactly what you might expect; tasteless little vignettes… songs, the recorded conversations of my friends, etc. My tapes contained similar material- scatological references, montages and songs, even one called “Cameras” which you may have heard in one mutant form or another. All of this effort was necessary because I was living at home with my parents who had moved away from Worcester Park (where I grew up), to a dismal little Market Town up North. Try as they might, they could not offer the stimulation (or controlled substances) that I had come to expect. Hence, I was bored beyond all boredom. I should take this opportunity to apologise to Mum and Dad now; in those days I was an unlovely little bastard, (and actually still am). But anyway, these tapes… Tim fashioned pieces of surprising complexity by sound-on-sounding with Jim’s Akai DS4000; I particularly remember little snippets of clarinet music that reminded me of Lindsay Cooper, and a version of “Mighty Real” sung by Tim’s mum, no less. I was more technically challenged, reduced to bouncing between two cassette decks…

So anyway, one day a tape arrived with all the usual stuff, but with a message at the end… “oh yeah. Jim and I have got a band now. We’re called Cardiac Arrest”. And next I heard some of the first Cardiacs there had ever been, a track called Dead Mice. By the middle I was blown away; six bars of four that cycled round and round, but with these really great key changes that Tim likes, and a sound used for the main riff which I couldn’t immediately place. The tape was an early Akai job, I guess, and the quality a bit grim, but I realised after a couple of plays that it was the Korg and the guitar playing over each other. I say “the Korg” because this particular Korg (700 mini, and I’ve been after one for ages, so if you’ve got one to sell see me after…) had a history which I won’t go into but suffice to say it had been around since 1976, and became a big part of that early sound.

This same korg, (I bought it from Colvin Mayers and later sold it to Tim Quy), was mostly used to create a two part harmony between the synth and the guitar. Tim used this device a lot, and it always worked really well. If you want an example of it probably the best one is the intro to the first single, “A bus for a bus on the bus”. Anyway, we exchanged a couple more tapes, some time went by, and then something happened. Pete Tagg, the drummer, was off to form The Trudy with his brother Derek and another friend from school, Ralph Cade. These last two had been up to this point the Cardiac-ettes, and Derek’s input was to shriek “I bit the vicar” in a piece of the same name. Delightful, I can promise you. So, Pete was leaving, and to my surprise, Tim asked me to join, (surprise because I hadn’t played drums for a year or more, and lived 250 miles away). Nevertheless, it seemed like something I really ought to do, I’m sure you agree. This meant I was off back to Chessington, and life was very good. My brother lent me ?250, and I bought a weird old Hayman kit, plus roto-toms. We rehearsed, I played my first gig, I think it was in Bishop Stortford at the Triad… We also recorded; we found a bloke who had an 8-track studio under his house in Surbiton. We spent a couple of days doing stuff like “rock around the clock”, a favourite which is on the Archive Cardiacs album.

A little later on, I started doing engineering work for the 8-track bloke in exchange for session time which we made use of to record more of that Archive material – “Trade mark”, “Cold as can be…”, and so on. Both Tim and I did “solo” stuff there too, and even “Wooden fish” was recorded on the 16-track that had by now turned up. Sarah had joined, Colvin had left to join The Sound, and Dominic joined so that I could swop drums for keyboards, at which point I became the keeper of the korg. All terrific fun, but I did miss the drumming; too much as it turned out, as I left after a year or so.

Anyway, if all of this sounds more like a potted history than a testimonial, the point is this. Now that I have my own studio, and spend much of my time working on my own material, I realise that those early days provide the most inspiration for what I do now. But for those times, and even though I’ve always spent my life soaking up music of one sort or another, I still probably wouldn’t have grasped the simple truth that nothing, absolutely nothing is better than music. As Frank Zappa said, “Music is the best”, and I admit that each time a new Cardiacs album comes out, this statement is for me reiterated by something in what Cardiacs do that no one else’s music has to offer. I think this band is one of the most imaginative and creative on the planet, despite still being, I think its fair to say, largely undiscovered.

Really it’s no surprise that for the greater part the press have little to offer in explanation of the phenomenon; they just don’t get it, except for occasionally one or two enlightened individuals. I used to wonder that if one day Cardiacs finally did explode big style, and everyone was suddenly into them, whether they would still sound as brilliant as they do? I think so, and I say this because one day I mistook them for someone else, however unlikely that sounds. Here’s the story… I was in Jumbo Records in Leeds just browsing as one does, when the shop played “Manhoo”, which had just been released. I was miles away, but gradually I started to hear what was playing. I still hadn’t recognised Tim’s voice at this point, and for a moment I thought I had discovered something new and precious, a band I hadn’t heard before, and what a band…

Then I recognised the vocals, and it was like “oh, it’s Cardiacs…”, with just a hint of disappointment. As I listened the string section towards the end came in, then the brass bit, and so on. Of course it was Cardiacs, who else was it going to be? But for a moment there I thought I’d found another band as good; enough said, and when I finally heard Sing To God, (which I’m slightly ashamed to say came as a freebie from Tim- My favourite album ever, and I didn’t even pay for it…), it became clear that this was the most brilliant work I had ever heard by anybody, ever, shit you not. End of story.

Mark Cawthra

Testimonial 19.

One evening my flatmate came back after visiting a friend. He held in his sweaty palm a video. He slid it into the VCR with the immortal words – “You’ve got to see this!”.

That video was none other than Seaside Treats, and I was entranced. What I saw was an indescribable blur of colour, quirk, and curiously catchy tunes that twanged a chord buried deep within. Then he told me that Cardiacs were playing at the end of the month in London and would I like to go? I went, and was treated to one of the best live gigs I have ever (to this day) seen. The music started and unbidden a huge face splitting grin spread across my face.

And it stayed.

No other band before or since has compelled me to repeatedly make that 300 mile round trip just for an hour or so of music.

Disturbed of Moseley (Martyn)

Testimonial 20.

I first became aware of Cardiacs in about 1986 or 87. A gig of theirs at the Riverside Club in Fetcham was reviewed in the local paper, and I thought they sounded interesting. The reviewer hated them, but as it was someone I’d known in primary school, and our musical tastes had differed widely even then, I thought they might be a band I could get into.

I first experienced them when they did a version of Tarred and Feathered on Channel 4 music show The Tube, and I decided that the slagging off review was incredibly accurate, and that this was a band I could not only get into, but become almost obsessive about. I later saw the video for R.E.S. playing at the Underground Club in Croydon, a venue Cardiacs were due to play a fortnight later. Bizarrely I can’t remember if I actually went or not. I know I have seen them there, but it might only have been the gig I went to later in the year. I do however rememeber buying a fanzine (Organ 3) that summer for the sole reason that it had Cardiacs in it.

I definitely saw them at The Marquee in November 1987. I think I saw them 4 times that Autumn and winter, twice more at the Marquee, and once at the Croydon Underground.

The first Cardiacs record I bought was “Too Many Irons in the Fire”, which, coincidentally was single of the week in Sounds.

Over the next few years I saw them play lots and lots of gigs, mostly in London, though I also travelled to Oxford, Coventry, Grays (Essex), Cambridge, Salisbury and Slough on various occasions. They were, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite band at the time, and I got to know most of the band members fairly well.

After several members left in the early 90s it seemed as if they were losing their way, they played far fewer gigs than they had done, I also moved away from London at this time, and so was less able to get to those few gigs they did play. I didn’t see them at all between about 1993 and 1999, though they remained one of my favourite bandsthroughout that period.

When I renewed my acquaintance with them at the Fleece in Bristol in May 99 I found that they hadn’t lost anything, as I feared they might, but were a mighty and most excellent band, who instantly re-instated themselves at the top of my personal list of favourites. After all these years Cardiacs are most definitely still worthy of laudation.



Testimonial 21.

Where to begin? Well, it all started when I was somewhere between the ages of 7 and 9. My family lived in Kingston-Upon-Thames, and my friend’s mum drove us to school some days. I remember seeing this day-glow poster on some corrugated iron fence opposite St.John’s Church. It was in strange childish writing, and at the time I thought it read “Cardidas”.

Time warp ten years to the age of about 19. I had a few friends who were in to Cardiacs, was told how amazing they were, but still hadn’t heard any. I got hold of a video that had an excerpt of their live video (Big Ship from Maresnest). I was completely perplexed/fascinated by their strange dusty costumes and the apparent arrogance/madness of the lead singer. A while after this another friend called me and said ”…you have to come and see this band CARDIACS play at The Venue, New Cross. I saw them the other day and it was the best gig I’ve ever seen!”.

Along I went, knowing the track Big Ship but still unsure of what to expect. The band began to emerge on stage amongst all the smoke blown by these gigantic fans at the side of stage, and the most fantastic droning noise I have ever heard started to drive everyone nuts. I was surrounded by complete strangers from all walks of life (from “crusties” to “normals”) and they all had wonderful smiles on their faces. Then the whole place erupted and I was swept away by the music and the sweaty bodies!

On my way out of there I bought The Seaside, the only CD album they had on sale then. Completely different to the live stuff they were playing but I loved it. I sought out every album and gig after that… it’s so hard to describe, you’ve just got to hear them to understand. Going to see them play is often where your addiction starts! There’s nobody else who makes music that sustains my interest as much as Cardiacs. Every album is a wonderful surprise.

Marc (cardiacs.com webmaster and devotee)

Testimonial 22.

One day my musical friend visited me with some CD’s he’d lended from the library. Along with his usual classical and old-prog things was this CD of a band with four people on the cover wearing strange, office-like shirts and ties, and the front-guy looked to me like a dark-haired Kurt Cobain with funny glasses. It was Heaven Born and Ever Bright, the original CD cover, by Cardiacs. My friend was over-entheusiastic of this band, calling the music ‘funny prog’. I listened to some excerpts of it while he was mimmicking away on the music, and didn’t get the hang of it.

But later I found the same CD in the library, loaned it, and started to like it. And after just some weeks, Cardiacs started to re-release their entire backlog catalogue on CD. I was just compulsed to buy things. After just some more weeks I’d spent over 300 guilders and my Cardiacs catalogue was already complete. And I loved every scrap of it.

First time I saw them live, last year in Holland, my Cardiacs fanhood developed more into a mania, me loving the whole way they were acting on stage, pure mayhem… Have seen them live 6 times now, 4 times in holland (the only 4 times last year), and 2 times in England, where I travelled to last March. That was absolutely fabulous. Cardiacs probably won’t ever cease to amaze me…


Joost Doesburg – Holland

Testimonial 23.

