Come / Whitehouse – Come Organisation Records – 1979 / 1980

The Prats / Come Sunday / Iron Man / Sex

Rampton 1 / Rampton 2 / Shaved Slits 2

On Top / Mindphaser / Rock And Roll

The Second Coming / Coitus / Birth Death Experience

DOWNLOADS REMOVED

Uploaded today is the debut LP by Come and the debut LP by Whitehouse, which were both released on the Come Organisation record label between 1979 and 1980. Both outfits have William Bennett within their ranks, who sailed Whitehouse through stormy waters throughout the band’s lifetime. The Come LP is more guitar based whereas the Whitehouse LP is bang on power electronics, Whitehouse went onto release much darker material throughout parts of the early to mid 1980’s. The debut LP is relatively tame by today’s standards. Although in the context of 1980 this was way, way out. Think Throbbing Gristle and S.P.K’s more unpalatable tracks and the browser may get an idea of this LP. Great stuff all the same. Be aware that the last track on the Whitehouse LP ‘Birth Death Experience’ is meant to sound as it does for all it’s two minutes and a little bit. Similar to the track by Crass ‘The Sound Of Free Speech’ off the Small Wonder record copies of ‘Feeding Of The 5000’ 12″. Some browsers may get it, some may not!

I have thieved the text from several sources; the biography is lifted from the allmusic site; all the rest of the text and the photographs (of 1983/84 era Whitehouse) from the depths of the Susan Lawly site. Thank you to those sites in advance of my theft. A nice bonus was to spot the name Felix Suarez on the credits of the last piece of text. Felix is someone I know quite well through his employment with Southern Record Distributors. I was not expecting his name to turn up on a Whitehouse piece. A pleasant surprise.

A short biography

Whitehouse formed in 1980 on the fringe of the industrial music scene. Created by William Bennett, they pioneered a branch of experimental noise known as “power electronics,” a genre explored by Japanese artists such as Merzbow. Influenced by contemporaries such as Throbbing Gristle and composers such as Alvin Lucier, Whitehouse developed a unique sound mixing high and low frequencies with aggressive bursts of electronics and vocals. With their label Come Organisation, they released what they termed “the most extreme music ever made.” Often subject to censorship by stores and distributors due to subject matter and graphic record designs, they never bowed to commercial pressures and remained in control of their music and label. Whitehouse has recorded with Steve Albini since 1989.

William Bennett played guitar in the post-punk band Essential Logic. After leaving the group, he recorded the “Come Sunday” single under the name Come. This ground-breaking release, sequenced by Daniel Miller, featured relentless synthesizer pulses that hinted at the sound that would later typify Whitehouse. The Come Organisation was created by Bennett to release like-minded artists, though the majority of the releases on the label involved the founder himself in some capacity.

The Whitehouse project began with the full-length Birth Death Experience with William Bennett on vocals and synthesizer, Paul Reuter on synthesizer, and Peter McKay credited as effects and engineer. Though relatively timid compared to their later material, it is important for the formation of their unique aesthetic. Their third release, Erector, was one of the first to fully take advantage of the dynamic potential of electronic music. Considered by many as the first power electronics record, Erector set the standard for aggressive experimental noise.

Aware that they were staking new ground, several releases soon followed. They released eight full-length records in three years, each one being proclaimed by the Come Organisation as “the most extreme music ever made.” During this period, William Bennett found time to collaborate with Steven Stapleton (of Nurse With Wound) as 150 Murderous Passions, a project inspired by the Marquis De Sade.

Satirizing the music industry much like Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse went to great lengths for originality. While Throbbing Gristle operated Industrial Records as a corporation, William Bennett operated the Come Organisation as a radical libertarian political collective where personal liberty and personal pleasure was to be maintained at all costs. Referring to live performances as “actions,” disseminating propaganda that praised serial killers, and expressing an extreme ideology of personal pleasure via the media, Whitehouse gained a cult following based on their growing mysterious status.

Always controversial, anti-Whitehouse sentiments reached new heights in 1982. People misinterpreted the intention of William Bennett’s article “The Struggle For a New Music Culture” published in the magazine Force Mental. Controversy surrounding the piece led to further censorship and distribution problems. Following their first U.S. tour, Whitehouse released two of their most shocking records to date: Right to Kill and Great White Death.

These releases took sex and violence as lyric subject matter to unheard-of proportions with the equivalent in extreme electronic sound, and they also saw the addition of two new collaborators Kevin Tomkins and Philip Best.

Come article in Reuters 1 (1979)

Went out ‘Record Shopping’ in Southampton / went to Virgin’s, the ultimate in supermarket chic (something for everyone) all shiny product pleading to be bought… went upstairs… millions upon thousands of Singles / EPs / blah, flicking through so many sleeves, like looking through index cards in a library, one caught my eye – The Sleeve didn’t shout, it casually beckoned. No overkill attached, just the words ‘Come 1’ and on the back: ‘Come 1 Wdc88’. I bought it on the strength of those very sublime / curious packaging. I had high hopes for the record because of this impulse buying!

Went home. Played ‘Come Sunday’ by the Come Organisation times six. Possesses something loud, something brutal, something very abstract, and  above all… Something fresh and vital. God! They seem like they’re enjoying themselves (in their own way) it has guttural, buried vocals, sighing and cajoling, (what, I’m unsure) while, all this time, a tremendous distorted guitar was slowly nagging a phrase to death, shadowed closely by sinister bleeping electronics. Wanted to find out more. No mentions or, reviews in the weeklies. Why? I forget. Time passes. Then, whilst ‘reading’ Sounds I noticed in the classified ads, a very small announcement offering the single, and an LP ‘Rampton’ (?) with an address to write to… wrote away for the LP and included a small interview with it. Very shortly afterwards… Received record (don’t believe it) and reply… Read on…

Dear …

Thanks for your letter and interest in COME. I hope you like’ RAMPTON’ as much as ‘COME SUNDAY’. We’d be very pleased to answer your questions, I hope our answers are adequate for your demands! These answers are a combined group reply, but I will act as ‘spokesman’.

