Johnny Runs for Paregoric

Exploding Seagulls Johnny Runs for Paregoric 7" (Fried Egg, 1980)

I am not sure if the punkalectuals would let the Exploding Seagulls into their classroom. I don't know if they would even be allowed in the "special" class, along with those DIY nerds. The Exploding Seagulls (like the very very great Avant Gardner [post pending]) might be a little too coy, a little too tongue in cheek, hell, a little too cheeky. But I like them. This was made in 1980 in Bristol and was released on Fried Egg Records, which is not only one of my favorite label names but they have one of my favorite label art. The band is credited as the band, however Tony Orrell played drums. Since his name is mentioned separately, perhaps he is a stand in. Ken Wheeler produced. I tell you all this because that is all I know about the Exploding Seagulls.

I do, however, know a little bit about paregoric. Paregoric is a tincture made with camphor, aromatic oils, and opium. It is not quite as string as morphine, however both the camphor and the oils are said to enhance the effect of the opium. It has been called a "modern day" laudanum. Laudanum was very popular with the Romantic Poets, but is no longer being produced. Neither is paregoric. However, fifty years ago paregoric was a very popular flu remedy. Little Johnny has the sniffles? Give him a slug of paregoric and he'll be dreaming good dreams for the night. He might ask for a taste in the morning but that's all right. And if you run out, send Johnny out to get some more.

Nice! I love shit like this! It's funny how stuff like this is always considered "primitive DIY bedroom" yadda, when in fact there is quite a sophisticated-ness (?) to it, both sonically and conceptually. Keep it comin!
Cool stuff! Looking forward to Avant Gardener, I have that one, but haven't listened to it for at least 10 years.
Paregoric is mentioned a lot in Richard Farina's "Been down so long it looks like up to me" book, great you could explain what it actually is. Myself I'm a camphor fan.
Great stuff. I've got an excellent Fried Egg compilation around here somewhere. Other than Exploding Seagulls, the only other artists I can remember from it are The Dragsters and Shoes For Industry (who, weirdly, cropped up as a sample on Trevor Jackson's "Playgroup" album).
thanks so much for your appreciation of the seagulls record - which i came upon by chance when i was trying to pin down when something happened and the only reference point was the release of that single. and you're right - the punkalectuals wouldn't let the Exploding Seagulls into their classroom - we were obscure, idiosyncratic, idiotic and we had quite a good time! I would point to sugarshack records website which describes the seagulls thusly - 'Berserk art-college kids from Southampton, they became Peel favourites before fragmenting in a welter of sexual and musical differences. The guitarist hooked up with a couple of Art Objects and became the Blue Aeroplanes.'
for my sins i was responsible for bringing 'johnny' into the world, or rather, reviving him, for the first line, 'johnny runs for paregoric' was found by my sister in a victorian book - all i did was mash it up with 'subterranean homesick blues' and, as you point out - stuck tongue firmly in cheek. i also sang it and the b side 'cinema'
the band, initially was me on bass and vocals, julian chadwick on keyboards and shopping trolley ( doubled as keyboard stand and transport) and nick jacobs on guitar and vocals. the 'tony orrell' you see credited was indeed a stand in drummer as george martin wasn't sure that ringo would be up to it. we sort of ballooned later with girlfriends joining as singers... we went through a couple of drummers until we found one who could drum like a seagull..
fried egg was the home of bristol weirdscapes and ken wheeler the house engineer at sound conception studios in bristol.
we played some memorable gigs, john peel played our record(s) ..... what more can you want. nick peeled off to join the blue aeroplanes, julian went to live in new zealand, i got hacked off and divorced and suddenly the seagulls had exploded...... although not necessarily in that order.
i've kept on playing music in a number of different milieu - from rock to theatre to writing an oratorio and am just kicking off with a new band called 'throne above the stars' which is an attempt to recapture the bright elusive butterfly of psychedelia, chloroform it and pin it to the backside of the grinning donkey of rock.....
great website - i'm going to try to listen to the show via the magic of the internet.
regards... and thanks again.
richard ( the former republic of fred) bolton
Hi, I was a big fan of the Seagulls and even have a live tape from the Victory Southampton circa 1981. I have posted a couple of tracks http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=453333692
my god, I was at that gig at the victory in 81 ! What a small world (and sadly a small crowd that night !)
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