In the late '60s, the Deviants
were something like the British equivalent to the Fugs
, with touches of the Mothers of Invention
and the British R&B-based rock of the Yardbirds
and the Pretty Things
. Their roots were not so much in the British Invasion as the psychedelic underground that began to take shape in London in 1966-1967. Not much more than amateurs when they began playing, they squeezed every last ounce of skill and imagination out of their limited instrumental and compositional resources on their debut, Ptooff!
, which combined savage social commentary, overheated sexual lust, psychedelic jamming, blues riffs, and pretty acoustic ballads -- all in the space of seven songs. Their subsequent '60s albums had plenty of outrage, but not nearly as strong material as the debut. Lead singer Mick Farren
recorded a solo album near the end of the decade, and went on to become a respected rock critic. He intermittently performed and recorded as a solo artist and with re-formed versions of the Deviants
. Farren died in July 2013 at the age of 69 after collapsing on-stage at a Deviants show in London.