QUESTION ONE ) WHEN WAS THE GROUP FORMED, AND WITH WHAT AIMS IN MIND?

We made a tape in 1978, which nobody wanted, so we formed Come Organisation as an enterprise, not just in music, but in other contemporary fields, eg. Psychology (alternative). We were very influenced by how Industrial Records (Throbbing Gristle), and Ralph Records (The Residents) administrated. The one single which influenced me the most was ‘Don’t Worry Kyoko’ by Yoko Ono who, I still believe was years ahead of her time.

QUESTION TWO ) CAN YOU GIVE ME A LIST OF THE PEOPLE WHO COMPRISE ‘COME’ AND WHAT THEY PLAY?

The four members are myself (William Bennett) – Guitar, Doctor Death – synthesiser, David Charles, and Fuckman who share vocals and percussion. Two of the group as you can see use pseudonyms because they’re shy or so they tell me.

QUESTION THREE ) ARE ‘COME’ A STUDIO GROUP OR HAVE YOU DONE ANY GIGS, IF SO, WHERE AND WHEN?

COME are basically a studio group, mainly because of our general dislike of the showbiz element of playing concerts. Personally from a listeners’ point of view, I prefer the medium of records – in my own privacy.

QUESTION FOUR ) TELL ME ABOUT ‘RAMPTON’ LP. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO RECORD / IS THERE A ‘CONCEPT’ BEHIND THE TITLE / – HOW IS IT SELLING /AND HOW MANY DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY IS CORRESPONDENCE COMING FROM?

The RAMPTON LP took about twenty hours of studio time in an 8-track studio in Shepherd’s Bush, but this was spread out through a number of weeks, due to limited funds. There isn’t really a concept – RAMPTON is only used to generate an atmosphere. We’ve sold almost half of the 850 that were pressed in about four weeks by alternative distribution eg. Rough Trade, etc. etc. We have received letters from all over the place, even a few have strayed over from Europe!!

QUESTION FIVE ) ARE YOU BEING DELIBERATELY OBSCURE, OR IS IT JUST CHANCE THAT THE SINGLE AND THE LP HAVE SO FAR BEEN IGNORED?

To be honest, with the first single, we were consciously being obscure with little detail and minimalist artwork but, to continue like that would be rather self-consciously complacent – if the weeklies don’t want to know, then that’s their business, but as I’m sure you’ll agree that we’re quite happy in our alternative parallel universe…

A list of London performances from 1982 – 1983

Live action 1 – 08 Feb 1982

Whisky A Go Go – London, UK

William Bennett, Steve Stapleton, Andrew Mackenzie

Erector, Shitfun, Rock and Roll, Prosexist, Mindphaser, Anal American, The Second Coming, Buchenwald

Notes: Audience 100 – The first Whitehouse public appearance was originally scheduled at the Moonlight club but had to be rearranged at the last moment owing to numerous complaints received by the club about the come org publicity leaflets / the films Un Chien Andalou and edited highlights of Texas Chainsaw Massacre were shown before the Whitehouse performance / filmed on super 8 by Paul Hurst

Special biographical note: The live sound engineer for Whitehouse for Line Actions 01-07 & 23 was IPS Studio man Dave Kenny who contributed towards the improvisational aspect of some early performances.

Live action 2 – 08 Mar 1982

Whisky  A Go Go – London, UK

William Bennett, Steve Stapleton, Glenn Michael Wallis

Non-linear improvisational performance

Notes: Audience 100 – PA system arrives at 10pm / violence from Iranian bouncers / management refuse to sell alcohol at the last minute / filmed on super 8 by Paul Hurst

Live action 3 – 09 Mar 1982

Gossips disco – London, UK

William Bennett, Glenn Michael Wallis, John Murphy

Non-linear improvisational performance

Notes: Audience 20 – Whitehouse originally booked here to support Peter and the Test-Tube Babies who subsequently did not make it / Whitehouse left as headlining band for all the punks who had turned up / predictably chaotic results as Whitehouse are forced to abandon the live action after about 15 minutes / no audio recording of this performance is available / filmed on super 8 by Paul Hurst

Special biographical note: During this period until Live Action 33 most performances in London were booked by Whitehouse manager Jordi (George) Valls who presented Whitehouse to clubs as ‘electropop’-oriented. Sound checks would therefore also have to be disguised to prevent cancellation from venue managements.

Live action 4 – 01 May 1982

Centro Ibérico – London, UK

William Bennett, Glenn Michael Wallis, John Murphy

Non-linear improvisational performance

Notes: Audience 100 – This live action was originally arranged for the musician’s collective but some members complained and Whitehouse was banned shortly before date / support is neo-naturist cabaret / live action 04 was released in its entirety on the Whitehouse LP Psychopathia Sexualis

Special biographical note: The Centro Ibérico was a disused primary school in the Harrow Road which had been taken over by Spanish Anarchist squatters. Throbbing Gristle had performed a successful Sunday lunchtime show there not long before.