I first heard Cardiacs on a best of the year independant record labels compilation CD, Indie Top 20 – CD88 in funnily enough, 1988. The track was ‘Is This The Life’ which sounded somehow different to all the other songs on the CD in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but at the time I didn’t try to find anything else by them. I had only recently discovered ‘Indie’ complilation albums and found that I could hear lots of good music by bands I’d never heard of.

I didn’t see their name mentioned again until 1993 when I saw they were playing a couple of miles away in a biggish venue with another band I knew nothing about, Levitation. I was interested to see Cardiacs play live for the first time as I remembered how good the 1988 song was. To be honest I can’t remember anything about Levitation, who came on first. But the second band …

The stage was all blacked out and these two men with very little hair stood at each side looking defiantly at the crowd. The one on the right hand side of the stage (who I later found out to be called ‘Jim’) had a very closely shaved head and was wearing these awkward old fashioned looking glasses that made him look quite old and nerdy. I heard a woman in the audience near me say ‘He looks like my dad !’.

The rest of the band came on, all dressed in a uniform that was a dark green shirt and long shorts, looking like something out of ‘Dads Army’. They then all stood at the front of the stage and sang their first song to the music on a backing tape as they weren’t holding their instruments. This song sounded like a triumphant majestic hymn and sounded awe inspiring !

Not what I had been expecting !

I can’t remember much about the rest of what they played other than to say I was in a state of shock after the first song and was blown away by the other songs as well.

I rushed out to get the album from their set, ‘Heaven Born And Ever Bright’ and was amazed !

I have been into their music ever since like I never thought I could feel about a band. I have been moved by their music in a way no other band has ever achieved to my ears. I now feel immensely proud to be a Cardiacs fan and follow their gigs round the country when they are on tour when I get the chance. The gigs are always manic and the band always act madly. I always end up grinning like a cheshire cat when I see them play and lots of songs on their albums leave me that way as well. I’ve met the band several times and they are the nicest most genuine group of band folk I have ever met. I can’t say anything more other than go out and buy their albums ! They are music’s biggest kept secret !


Testimonial 24.

Once upon a time, in late 1990 to be more exact, a certain Martin Stenson populated a party, where there was much rejoicing. A prequel to Circus Flabbergast, Deadmanshand (shut up!), was a ska-oriented band I played with at this time. Knowing this, Martin cunningly put a tape in the taperecorder and addressed me:
“Hey, Måns, check THIS out. This beats the shit out of the Selecter!”

What I heard intrigued me to a great extent indeed. I later learned that it was “A Wooden Fish On Wheels”, by, oh yes: CARDIACS.

About a year later, me and some friends attended the annual Copenhagen Jazz Festival. But during a John Scofield concert, I suddenly felt incredibly dizzy and ill. Much to my chagrin, I realized I had to take the boat home to Sweden alone, as I felt my fever-infested bones wobbling ominously under my shuddering body, but:
I wanted to buy a record, something to comfort me on my way home.

A gangly man named Petter, who were travelling with our party, offered to pick out an album, as I was to sick to do anything.
Suddenly “On land and in the sea” materialized in my hands, and off I dashed to the boat.

At home, alone, the fever rose to new heights. I was delirious. MAD, some would say.
I played the LP over and over and over and over again, and strangely enough I could FEEL life being fuelled into me from every note that hit my eardrums. I could no longer tell if I was awake, asleep or dead; it was all a gargantuan trip, verging on euphoria as the music penetrated the stale and musty shell of my pustulating spirit. This went on for days and days. A common dream was that I rocketed naked through outer space, watching the rise and fall of civilisations on passing planets from afar, salty tears whitening my face, triumphant CARDIACS-choruses ringing in my ears, ah!

It virtually saved my life that album, or so it seemed, or at least it nursed me back to health. It’s totally impossible to play now due to the vinyl being severely worn out. Since then, a day without listening to Cardiacs, is very rare. All Cardiacs albums are very special to me. The only song I can’t stand, (nay; like the least) is “Ocean Shipwreck”.

And then there is the first-encounter-with-Maresnestvideo-incident, the four-people-singing-in-praise-of-Cardiacs-in-a-church-window-incidents, the neverending-quest-of-trying-to-get-people-to-understand-cardiacs-incidents, etc etc. ‘Thank you.

the everso faithful

Måns Mernsten (Sweden)

Testimonial 25.

My first experience of Cardiacs came shortly after the untimely demise of The Smiths, who along with Iron Maiden were my combo of choice back in the mid-80s. In a desperate attempt to find something new and similarly life-affirming, I bought a good few records in the summer of 1987, many of which were by bands I’d never heard of previously. Cardiacs’ spazzy little faces peered at me from a deranged looking album sleeve in Our Price Records, Hemel Hempstead, and I felt compelled to investigate. They looked like a bunch of retards, covered in flour and apparently dribbling slightly,so I figured the music had to be good. It was fucking amazing. Every track was packed with unexpected treats, from the bombastic title tune through to the stinky-fingered “Plane Plane Against The Grain”. The “Big Ship” mini-LP became my favourite record and remained so until the eventual release of “A Little Man & A House & The Whole World Window” a year or so later. What astounded me was that this band weren’t massively popular – ah, the naivety of youth! – with their nonsensical lyrics and irresistible melodies. As soon as I saw the band live I knew that this was a band who transcended all the usual bandwagon bollocks, and who would inevitably mean more and more to me as time went on. They’d created their own little world and I immediately felt like I belonged to something really magical and unique. I did, I still do, and it’s sodding marvellous.



Testimonial 26.

Let’s travel back in time to the Stonehenge Free Festival, 1984. I was absolutely knackered after The Enid had left the stage in the early hours of the morning, and with Hawkwind due back on at dawn coupled with a burning desire to watch the Druids do their thing within the Stones at sunrise, a spot of sleep was in order. The band that were on next I knew nothing about anyway, so I immediately forgot their name and headed for my tent. The trouble was I hardly slept anyway as our tent was next to a jam-session tent which was just an excuse for people to make as much noise as possible with whatever came to hand. As I tried to sleep, I could also hear the band playing on the main stage, and from what I could hear it sounded like a very unpleasant row. ‘’A nasty punk band,’’ I thought.

Fast forward to Reading Festival 1986. I’d hitched down on the Saturday night/ Sunday morning just for the last day, mainly to see The Enid and Hawkwind (those two bands again). With a few hours to spare before the start at midday, I lay in the sun reading the programme. I noticed that the first band up were called Cardiacs, and I was immediately repulsed by a colour picture of them all grinning inanely, faces covered in slap-dash paint and each of them wearing an awful blue polar-neck sweater with a yellow stripe down one side. I was going to hate this band…

The blurb was a little more encouraging, as the live shows sounded interesting, but an endorsement from Fish didn’t convince. ‘’His taste can be a bit dodgy,’’ I thought. My curiosity was aroused however. Then as they took to the stage accompanied by hisses, bangs and ‘’Albion! Awake!’’ (yes, Tim, I know where that old intro tape came from!) I had to listen and watch.

The next 40 minutes held me transfixed, and yet all the time my mind was racing. I wasn’t really sure what was going on: bandsmen’s’ uniforms, face-paint, a manically-grinning female sax-player who kept kissing the serious-looking singer/ guitarist passionately, a miserable looking bass-player, a clockwork keyboard player… On top of all that the music was insane- all over the place but so complex and yet played with such passion. And then there was Tim. He seemed to have so much energy, and yet his spectacles along with his quizzical expression and blazer made him look like the school swot. His in-between song rants had me seriously doubting his mental stability- just listen to ‘’Rude Bootleg’’! By the time the set climaxed with ‘’The Whole World Window’’ I was one of those at the end you can hear cheering and applauding wildly. Confetti, balloons, champagne… and bewildered Tim being led off the stage was strangely touching. Ten minutes after it was all over a Hawkwind-fan friend of mine spotted me and came up for a chat.
‘’Have Cardiacs been on yet?’’ he asked.
‘’Yep!’’ I replied.
‘’What were they like?’’
‘’Pretty good actually.’’
‘’Yeah, they were good at Stonehenge in ‘84.’’
‘’When were they on then?’’ I inquired.
‘’After The Enid in the middle of the night.’’
So that cleared that one up! Nasty punk indeed…

Fast-forward again to March 1987. One Sunday during a quiet moment at work (a newsagents) I flicked through the Sunday Sport and spotted a ‘’Pop Sex Shocker’’. There was a double-page spread with Cardiacs splashed all over it! ‘’That weird band I saw at Reading,’’ I thought, and proceeded to read a bizarre interview where Tim & Sarah claimed to be brother & sister having an incestuous relationship. No publicity is bad publicity. (By the way, my mate Ian has a copy of this fabled newspaper, & whilst it’s not for sale maybe we could do copies for people?)

March 1988 was when it really happened for me though.
By this time I was working in a wholesale newsagents in Barnsley where we were forced to listen to Radio 1 all day. One afternoon, in amongst all the usual bilge I heard some fantastic guitar which I thought seemed way too good for Radio 1. For once I paid attention at the end and was surprised to hear Gary Davies say it was Cardiacs’ new single. ‘’Is This The Life’’ was upon us, and for 3 weeks Gary Davies played it every day with even prats like Simon Bates and then local radio picking up on it. Incredible…

I went out & bought the newly released ‘’Little Man & a House…’’ album and for months after it was never off my turntable, and I honestly think it’s my most played album of all time. This was finally the start of an obsession that has lasted 11 years so far and shows no sign of letting up. My passion was further fueled by a concert performance in April ‘88 at my fave local venue, Sheffield’s Leadmill, and my inquisitive desires were satisfied by the answers Tim gave me when I interviewed him for a fanzine after a gig in Northampton the following month. This special occasion was made even better by the fact that I spent a very happy hour or so in the King Billy with them all and managed to get myself on the guest list for the first of many times and…

I could go on & on (in fact I already have I think), so I’ll just say that I could write a very self-indulgent book about my Cardiacs experiences (maybe I will?). I’ve hitched all over England to see them, cadged many a lift in their van, slept in the strangest of places after gigs (garden centres, parks, football pitches, railway stations, Jon Poole’s sofa) and each event has been a separate adventure. Without wanting to sound cheesy, Cardiacs have provided me with some of the best moments of my life. Long may they continue…


Testimonial 27.

