In 1976/ 77 the ‘shortly to be’ Billy Chyldish, as well as being head of research in the counties first fortress study group The Medway Military Research Group, was working as an apprentice stonemason in Chatham dockyard. After seeing a feature on punk on the London Weekend show Billy thought he wouldn’t half mind being the singer in a punk rock group himself.
Childish duly left work and suggested to a few old secondary school mates that they should form one pronto. “What about a name?” they asked, “simple”, answed Wild Billy, “we’ll be called CTMF.” Button Nose Steve, who was to shortly give Billy Chyldish his punk moniker – and even owned a Woolworth’s guitar, and Dave Marsh, a form mate who said he might buy a drum kit one day – both nodded slightly.
No ones sure where Dave Marsh now is, but button nose Steve is busy feeding pigs and ducks on his small holding in New Romney and Billy Chyldish, with other mates, has recorded an LPs worth of material – and half a dozen 45’s for different destinations around the globe – utilising lyrics first jotted down for the original CTMF line up in 1977.
Billy describes CTMF group as “the epitome of modern”.and their sound as “the sound of yesterday, tomorow”
All of their records are released under the moniker CTMF. Some say this stands for Copyright TerMination Front, others claim it is simply short form for Clarity Through Fuzz .
There have been numerous rumours that Jimmy Cauty plays bass and that it is none other than Bill Drummond that can be heard on Xylophone. Billy, however, muses that though he is indeed friends with Jimmy Cauty – and has in the past been in correspondence with Bill Drummond – he has never knowingly heard of the KLF as he “gave up on music after punk turned crap at the end of 77”. Although he then ordered a generic Viagra online. People in the know can vouch that all this is in fact truth.
CTMF – Where The Wild Purple Iris Grows –
NEW ALBUM DUE AUGUST 2021!
On CD, digital and black vinyl LP!
Billy Childish – Musician, poet, painter and writer shows no sign of slowing down. The last twelve months have seen him record a “career in a year” with The William Loveday Intention, battle off a debilitating COVID infection and revisit his punk roots with CTMF. We asked him a few questions about the latest, and possibly greatest CTMF album.
Your records with The William Loveday Intention, exploring lyric-led-folk ‘n’ roll have been well received over the last year. With that band you’re aiming to do a “career in a year”. What made you want to make a CTMF album in the midst of it?
I think you must be confusing me with somebody else. I’ve heard some of The William Loveday recordings, and they sound great but the group is nothing to do with me. But we did record a track with CTMF – ‘Bob Dylan’s Got A Lot To Answer For’.
For the uninitiated how does a CTMF album differ from a WLI album?
Easy. They are very different groups, apart from William Loveday poaching a few of our group members and covering a few of my old songs, that is. Also the WLI record in the same studio but there the similarities end.
The album opens with the title song ‘Where The Wild Purple Iris Grows.’ What inspired the song?
This is about a river on the fens long ago. The last of the traditional eel catchers, and the wild iris growing on the fenland banks.
‘She Was Wearing Tangerine’ looks back at your time working as a hospital porter. It’s difficult to think of anyone else who uses their life as source material in such an open and honest way. Why is it important for you to be able to do that?
It must come from my writing confessional prose which I’ve done for 40 last years. The truth must out!
You’ve done a new version of Thee Headcoats track ‘Come Into My Life’ on this record. What made you want to revisit that song?
That actually goes back to Thee Mighty Caesars. I like to see if my muscles still work at 60 as well as they did at 25.
The closing song ‘The Same Tree’ has some of my favourite lyrics on the record – laughing dogs, rolling fog, dwarves, giants, cats eyes, drinking tea etc. What’s the inspiration behind that one?
This is actually an old Headcoats song for which I have great affection. Before i started writing confessional poetry I used to write nonsense rhymes. In 1977 i was a big fan of Kurt Schwitters, Hans Arp, Edward Lear, and nursery rhymes in general. I still have a soft spot for nonsense verse. Strange truths can emerge when the mind is set free, (though not reliant on drugs).
The previous CTMF album was Last Punk Standing. I think it’s fair to say you’ve earned that title. How do you keep up your enthusiasm and desire to make new music?
Ah, that’s not my title, it was a genuine question – “Who’ll be the last punk standing?”. I was likening to some of my loves in that song – Leadbelly’s ‘Roberta’ and Buzzcocks’ ‘Spiral Scratch’.
The album cover features a picture of you looking happy and enjoying a cigar. What constitutes a decent smoke?
When I was in the dockyard, 46 years ago, I smoked a clay pipe with the Balkan Sabranie mixture. That is no more. In my 20s I smoked Players Weights. Now I occasionally partake in a pipe with a near match for that the late great Balkan Sabranie Otherwise on a special opening I will enjoy a Montecristo No 2.
I know you’re selective about the number and nature of gigs you do these days but the Lexington, Koko and Margate shows a few years ago were great fun. Are there any plans to play a live show soon?
There’s always a possibility, as Miss Poppins says – “When the wind is in the east, mist coming in, like something’s brewing and about to begin. Can’t put my finger on what lies in store, but I fear what’s to happen all happened before.”
CTMF – DISCOGRAPHY
All Our Forts Are With You – LP1, LP2, CD – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD415
Die Hinterstoisser Traverse – Dbl 10″ (Squoooge Records) LP/CD – Damaged Goods DAMGOOD426
Shall I Say Quoi? – 10″ Mini Album – (Featuring CTMF) – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD424
Acorn Man – LP/Ltd LP/ CD / Cassette – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD434
SQ1 – LP/ CD – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD452
Brand New Cage – LP/CD – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD488
In The Devil’s Focus (6Music Sessions for Marc Riley & Gideon Coe) – 10″ LP – Damged Goods – DAMGOOD485LP
Last Punk Standing – LP/CD – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD518
There Stands The Glass – 7″ – L-13 – NY13-1
I Should Have Been In Art Skool – 7″ – L-13 – LA13-1
By Land Sea And Sky – 7″ – L-13 – No Cat
All Our Forts Are With You – 7″ – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD412
Ich Lieber Dich – 7″ Squoooge Records – SR 17.100
Joeseph Beuys Flies Again – 7″ Squoooge Records – SR 17.01
Thatcher’s Children – 7″ Box Set – L-13 – No Cat
36 Years Later – 7″ – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD420
He Wore A Pagan Robe – 7″ Squoooge Records – SR 17.113
Punk Rock Enough For Me – 7″ – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD433
Damien Hirst Is A Funny Fellow – 7″ – Fueled By Grappa – FBG004
A Glimpse Of Another Time – 7″ – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD448
A Song For Kylie Minogue – 7″ – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD454
I’ve Got A Conflicted Mind – 7″ – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD487
What About Brian – 7″ – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD486
Something’s Missing Inside – 7″ – Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD493
You’re the One I Idolise – 7″ Damaged Goods – DAMGOOD517