Live action 5 – 05 Jul 1982

Centro Ibérico – London, UK

Notes: Cancelled / the tracks on Fur Iise Koch compilation refer to live action 6 (not 5 as stated) – the live actions were later renumbered to take into account cancelled events

Live action 6 – 12 Jul 1982

Centro Ibérico – London, UK

William Bennett, Glenn Michael Wallis, John Murphy

Non-linear improvisational performance

Notes: Support acts are neo-naturist cabaret and Phillip Best’s Consumer Electronics

Live action 7 – 06 Nov 1982

Fulham Greyhound – London, UK

William Bennett, Glenn Michael Wallis, John Murphy

Non-linear improvisational performance

Notes: Audience 160 – Headline group is Flux of Pink Indians / Whitehouse are invited to play on bill by Annie Anxiety / live action lasts less than ten minutes / no audio recording of this performance is available

Review:

Excellent; the most complete Whitehouse performance. Glenn’s synths made your head feel like it was repeatedly being hit with a sledgehammer whilst John Murphy’s electronics pierced into the pain level. Beautiful.

WHITEHOUSE PERFORM (AND NON PERFORM) IN USA UNDER DEATH THREATS IN SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY – SKIP TO NEXT LONDON PERFORMANCE

Live action 21 – 21 Jun 1983

Camden Musicians co-op – London, UK

William Bennett, Kevin Tomkins, Philip Best

Notes: Whitehouse were the advertised ‘mystery guest band’ of the equinox event (featuring performances by Coil, Nurse With Wound, Etat Brut, Club Moral, John Murphy, Dave Tibet’s Dogs Blood Order, Test Dept. and others) organised by Mary Dowd / however, Whitehouse were banned on the eve of the event after Philip Best had a fight with Mary Dowd

Special biographical note: This was to be the first live action with the new ‘super-powerful’ line-up of Philip Best (15 years old) of Consumer Electronics and Kevin Tomkins of Sutcliffe Jugend.

Live action 22 – 01 Jul 1983

Roebuck – London, UK

William Bennett, Kevin Tomkins, Philip Best

Right to kill, Bloodfucking, Anal American

Notes: Audience 80 – support groups are Ramleh and Bushido (featuring Glenn Michael Wallis and Gary Levermore) at low volume / Steve Stapleton gets arm cut after flying glass during Whitehouse performance / police raid in large numbers midway through Anal American / many arrested in chaos / Whitehouse manager Jordi Vallis spends night at police station for barring access to police

Review:

Wasn’t the half-hour wait for Whitehouse worth it? Yes, it was. Philip Best, the king of the nasties, walked on programming his tool of ultimate power: sound. Next walked on Kevin Tomkins who fiddled with the oscillators so harshly, he was torturing his own machinery! Then the brainiac of the Come Organisation, William Bennett, flitted along the floor, dictating and screaming “Kill” like Hitler never could, gesticulating “louder”,  a helper,  I think, persuaded the public address bloke that more power was needed, with the sound ultimate violent playing, the anger was brewing. A fag butt directed at the audience, a glass of beer, beer glasses, the boys took over, objects were flying like a testing range, one bloke who decided that a beer glass cutting his arm was not very social got on stage and kicked the equipment over. William seemed to direct his anger to Phil by “come on” gestures, the doors were barricaded and officers of the law kicked the door down and literally dragged an angry man down the stairs in not the most polite fashion. Was that a Whitehouse performance, total anger, rage and violence? I mean, all their lyrics are “Fuck”, “Kill”, “Shitfun”, “Buggerfuck”, now what are you meant to think? Is it pretending of a warning, a sign of sheer dominance and then sheer fascism and sexism? Well, I don’t know, but if it is, fight it, if not, we should support the noble cause.

Live action 23 – 11 Jul 1983

The Clarendon – London, UK

William Bennett, Kevin Tomkins, Philip Best

Right to kill

Notes: Audience 50 – Support group is Ramleh / sound cut off by club management after one song  / Whitehouse fanatics complain vociferously to club’s hippie sound man who claims Whitehouse “not music”

Review:

Ramleh played for about 20 minutes and then finished. I really enjoyed it. After a short while Whitehouse came on and launched into ‘Right to Kill’. The American guy I was with got up from the table we were sitting at to take a photo and Philip Best lifted his synth off the stack of beer crates it was on and was gonna throw a beer crate at us. I had already read what was gonna happen and moved pretty swiftly to the back, as did the American guy. So nothing happened as we had already moved before anything could have happened. When I got to the back I noticed lots of people (well 30 or so actually, as that’s how many people were here to watch Whitehouse & Ramleh) with weird etchings cut out in their cropped hair and someone wearing an Ian Brady and Myra Hindley T-shirt and someone else wearing a fascist German T-shirt of some sort. My heart by this time was doing ninety to the dozen. I don’t mind admitting that I was terrified. the place was a dimly lit basement which really matched the atmosphere.

Anyway. The immense power of Whitehouse was still continuing and by this time a bloke and a girl got up and left which was followed by loads of abuse directed at the girl from Bennett. I was stunned and then Bennett started goose-stepping around the floor still screaming “It’s your right to kill, it’s your fucking nature”. After what seemed like ten minutes – it was all finished. I was left totally amazed at what I had just witnessed. I left to get the train with an experience of a lifetime that I will always treasure. I never thought I would witness a concert that got me terrified but left me enjoying the experience once it was all over. Whitehouse at their best for me.

Whitehouse article in Factory 13 1/97 (translated from Spanish) by Felix Suarez

If the foolish Sandy (Blue Velvet) were to hear Whitehouse, she would surely repeat her favourite expression ‘ it’s a strange world’. There would then sound one of the most scandalous roars of laughter that you’ve ever heard in your life, that of William Bennett.

But no. Sandy will never hear it because despite her similar obsessions (and sense of humour), the place where David Lynch involves his obsessions – a fetishist mystery that is visually attractive for the mass market – has a pseudo cultist and pseudo kitsch justification for the comfort and relief of the viewer, so they won’t feel threatened. The monster created by William Bennett more than fifteen years ago presents us with his obsessions with all their harshness: direct, aggressive, terminal, extreme, uncomfortable for that same viewer that now feels like a victim. As one of their members, Philip Best, rightly described, “The concept of Whitehouse is pleasure. Pleasure for ourselves, even at the expense of others”.