How I wish I’d got into Cardiacs earlier. In the late 80’s/early 90’s a couple of friends of mine would speak of them approvingly and drop occasional tracks onto compilations for me. At that point I was sceptical. The music seemed just too wilfully quirky to care about. At one point in my life I was going out with a girl in Reading who knew them. One afternoon Bill Drake called round to see her. He was extremely charming. We spent the afternoon imbibing various substances and laughing. I can remember thinking “It’s a shame I’m not into Cardiacs. I bet loads of fans would kill for this opportunity.” And now, years later, when I’m so into Cardiacs it’s not even funny, when I realise how scrotum-tighteningly ace they are, so inventive, so literate, so original, so criminally overlooked, so much of an inspiration, I look back on that smoky afternoon and reflect on how fucking existential it all is.

I got bitten back by “Heaven Born and Ever Bright”. “Home of Fadeless Splendour” was so cool it just . . . well, you know how it goes. After picking up the Sampler and hearing the Mark Radcliffe sessions, I started to appreciate the literacy and joy inherrent in the music. The songs are like dreams – there’s no point explaining a Cardiacs song any more than there is explaining a dream to someone – you have to experience it. The medium is the message (is my cliche).

I wrote a comedy show for Radio 4, a pilot that crashed. It was a strange thing about animals doing stuff they’re not supposed to. It got recorded and we used Big Ship as the theme tune. I wanted to acknowledge the influence Cardiacs have had on me – and also bring an amazing piece music to the bewildered ears of Radio 4 listeners.

Ah well. That’s my tale. God bless Cardiacs, every one!

Mark G

Testimonial 28.

It was a cold night in January 1984 as I recall as I ventured out with my girlfriend of the time to see Here & Now at Southampton Guildhall – a soulless venue and a soulless band as it turned out. But my life was changed forever by the previously unheard of support band who played what was to me the most fantastically eclectic punk I had ever heard (and I had heard a lot).

Cardiacs for it was they are the only band ever to have acheived a quality sound in the acoustically challenged Guildhall, but what a sound. The set was from the Seaside as I recall and all those tracks had me spellbound until Tim stepped forward with his battered green guitar and played the opening chords of Nurses Whispering Verses and at that moment I knew that this was the best most captivating music I would ever here. To this day although I don’t dance so much at gigs if i here those chords I am compelled to dash to the dance floor and whirl around uncontrollably for the duration. Is This The Life, Big Ship, Dive are all wonderful songs but Nurses remains the No. 1.

I saw Cardiacs again in Southampton later that spring at the West Indian club and then in June at the Stonehenge Free Festival they performed possibly the best set I have ever seen. From the intro that seemed to last fully an hour when the crowd had subsided and only a few bedraggled souls remained in the early hours to watch radiation suited creatures drape muslin over the stage. To the rapturous applause of the thousands who had arrived during the two hours to discover who could be creating those wonderfully sounds as the sun rose through the Stones. Cardiacs were the outstanding performance at the festival and their reputation grew.

I did a silly thing in 1985 and moved to the cultural wilderness that was South Wales and had to wait to 1996 and travel back to the West Indian club again before I got to see cardiacs again but it was worth the wait. Since then I have travelled when I could and encouraged promoters wherever i could so that I have lost count of the number of times I have been to Cardiacs gigs. But I am sure that it is not often enough.

And the other thing I am sure of is that Nurses Whispering Verses (preferably with the original lyrics reinstated) must be mandatory in every live set in future…please.

Phil, Southampton

Testimonial 29.

Well, I first heard of the Cardiacs in 1992 after meeting my boyfriend at Uni in Stoke. Golf was, and continues to be, a huge fan and was continually playing their music / telling me how wonderful they were. I, however, was determined to deny their appeal and expressed hatred for their music for a number of years.

Roll on to Jan 1999. Cardiacs were playing the Bar Fly in Camden and I was finally convinced that I should give them a go live. I loved them and have been to all the London gigs and some of the others around the country since. Unfortunately, I have now had to admit that Golf and his mates are right in saying that The Cardiacs are the greatest band since….well, since nothing, actually.

Maire Litchfield – Director
PaperBoy Global Ltd

Testimonial 30.

Why do I like Cardiacs? I don’t have a choice. I was only 14 and I’d never seen a pop band before. The deafening nuclear assault that was the intro. tape made me think something was up. The first song was “To Go Off & Things” and I was quite sure from that moment that I was contaminated. It went on to ruin and dominate my teenage years ostracizing me from my friends who were either “into Metal” or Bros and Glen Mediros. Only my friend Ted understood, and that was when no-one else was looking.

A short time after my Cardiacs virginity was violently ripped out of me “On Land and In the Sea” was released. It only inflamed my passion more and I took to spending every penny I had on Cardiacs. I begged, borrowed and harassed people for the then deleted items and would badger Spitty constantly for news and rare stuff. This may have caused him irreversible brain trauma which some think is a good thing.

I even managed to harass Dominic Luckman for drum lessons and he was very kind to do so. All I wanted to do was play in a band and now I wanted it to be in Cardiacs, if only I could have been worthy of filling those shoes. My passion probably got me ejected from more bands than I would care to remember with my suggestions of “why not make it go CHNNG CHNNG SCREEEEEEEEEEEEE BADABADABADA PELNMELN SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE”.

It has even infiltrated my academic career with my GCSE Music compositions being based around the more experimental Cardiacs sounds (think “Eat it up Worms Hero” with it’s hands down Bartocks pants) and led to me base my 3rd year thesis at University around the Cardiacs and why they upset people (or something like that I forget).

I have been rendered “professional” as a musician as I am now fit for little else. Don’t be alarmed, I am not writing this sat in my piss stained y-fronts, in a dodgy south London squat, twanging a guitar whilst dwelling in obscurity. I’m just dwelling in obscurity.

I’d like to blame Cardiacs for the reason my music has become littered with commercial suicide notes (no pun intended) but I can’t.

Oh sod it, I will!

I’m off to Japan now and I won’t be back for a year.



Testimonial 31

Sixth form (1988-90). A group of us went to the Co-op Hall (now called The Zodiac) on the Cowley Road in Oxford every Saturday night to see whatever band was on. It was mostly awful (The Shamen, Culture Shock, Nik Turner, etc.) but sometimes we struck lucky. The luckiest strike of all was Cardiacs.

What was this pop/punk/carousel/nursery rhyme/ska/metal/godknowswhatelse ?? I didn’t really care, I was falling in love. It was fate.

A goth friend taped me “Live” and I then went and bought “On Land and In the Sea” and “Is this the life” 12”. I soon knew that this band could produce highs that no drug could even think about. Song after song sent shivers up and down my spine.

Ten years and several gigs later, Cardiacs still turn me into a gooey mess. Is it me or are Cardiacs actually getting better? Bellyeye is song of the decade by a mile!! Thank you Cardiacs for being a band I truely love and a band my wife truly hates.

Richard Prangle

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As eager 16 year olds in 1988 Johnny Banks and I formed a hardcore band called Gastric Ulcer at a Napalm Death concert in a converted church in Southampton. Shane Embury was probably wearing a big flower shirt which meant zilch to me at the time. I rocked out. ‘The Ulcer’ spent the next 18 months doing its thing fixated with all musics extreme and heavy. Napalm Death were causing a stir during ‘89 and as a devotee I bought all the magazine articles I could find and had a special video tape for appearances on Rapido (or whatever) and a one off Arena documentary on the history of heaviness.

This bloody word CARDIACS seemed to always be cropping up, usually on Shane’s person. “Thrash band” I thought, “might check ‘em out one day”.

‘The Ulcer’ were finding the same old turgid stuff that most bands at the time were churning out less and less inspiring and having recently been re-acquainted with XTC and Mr Zappa we were looking for something new and mad.

Just at the right time, whilst travelling in an Austin Allegro I heard this odd ascending melody from the portable stereo next to me that just seemed to go on rising forever. “What in Christ’s name is this?” “Cardiacs” the driver replied. Not what I had expected. The song was Loosefish Scapegrace. The song title was irrelevant at the time but I was convinced within 30 seconds that I had found what I was looking for. I purchased everything I could get hold of, as quickly as possible.

Now obsessed, Johnny and I suggested getting a keyboard player, much to the bass player’s disgust. Things came to a head when we played at a local festival on June 30 1990 fannying everybody about to make sure we were off stage in time to be in Salisbury by 4.30 in the afternoon to see our new found loves for the first time. The band split a week later. Oh well.

The rest of the nineties have been a haze of chaos – apparent running battles in New Cross between locals and police, missed trains, getting lost in cars, desperate drunken panics to find somewhere to stay and blowing out important family events. Girlfriends have been and gone – often scared off by Cardiacs within a week, bizarre coincidences have occurred – you don’t expect to stroll in to a pub in Winchester wearing a Cardiacs shirt and stood right next to the front door is their van driver, warnings have been given at work for being late ‘once too often’…

Thank you Cardiacs – you split up my band, destroyed relationships, made me nearly lose jobs, made me unpopular with my family…I’m still here and I still love you.

Geg aka Dr Raymondo Spinner

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At a vital point in my life (around the age of 16) – my mate Chris gave me an innocent looking object which later turned out to be probably the most important thing anybody ever gave me. I still remember the cassette – a crappy old beaten -up Sony 60 minute tape, with scribbled writing proclaiming ‘Lindy’s party by The Bolshoi’ (another fine obscure 80’s band -should have been much bigger) and on the other side, simply the words ‘A little man, a house and the whole world window’ bunched up on the little sticker. I was told to try this out, it was supposed to be great (like being recommended to take drugs or something).

I listened to the tape on the bus on the way home from school (would have been 1988/89) on my walkman, and these strange, big orchestral sounds and loud, dark, huge drum beats seeped in to me effortlessly. I was awaiting some horrendous, weird heavy male singer to come crashing in and ruin the experience, but instead I was greeted with an almost inaudibly quiet ‘Leaving early, just before the hour……’ and the best bus ride ever began.

After listening to the album from start to finish about 3 times that evening, the tape was copied and returned. chris and i would then turn up to various friends parties and ensure that when ever possible we would hi-jack the host’s stereo and boom out our music. Many a whiskey-fuelled mosh and hearty sing-along session took place to the likes of Is this the Life, Big Ship and Suzanna’s still Alive. Our local second hand record shop managed to turn up some great Cardiacs rareties – the Cardiacs 12”s and vinyl albums are the best.

