Posts Tagged Pulkas
There can’t be anyone who was a fan of metal in the 1990s that hasn’t seen earthtone9 dozens of times. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a fair few times I saw them:
- Supporting Pulkas at the Reading Alleycat.
- Watching them play at the horrendous Lost Weekend festival, where vocalist Karl Middleton performed wearing nothing but a pair of pants made of cling-film.
- Supporting Soulfly at the Astoria, where Karl admirably provided the Grady Avenell vocal parts of ‘Pain’ (with Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo for the encore.
- Outshining Disturbed (oh, I’d be ashamed if I paid for the ticket), as main support at their fist Astoria show.
- Rumbling the shit out of the Zodiac in Oxford, which is now the Carling Academy Oxford (of which their support act will be the subject of a future blog…)
- Supporting Kill II This, where Karl’s vocal warm-ups would ruin half of an interview I did with Mark Mynett for a fanzine I used to produce when I was but an idiot teenager.
- And finally calling it a day with their last-ever show at the LA2. There’s probably a whole lot more that I can’t remember right now.
Despite ruining half of an interview with smeone else, I would later corner Karl and guitarist Owen Packard in a chilly corridor of the Astoria, right before they supported Fear Factory. I remember asking them why they’d become the Support Bnd Of Choice for, everyone, and they couldn’t really give me a straight answer. Sure, they were a considerable amount more talented than the competition, but why wasn’t that talent enough to propel them into the stage where they were perennial headliners instead of the warm-up guys?
So what happened after the split? Karl Middleton turned up in The Blueprint for a while, before going on to provide vocals for Twin Zero, although he appears to have slid off the map recently. You used to see him drinking in The Purple Turtle in Reading a few years back, maybe someone should go and ask him? Owen Packard did the six-string thing for a track for uber-group This Is Menace, and now runs a PR company, handling press duties for a number of UK rock acts. But everytime I get a bit nostalgic for the late 1990’s, I’ll stick on their final full-length album, arc’tan’gent, and think about what might’ve been.
Pulkas were one of the great nearly-were bands of UK metal in the 1990s. They were one of the first metal bands I ever saw live, stepping up from support act to headliner status on One Minute Silence’s ‘All Out Of Bubblegum’ tour when the headliners had to pull out. They opened up with ‘Loaded’, and the bass damn well made it feel like they were about to shake the entire Reading Alleycat down. The second time I saw them – on a tiny, 6″ off-the-floor stage at Reading University, singer Luke Lloyd (who famously collapsed a lung during a practice section when he screamed too hard) met the eyes of anyone who dared with a look of pure, unadulterated hatred. This was a band that fucking set out to kill its audience.
However a successful future was not to be – the band split after just releasing a single album, the quite frankly fucking amazing Greed. The band put this down to “boring tedious music business bulshit.” In their all-too brief lifespan, the band won plaudits from everyone who saw them – 5K gig reviews in Kerrang!, the fourth-best album of the year according to Metal Hammer’s 1998 Best Of list, and fan-voted the Best New Band the same year in said-same magazine. They received favourable comparisons to the crushing intensity of bands like Neurosis. And they thoroughly deserved every word of praise they got.
The band – sans drummer Rob Lewis – reformed briefly under the moniker of I-AM-I, but never released anything. Bassist Jules McBride showed up in Murder One, a heavy metal supergroup of sorts, which also included members of Raging Speedhorn (which reminds me, their last ever London show is on Tuesday – it’s gonna be brutal) and Medulla Nocte. But then they also split up. Why do all the great bands go and do that?
PS: There is a video for ‘Loaded’ – but it’s shit.
PPS: If anyone knows what the members of Pulkas are up to these days, drop me a line in the Comments. I really, really want to know!