“I always had the fantasy of making a sound which could bludgeon an audience into submission. Groups like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and other records from the 70s, some strange ones by Yoko Ono and suchlike all inspired me; but neither were they sufficient,” explains William, with a smile which can break out at any moment. It’s hard to imagine him playing the guitar in Essential Logic. “I recorded that single ‘Wake Up’ when I was 17. I wanted to get into the music scene, but I didn’t know anything about experimental music then. It was afterwards, when I met Daniel Miller (Mute Records). We went on tour and Daniel showed me some strange German music from the 70s, electronic stuff; he took me one day to Genesis P-Orridge’s house. I found out about that music through Daniel. I tired quickly of rock after that. Also, for me, especially when the Sex Pistols…. They seemed a great group to me, but they had to be the last rock group. There couldn’t be anything after them. So, when they broke up, I was already looking for something new.”

The ‘legendary’ Wasp synthesiser sold by Robert Rental and Daniel Miller’s advice helped to start up the Come Organisation, the record label that also gave name to the embryonic  group (Come) to which once in the 80s would be Whitehouse. The name is a play on words: Whitehouse is both the name of a British porno magazine and the surname of Mary, an English activist on a constant crusade against the alleged proliferation of filth on TV. The elements of their sound are already in place on their debut album, ‘Birthdeath Experience’ (1980), a powerful combination of screeching high frequencies and other almost subsonic low frequencies; violent waves of pink noise; imperceptible variations amidst the aural saturation of the passive listener; total absence of rhythmic backing (they hate it); and rising like from a tunnel of horrors, a dominating voice that shouts at you and orders you, treated so that the words can scarcely be made out. Although on the first LP there was an accompanying lyric sheet – which made them even more disturbing. “Yes, it’s music, simply for the format in which you release it. It’s like art. It’s art because it’s in an art gallery. It’s that simple. If you bring out a CD, it has to be music. Anyway, I think that it is much more musical than a lot of minimalist or experimental music because at the end of the day, there are songs, there are lyrics and in a certain way, there are melodies too.”

Somebody once described Whitehouse as “music you are conscious of when it ends”. The comment refers to the effect of its silences – at times whole songs like ‘Birthdeath Experience’ and ‘Politics’. On vinyl there was the attraction of the noise of the static and the scratches: now on CD people are saved with a button press. Amongst other things, it reveals the condition of some discs – most of them are scarcely longer than half an hour. They work by saturation, since those silences never announce a final relief. They are not a sign of tranquillity or relaxation for the listener who is on alert for the imminent blast of noise.

If we had to talk of stages in the evolution of Whitehouse, a first, by definition would culminate with ‘Erector’ (1981). The collaboration with Steven Stapleton’s Nurse With Wound on the instrumental brut ‘The 150 Murderous Passions…’ (1981) opens the way to a period of thematic interest in mass murderers. This starts out on ‘Dedicated to Peter Kurten’ (1981) up to ‘Right to Kill’ (1983), where they dedicate a track to Dennis Andrew Nilsen, at whose trial the band were present “because it was right next to our home… for the morbid fascination”.

Until the mythical ‘Psychopathia Sexualis’ (1982), the trio were made up in the studio with Peter McKay and Paul Reuter. Their role was pretty much that of studio musicians, and when in February of 1982, they began live concerts, the famous live actions, their line-up went through a series of like-minded musicians like Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound); Kevin Tomkins (founder of Sutcliffe Jugend, a disciple but more importantly, passed over part of his repertoire to Whitehouse then retired to a family life and then returned again in the 90s with the rock group ‘Body Choke’ and ended up resuscitating Sutcliffe Jugend;  Philip Best – his Consumer Electronics were also very extreme and intense, since he was 14 he has been in Whitehouse in different eras, and also in the imitators Ramleh; Peter Sotos – from Chicago, publisher of recordings and printed material that have caused him, shall we say, the odd legal problem; Glen Michael Wallis – of Konstructivits, he only collaborated in some live performances where “we would give him the synthesiser without keys so that he wouldn’t try and be a ‘virtuoso'”; David Tibet (Current 93); Jordi Valls (Vagina Dentata Organ, see Factory 9) or John Murphy – another session musician who has since played with The Associates, SPK, Shriekback, Gene Loves Jezebel and Hoodlum Priest.

‘Right To Kill’ with Kevin Tomkins and Philip Best, and ‘Great White Death’ (1985), advances up to a ‘point of no return’ that, after two abrasive performances in the 666 Club in Barcelona (1/85), arrived at a cessation in activities. This was for essentially creative reasons but also logistic owing to various changes in members’ places of residence. The relaunch would take place in Chicago with some interminable sessions, begun in 1985, in Steve Albini’s studio. “I met him through his friendship with Peter Sotos. He is extremely creative and he gives something to every song; so if I had an idea and we recorded the sounds, he would then change it a bit improving it further”.

‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’, first single (1988) then album (1990), shows Whitehouse bringing a more refined and ‘purged’ sound to the 90s. A return which was supported by two successive compilations and the reissue of all their discography on CD at an annual rhythm, in order to take on the constant bootlegging and to compensate for the limited editions of the records.