The only cardiacs memory I have to match the first bus-ride for amazement, was obviously the first Cardiacs concert. For truly the Cardiacs (and i have to be a pooh-pooher and say that the old stuff still captures my heart more than any of the beautifully complicated new stuff) as an 8 piece band (I’m guessing at the numbers – it got hard to keep count) with full percussion, saxaphone etc. were simply stunning. My first concert was at the Marquee in London in 1989. How can i describe the impact that was given by sight of lots of men wearing soiled, tatty suits with lovely flowers attached and a beguiling lady with a manic smilestrapped into a saxaphone? Fantastic atmospheres were experienced at numerous venues throughout the years (I’ve lost count now) – especially at the OLD TROUT IN WINDSOR -which had to be one of the best venues around ever.

Basically, I have grown up with the Cardiacs. Safe to say that I have still to convert any of my friends to their unique sound – but that actually makes my respect for the band stronger, since I can keep them as my (and my friend Chris’s)private little secret. Loving the Cardiacs is the best personal secret you could hope to have. God bless them and all that sail with them. I’m still looking out for that shark though.

Tom Pugh

Testimonial 34.

1988. I’m 20 years old, and working on a building site in Swindon, but commuting daily from my home in Aldershot.

The bosses son, Robin, would pick me up from my house at 6:30am, and tear off at a rate of knots down the M4 in his motley black V8 Rover. I would cower in the back, half asleep, peering groggily out of the window. He would play compilation tapes of his record collection, most of which I remained wholly indifferent to. There was one tape, though, which contained ten minutes of unmistakable class: two tunes of such other-worldy originality that in an instant I found myself utterly transfixed.

“What on Earth was that?” I asked in disbelief as the magic music faded away.

“Cardiacs.” he replied

I made a mental note.

We arrived at the site and, after a proper builders breakfast, work commenced. I busied myself with humping things about, like you do when you’re a labourer, and listening to the many tranny radios that littered the site. It was an unspoken rule on most sites that everyone would tune to Radio1, so as to avoid the cacophany of many different stations clamouring for attention. In 1988, the output of Radio 1 was largely dross, punctuated by the smug drivellings of Simon Bates, Gary Davies et al. Imagine, then, my total surprise at suddenly finding myself with my ear pressed to a radio speaker, rejoicing in what I can only describe as a peak experience, as the most wonderful noise I had ever heard waggled my eardrums in and out.

“That was ‘Cardiacs’ with ‘Is This The Life’” intoned Simon Bates as the record faded over the maddest guittar solo I’d ever heard, and the spell was cast.

The following weekend, I scuttled breathlessly to Our Price in Aldershot, and bought ‘A Little Man and a House….’ cos it had ‘RES’ (one of the tunes I heard in the car…the other was ‘To Go Off And Things’) and ‘Is This The Life’ on it. Straight home and……oh! By some malfunction in the manufacturing process, the record label was applied the wrong way round, with side 1 on side 2, and vice-versa, and the first thing I heard was ‘The Icing On The World’ thinking it was ‘A Little Man And A House’. I wasn’t sure I was into it, cos I was expecting mad, breakneck, twiddly music, not parping Salvation Army brass, but at least I had two of the tracks I liked. I played these two tracks ten times a day, and didn’t really plan to buy any more Cardiacs records. Gradually, though, simply cos I was too lazy to take the record off for the other tracks, I grew to love the whole album, to a point where I could listen to nothing else. I’m on my third copy, having worn out the other two. I adore every second of it with all my heart.

Over the next few months, I mailed every record shop in Europe, and managed to find every recording, apart from ‘The Obvious Identity’ and ‘A Bus For A Bus On The Bus’ which I have never heard, but would dearly love to. I love every track on every album without exception, every lyric, every note, every strange noise. I’ve been to countless gigs. I was lucky enough to see them when they were seven at the Astoria in ‘88, when Bic was with them at Slough in ‘93, and with Bob Leith and Jon Poole at Reading (or was it Phoenix..?) a couple of years ago, when they fucked up the end of ‘Is This the Life’ I am always taken by the friendliness of the crowd, and the loving atmosphere that prevails. I stand proudly, and sing with all my heart.

This music transports me to places nothing else can. In times of sadness or stress, I close my eyes, clasp my hands in front of me, and sing….

“All of the noise takes me to the outside, where there’s all, creations joining in celebrating happiness and joy, all around the world, on land and in the sea…..”

Try it. It works.

Much love to all the family fish – long may it remain all snowy in the pond.

Ott. (now living in Somerset)

Testimonial 35

One day my big brothers friend Paul slipped an extra cd into the pile he was lending me. We shared a common love of all things black and dark and metal in nature, and as he was much older than me he was able to acquire evil sounds way beyond my means.

“Listen to this.”, he said. “It’s really weird. I really like it.” and left it at that.

I studied the strange blue cover, and all I could think at the time was “This isn’t metal. Do I have time for this.”

I decided to give it a token listen and sceptically appraised the ‘Big Ship’ sailing out of the speakers. Little did I realise what that song would mean to me given a few more listens. Then ‘Tarred and Feathered’ came on, picked me up, swung me around the room by my nostril hairs, mangled my brain and left me dazed with a big smile on my face.

Several years later when I was at University I finally got to see Cardiacs live. It was like eating a big box full of the best chocolates ever only better. The rest is history. Even though I listen to loads of metal and opera and very little in between, No One compares, or even comes close to the majesty of Cardiacs.

Thanks very much for listening
Justin Morley


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The grace of the gods of feathered friends and all the seas secrets.
I stumbled on to the Cardiacs way back in the winter of 88, The album was ” A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window” and my reaction was one of extreme joy and brain cell loss.
Since that day I have been a devout servant of the mighty Cardiacs and have collected all there joyful CDs, but, alas, have only seen them live once……damn me to hell for my sins.
Cardiacs are like a drug, they lift me up when I am down and lift my spirits further when I am happy, however I need a new fix, I am gagging for new material…..When will it come?……I sit in my snowy pond and wait for that sunny day…….

Simon Wilson.

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Testimonial 38

I hope you can use my testimonial. My self and the Cardiacs existed on other planets until 95, even though I saw them at strawberry fayre Cambridge in 1990 (I remember someone with a camcorder backstage filming them I was the drunk in the audience, who kept sticking his tongue out at the camera) I also remember the Sunday sport article, and Gary Davies playing is this the life? (very nice I thought, but never brought any records) until in 1995, I had a very bad dose of the flu and was gonna go home and have a early night but some one said to me, are you gonna see Chumbawumba at the Cambridge junction, ok I said who’s supporting them, the Cardiacs they said. So I decided I should go, only so I’m not classed as a social leper, so I went I remember hearing buds and spawn and thought I must get a sampler CD, so I did and heard goodbye grace and thought the new Beatles and I have been a fan ever since,

Steve Adams Royston Herts, UK

Testimonial 39

In 1987 my friends from Wycombe college asked me if I wanted to join their band called Marko Sharkos Amazing Flower Garden, because they neded a percussionist and someone to ridicule. They made me play the mst bizzare stuff as I had ever heard. By the end of the year the band had changed to be known as Blossom. I jump to January 16th 1988…. Wycombe Halls of Residence by the sports centre. I awoke on our bass player, Poppi’s floor. He had an old stereo, where the arm swang across so that you could stack records to be played concurrently. (Records are the black things that don’t sparkle young ‘uns) That last record had lovingly been left on repeat and I awoke to the dulcet tones of Leaving early just before the hour……….. from Seaside Treats EP. This had been playing continuously (along withHope Day) for some 6 hours.

TING!!! now I understood the music we were playing.

I first caught the Cardiacs live on Thursday 6th December 1990 at the now sadly departed Old Trout in Windsor. Life is sweet, such a treat. Strangely, our stage show developed. I don’t think I missed a single gig in ‘92 at which point I first met Tim. Gave him a demo tape and thought that’s the last of that! I was delightfully surprised to meet Tim a year(ish) later when I asked Tim about the tape and he recalled one of the tracks. What a nice man.

I have introduced many friends over the years to the aural (not oral!) delights of Cardiacs and confused most of them. My last convert was my friend Crowmarsh Sam. He was studying for his masters in music, when I made him visit The Point on my birthday. He wasn’t sure if it was crap or genius. Fortunately good sense prevailed and he plumped for the genius answer.

I am now a primary teacher and am slowly poisononing little minds by using the gentler side of Cardiacs (All his Geese are Swans etc.) as a stimulus for music and dance.

My life has been dramatically changed by the Cardiacs and give it 6 years, when the little nippers have more pocket money and there shall be an uprising.

God bless the Cardiacs.

Martin Pressling

Testimonial 40

I first encountered Cardiacs in 1984, when they were support act for Marillion at the Manchester Apollo. I was completely astounded by what I saw and heard. They were well heckled for most of the set by the Marillion fans who obviously couldn’t come to terms with what was going on, but Cardiacs carried on regardless.

I have no idea what they played that night, and would love to know. I remember one song which featured Tim stating how he was in the trenches, muddy and bloody “I’m all bloody muddy”, but I don’t know what it was.

From then on I spent what seemed to be an age scouring the music press for information on this phenomenon which I had just witnessed, without much luck. It was only about 12 months later that I noticed Adrians records in High Wycombe were selling the Seaside Treats video. For some reason I didn’t trust mail order to deliver the goods to me safely, so I took the train from my home in Rochdale to High Wycombe and back to complete the transaction. It was well worth it, as at least I now had something tangible of Cardiacs. A couple of years passed before they played The International, also in Manchester, and I managed to buy a tape of The Seaside from the gig, got myself registered in The Yousletter Family and the rest, as they say, is history.

I must admit to not having paid them much attention since they became a four-piece, but seeing this website has probably given me a kick up the arse to buy some of the more recent stuff, although it has to be said that All That Glitters Is A Mares Nest is almost a permanent fixture on my CD player. Fantastic!

Nick Butterworth


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Is the Tate asleep?
If music would know a Turner Prize the Cardiacs would be the winner – i.e. someone should nominate them anyway. The latest performance at the Astoria London demonstrated a dimension and grid of qualities that not only beats most of the works of nominees in the history of the Turner Prize: many of its past winners tried – and are possibly still looking in vain to push the boarder of what is culturally achievable to that cutting edge where the thinking man gets inspired and the rest just accepts that they are watching and listening to a piece of art with a qualified cultural impact.

The Cardiacs’ performance is not only fun music of the highest composer and performing quality it is art that opens some kind of a 4th dimension! It is like a chess game of works between Wagner, Stravinsky, Rothko, Kandinsky und Bacon, based on a language that was introduced by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads, executed in a way that – of course goes far beyond today’s rock music and should be recognised by the cutting-edge art world.


