Urban Voodoo Machine
We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “’should I care about The Urban Voodoo Machine? They’ve been around for ages, haven’t they? Aren’t they a novelty band who wears funny make-up? Don’t they sometimes play jazz? Aren’t half of them dead or something?’
The story starts with Paul-Ronney Angel.
Paul-Ronney Angel ate his parents and fled the fjords of Norway with just a bottle of moonshine and several slices of decomposing fish in his back pocket. (Before he left they tried him in the Norwegian Army – he lasted a total of five hours.)
After that, Angel washed up in London during the dying breaths of Thatcherism and took advantage of all that swinging London had to offer: he sold The Big Issue, busked Johnny Thunders & Robert Johnson numbers in Soho bus stops and played guitar for anyone who’d have him.
The Urban Voodoo Machine came to him in 2002 as a fully-formed idea. He’d lead a band who’d play ‘Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop’n’Stroll’. They’d dress in black and red. There would be a LOT of them. And their music would sound like a great night out in a dangerous part of town. From the get-go, The UVM fused junkyard blues and stinging rockabilly with mariachi horns, fiddles, sinister cabaret and punk rock tangos. “I wanted to play rock’n’roll music with a different instrumentation,” says Angel, “taking inspiration from everything from delta blues, lain and gypsy music without losing the spirit and attitude of punk.”
To borrow one of the song titles, it’s all mixed-up. It’s part wake, part protest, part valediction – a party at the gates of hell – because the greatest tribute you can pay the dead is to live life to the full: ‘We will sing and we will dance/We will drink and we will laugh/We will not forget the past and our fallen brothers…’