Formed in 1976, Bridgwater’s punk pioneers THE DANGEROUS BROTHERS filled the towns Arts Centre to over capacity with gigs every couple of months featuring their theatrical comedic antics and highly danceable new wave music . Each gig featuring other local bands such as the Skillet Lickers, the D.I.M Band, the Pompeii Stiffs and numerous others.
The nucleus of the Dangerous Brothers was the song writing partnership of bass player Brian Smedley (Smed Smedlo) and guitarist David Newton (Jim Rude) , the on stage costume changing theatricals of Rod Jones (Rocco), the synthesiser agility of Neal Heckford (Cozmo D.G Glisandoz) and the rock’n’roll drumming of Kevin Freeman (Nervo).
Although the line-up changed several times the band brought out 2 tape albums ‘Internal Organs’ (1978) and ‘Going Shopping’ (1980) plus a single ‘False Nose/County Councillor’ (1980)-all on the Brother’s own ‘Sheep Worrying’ label and recording a track on the Circus records compilation album ‘The Circus Comes to Town’.
The Dangerous Brothers debut gig was at the Huish Episcopi school, Langport 19.11.76. The band had various line-ups prior to this and had been billed for the gig under the name ‘The Cardboard Box’. The Brothers played the College rag day disco on 17 December at the Park road centre, totally inebriated-guitarist Nick Hill sliced his numb fingertips off and splattered his new white Les Paul blood red without noticing it whilst drummer Nervo nearly asphyxiated by pounding away for an hour in a Gorilla mask. At the Hamp Community centre on may 20 1977 the gig was broken up by the Police after complaints from Elderly Residents and onJune 29 punk rock hit Bridgwater town hall when the Brothers smashed their instruments up on stage- Nervo almost killing Smedlo by dropping the entire drum kit on his head.
A regular feature at the Arts Centre gigs was Jim Rude setting fire to his arm and extinguishing it through lightning fast strumming whilst the most controversial incident involved Rocco chopping off a member of the audiences legs and eating them during the song ‘cannibal rock’. In fact the victim was a plant (Tony) who had no legs and had agreed to fill his stumps with giblet from the Poultry Packers where he worked. Classic DB’s songs of the day included ‘Wish I was George Formby’ ,’I didn’t know she was under 16′ and ‘Ello Ello Ello’ all penned by Rude/Smedlo and which lyrically reflected the dodgy world of Counter-Culture Bridgwater in the late 70’s.
The band had a huge and (mainly) dedicated following and members supported the Rock against Racism Movement including attending the major Brixton event that year. In 1978 the Brothers were temporarily banned from the Arts Centre after holding a Jelly party there – with the inevitable result that the day after the ensuing jelly fight the solidified jelly peeled all the paint off the walls to which it had been stuck.
In 78 the brothers left Bridgwater in a bid for success-but chose to move to Leeds. And then only half of them moved. By 1979 the band had reformed in Bridgwater but Rude had stayed in Leeds leaving the songwriting entirely to Smedlo producing such classics as ‘Swedish language yea yea yea’, ‘I’m a Bonehead’ and ‘Cuban Holiday’´.
During this time the Brothers are convinced that at a gig in Manchester UMIST, new wave alternative comedians Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson nicked their name for their future stage act. In 1980 the Dangerous Brothers recorded their self financed single ‘False Nose’ but the result led to a split with Rocco leaving the band and first Tonto (Tonto) and then Dave Butland (Lokjaw) being brought in as replacement. The split deflated the brothers hopes as it coincided with the launch of their Sheep Worrying Label and a major tour.
By 1981 the Brothers had been signed up to small time label ‘Circus Records’ along with Black Roots and The Alarm who had been impressed by the Smedlo song ‘Secret Seven’ , but the label collapsed shortly followed by the Dangerous Brothers themselves whose demise testified to being big fish in a small pond for far too long.