Fried and Justified
February 21, 2019 | by Dan Papps
On 4 July Faber will publish Fried & Justified: Hits, Myths, Break-Ups and Breakdowns in the Record Business 1978-98 by Mick Houghton, a candid frontline account of an illustrious twenty-year gonzo career as a publicist in the record business, featuring an introduction by Bill Drummond and new cover artwork by Jimmy Cauty.
Ramones, Talking Heads, The Undertones, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Felt, Sonic Youth, The Wedding Present, Spiritualized, Elastica. The list of bands and artists Mick Houghton worked with reads like a Who’s Who of some of the greatest, most influential and downright dysfunctional cult groups of the post-punk era and beyond . . .
Often judiciously sidestepping the major trends in music – baggy, grunge and Britpop among them — his reputation for attracting outsiders led to him working with artists as disparate as Sun Ra, Andrew Oldham, Ken Kesey, Bert Jansch, Stereolab, Mercury Rev and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.
But the three acts Mick is most closely identified with are Echo & The Bunnymen, Julian Cope (and the Teardrop Explodes) and the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu/KLF, in all their guises. Between them, they played a significant role in shaping the musical landscape of the eighties and nineties, and – as confidant and co-conspirator – Mick was their chorus along the way, carefully navigating the minefield of rivalries and contrasting fortunes.
It is Mick’s indefatigable belief that it was always the music that came first, and it is his knack of attracting so-called difficult and troubled artists that makes Fried & Justified such an amusing, honest and insightful tale.
As an audio-visual palate cleanser, Mick has selected some key videos from his story to keep you busy until publication.