Testimonial 42

Cardiacs Astoria 12th November 2004. 50-100-100000 who knows how many times this band have trod the hallowed boards? But last night it didn’t matter that dear Jon was fighting on another front in the far east. It didn’t matter that Kavus was too hairily handsome to be counted. Oh no. What mattered is that Cardiacs injected a freshness into songs older than time.


Beginning with RES. Still gifted with musicianship and timing that symphony orchestras would be hard pushed to equal. I must confess as a front-ish row moshee the set list got a tad blurred so if anyone can copy theirs to me I would be very happy. They did Toy World. A song older than Busted and yet fresher and all the more vital.


Well Kavus was truly a god at guitar, but wait who are those females on backing drums and vocals (er sorry don’t know names) the added dimension this provided was exquisite and enchanting. Jim a towering powerhouse of bass and humility, Bob hidden from view but audibly perfect, Tim. Tim Tim Tim Tim? Why wouldn’t we sit down for you when you asked. You didn’t have as much to say to us as you usually do. Perhaps it’s because well we just know dont we? Bad bad Tim for ending the night 🙁

The Crowd

Hey Skitzo Pete, Hey Yossi, Hey Steve, Hey Belch, Hey Val, Hey Victoria. But not hey the idiot that stood on Steve’s head while stage diving. Steve uses a wheelchair and the idiot broke his glasses which could have blinded him.
The moshers that were stage diving – shame on you. The moshers that were hitting with closed fists and kicking. Shame on you too.

Overall the gig was a roaring success. A great chance for the family to get together. To hear songs that made our lives as lives of their own. Thank you band. I have lost count the amount of bruises and dislocations over the years. But if you said you’d play today – I’d move big things to be there.

All my warmth

Testimonial 43

To whom it may concern,

In 1988, whilst I was engaged in the art of studying musical composition at a college in the not so distant Province of Devon and humming to myself “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” on the way to a lecture involving counterpoint of all things, I heard a mixture of sounds so indescribable, it shook my belief in the musical establishment. Was it a conspiracy? Were these lies that music professors spawned on young music students as to the nature of what was acceptable as melody, harmony? For on this very vinyl disc I was about to hear, these lies and laws were being broken and were actually being recorded for general release. Heavens help us I thought. Who else has heard this music??

In that moment as I crossed the road, I heard for the first time the glory that is now known to me as “Little Man and a House”. I stood still, my heart beating in syncopation with the poly-rhythms. “Excuse me my good man” I shouted, “would you mind telling me who is the author of such sounds spilling out from your record player? In dulcet tones, the liverpuddlian replied “Err…the Cardiacs. It’s called a Little Man and a House”. Hmmm, I thought, the cardiacs eh? “Thank you my good man” I quipped and continued shakily on my way. I did not know where to turn. I had never heard such musical invention, such lyrical writing as to amaze. I quickly tossed aside Monsieur Mozart, ne’er to return to him!

As luck would have it, I turned minutes later to a record vendor in the local town, desperately trying to seek out this very disc. Counterpoint be gone I said in defiance as I skipped my lecture. I went into the shop. A man stood alone behind the counter. I whispered to him. “Excuse me, but do you have a copy of the Cardiacs’ Little Man and a House please?” I turned anxiously around the store to see whether the morality police were lurking in the wings. Luckily, I was mistaken. It was only pictures of Rick Astley. (Hope the use of profanity is allowed on such a site) “The Cardiacs” spluttered the man, “who the bloody hell are they?” I could not answer, for I did not know. I had not even seen a picture of them. This you realise was before the days of the internet, days before the invention of the cardiacs.com. Who were these elusive creatures? I went on a quest to find out more about the members of this band who had shattered my musical education.

Within the space of a few weeks of receiving “Little Man” by special order which was wrapped in plain brown paper , my grades dropped dramatically. “Mozart…..be gone, Haydn….head off” I fumed as I poured out my spleen on this “classical music”. Around this time, my harmony professor noticed little idiosyncrasies developing in my work. “You used to be such a nice student, you used to write such nice progressions” he said. “Now look at you. Damn those blasted tritones. Don’t you know that’s the devil’s music?” I did but I was addicted to the complex rhythms and wide melodic leaps found on my new piece of plastic, which I never left home without incidentally. My body was a quivering mass of this new music. I was a new disciple of the Cardiacs.

The rest as they say is history. I flunked college, my fellow students shocked at my transformation and the authorities incubated this sleepy little college from the infectious sounds from Surrey by my expulsion.
Mysteriously, the liverpuddlian remained.

On my return to London in the summer of 1988, I went to Cardiacs anonymous and learnt of others suffering from the very same nervous twitches, the very same desire to spend hours in front of their stereos glued to a speaker. It was a tough period. I’ve managed to wean myself off listening to their output for days at a time and limit myself to six hours a day. I’ve recently learned that this help group however has been disbanded as those leading the group have succumbed to the same effects. So a word of warning to those who have stumbled on this site by accident, “Beware the Rhymes of March”. This music will change your life as it did mine.

Chris Stevens. An ex – “Cardiacs anonymous” member.

Testimonial 44

I saw the Cardiacs when you guys were supporting the Wildhearts in Manchester – I was blown away, I’ve never heard anything like it before! I’ve been forcibly playing your greatest hits album to all my friends and DEMANDING that they love you as much as I do. You guys Rock!


Testimonial 45

A slightly angular way to start, granted. Tim Smith made me feel like a bastard (my response to his actions, not his fault etc) when he came to see a band I was in (Bunty Chunks) a long time ago. I was so in awe of what he had created, how it had made me feel and that he actually liked what we were doing that I could not communicate to him in any human way other than gibbering emotions that only made sense to me. He promptly chose to not talk to me after that.

The problem with aligning your feelings/emotions with the level of influence something has on you, is the possibility of separating those who have made that thing (e.g. music) from your own link as humans (e.g. see above). Music, for example, can tap into something very generic, and at the same time individualistic, within you which triggers something you, before hand, only saw (very fuzzily) out the corner of your eye.

The Cardiacs’ music made me understand more than any other form of communication the absolute necessity of finding the truth within you as a person (that what responds to the world and all that it can throw at you). It is when you find that (by doing whatever that helps to get it out) you can genuinely feel the life in you which is otherwise mostly tightly contained in your shell.

The Cardiacs made me question my motives for everything in a quest to obtain something that feels real to me in everything that I do. My meeting with Tim Smith oddly reinforced that. I don’t always succeed but I know I must try and for that I will always be extremely grateful.

Simon Starns


Testimonial 46

It was a night in 1988 and I was around my friend’s house. He wasn’t right so I beat him, as I beat him on numerous occasions. He screamed and cried, but I just laughed at him and told him he was stupid. The man in the radio announced that they had a session by something called Cardiacs, but that just made me beat my friend even more. But, when the cacophonic noise of Cardiacs emitted from the speakers, I stopped and smiled. I had found my way at last. My friend crawled away into a dark corner and whimpered to himself. About three songs they played, and no matter how much I shook the music box, the man in the radio refused to play any more. Bastard!

I spent the rest of my life up until now looking for sonic pleasure in the form of black and shiny discs, but nobody else could see things the way I did. But, they’re all heathen scum anyway. I approached a man in a record shop looking for ‘Too Many Irons In The Fire’ and he said he didn’t have it.

But, he was a liar! It was there and I showed it to him. He gave me a look of shock and died. I laughed at his still form and ran away. I now have nearly everything and am contented.

I went to the Clarendon Ballroom in Hammersmith to get my first look at the entity known as Cardiacs. There they were, like twisted puppets on the big stage. I picked out the one known as Tim and stared. Do you know what I did? I called him a big wanker! And, then everyone called him a big wanker! And, he loved every minute of it! I think it made him cry with happiness. I fell in love with Sarah, but she spurned me and disappeared. I have seen them many times since, and I still call Tim a big wanker!

Nowadays, I am a shrivelled husk deprived of any more new tunes. But, Cardiacs are about to sing again and I will once again be a big, beautiful butterfly! All will be good with the world again.

Carl Thomas

Testimonial 47

As I write this I am sat in my living room listening to Sing to God for what must be the billionth time by now. I am but a young boy of 16 whos mind is fast expanding thanks to music like Mr Bungle and of course Cardiacs.

I first heard about them when I went to see a band called Mumrah (who are well worth checking out) and I had a little chat with the singer after their set. We talked about Mr Bungle and Frank Zappa at length and then he said something which I now realise was the point of no return. “Have you heard of a band called Cardiacs?” “No!” I said in my naieve way, unknowing of the joy they would bring to my life. “Go home and download everything they’ve ever done. NOW, GO NOW!!” he shouted at me. I laughed and stayed for the rest of the gig. When I got home I looked them up on the internet and found the sampler CD page.

With a sense of excitement and confusion, I put on “Is This the Life” To be honest, I was a little disapointed. Sure it was good, but it wasn’t the life changing expirience I had expected it to be. Lulled into a false sense of security, I put on “Angleworm Angel”. OH MY GOD. The sound that exploded out of my speakers and into my unprepared brain terrifyed me to the very core of my being. What was going on? Where was I? WHO was I? All logic and reason had been abandoned. On went “Burn Your House Brown” and my jaw met the floor. It wasn’t for a good hour later that it was reunited with the rest of my head. I was giddy. What had just happened?

A few months later I saw Mumrah again and I hugged Ian (the singer) for showing me this band. He laughed and asked if I had any complete albums. “No!” I said again in my childish way. “Kid, you aint heard NOTHING yet” he said.

I now have pretty much all the Cardiacs albums and it is safe to say that my brain has been irreversably. “The Duck and Roger the Horse” made me cry in terror, “Fiery Gun Hand” makes me whirl around my room with the energy of a man possesed, “R.E.S.” makes me confused still.

I have a ticket to see the Astoria show in November of this year. I fear I am not prepared to see Cardiacs live at the tender age of 16.

Andrew law

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Testimonial from a Yankie.

I suppose it’s high time I add my testimonial to the list.

In the year 2002 I was a junior studying Spanish at the University of Iowa in the unpretentious Midwest region of the United States. I happened to be (and still am, for that matter) in a band called Genital Hercules, writing and playing crazy rock music with heavy influences from Frank Zappa and Devo.

One day the singer arrived for a rehearsal and immediately directed me to go to my computer and download an mp3 called ‘Angleworm Angel’ by a group called Cardiacs. I listened with my mouth agape, transfixed to this wonderful sound for which I had been unknowingly searching all my life. “However did you find this?”, I asked. “Just by chance”, he said. I think it was fate.