For the new era, Susan Lawly took over the rein from the Come Organisation. The exquisitely brutal evolution of their sound has given birth to masterpieces like ‘Never Forget Death’ (1992) or the more varied and adventurous ‘Twice Is Not Enough’ (1991). The latter contains one of the sporadic collaborations of Scorpio, alter ego of Chris Connelly (Ministry) based on his admiration for the bad guy in Dirty Harry: “From before he played, he was a big fan of Whitehouse. When we began, he would have been about 16, and we were the first music that he listened to. What he does nowadays isn’t to my taste.” The now journalist and occasional ‘musician’ Stefan Jaworzyn also intervened in the first chapters of that powerful and necessary rerun. “He owes money to people all over the place, and much of his record collection is just for show; in reality, he’s just a jazz fan”. Now established in recent years and from the 80s, the trio (“we must always be three”) of Bennett, Best and Sotos, their latest studio album, again with Steve Albini, is ‘Quality Time.’ (1995) that promises “new recording techniques”. “We’ve experimented with a new style: it’s just as extreme. It’s difficult to explain what’s new about it (laughs) but it’s…. Well, it’s all on the same wavelength, but with new instrumentation, some of it digital.”

The new era of Whitehouse brings with it an apparent change in public attitude. If before they played with a certain calculated ambiguity, with a provocative air in declarations and live from a music which seems to demand a counter-reaction just as violent, nowadays the declarations are more in the sense of “we make music for our fans, not to offend people”. “I don’t believe we’ve ever provoked deliberately: it’s what it might seem like, but it’s always been about our own tastes: or let’s say our obsessions. The appearance has changed somewhat. The covers are prettier, everything seems nicer, it might all appear more commercial even but the truth is that our obsessions, our tastes and even the meanings of the lyrics haven’t changed all that much (laughs). A little of the mask of normality, appearance is a key and everything appears normal but isn’t.” Perhaps that brought with it as a consequence a certain level of attention from the UK media – that had pretty much tried to ignore them before – when they reappeared, and which has since returned to little. “Never have we had a special fame. There would be the odd review of concerts or records but… That’s the way things go, in cycles. We’ve never been especially fashionable but with time the same things can be seen in a different light. For example, all the atrocities of this century are deplored, but things that happened in Roman times are almost seen as amusing, aren’t they? It’s like Jack the Ripper, now he’s a kind of folk hero, all those books show him as being an almost mythical figure.”

In their now almost 80 live actions all type of things have happened. The time when the doors were blocked so that the police couldn’t get in, and when they were opened the group left the venue without being stopped thanks to their normal appearances, while the raid on the audience continued. Another time when he slapped a girl in the audience – “I used to do it often. In Newcastle afterwards we were banned for playing for 10 years” – and after the tumult they ended up playing for just a single person who turned out to be the guy in charge of locking the venue. Another time in San Francisco, supported by up and coming heavy metal group Slayer, “I quite liked some of their lyrics, quite interesting, but, Christ, the music is the same as always, drums, rock and roll.” And on another occasion – “in Olympia (Washington), near Seattle there were some Christians outside the venue playing acoustic guitars ‘Don’t let them play! Don’t let them play!’. Then during the show, one of them came into the venue with a big cross and approached the stage like this, as if we were vampires. When this failed, they called the police and said we had no work permits, we always went to the States as tourists because of the bureaucracy involved in getting permits.” Part of these performances, quite surreally, can be heard on a ‘Whitehouse Audience Noise Tape’ brought out by the Japanese magazine ‘IR’. “It’s like an hour of sounds from between and after songs. It’s pretty incredible, everything’s on it apart from music, all edited non-stop from 1982 up until now.”

One could call it electronic hardcore, in a way ‘ambient’, or simply repulsive, but the one thing for sure is that, if at any time music has arrived at an extreme, it would be Whitehouse. “It’s also been said that it was a sort of ‘John Cage for the people’, but of course definitions are impossible, and I’m not saying it as a boast, because I like similar sounding music, but there is nothing near it.” Of course, it’s because their supposed imitators are pathetic. “It’s not that they’re bad, but it’s usually far removed from… the purity. Also sometimes people think you just pick up a synth and make some white noise for a few minutes, and it’s obviously a lot more than that.”

And how do you explain that it’s more than that to people who don’t understand that, or think they understand it? “It isn’t explained, because those who understand, understand. The references and the illustrations work on many levels, and sometimes they are only understood on the most basic level, and people may fail to see a dimension much more… It’s like colours to a blind person, if he can’t see them, he can’t see them – it can’t be explained.”

In any case, what it does show those poor imitations is how difficult it is to do it well. “You have to think about it a lot, in other words, the songs are very well thought out and composed. It’s not something random, not just get out the synths and make a noise… the lyrics and the sounds, everything, you’ve got to think for a long period about what you’re going to do. For example, on ‘Quality Time.’ everything was very studied and planned over a couple of years. Besides which in recent years the arrangements have been pretty complex.”

Do you discard much material? “Not a great deal, because we always go to the studio well prepared. For example, the singing of the lyrics on the last album was rehearsed for a long time before going to the studio, at times, when going down the motorway when nobody else can hear you, and things like that. I told some Japanese guys who’d asked me how they could possibly play because in Japan they had a problem owing to the very small houses, they couldn’t rehearse at home. The noises, maybe, because the volume could be turned down but the voice was almost impossible to record because it would be heard through the thin walls and also the recording studios in Japan are prohibitively expensive. ‘What can we do? Could you give us some advice?’ And I told them as above or if they’re in the middle of the countryside etc. ‘Ah, great! We’re gonna do that!’ So now I have the vision that in Japan right now there are a bunch of lunatics there in the parks and on the motorways screaming and shouting Lord knows what.’

In addition:

William Bennett played the drill without realising it on the record by US group Bastro ‘Diablo Guapo’ (1989) produced by Albini who overdubbed the tape. Another US group ‘Christ On A Crutch’, brought out the single entitled ‘Kill William Bennett’, although it seems that they might be indicating the Republican senator of the same name who recently tried to ban explicit and profane rap music recordings. Although his namesake says, smiling, that he’s in agreement with him, one supposes that if such a proposal became real, the recordings of Whitehouse would also be affected, wouldn’t they?

