The story of Half Man Half Biscuit began in the bath in Birkenhead in 1984, where singer, guitarist and songwriter Nigel Blackwell first dreamt up the name, soon to be 'borrowed' for a song title by fellow Wirral punks Instant Agony. Together with his brother Simon Blackwell on guitar, Neil Crossley on bass and Paul Wright on drums, a demo tape was made for the Skeleton label, but this was 'intercepted' by Probe Plus boss Geoff Davies, and he signed them to his label.

Recording began on their debut LP, during which keyboard player David Lloyd joined the fold. The resultant Back In The D.H.S.S. LP (1985) was picked up on by Radio 1 DJ and champion of the so-called "indie scene" John Peel, who delighted in the savage mockery of minor British celebrities, all wrapped up in tales of the everyday tedium that is life on the dole. The LP became the biggest-selling independent record of 1986.

The band split in 1987, reformed in 1990 and are still performing, although only Neil and Nige remain of the original line-up.

Back In The DHSS(1985)
Back Again In The DHSS(1987)
McIntyre, Treadmore and Davitt(1991)
This Leaden Pall(1993)
Some Call it Godcore(1995)
Voyage to the Bottom of the Road(1997)
Four Lads Who Shook the Wirral(1998)
Trouble Over Bridgwater(2000)

Source: albums and Virgin Encyclopedia of 20th Century Music.
Quote: "There is nothing better in life than writing on the sole of your slipper with a biro." Nigel Blackwell 1986.

The current HMHB line-up still has Neil on the bass (after a brief stint on guitar, for Some Call It Godcore) and Nigel singing and playing guitar. They're now joined by lead guitarist Ken Hancock and drummer Carl Henry.

Many of the old-guard Biscuit fans are stuck on the band's first album, but newer efforts, particularly the superb Some Call It Godcore are far more rewarding. The lyrics remain as biting and accurate as ever they were, though still largely sticking to the traditional HMHB themes (football; crap celebrities; a dash of politics.) The recent A Country Practice (from Four Lads Who Shook The Wirral) is a particularly startling satire on New Labour.

Although they ain't virtuosos, the music always feels right, from the recent experiments of A Shropshire Lad through to folky singalongs like Bad Review. Not forgetting, of course, tunes 'borrowed' from the obscurest of places (Recent releases have referenced Agadoo, If I Were A Rich Man, These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things, and even the Outhere Brothers)

A Half Man Half Biscuit album, one review said, "is like baked beans on toast, a recipe in no need of overhaul," and I rather agree. Like that student diet staple, it's satisfying, down to earth, and you miss it when it's gone. Music to enjoy.

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