I immediately started scouring the Net for anything I could find by this band. I was able to order, at great expense, an imported copy of the Sing to God double album; and upon listening to it for the first time (of very many to come), I was delighted to find out that the brilliance I heard in ‘Angleworm Angel’ was not a fluke. I listened to Sing to God very loud every day for two weeks.

It just so happened that I spent the four months at the end of 2002 studying in Spain, where I would play ‘Fiery Gun Hand’ for anybody willing to listen. When I found out that them Cardiacs were to play the Astoria in London on the 15th of November of that year, I booked passage there immediately. It was my first trip to the U.K., and it was without exaggeration the best concert I have ever seen. I spent a fortune acquiring every Cardiacs disc I could find, and returned to Spain and eventually back to the United States a very happy and profoundly changed individual. After debating with myself at length as to whether there was any sense in traveling from the United States to the U.K. for a rock concert, I made the right decision and returned for the 2003 Garage gigs, and in less than a month I’ll be there again for the 2005 Astoria show (with two of my bandmates joining me this time).

Being a Cardiacs fan in the United States is a rather lonely feeling. I talk about them to anybody who will listen, but I win few converts. That’s okay, though. ‘Anything I Can’t Eat’ has become one of Genital Hercules’ favorite covers to play live, so we are doing our part to spread the word a bit (I’d like to learn ‘Ideal’ next). Cardiacs’ music, to me, is about pure, unfettered joy, and it makes me feel things that almost no other music in the world can match. Bless you, Cardiacs, for you have made my time on this earth much happier. Oh, and Tim, thanks to you especially for changing my songwriting for the better.

Max Crowe

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It was all those years ago (?1986/87). I was a Gothling watching the Tube and, who should come on but the Cardiacs? It was Tarred and Feathered and all. “Oh my Goodness”, I cried to myself. The following Sunday I sat crouched over my VCR for the repeat and taped it. I made everyone I know watch it and no-one liked it much except my DAD.

Some months later I went to college in the London. I saw that them Cardiacs were to play at Feet First (a club) in Camden Town and my dear friend Grovel and I had freebie tickets. I said to him. “We must attend.” Gamely he trolled along with me (I think Top Hat Liz may have been there too) and an incredible euphoria suffused our young booze-addled bods as Cardiacs took to the stage. I had seen a number of bands at this time (mostly Goth stuff) but none could have even dreamt of kissing the dusty cuffs of the Cardiacs military trousers. Melancholy, humour, insanity, incredible pop hooks woven into songs of odd construct. I then bought everything I could by Cardiacs on vinyl, wax cylinder et al.

Many moons passed and in the Nineties I saw that the Cardiacs back catalogue was to be re-issued on CD. Such happiness. Then came Sing to God. I purchased this with hands a-tremble – could they still have that magic touch? My trepidation was unfounded. It is truly one of the greatest albums ever recorded by a humans. My lady, “A” was entirely seduced by this too and clearly I remember a week in Derbyshire driving round tiny lanes “o’er peak, o’er dale” with Manhoo et al blaring out – big sunny smiles on faces. Dirty Boy became anthem for me, yes.

Time passed and then I heard that Cardiacs would be playing at the Astoria one bleak Nov (was it Oct?) evening. A, our son “Jane” and I attended. Due to a taxi f**kup we were late arriving and did not see Oceansize (who have since become a marvellous part of my life) but arrived just as the Cardiacs took to the stage. A was astonished to see me charge wily-nilly to the very front (I’m no spring chicken you know). It was one of the most exceptional performances I have EVER had the pleasure to witness (?participate in?). We went home in a state of huge excitement. I ended up in Casualty the day after as I damaged my wrist breakdancing inexpertly at Jane’s house after the gig such was my uncontrollable delight, y’see.

If the Kinks, Buzzcocks, Henry Cow/Art Bears & Magma had rehearsed together for a one hundred years, they might just possibly hope to approximate the unstable and unbridled genius of Cardiacs.

I love Cardiacs. There is nothing like them. They are jolly nice fellas as well, too.

I really do love them Cardiacs, see?


Testimonial 50

The cover of the Big Ship mini album just used to make me feel sick, the video Seaside Treats gave me a bit of a headache. I know what your thinking, how on earth is this the way to start a testimonial on the most beautiful noise on the planet? Well, read on.

You see my first contact with Cardiacs was when my brother discovered them in about 1987 or 1988, this would make me about 13 or 14 and as yet I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to listen to people who looked like they wet themselves for the feeling of warmth. In fact, as I remember, my brother would play me Seaside Treats just because he knew I wouldn’t like it.

But things change. In 1990 there was a spare ticket to go to the Maresnest recording in Salisbury, and so I decided to give it a go, not really knowing what to expect and, if I’m honest, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. I went with my big brother (who I thank a million times, thank you Sean) on the special bus (special as in good, not as in ’special school’).

I walked in feeling slightly dubious and walked out converted, not something that had happened to me in a church before. From the first moment I knew that I’d seen something that was going to be very important to me and the rest of that summer was spent listening to as much as I could, going to gig after gig and building a healthy obsession.

After a while I started being so immersed that I would go to charity shops and buy velvet jackets, cover them in braids and epaulettes in a sort of Consultant sort of way, looking back this might have been a tad over the top, but I was 16 and I thought it was a good idea at the time. I started trying to be a sort of half-hearted groupie and hung about trying to meet them, which I eventually did. The groupie part didn’t really work though, I ended up being mates with Jon Poole (who had just joined at that point), which then ended up with living with him for a couple of years. Through Jon I also had the joy of seeing Ad Nauseam (Jon and Bob’s old band) and later worked for the Alphabet Business Concern as one of Cardiacs ‘Little Shop Girls’.

Being on the shop meant that I could travel and see gigs all over the place, I worked on the 1995 tour and learned that 30 days of cheese and onion pasties and ‘Little Chef’ breakfasts can be hard on a girl’s digestive system. Being able to hear Cardiacs night after night was heaven though and I would love to do it all over again. It was exhausting but amazing.

Fifteen years on I’m still in love with the music, still going to gigs and feeling just as excited as I did the first time.

Cardiacs. Hooray.

Love, Light and Life,

Lucy Cooke.


Testimonial 51

As a 14 year old fat boy my life was pointless and rotund. However a chance viewing of The Tube one Friday evening was to destroy everything. The goon faced presenter announced the next video was by The Cardiacs and called Tarred and Feathered. In a few minutes my view of reality was inverted and my life made/ruined. The most insane and greatest thing I had ever seen. Pence was spent and pence is still being spent on this wonderful band and it’s extended family. Their obscurity is confusing as to me they are the only band that matters. So throw the tabernacle doors wide open and salute Tim Smith. You made me a laughing stock at school and unable to have a conversation with anyone about music for which I am eternally grateful

Lee Threlfall

Testimonial 52

I watched Ultravox in Poole in late 1986 and returned – after having to pee in a bottle on the back of the coach – to Portsmouth. To a friends house who mentionned a better band he had until now kept to himself. He showed me the Seaside Treats Video on a crackly black and white telly. I just had to see them. As luck had it they were in the Marquee before long so we: me G and T, took the train and got there. The old Marquee was situated amid strip clubs, peep shows sex shops and the like. Just before they played i managed to buy a copy of their white album – well the live in Reading one. I managed to get all of them – even mike who did the lights to sign:

Tim Quy
Mr William D Drake
Miss Swift
Even the consultant.

The show itself. My first mosh pit/ loving pond. The anticipation: JIM JIM JIM Who is this Jim? And what makes him so special?, I pondered. They arrived onstage wearing the old band outfits with caked on face makeup. The bomb had dropped and I knew I would never be able to listen to the same music again. I was converted. Guitar seemingly played at random – though on scrutiny it was a miasma of complexity I had never witnessed before. As was the drums. Sax. People fell over. We helped them up. People all knew the words – complicated though they were – all around had circus clowned facial expressions. Pretty soon I was doing the same. Jim was humiliated and we all took his side. And before I knew where I was, I was on a tube: sweaty, bruised and covered in confetti from the cannon at the end. Songs sticking in my little head at the time were: Whole World Window (is that what www. stands for on the internet?) and RES.

Every visitor to my room was treated to the video – none understood or liked it. This was later a wheat from the chaff test. It still works to this very day. I pity NME for its blanket off message attitude to this extremely fine bunch of musicians – past and present. Timing alone is worth a million Grammys (and Grannys!). In spite of being ignored for all these years I am so thankful to that friend – long and lost now – for removing Ultravox from my mind and replacing them with Timmy’s grinny face.

Mesha Banerjee
Senior Practitioner

Testimonial 53

. . . I first saw Cardiacs in the early 80’s and thought they were crap. I then met Tim & Sarah in the Kingston Mill Pub and still thought they were crap.

Over 150 gigs later and I still think they are crap, see you on the November 2005 tour . . . .

Jason Chinnery

Testimonial 54

My story is similar to testimonial 40. As a 15 year old I too went to Hammy Odeon with my mate Andy to see Marillion. Too young to get served at the bar, and with interest waining in the main act (tickets had been bought waaaaaaaaaaaaay in advance) we sat down to watch the support, of whom we knew nothing, and cared even less.

I must say what I saw that night was astonishing, and was one of those moments in my life where my musical tastes could never be the same. The music Cardiacs played was nothing like anything I had heard before. The music was different, the kind of music that was awkward in some cases and anthemic in others. At the end, Tim used a light at his feet to project a 50 foot shadow of himself against the white backdrop which was astonishing. I was hooked.

Several weeks later Andy & I came across The Seaside tape at Beggers Banquet in Kingston, (which I still play to this day, but has the strength of tissue paper). We wrote to the address on the back and got a really nice letter back from Sarah enclosing a leaf and a shirt collar. How funny. She explained that Fish really liked the band and that is how they got the unlikely support slot. For all his other faults at least the man had taste!

We didn’t see them again until a year later at the Fetcham Riverside, at which point two became three as Clem came along. The three of us went to all the Riverside (incidently riding by pushbikes to each show, a round trip of about 30 miles!) and Marquee shows for the next year or so, and loved it. The 10th July 96 gig at the Marquee was a triumph; it was so hot, all three of us wrung our shirts out at the end. Imagine that. We used to get to these shows early and would often talk to the band in the bar. On one occasion, I tripped up the marillion keyboard player as he walked by with Fish to see the show. What a claim to fame!

What I liked most was that the band put on a show, the finale with the flowers and confetti was always something else. My ears are fucked nowadays, probably the confetti cannons!