23 comments
  1. ChrisL
    ChrisL
    July 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Didn’t know you had those LPs Pengy me ol’ bean? Then again, there’s not much you don’t have (y’bastard) Shame you missed the second Consumer Electronics set last Thursday. It was an absolute BLINDER!

    Anyway, great tho it is to see these masterpieces here I have a feeling they may be removed as Birthdeath Experience was recently re-released.

    Not sure about Rampton tho got a feeling it may have been included on one of the Come Org compilations.

    Just saying…

    PS. That photo of Philip chucking the chairs about always cracks me up 😀

  2. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    July 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Chris, thanks for the heads up.

    I did do a quick check of the internet before recording and loading up the Whitehouse LP. Boomkat’s CD version for sale was the most recent at 2006, Amazon’s are second hand CD’s from 2004 and Discogs are way behind stating a 1993 release date. The LP is of a limited quantity and was released in 2007.

    Of course if the CD or the LP is just about to be released again, or if the artists or record label would like me to disable the links I will of course do so with immediate effect.

    This same process is consistent with the whole KYPP site. Throughout the six years of the site going online I have only had to disable one link for one LP after the artists who recorded it on Temple Records sent a polite message to the admin email. A couple of Crass oddities after Allison asked me nicely were also disabled. Just a couple, not by any means all Crass material, just a couple.

    I sometimes feel that KYPP spending time on sourcing the text, photos and the downloads, that treat the product / band uploaded with the respect it deserves rather than hindering bands within the posts actually help those bands to get re-known to older heads and just plain known to younger heads. I would hope they would then go and search out other material by the band on the strength of that KYPP post.

    Whitehouse have released over twenty LP’s in over thirty years. I hope that if a browser does download the debut LP on KYPP, and enjoys it, they would then read up more about the band and get more Whitehouse releases via shops or mailorder from the label legitimately. Not sure if I am just being naive but as you know I am not pocketing anything from the downloads on the KYPP site (in fact the complete opposite having to pay for years of mediafire pro and photobucket pro – goes into hundreds of £££ to keep freeloaders happy!).

    If anyone from the band or the record label do want the links removed sometime in the future I will do so, but I also hope that the band or the record label can understand that KYPP is trying to promote the bands and music from an exciting era for independent music and political thought.

    My view of KYPP has always been to try to get the browser interested in many of the other releases that may be available by any band or artist after downloading and listening to any one KYPP post dedicated to that band.

    And yeah gutted I had to leave a little early for the Consumer Electronics the other week! 🙁 Got a good eyeful and earful of all the other acts though including Philip Best’s first set. I sneaked off with the number 1 out of 50 limited edition prints signed ‘for Penguin from Philip Best’ so that needs to get framed and upped onto the wall at Penguin Towers at some point soon.

  3. ChrisL
    ChrisL
    July 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Incidentally, if you weren’t aware, that review posted above of the Whitehouse Roebuck show was by Larry Paterson and appeared in the Apostles’ “Scum” fanzine. Him & Andy were both massive fans at the time.

    NB. There’s a good clip of the finale to CE’s second set up on the facebook event page.

  4. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    July 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    That’s interesting Chris, I never knew that. it’s nice to read about Larry and Scum fanzine within the context of Whitehouse. I remember Andy Martin chatting about the band on a couple of occasions. Of course The Apostles went through there own experimental noise period didn’t they. Plus the Recession club of course.

  5. ChrisL
    ChrisL
    July 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Indeed.

    Don’t have a copy to hand to check but I remember typing up the listing schedule for the Recession Club, which was included on one of the hand-outs that came with the 2nd Apostles EP. Pretty sure Whitehouse were one of the scheduled acts. Consumer Electronics (along with Pure, an early inception of Skullflower I think) were definately billed to play. Don’t think they did though. Nic might remember as the original Napalm Death played there too.

  6. Simon
    Simon
    September 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    hello all,
    I love Come Org era Whitehouse – the whole package….the DIY ethic, minimalist cover art often just A4 sheets glued onto a plain white sleeve with poor zeroxed band pics or no info at all, the danger of their live actions, their Kata news letters again, poorly zeroxed, the numerous compilations such as ‘The second coming’, the various coloured vinyls, the De Sade worship etc. It made the whole movement seem like a secret cult and incredibly intriguing. It was also a source for music i still listen to such as the punishing Sutcliffe Jugend ‘we spit of their graves’ 10 tape release which I feel has yet to be surpassed for shear lo fi brutality.

    Saying this, i can’t stand the Come releases. Whilst i understand their importance in the development of the Whitehouse sound, musically, they hold no interest at all.

    I followed the band from the early -mid 80’s when you could get Right To Kill for £2.50 via mail order only and saw a few live actions in front of hostile audiences that frequently last 10 minutes max but that was ok – almost expected and part of the experience.

    My interest dropped considerably when they changed to the digital sound in the 2000’s and became a 2 piece. I could not get with the rapid fire vocals and the dissertation-esc lyrics at all. The CD covers appeared glossy and in full colour which ,to my mind, presented as a typical rock and roll product – something Bennett appeared to be so vocally anti before and their live actions ( which i attended in the hope that the power would remain) were very generic and ,dare i say it, choreographed (the shirts off, hands raised to the sky thing was for me, contrived and hardly spontaneous as it happened at every show in the same parts of the performance).

    It’s obvious WB and Whitehouse were bound to change over time and they weren’t going to release 20 versions of ‘erector’, but i felt the spirit to which I felt attracted had gone south and the band were now simply fodder for rags such as Terrorizer magazine.
    As for WB’s ‘afro noise’ project, i’ve yet to check it out.

  7. Simon
    Simon
    September 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    * oops….of course its ‘we spit on their graves’

  8. Simon
    Simon
    September 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Anyone know who Alistor is (6th pic down, Bennett,Best and 2 stood outside law court – Alistor is geezer with camo jacket on ?
    Whitehouse’s current website archives have this pic and ID him as ‘Alistor’.

