with TOM WILCOX of

Maniac Squat. Photograph by Gaz de Vere.

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is one of my best mates! And I don’t say that lightly or nuthink. He is a man who impacts on everyone he meets. Sometimes literally. An incendiary live performer who embodies Iggy Pop & Suggs (and sometimes Buster Bloodvessel), his band Maniac Squat had a single of the week in Kerrang! for their charming epic “Fuck Off”, and when I met their lead singer it was at the halls of residence at Uni, where we quickly bonded over our love of punk and “The Passenger” and got in the pit together at a Cramps gig for which my ribs are still physically recovering and where I was showered by both his and Lux Interior’s collective sweat.

I interviewed Maniac Squat in the Blind Beggar in Whitechapel (infamous Kray haunt near our Uni) and went to numerous gigs where this man encouraged people to spit on him, including on Boxing Day at his old home haunt and infamous gig venue The Oliver Twist in Colchester.

Maniac Squat ended up being mentioned on John Peel when Peel talked about the Velvet Sheep fanzine in connection with a Caspar Brotzmann session, and I ended up being his flat mate, and in the one gig I’ve ever played, I supported his band.

Also if it wasn’t for him Velvet Sheep would never have played club nights at the Whitechapel Gallery where he used to manage. Now he’s a music manager and svengali, like McLaren & Loog Oldman rolled into one half smoked fag butt, but to me he’ll always be Tom Urzi. Welcome back to Velvet Sheep, the incomparable, almost Dickensian character that is Mr. Tom Wilcox!

Here’s the copy of the Velvet Sheep zine featuring Maniac Squat (in 1995) which Peel mentioned…

and here’s a recording of the aformentioned Peel mention, in case I forget to mention it again.


If you’re not familiar with Maniac Squat, here’s one of their “hits” that never stops giving…(timely too)

These days Tom has been involved in managing and releasing music by Gillian Glover, and recently has been behind the rise of Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy, the ex Spiders From Mars man playing the music of Bowie with a stellar cast including the likes of Tony Visconti, and to use Tom’s own vernacular Glen Gregory off of Heaven 17, James Stevenson off of Generation X, Paul Cuddeford off of Ian Hunter and my old mucker Terry Edwards off of Gallon Drunk and PJ Harvey. He’s also been managing Pete Wylie of the Wah! and has also been collaborating live in various guises with Glen Matlock off of The Sex Pistols, Kevin Armstrong off of Iggy Pop’s band circa “Blah, Blah, Blah” etc, Steve Norman off of Spandau Ballet and Marc Almond of off Marc Almond. You get the picture. He’s a busy guy.

It was only a matter of time before I got Tom to do a “song for ewe”, so here’s his erudite entry to the cannon:

“I’ve been listening to ‘Ghost Train’ by Kevin Ayers, with the wonderful Kevin Armstrong on guitar.

It’s beautiful in that quintessentially distressed, Bohemian, English public school way. Kevin Ayers’ many solo records always project a laid-back mania; brushed by charm and loucheness. It’s music to get fucked up to while wistfully reflecting on the contiguous darkness and the utopia of old Albion.

Kevin Armstrong – in the same way as James Stevenson and Terry Edwards – is a musician who played on a ton of sublime records in the 80’s and 90’s and somehow didn’t seem to make a bad one.

Rarely have two Kevins combined to such melodious effect.

And if you don’t like it you can suck my Essex cock.”