A few months later at tech college (Nescot), my one and only active role as part of the NUS committee was to suggest that they booked the band to come and play. Again the gig was brilliant, the highlight for me being hit on the head by Tim’s guitar as I was pushed off stage. I also bought a vinyl copy of the rude bootleg (no 16 said the number stamp). Clem’s band The Hunger. This gig was a double-edged sword, as from this point on the band were no longer ‘our’ secret. All of a sudden everyone we knew talked about the band. I saw them a couple of times in the year after the Nescot show, but life took a different course. Others went off to see the band in Amsterdam but I left the band behind.

Apart from a Simon Mayo (YES Simon Mayo!) Radio 1 session from 1988, our paths never crossed again until I saw them with Andy in Brighton in about 1990, when they had a bloke with curly black hair on guitar. The show was okay but not like the old days.

Saw them again in Brighton with Chumbawumba in about 95, again sadly a shadow of their former selves.

That was that, until I discovered the internet and this…

Chris (aged 36)

Testimonial 55

Hard to say what Cardiacs mean to me. The best band I’ve ever heard? Yeah.probably. The most personally meaningful band I’ve ever heard? Definitely. I’ve been more moved, stirred out of the half-sleep that passes for existence and found myself nodding in agreement more with their inspired music/lyrics than those from anyone else. Aside from Tim Smith, who is the central driving force of the band, I have my friend Lee to thank for this. I would never have heard them without his choice to share the records – his thoughts are actually given here as number 51. I really owe him for taking the time.

In point of fact, a comment he once made about Cardiacs says a lot more than I ever could. “When I listen to them it’s chaos.until it all comes together and suddenly there’s a light that fills the room.” Well said that man.

Cardiacs are about life, death, passion, the stupidity of being an adult, the horror of seeing how the world truly is, the belief that it could be better, the love of dark shadowy attic rooms, the things you find in forgotten family photo albums, the childhood that you lose and the understanding you resultantly gain. They are also about being English, being human, loving the summertime and grasping melancholy with both hands. I cannot get through a day without giving some part of it to playing one of their CD’s, or one from their affectionate friends. Along with Coil I will take them to the grave with me.

Jon Howard


Testimonial 56

I was browsing on the web and read an interesting review then got some tracks from cardiacs.com.

I was immediately aware that this was a momentous discovery; I knew that Cardiacs were forever going to be one of the biggest things in my musical life. I listened to nothing but these clips back to back for the days until I got hold of my first albums. I’ve since got all of them and they are well worn.

I still can’t believe that a band like this exists. Honest, pure, strong, beautiful, fantastically English (and I’m a Scot), technically ferocious, hummable, just wonderful. They really are one of the handful of great bands in the world.


Testimonial 57

Lots of Cardiacs and Cardiacs related memories . Some beautiful and some shameful. They are :- My first ever Cardiacs gig at the ULU ( 91/92?) when I asked some bloke in the Kharzi how he’d managed to get a backstage pass. He said ” I’m in the band “.Turned out to be Jon Poole. Cambridge late nineties. A gig at the Boat Race. I went into a nearby pub in the afternoon and as nature took it’s course went for a pee. Jon bloody Poole was in there too. I thought I won’t say hello in here as it’s a bit suspect randomly (no pun intended) chatting to someone in the gents. Blow me if he doesn’t turn around and say in a voice as loud as thunder ‘Look at my cock’ and he waved it about- true. I believe it was in that very toilet that I also confessed my undying love for a girl with an artificial leg I’d spoken to at the ULU gig.Chatted to the delightful Miss Lemmon at the Woughton Centre in Milton Keynes and told her her much I loved Sidi Bou Said, they subsequently split up.Went to a Bill Drake gig in London and made a complete tit of myself. I got drunk and climbed up on stage to play Bass with the support act, then I tried to nick Bill’s copy of a video recording he had made of the show, then i allowed a lovely unknown female to write her name and e-mail address on my arm but totally forgot the fact and woke up next to my fiance in the morning with it still there. Sorry Bill . I have to say that it was a particularly unpleasant period of my life at the time but apologies anyway.At various times i have spoken to many people at the gigs including the tall bloke from the eleven o’clock show (Ian something ?), Jim-who is him? A mature couple who apparently went to school with Tim.The nice chappy with the birthday flower tattoo from up north.The other nice chappy in the wheelchair down the front of the Pond (and his ‘minder’ pal).Throughout it all the Cardiacs (and Friends ) have made the most beautiful,amazing music I have ever heard and continue to do so.See you in the Pond at Brighton and London,

lots of love, little M.

Testimonial 58

1986 it were, and we descended on the Reading festival mob-handed and up for mischief. We’d been mates for years but we’d recently formed a seven-piece band that we thought was the cat’s arse; the dog’s bollocks and all animal genitalia inbetween. We called ourselves Poisoned Electrick Head, and we felt we could hold a glove on most of the headlining acts there, being cocky drug-addled northern oiks.

And then we saw Cardiacs. Our beloved high-speed riffs and chops and catchy melodies suddenly felt lumpen and slovenly, laboured and sloppy. For we were in the prescence of genius, and the spellbinding performance, thankfully immortalised as the Rude Bootleg album, sent us scampering back up north with a bloody nose and a renewed work ethic.

Some years later, fate decreed that we would share the stage with Cardiacs on more than a few occasions, and every time it was an honour; a privilege and bloody terrifying. As for other bands, we merrily continued to make mincemeat of them but Cardiacs always pissed all over us, and never was a trouncing more pleasurable.

Brian Carney

Testimonial 59

I forget exactly when I first saw the Cardiacs, but it was 16 or 17 years ago at the Astoria, and was one of my first alternative gigs. I remember thinking who are these bloody wierdoes, and why is he so horrible to the bassist? I also got goose bumps when they played ‘is this the life’ and was instantly hooked. Fast forward to sunday 6th nov 2005 at the Concorde in Brighton, and things are pretty much the same. Even a hangover from hell did not stop me getting goose-bumps again and Jim is still getting adulation from the crowd and abuse from Tim.

There have been many happy experiences in-between, with people and events coming and going, but my passion for the Cardiacs has never diminished, with lots of happy Cardiacs memories over the years. Here are a couple; I was hitching out of Streatham one day to go to a Cardiacs gig in Brighton, and having no joy at all. Just as we were about to give up, a car slows down and a long haired chap sticks his head out and shouts something unintelligible at me. I put it down as random abuse, shout something unprintable back and get on with hitching. However 5 minutes later, the same car comes back round and stops, and who should get out, but Tim Smith, who saw my Cardiacs T-shirt, and then gives us a lift to the gig! The main thing I remember was Tim telling us how poor he was, which made me too guilty to ask if we could get on the guest-list for that night’s gig, and my friend asked for me!

I was also at ULU for a Cardiacs gig, and took along my younger brother to introduce him to the pond. I lost him during the gig, and got the shock of my life when I saw him walking on stage up to the mike, and thought he was gonna get himself thrown out. However he raised both arms above his head and calmly said into the mike, ‘all that glitters is a mare’s nest!’ Tim promptly grabbed him and gave him a big sloppy kiss, and I now have the event immortalised on a bootleg tape of the gig (sorry guys!)

Anyway I’m glad they’re still going, as they have always been a constant in my life. I may now be firmly ensconced in the ivory towers of academia doing research in psychology, but I feel that being a Cardiacs fan has helped me understand that life is better with such quirky bands and quirky fans. There are even other Cardiacs fans in my department, so hopefully we can pave the way for a new generation of fans. Finally from reading other testimonials,I can see that I’m not alone in wanting their music played at my funeral!

Lets hope it stays all snowy in the pond

Dr Chris Cocking
Research Fellow in Crowd Behaviour
University of Sussex

Testimonial 60

I think I was about 21 when I went on tour with Cardiacs singing in support act The Trudy .My boyfriend at the time was really into dance music (!) and we made a pretty odd couple on the nights I made it home:him pilled-up and gibbering and me going on about This Band, all covered in sweat and confetti.(that bloody stuff got everywhere – every time I pulled the ribbons out of my punky-hairdo showers of it came out!) There were some magical,drunken nights, so magical and drunken that I’ve no idea what actually happened, but I do remember finishing our sets in forgotten clubs and student-dives and just standing out-front transfixed by them.Those mad,pounding anthems and beautiful/strange/fragile lyrics:all a bit odd but utterly bewitching!

NME(?) printed pics of me and Tim side-by-side captioned “Crazy Guy/Crazy Girl” and I was SOOOOO PROUD! Although not with-it enough to actually keep a copy! Ha Ha!

I’ve done much singing stuff since then (aarrgghh ’twas years ago!) but remain passionate about music – an obvious but much overlooked ingredient in life these days,I find.Of course Cardiacs still have it in spades. I was at Their Astoria gig last night and it was fantastic.Amid the sea of (sorry,slightly balding!) heads-in-black-daisy-shirts I jumped up and down squealing in my hi-heeled clogboots like I didn’t have a care in the world.(I think I remembered to get a baby-sitter.) Still,a little piece of my heart was breaking for days gone by and first falling in love with it. Wierdly,The Trudy have been recording again, with Tim at the controls,and it sounds Blinkin’ Marvellous.It’s a great-big-fat-full-circle from wearing out my copy of “Is This The Life”.Mental!

Melissa Jo Heathcote, The Trudy.


Testimonial 61

Addiction is a terrible thing. Since discovering Cardiacs (one hazy night in a dingy nightclub way back in 1996), I have developed hideous cravings for cartoony melodies and bizarre time signatures that only Cardiacs’ music can satisfy. I have bankrupted myself chasing down their recordings and followed them around the country to attend their gigs. At one point, I was so desperate for my Cardiacs fix, I even snogged Jon Poole. (That was the very worst – he prickled and used his tongue! Yeucch!!!). And now, having enslaved me to their wickedly moreish brand of cacophony… they starve me of a new studio album for more than six years! The withdrawals are killing me!

This band’s music is insidious and thoroughly evil. Do not listen to the downloads. Do not attend their gigs. Do not buy their albums. Do not let yourself ever be exposed to any of their material. In fact, it’s probably best you leave this website now, lest you become corrupted as I have been.

Since I first heard Cardiacs, my world has been a darker and scarier place, and I exist now in constant torture, deprived of the bliss new material brings and eased only by the brief annual occurrence of their London gigs.

Cardiacs have ruined my life.