  9. AL Puppy
    AL Puppy
    September 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    It is not me.

  10. Marco
    Marco
    February 4, 2013 at 7:57 am

    People “misinterpreted” William Bennett saying Come Org were “concerned with the struggle against the unhealthy Negroid influence in popular music”, Philip Best publishing “White Power” & Peter Sotos describing death camps as “Triumphs of Nazism”? Did they? Really?

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2011/06/480825.jpg

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2011/06/480827.jpg

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2011/06/481041.jpg

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/06/480820.html?c=on#comments

  11. Max
    Max
    February 4, 2013 at 9:14 am

    “The Struggle for a New Musical Culture” by William Bennett (Force Mental 1)

    “It should be noted before continuing this article that in this work I turn not to strangers, but to followers of the movement whose hearts belong to it and who wish to further its cause and study it more deeply. Less people are won over by written matter than by what they see and hear. However, this will serve as a foundation and reference for new disciples.

    Come Organisation is concerned with the struggle against the unhealthy negroid influences in all popular music today. These primitive forces have corrupted many generations of youth. In music and in word. The slogans of “peace and love” and international friendship in the songs of the 60s and 70s are nothing but the disguised voices of pseudo-Marxists. The cancer of this type of music has made such inroads that it will take a supreme effort to destroy it forever.

    Nevertheless, its destruction is not enough – it must be replaced. In classical music we have the great works of Wagner and Richard Strauss, but nothing for young people who like ‘Pop” and ‘Rock’. No! The future must be embraced with both arms and a new form of power will be created which will win over the Anglo-Saxon youth for a New Britain.

    We must blame the corruption of the negroid music and the Jewish exploitation for the reprehensible movements today like Anti-nuclear, Amnesty International, and feminist groups, to name but a few.

    The countries with the strongest right-wing and nationalist forces in Europe are those countries where ‘Rock’ music has made the least impression. I am thinking of Spain and Italy now, but there are other notable examples of the phenomenon. The political climate of young people today is moving away from us ; I hold the ‘Rock’ culture to blame.

    The music of Come Organisation artists fulfills a twin purpose – firstly, to crush the disease we have just discussed and secondly, to express the new movement in terms of power and strength of will. It is almost totally electronic in nature, extremely uncompromising and sometimes violent in expression. But brutality is respected. People need something that will give them a thrill of attack and make them shudderingly submissive. Why babble about brutality and get indignant about violence?

    A recent released record ‘Liebstandarte SS MB’ ‘Triumph of the Will’ juxtaposes a speech by Adolf Hitler with a powerful electronic piece by Maurizio Bianchi from Italy. This record has proved to be very popular, especially in Britain and Germany. Other records will be released along similar lines.

    If we have the will, we will have the victories.”

  12. simon
    simon
    February 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    This is the infamous article written by Bennett that saddled Whitehouse with the dubious ‘ right wing’ tag. I haven’t read this for years and, after reading Bennett dismiss the sentiment as black humour in numerous interviews and ‘ People misinterpreted the intention of the article’ , its near on impossible to see the ‘humour’ or even a drop of irony in this all these years later. No wonder most of the Come Organisation releases were pre-judged prior to release.

    I’m not sure if this is a heart felt bleat from Bennett or if its an example of their ‘windups’ designed to piss people off for the sake of it as seen in the extreme sexually violent contents they liberally used.
    I can’t quite see how the content can be ‘misinterpreted’ as Bennett hardly leaves the reader with an escape route to find his real intention.
    At least Gary Mundy has distanced himself from Ramleh’s dodgy early 80’s product as youthful ignorance designed to provoke a reaction ( not a quote).

    Finally, I love his thought about Maurizio Bianchi. In interviews i’ve read with MB, ‘Liebstandarte SS MB’ ‘Triumph of the Will’ was actually Hitler speech free. Bennett and his Come Org cohorts had allegedly tied MB up in such a ridiculous contract, effectively handing over all rights of the records to Bennett, he added the Hitler stuff ’cause the records on their own were rather ‘flat’. MB subsequently disowned the records and severed all ties with Come Org in his disgust.

  13. Joe Chip
    Joe Chip
    February 6, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Interesting to see Nigel Ayers posting obsessively about Whitehouse under pseudonyms here (as he has done for many years online, so I’m told) after a NE album was featured.

    As early as 1984 in an American zine interview Bennett said that article was a great mistake to write. The issue of Force Mental was themed around ‘the New Right’ and various artists were invited to write creative explorations of such. WB claimed there were separate articles written in similar parodic style based around anarchism and communism, but the magazine denied this after they fell out. It’s a pretty stupid article although just about impossible for even the most zealous and McCarthyesque Nazi hunter to take entirely seriously. I presume he wanted to outshock everyone in this terribly shocking and provocative magazine, it’s a load of old shit though and I can see why it must embarrass him to this day.

    At the same time that Bennett was writing this confused babble about the unhealthy influence of Rock music and making the early Whitehouse albums, he was also playing lead guitar in obscure NWOBHM band Ezy Ryder.

  14. Naechev
    Naechev
    February 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Max/Nigel: i’m sure everyone knows about the Club Moral ‘New Right’ article now and is intelligent enough to ascertain the veracity of it’s context and intent but, honestly, you’re just appearing unhealthily obsessional now and not doing yourself or your crusade any favours.

  15. simon
    simon
    February 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Hey Joe Chip,
    Thats a very interesting post you’ve ,err,posted.

    Ezy Ryder ? Really?