With love,

Andrew Philips

Testimonial 62

Dear Cardiacs and those who sail with you,

I stumbled upon the Cardiacs by accident, or so it seems. Around the mid-80s, “independent rock” was very much en vogue in my home country. Punk had nearly been eradicated by that mighty Gorgon called “New German Wave”, and after the record companies were over and done with this lucrative, but puzzling phenomenon, they threw the bands away, leaving them on their own. Most of them broke apart, while others chose to find out the hard way that it can be pretty embarrassing to age without dignity, still doing the same old shtick they used to do when pterodactyls were still crossing the skies. Things went international from there, and those who were still hungry for strange sounds had a handful of TV shows they could cling to, listening to bands from all over the world. One of the shows was called “Off Beat”, and it was on this show that I first got wind of the Cardiacs, as two of their videos were presented: “Is This The Life” and “Baby Heart Dirt”. Needless to say, I was immediately in love with the merry tunes of the group, and in order to support the musicians´ physical and spiritual needs, I went and bought their record albums – all of them.

Well, it was something of a revelation to hear this music that was quite clearly something entirely different from what I was used to listen to at the time. It was playful without being banal. It was cheerful, but with a slightly sinister ring to it. It displayed a great amount of virtuosity on the part of the musicians, while still retaining a charming quality of innocence. The lyrics were simply dazzling. I had fallen in love. The love lasted for two years or so, when the “Day Is Gone” ep came out. I noticed that Sarah (that rare and radiant maiden!) had disappeared from the credits, and as I wasn´t able to find any other releases here in Germany, I concluded that the Cardiacs were history. Poof-tah.

Little did I know…

Through the astounding miracle known as the World Wide Web, I once again stumbled upon the Cardiacs by accident. The circumstances of said accident do not matter. I was enchanted to find that Tim and his colleagues had not even survived, but come up with many new releases. “Enchanted” is not enough to illustrate my feelings – I was enchanted, enthralled, enraptured! My love of days gone by was renewed, and even though I nearly went bankrupt buying all those little shining thingies, the joys of coming home were almost enough to break the mortal heart. What can I say – beauty incarnate! Pure aural bliss…

All´s well that ends well.

Auf Wiedersehen,
Christian Kessler

Testimonial 63

Friend Lambie
Did play the Cardiac
CD of Joy

Many Colours
I did spray forth For
Joy overcame me

Spunking Sputnik clamoured for the remote
But I bashed him with a dollhouse

I was remade in Cardiac trademarked clay

Andrew vernon

Testimonial 64

If it becomes too obvious early on that I am more than a die hard fan of the Cardiacs, please bear with me. I live in the States, and enjoyed a happy carefree childhood completely oblivious to the Cardiacs and other countries. One day my mother’s friend from the UK came to the States. For what reason, God only knows, but he left behind him the album “On Land and In the Sea”, by the Cardiacs. She, being the motherly type, didn’t enjoy them terribly much, but she thought I might. Here’s where I could say something like, “And Oh! How I did, Mother!”, but that’s a given. This is a testimonial.

I popped it in, and hated it. The lead singer’s voice was too high and creepy-sounding. The sounds they made didn’t make any sense to me. Eventually, the CD, now impossible to find in the States, got too damaged to listen to and, I forgot about it. During the summer, I found it, and was compelled to listen to it again. The scratches on it were pretty severe, but it still played the first few tracks. I was astounded. It was like the music that had sounded so alien was now the work of dreams. I started loving those first few songs, and would play them fairly often.

When I got my first job, the only real purchases I remember making with the money were Cardiacs albums “Guns” and “Sing To God 1&2”. When I first listened to “No Gold”, I wept, awestruck in the presence of genius. “Bell Stinks” and “Bell Clinks” made it well into my Top Ten Funnest Songs Ever, and I listened to either three or four times in any given day. If this sounds corny, then so be it; the music that the Cardiacs produces resonates perfectly with whatever part of my soul that belongs to music. I can’t think of any other band that comes even the slightest bit close to them in quality. At this point, I’m refusing to read anything about them, for fear of learning something that would disappoint (ie interviews, histories).

I know I’m rambling, but I could talk about the Cardiacs and never stop. So I’ll end it with this: if music is the soul of man, then the Cardiacs are the ultimate stimulation of the soul.

Chandler Gordon.

Testimonial 65

A friend lent me a Cardiacs vinyl EP in 1989. I can’t remember its name. I listened all the way through several times with it on the wrong speed without even noticing.


Testimonials 66-70

Testimonial 66

I first heard the cardiacs last september. A good friend and I, both drummers, were on our way to a Gamelan troupe we participate in, when he asked “Have you ever heard the Cardiacs?”. When I shook my head no, his eyes lit up with indignation (indigestion?) and quickly spiraled through his ipod to find the band. I was floored, amazed, and stupified, but thankfully that was my only taste for a little while and I was able to pass it through my system and pretend it had never happened. Then, two weeks ago, this same “friend” made me a cd featuring several albums in Mp3 format. He gave me “The Seaside Treats” and “Heaven Born and Ever Bright”. I cannot stop listening to this band. I cannot stop wanting to learn more, and hear more. I get angrier by the day that it took me over a decade to stumble upon what might very well be the end-all-be-all of music as I know it. I’ve been transformed. I’ve heard (and thanks to youtube…SEEN) too much to ever pretend that I’d never heard this band. I’m thankful for the shattering awareness that this band delivers, and I will be so, every day, for many many years to come.

David Bodie

Testimonial 67

My mate bought a thing call “the Slaughterhouse”. He liked Carter who featured on this box set. 2 Cardiacs songs were on it…Goosegash and Buds and Spawn. I’d never heard nothing like it. I was a bit tiddly and bounced on his bedroom floor, which annoyed his Nan. That very same night I had to help my mum look for our cat in some bushes. Anyhow we sort of bought and shared a copy of On Land and In the Sea and The Night Waves Sessions. I thought the music was funny and quirky but at that tender age I never really took it seriously.

Fast forward to about 2002…I found a tape of On Land & In The Sea and memories all came back. I looked up Cardiacs on the interweb and was amazed and thrilled to seem that they still existed. Even more thrilled to see they still did gigs. However due to bad planning and stuff actually finally got to see them for the first time last November after a bloody long wait and its changed my life. So far, 10 months later I dont think a day has passed without me listening, talking about or at least thinking about Cardiacs. I kick myself for not making the effort earlier to see them perform live..but at least I now have and last November at The Astoria has made me realise that;
1)they are without doubt my favourite band,
2)i take them seriously although I usually end up having a little smirk on my face ( any other bands do this to anyone???)
3) I am mad

Matt (Strugz

Testimonial 68

Is this a testimonial…

I bunked off school, and almost accidentally went to bed with a girl.
Then I met her boy who told me the world ran in 5/4 time – so I did.
Now I am nearly as old as Tim (in fact I have always been that way, but never nearly as old as Jim).
My son is old beyond his years – but aren’t we all at that age?
I must give Tim and everyone my love again – I wonder what became of that girl?

Also, I still owe Tim Quy a fiver but with compound interest it must be at least enough for a meal at a well known chain of pizzerias by now. I think he’s waiting to claim his fortune when I make my millions through nefarious deeds – he’ll have a long time to wait for I am almost saintly in my boringness now. On the other hand we were in a rowing boat when he lent it to me so perhaps there are special rules that apply in relation to the claiming of such debts – who was the captain of that boat I wonder; I think it was Mr Luckman.

And why did we never break our noses on the paving stones and parking meters?


Testimonial 69

This is my testimonial:

One evening in October 1984 I went along to the Clarendon in Hammersmith to see Chelsea, because I was a part time punk and didn’t have anything better to do. There was a loud and blaring punk band on and they were very good. Then I went to the bar to get a beer and when I came back there was a bunch of six people on stage with painted faces and funny brown uniforms, and the music was all stop-start and a manic weird singer who kept saying childish things to the audience in between songs, and sometimes in the middle of songs. The backdrop was a banner with ‘The Insane’ on it, so I thought this band was the Insane. And I thought that was an appropriate name. At the end of their set, they stood in a line and all sang ‘holding these things in my hand, and I end up singing everything’ very slowly. I thought they were the best thing I’d ever seen, and I still do.
I can’t remember when I discovered they were Cardiacs and not the Insane, but I started going to see them regularly at the marquee and at the Greyhound in Fulham, and before long I started going everywhere around the country to see them. I took my friends, and they all started going regularly too. We all loved them, and we still all do. Once, I bunked work and followed them around Holland in a pink Mercedes mini bus, and a gruff fellow called Mark Walmesley kept forcing us to go into the gigs early and buy him beer, and we did.
Cardiacs are always there. Others come and go, but Cardiacs don’t. They’re always there. And unlike other bands, they aren’t stars. They talk to their fans like they are friends, and they are. I think they have shaped my personality greatly and despite the fact I have seen hundreds of bands and like hundreds of bands, Cardiacs are way different and way better. It is fair to say I love them like they are part of my family – they have reached the parts of my soul no other band can reach. I think many other fans feel the same. There is nothing like the atmosphere at a Cardiacs gig, and there is nothing like the atmosphere that surrounds the band and its doings and its personality. Unique.
I left England in 1993 and travelled for two years or more. Once, feeling lonely and cold in Java, I wrote something like this to Tim Smith. It sounded sickly and sticky sweet like this testimonial. But he didn’t reply. I know he means well though. One time, many years ago, at the Marquee, I allowed him to use my neck as a prop while he puked in the sink after a particularly successful gig. How come he was allowed to break the nausea rule?
Cardiacs are an unshakeable part of my life. I’ve grown into adulthood and beyond with them. Love is a strange thing, but that’s what Cardiacs mean to me.
See you all tomorrow at the Astoria.
John Lapwood

Testimonial 70

I first saw the Cardiacs on The Tube many years ago and have been in love with them ever since.
I have only seen them live three times, to my shame, and although I was once a member of the fan club I have never really been one for clubs and simply didn’t renew my membership.
I have had a turbulent and often confusing life, and until a couple of years ago I had two anchors to my untidy sanity, my love for the Cardiacs and my love for my cat, Sen.
When my cat died I stopped listening to a lot of my favourite music as Sen and I often sat enjoying it together, and sentiment can be a tortuous thing. However, in recent months I have been rediscovering just how incredible the Cardiacs are. Just last night I decided to look for the hidden track I believe to be called ” In Secret Like Swans ” as I couldn’t for the life of me remember which album it was on. I hadn’t heard it in nearly eighteen months and the result on finding it was that I had a huge grin on my face and a feeling of such overwhelming joy that I had to write this testimonial.

There will probably never be a better sound in all the world than the Cardiacs.
I await news of their next tour with great enthusiasm.