  16. Joe Chip
    Joe Chip
    February 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Yes, Ezy Ryder, using a pseudonym. See the comments from ex-band members at http://strappadometalblog.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/ezy-ryder-power-1982.html and note also the label design with large ‘Cara 1’ text in Spanish of their rare self-pressed LP identical to the early Come Org designs, which suggest that he really loved being in this band and paid for the album’s pressing himself. He comes clean about the Italo-house stuff nowadays but has maintained a silence on the NWOBHM material.

  17. simon
    simon
    February 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    thats interesting.

    I presumed he was only in Essential Logic prior to WH. Especially when he calls a lot of conventional music ‘ rock and roll shit’ – see record reviews in Come Org’s kata.

  18. Chris
    Chris
    February 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Any download links for the Ezy Ryder LP? Would be intrigued to hear it. Message me via KYPP if you’d prefer.

  19. Dev
    Dev
    February 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Nice post Penguin – had this on tape back in the 80’s but long gone now – thanks 🙂

  20. Gareth Wyse
    Gareth Wyse
    March 21, 2013 at 1:34 am

    If William Bennett really thought openly stating his unapologetic racism was such a “mistake”, why did Bennett spend much of the next 2 decades working with Peter Sotos, author of an equally notorious piece which celebrated human experiments in death camps as “triumphs” of Nazism, whose books are filled with statements praising violent pedophilia and racism, and why did Bennett work with Kevin Tomkins, who confirmed his admiration for Heinrich Himmler and confirmed his intentions weren’t to make any kind of ironic art statement but instead to (quote) “kill women”?

    It wasn’t one article which gave Bennett his reputation, it was a whole pattern of similar (sometimes much worse) statements and publications, tracks and lyrics by William Bennett and fellow Whitehouse members Peter Sotos, Philip Best and Kevin Tomkins. Now Bennett’s reinvented himself as Cut Hands – as some sort of AFRO-NOISE musician, substituting Nazi rape fetishism for the glorification of sexual violence against black women (cover art for his Extreme Music from Africa CD (none of which was actually from Africa))

    Our best hope is that Bennett’s “only” a pathological fantasist – ie that he’s not the kind of rapist and murderer described in the Whitehouse track “Rape Day”, but, even if he is “just” a fantasist, he chose to promote Nazi ideology (to an extent that helped open the door for the partial mainstreaming of National Socialist Black Metal bands etc), was grossly disrespectful and insulting to victims of rape, of child-abuse and of Nazism.

    If Bennett knew all along that Nazism is bollocks, the fact that he chose to publish this stuff anyway makes him EVEN WORSE than conventional Nazis from orgs like Blood & Honour, and it’s amazing how his apologists queue up to try to surpress the free speech when it comes to disseminating information about this man’s activities and discussing his statements and actions

  21. Jim V
    Jim V
    March 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Change in tempo/interesting mix with Whitehouse included..

    Surgeon with some banging techno…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tndlzrc_g0

    The MPIA3 boiler room is also worth a listen.

    Jim.

  22. Joe Chip
    Joe Chip
    March 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    “Sadly, there’s someone unknown out there using anonymous scare tactics to try and get my shows cancelled, typically with threats made to arts venues that attempts will be made to cut off their funding, which seems to me especially cowardly. They are also trolling YouTube, Wikipedia, Fact Magazine, and other sites posting nasty comments. This is all done under the accusation that I have been a covert ‘nazi/fascist’ for the last 30 years and that Cut Hands etc is some kind of elaborate cover up for that.

    I am not, never have been, nor ever will be, a nazi/fascist/racist.
    I think and hope that would be without question obvious to most people that know me even just a little bit.

    The evidence for the accusation seems to be based on an entirely satirical text I wrote around 1982 for an art magazine, Force Mental. It was written deliberately in a particular linguistic style because their requested theme of that particular issue of the art magazine was ‘the New Right’. I had an interest at the time in the stylistic idiom of different political persuasions. It was not supposed to be taken seriously, and looking back, it was stupid of me to think that it wouldn’t when taken out of context. My bad.

    Likewise, the very name of the music group, Whitehouse, was not coined out of any admiration or respect to nasty moral campaigner Mary Whitehouse, it was also ironic and satirical, as was a hell of a lot of my musical output in the early 80s, in addition to the content in the label fanzine Kata. Like many other industrial and experimental projects of the time, a lot of wildly varying areas of human transgression were explored, there was much artistic immersion in taboo areas of human expression.

    Not that I wish to emphasise great weight to my personal beliefs any more than the next person’s, but just to clarify matters, these are a few examples of where I’ve stood and continue to stand since very young, even when they caused me trouble.

    I am entirely non-religious.
    I am anti-war, anti-military.
    I am anti-capital punishment.
    I am anti-corporal punishment.
    I am anti-racism/xenophobia.
    I am anti-nationalist/anti-colonialist.
    I am pro-internationalist.
    I am pro-animal rights/welfare.
    I am pro-gay/lesbian.
    I am pro-choice (re. abortion).
    I am anti-censorship, pro-freedom of artistic expression.

    If you feel you can help in any way, even by just showing support, it’ll really mean a lot. Feel free to also ask me any question on anything mentioned, I’ll do my best to answer. Huge thanks for reading this.

    Warm regards, William”

    For “Gareth Wyse”, a recent statement about the subject that fascinates you so. Having read Peter Sotos’s almost entire oeuvre (and not just the juvenile ‘Triumphs of Nazism’ provocation from a fanzine of thirty years ago) it could be easily argued that his political standpoint when he’s not lurching into solipsistic misanthropy is essentially humanitarian, although he is of course a writer who deals in personal issues (and oh boy, what issues) – mostly sexuality and mental health.

    Kevin Tomkins just seems like a bad artist to me, his work has been very poor for many years, but I’ve never seen what you spot in his work. These people are worse than Blood & Honour? Either master trolling, or you are mentally unwell.

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